Everyone wants to save on their energy bills and do something good for the environment. That’s why solar panel systems have become such popular products with homeowners across the country.

Southern California is particularly blessed with abundant sunshine throughout the year, which makes installing solar energy systems an even greater priority for many of the region’s property owners. In fact, California recently passed legislation requiring all newly constructed homes to include solar panels beginning in 2020! Here’s what you need to know about modern photovoltaic systems and your roof.

Residential Roofing Layouts That Best Accommodate Solar Panels

While qualified installers can make photovoltaic energy systems work on nearly any roof type, they consider some roofs to be optimal for solar power collection. Optimal means that your roof’s photovoltaic panels will generate the most usable energy for your household. Roofs that have south- and west-facing sides collect the most sunlight. Studies that were done by the California Energy Commission indicated that north- and east-facing solar panels generated up to 20 percent less energy than south- and west-facing solar panels.

Your home’s roof size is an important factor for determining how efficient your roof-mounted solar power system will be. Most homes require about 300 square feet of solar panels to generate enough electricity to power a single-family dwelling. Ideally, your roof will have 300 square feet of south- or west-facing sides to collect the most solar power. Call your local roofing contractor for a solar energy system consultation.

Modifications to Get the Most Out of Your Solar Energy System

Your roof’s pitch indirectly affects your photovoltaic energy system’s installation costs and its operation. High-pitch roofs add wonderful architectural details to Tudor and Cape Cod home styles. Solar panels, however, work best when they are placed at 30-degree angles on roofs. The flat roofs of contemporary, modern, and Mediterranean villas are better for solar panel installation. Your solar installer can raise the panels to the proper position using special brackets.

Your trees and shrubs are lovely parts of your property’s landscaping, but they may reduce the efficiency of your roof’s solar power system depending on their sizes and positions in your yard. Overgrown shade trees and heavy foliage that cover your roof and block sunlight from reaching your solar panels should be pruned by a tree care specialist.

Due to advancements in photovoltaic system technology, solar power system companies can install panels that use shade mitigating electrical systems. These innovative energy systems replace standard string inverters with micro-inverters that counter the negative effects of shade on solar collection by up to 12 percent, according to tests done by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Talk with your local solar roof contractor to discuss the best options for placing solar energy systems in shady areas.      


Nearly everyone has heard about households that generate so much energy from their photovoltaic systems that their electric meters run backward. Whether you get energy credits or payments from your utility company for excess energy that you export to the grid, you’re sure to enjoy all the financial and environmental benefits of going solar.

Keep in mind that solar panels are best installed on roofs that have at least 15 years of useful life. If you have an older roof, now is the time to consider a roof replacement if you want to take advantage of the earth’s most abundant natural resource-the sun. Give your local roofing contractor a call today for information about quality residential roofing replacements.