Photovoltaic Site Selection

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Photovoltaics: PV Solar Systems

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A PV system needs clear and unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for most of the through the year. The more sun exposure your system has, the more electricity it produces. Therefore, it often takes a professional to help you site your PV system.

The sun is always in the southern half of the sky but it is higher in the summer and lower in the winter. Usually the best location for a PV system is a south-facing roof, but at times roofs that face east or west might be acceptable. Flat roofs also work.

If a rooftop can’t be used, your solar modules can also be placed on the ground, either on a fixed mount or a tracking mount that follows the sun to orient the PV modules.

Shade

The PV modules should not be obstructed by trees, roof gables, chimneys, adjacent building or any other features of your home, yard, and/or neighborhood.

Even when sites are sunny during part of the day and shaded for others, the shading may substantially reduce the amount of electricity that your system will produce.

Space Needed

The amount of space needed on your roof depends on the size of the system you purchase.

PV modules are available in a range of types with some offering a greater percent of sunlight converted to electricity than others.

Higher efficiency modules typically cost more, as you would expect.  

Roof Type

A PV system can be installed on any type of roof. Some are easier to work with than others.

If your roof is older and needs to be replaced soon, it is best to replace it when the PV system is installed. This allows you to avoid removing and reinstalling your PV system when the roof is replaced.

 

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