Solar Panels & Things to Consider When Installing
26 June 2014
Now that there is a big focus on green energy, a large number of home owners are considering the possibility of installing solar panels on their home. In many cases they can supply all the electricity you need, potentially saving you a lot of money.
When thinking about getting solar panels fitted to your home, your first consideration is probably the cost. People spend a lot of time weighing up the financial pros and cons of solar power. Will the investment be worth it? Will you make your money back?
But there are other things you need to consider on the more practical side. Installing solar panels will affect your roof, and you need to make sure that the structure is able to support this new weight.
Do I need planning permission?
In most cases you do not need planning permission for solar panels, whether installed on your home, or in the grounds of your house. They fall under the label of ‘permitted development’, which are minor modification or improvement works that do not drastically alter a property or its appearance. Permitted development restrictions vary depending upon where you live; certain areas, such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) may require planning permission for changes that would be fine in other areas.
How do my solar panels need to be positioned?
Your solar panels need to be positioned in a certain way, avoiding the edges of your roof. They should not exceed the highest point of the roof (the ridgeline: chimney excluded), and must not project more than 200mm from the roof surface. There could be more requirements under certain circumstances, which you will be able to find out by contacting your local planning authority.
How do I ensure my roof is structurally capable of supporting solar panels?
In order to be certain that your roof is able to support the extra weight caused by solar panels, you will need to enlist the services of a structural engineer. They are trained to understand the load bearing requirements and will often have many years of experience dealing with structural issues on a range of different property types. They will be able to assess the construction of your roof to determine whether the addition of solar panels would exceed the weight it is able to bear. If this is found to be the case, installing solar panels will require more extensive work to be carried out. This is still much more preferable to having your roof collapse, causing damage to your house as well as breaking your expensive solar panels.
Structural Engineers from Allcott Associates
We have a number of highly trained, qualified, and experienced structural engineers who can help you with a huge range of building related queries. If you are planning on installing solar panels and want to check whether your roof is strong enough to make installation viable, get in touch with Allcott Associates today to discuss.