Solar Power Systems

Putting Your Roof to Work: Installing Solar Panels on an Older Home

by Joe Cooper

Installing solar panels traditionally requires the right materials, tools, and expertise to ensure the job is done right. Properly installed solar panels can offer decades of energy cost savings to a home, and can make great use of otherwise wasted sunlight.

Solar Panels for Older Homes
People who own older homes can use the same solar panels as can those with newer homes. If your home is older, however, keep the following caveats in mind:

  • Your Roof. What is the condition of your roof? Is it old, and does it need replacement?  Solar panels can actually help preserve roof tiles if the roof is in good shape. The rafters and studs also should be strong enough to support the panels that will be mounted to them.
  • Your Electrical System. If your electrical system has never been upgraded, it may impact the energy efficiency of you solar panels. Electrical systems that use circuit breakers are typically more energy-efficient (and meet more code requirements) than those that use fuse boxes.
  • The Overall Condition of the House. Since solar panels can be expensive to install ($30,000 on average), you should ensure that your home's foundation, structure, and layout are satisfactory before embarking on a solar panel installation. While these elements may not relate specifically to solar panels, if your home needs any major renovations that affect the demolishing or the redesign of your home, you may want to wait to install them.

The best first step in a solar panel installation is a consultation with a professional contractor or solar company representative. They can help you whether or not your older home is ready for solar panel installation.

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About the Author
Joe Cooper writes home services and design articles and manages corporate communications. He holds a bachelor's in American literature from UCLA.

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