How do you best design a building for solar panels on the roof?

How do you best design a building for solar panels on the roof?
The two most obvious ones are south facing flat roof and close access to grid tie circuit breaker panel. assuming the panels will be GT.

I just built a shed and then latter decided to put a 10KW grid tie system on it. Unfortunatley the shed is 30 degrees west of south. I supposed I could of rented heavy machinery to move the dirt so it could sit true south, but not sure the economic benefits would of payed off. I also had to cut down some trees that were shading the roof and it was rather dangerous since they were so close to the building. Retrofitting conduit and trying to make a section water proof were just more issues that should of been pre planned.

Some panels can replace the roofing materials, though I have not seen a commercial solution in the USA I've seen them advertised in Europe.

Having a house in a berm/hill side to provide more energy effcient heating/cooling would be great, but not really directly related to solar panels installation.

In short what aspects of construction if thought about ahead of time make solar easier to install and more economical? Routing electrical conduit during construction instead of after the fact would be one example.


  • mtdoc
    mtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: How do you best design a building for solar panels on the roof?

    Timely question since I am just now starting to build a large shed which will hold a 2700 watt array. Other than the obvious issues of southern orientation and roof pitch the only other issue I've given thought to is the roof. I thought about trying to use the panels as the main weatherproofing for the roof but have decided against this. The friend who will be helping me build this is a roofer by trade so I trust he'll help me figure out the most efficient way to tackle the roof.

    I'm struggling a bit with making my final decision on roof pitch - balancing ease of snow removal and winter production versus optimal year round production.

    I look forward to hearing other's ideas on what things to consider during construction.