Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We’ve been taught that lesson all our lives. Maybe I’m biased, but I think solar panels look great!
A frequent question, and often a conundrum, is whether a client should put solar panels on the front of their house. The answer boils down to a balance between aesthetic, performance, and legal concerns. Here are some things to consider:
- Solar panels are ubiquitous in Southwest Florida. If you start keeping an eye out, you will see many homes with solar panels on the front. Solar panels blend in with the surroundings, and after a while they just become background scenery in the beautiful Southwest Florida landscape.
- Homeowner’s Associations cannot restrict your ability to put solar panels on the front of your home if it is oriented in such a way that another roof would impede the solar panels’ performance. This is part of Florida Statutes, and solidified by case law.
- Solar panels perform best when placed on the south side of your home, or some degree to the east of west of due south depending on the type of solar panel used. If the front of your home faces south and you are concerned about maximizing performance, you should strongly consider placing solar panels on the front.
- Sometimes the front of the house is the only viable roof if other roof surfaces are too small or do not have close proximity to other required equipment.
- Often a combination of the front and side of a house can be used to balance aesthetics and performance.
- If a secondary roof is suitable, you may consider sacrificing some performance in return for not placing solar panels on the front of your home. We can estimate/calculate the impact of using a sub-optimal roof surface.
Computer models can help visualize solar panels on the front of a home. It also helps to look at aerial imagery to see how other homeowners in your neighborhood have placed their solar panels. Often we are told by a homeowner that they don’t want solar panels on the front of their home. Many don’t even realize that their neighbors have panels on the front until we remind them!
Note that the solar design above is the home in the upper right of the aerial image. Two neighbors have solar panels on the front of their homes. This makes the decision much easier at times, but when performance is the most important factor, we always recommend the ideal roof. This is often the front of the house if the home is on the north side of a street, especially on gable roofs.
If you are concerned about putting solar panels on the front side of your home, let us put together a computer model and analyze your neighborhood so you can visualize it and make an informed decision!