Installing a solar panel system can be tricky. For one, you might not have enough space on your roof or on the ground to install your preferred system size.
The next best option is on a detached property like your garage. But, can you even put solar panels on a garage roof?
The short answer is yes, it’s possible to install solar panels on your garage roof. But, before you go shopping for parts, there are a few things you should consider.
I will be discussing these considerations today to help make sure that you have a garage roof suitable for solar panels.
I will also be discussing other relevant topics. Feel free to tap on the bullets below to skip sections but I recommend reading this from the top.
- 6 things to consider before installing solar panels on your garage roof
- Benefits of having solar panels on your garage roof
- Where else can you install solar panels?
6 considerations before you install solar panels on your garage roof
1. Is your garage roof shaded?
For your solar panels to function as efficiently as they should, they need to be exposed to enough sunlight. Consequently, they should be installed in a place that isn’t covered in shade. This maximizes your power output which, in turn, makes you less reliant on your power company.
This can be a problem particularly if your garage is right beside taller structures that can cast shadows on your solar panels, like trees, your own home, and other homes in your neighborhood for example.
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2. Is your garage roof structurally sound?
Installing solar panels on any roof also comes with racks, mounts, and cables. Add them all up and they can put a heavy strain on your roof, especially when you plan on having a larger system.
Not only that, but the installation process will also have the installer drill holes into your roof so it needs to be structurally sound. Otherwise, this project could get expensive in a few short years because of costly repairs.
So, how old is the roof of your garage? When is it due for replacement? Can it handle the weight of your solar panels? I highly recommend you talk about these with your installer before you spend any money.
3. What direction is your garage’s roof facing?
The direction your roof is facing will have a huge impact on how much solar power your panels will generate.
In Australia, north-facing panels generally generate the most solar power because we’re in the southern hemisphere. On the other hand, panels that face south often don’t generate nearly as much.
However, east and west-facing solar panels can also be great options depending on what time of day you require to power the most.
That being said, if the angle your roof is facing doesn’t coincide with your usage patterns, it might be best to consider other options.
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4. What angle does your roof have?
Tilt is also something that affects the electricity generated by your solar panels. The ideal angle depends on where you live so, again, make sure to communicate this with your installer.
However, as a general rule, a tilt of 10 to 30 degrees is acceptable.
That being said, there are always ways around it even if your garage has a flat roof.
5. How much roof space do you have in your garage?
The available space you have on your garage roof is what’s going to determine the maximum number of solar panels you can install. The more space you have, the more panels you can have. And the more panels you have, the more sunlight you can turn into energy.
Although, if you have less space on your garage roof, one way to maximize this is by getting more efficient solar panels. This way, you get more electricity for fewer panels.
Take note that high-efficiency solar panels are typically also more expensive.
6. Does your HOA allow it?
Some homeowner associations have stricter rules than others because they want to preserve a certain “look” in their neighborhood. Thus, installing solar panels, whether it’s on your home or garage’s roof, is prohibited.
Needless to say, this likely should be the first thing you take care of. Otherwise, all the research, scouting, and shopping you do won’t amount to anything.
If all the considerations I listed here are good to go, you can then proceed with putting solar panels on your garage roof. If you’re still not sure, though, here are a few benefits that might change your mind.
Benefits of having solar panels on a garage roof
Lower utility bills
After years of suffering through terrible prices of inefficient energy generation, technology has come so far that solar panels are now cheaper than ever. Not to mention, the CEC (clean energy council) has regulated installers to solve the notoriously poor workmanship of past solar installations.
As a consumer, this just means that you have fewer bills to pay because of the more efficient solar power generation, lower upfront cost, and reduced need for costly maintenance.
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Higher property value
If you plan on selling your home in the future, Momentum Energy says that solar panels can add roughly $6000 more per kW of energy to your home’s value.
So, if you had a 3 kW solar system on your garage roof, you could potentially have a property that’s 10,000 more expensive. Now, imagine if you had more solar panels on your home’s roof; not just your garage. The value would skyrocket!
Of course, these values also depend on where you live as well as other factors but it’s a huge upgrade.
You become more eco-friendly
One of the many benefits of going solar is that you become less reliant on the grid. And when you rely less on these power companies, you also don’t burn as much of the fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gasses.
Moreover, solar power is a completely renewable resource. So, as long as the sun shines and your solar panels are up and running, your home is going to be capable of generating its power.
Recommended: The environmental benefits of going solar
Solar panels on a garage roof don’t take up space on your property.
This is probably an obvious benefit but it should be told nonetheless. If you install your solar panels on your roof, regardless if it’s in your garage or your home, they don’t unnecessarily take up space.
This means your driveway will still be free of clutter and you will still have ample space in your yard for parties. Oh, and when you have those parties during the day, the energy you use will likely be free. That’s one hell of a benefit if you ask me.
Alternative places to install solar panels
Your home’s roof
This is, by far, the most common place to install PV panels – and it makes sense. Your home’s roof will likely have more space than your garage which gives you the ability to install a larger solar panel system.
However, if your roof isn’t an option, consider the next alternative below (or your garage roof).
Ground-mounted solar panels are another excellent place to install solar panels. That is, of course, if you have the space for them on your property.
To me, the best thing about ground-mounted solar panels is that you can orient them in any way possible. Point them north if you want maximum power output, or point them towards the east or west if you use more power at certain hours of the day.
With the roofs of your home and/or garage, you more or less have to rely on the direction they’re facing which can sometimes be limiting.
However, ground-mounted solar panels are also more expensive to install.
Can I power my garage with solar panels?
Yes, you can power your garage with solar panels. Many Australians have done this and have used power from their solar panels to operate their garage door opener, lights, power tools, and even to charge electric cars.
How many solar panels are needed to run a garage?
How many solar panels you need to run your garage depends on the power it needs. Generally, 1kW solar systems will generate enough electricity for lights and small power tools. However, if you plan on using solar panels to run the entire workshop you have in your garage, you likely need at least 3 to 4 kW.
What Roofs Are Not Suitable For Solar Panels?
Roofs that are made of wood and slate as well as roofs that have an angle of more than 40 degrees aren’t ideal for solar panels. Wood and slate are brittle, so they might not be able to hold the weight of the solar panels. On the other hand, a roof that’s tilted beyond 40 degrees won’t be as efficient as roofs that are only tilted 10-30 degrees.
In summary, yes, installing solar panels on a garage roof is possible but there are a few things you have to consider first. Among other things, this includes the angle and direction your roof is facing, how structurally sound it is, and if your HOA allows it.
There are plenty of benefits to installing solar panels on garage roofs, too. And, even if it weren’t possible, you don’t have to lose hope because there are other alternatives where you can place solar panels.
I hope this helps! And, if you’re ready to take the next step, we can get you 3 quotes from our network of pre-vetted installers for FREE.