Solar Power Solutions – Getting it Right

LOCATION
You will need a position that generally faces south (anywhere between west and east), anything that generally faces towards north is not suitable (remember most roofs have two sides so at least one is likely to be facing in the right direction). The location should not be overshadowed by trees or buildings other than for limited parts of the day. Generally, the more southern parts of the country will receive more Solar Panels Melbourne energy than more northerly areas.

WHAT KIND OF ROOF?
Flat roofs, as well as sloping roofs can be suitable, providing their orientation allows enough solar energy to be captured.

Even if your roofs are not suitable for some reason, then solutions can be developed with freestanding panels that can be mounted on frames. The solar panels do not have to be installed on the house; they can be fitted on to a stand alone structure such as a pergola or on to a garage or roof of a large shed. Wall mounted systems are not usually used on residential properties (vertical panels are less efficient than those on sloping roofs) but vertical cladding panels using photovoltaics are more common on commercial buildings.

With our architectural expertise, we can develop solutions that are aesthetically pleasing and obtain the best efficiency for the solar PV or thermal system.

IS MY ROOF STRONG ENOUGH?
For the vast majority of sloping or flat roofs, photovoltaic or solar thermal panels are considered to be relatively light compared to the normal roof loadings that usually allow for substantial snow loads. Structural designs also usually incorporate quite large factors of safety. The appropriate number of fixing points needs to be incorporated to spread the loads of the solar panels.

However, there are some roofs where strengthening of the roof may be required. This is usually associated with older roofs, or roofs where lighter weight finishes such as slates have been replaced (at some time in the past) with heavier finishes such as concrete roof tiles. Because of our background in design consultancy and construction, we are able to use our experience to recognise roofs that may need strengthening and provide advice. We can involve structural engineers to design an appropriate solution. This need not be expensive. For example it may simply involve installing simple timber braces in your loft space between the existing roof purlin (beam) and the top of an existing load bearing wall. We would include this additional work in our quotation to you (we have experienced carpenters available), or having advised you that your roof needs strengthening, you could arrange for the work to be done.

Most roofs will not need strengthening, but it is comforting to know that you are dealing with an organisation with the knowledge and experience to recognise and deal with any problems that may arise.

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