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Let your solar rooftop work for you

Let your solar rooftop work for you

Plug & play solar kits were born with the intent to install solar panels on surfaces previously not considered for solar installations. The advent of microinverters has opened up a lot of options for households to install solar panels on many more surfaces, big or small. This development is democratizing residential solar installations. Over the coming weeks we will present you several innovative options, like your rooftop.

Advantages of rooftops for solar installations

As we described previously, solar panels need a lot of sunshine exposure to produce well. Looking at the options households might have, a rooftop is among the best ones available. Being on the highest floor of a building tends to give it the most sunshine hours, and least impact of shade (for example from other buildings or trees in the vicinity).

Rooftops also tend to have more flexibility in positioning your solar panels that work best at a full south orientation. Or, if you have a plug & play solar kit of 2 panels, like our Robinsun Performance 800, you can install one panel in a southeastern orientation and the other in a southwestern one, to extend the hours of the day you generate your own solar power. On a rooftop this is usually much easier than on a balcony for example.

If you have sufficient space on your rooftop, install your solar panels with an angle. Our 20 degree mount is a very popular option among our clients, as it is very easy to set up, as you can see in this video. To further optimize your production, we know of customers that bought a 60 degree mount and installed it horizontally, giving their solar kit a 30 degree angle that is pretty much the best for solar panel production in southern Europe.

How much can I save?

Given these very ideal factors of a rooftop to install a solar kit, this location usually yields the greatest production volumes. As you can see in the two infographics below, both a full south facing orientation as well as a good 20-30 degree angle yield the highest production levels.

Impact of the installation angle on a plug & play solar kit

Impact of the orientation on a plug & play solar kit

A further step to increase production that a rooftop makes very easy is the slightly different orientation of each of your panels, with one facing slightly more to the southeast (that starts producing earlier in the day) and one to the southwest (that keeps producing longer in the afternoons). This extends your solar kit’s production hours. Add to that the effect of your panels being bi-facial, and also producing from the back as described in a recent article, and you can expect maximum production levels. Check our Savings Calculator to see how much you can save on your solar rooftop.

Neighbors

Should you share a rooftop with your neighbors, sometimes this can lead to interference with your installation plans. Legislation differs in various European countries, but there is movement towards empowering residents ever more. In Spain with a mere ⅓ of neighbor votes you’re allowed to install solar for self consumption. And the German government is working on legislation that allows every resident to install solar for self-consumption, without any neighbor’s influence both if you are renter or owner.

At Robinsun we prefer to see conversations with neighbors as opportunities to share the benefits of a plug & play solar kit. If a community of neighbors buys several kits together at the same time, shipping them can cost less. We are happy to pass along these savings, giving communities a discount. Please contact us if this applies to you.

Also beware of neighbors that propose a communal solar installation. We have heard about many communities discussing this. On paper this is an excellent idea. But there are 2 issues. First, it tends to be very complicated to agree on the specifics in a community of neighbors, and the administrative and accounting challenges are usually too big for the limited impact of such an installation on the individual household. And secondly, these installations’ production tends to be used on communal energy consumption. While this is a welcome saving and has an impact, it doesn’t affect your household’s power bill.

Conclusions

If you have access to a rooftop you can use, go for it and install a plug & play solar kit yourself today. There is no better place to generate the highest levels of production, and on a flat rooftop surface installation is as easy as it can get.

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