solar-panel-installation | May 23, 2024

While making the big switch to solar energy is an exciting move toward sustainability and savings, it is crucial to assess whether your home is ready for solar panels and Future West Solar can help. For those of us in the beautiful regions of Fraser Valley and Okanagan, a few specific considerations come into play. 

Let’s give you the low-down on key factors to ensure your home is prepped for solar energy generation

Roof conditions and how it can affect your solar energy production

First things first—Let’s chat about your roof. Since solar panels are a long-term investment, your roof MUST be in good shape. If your roof has served you well and is nearing the end of its life (usually 20-25 years for asphalt shingles), replacing it before installing solar panels would be the ideal choice. This avoids the hassle and extra costs of removing and reinstalling the panels later.

Here’s what you should look for in the foundation of your solar setup:

  • Structural integrity: You need to ensure there are no leaks, missing elements such as tiles or shingles, or any other damage that could negatively affect solar production.

  • Age: If your roof is older than 15 years, it is good to get it professionally inspected by your solar installation company or external sources.

  • Material: Solar panels are designed to support most roofs; however, panel installation may differ depending on the type of roof.

How to ensure your solar panels catch the best rays

In the Fraser Valley and Okanagan, sunlight is abundant, but maximizing the available sunlight is key. South-facing roofs capture the most sunlight throughout the day. Is your roof east or west-facing? Don’t fret! These roofs can still harness sufficient solar power for your home.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Roof tilt: The optimal tilt angle for the Okanagan region is between 30 and 45 degrees. If your roof is flatter or steeper, there’s no need to worry, as your system will still produce plenty of power!

  • Orientation: Though south-facing roofs are ideal, east and west can still be effective. However, it’s best to avoid mounting solar panels on north-facing roofs as they receive the least sunlight.

Did you know your solar panels have an arch nemesis?

It’s shade! Shading is a critical factor when it comes to solar panels. Even small shadows from trees, chimneys, or neighbouring properties can impact your solar panel’s efficiency. Your best bet is to have us do a 3d model of your home and surroundings to determine if there’s cause for concern.

Other things to look out for include seasonal changes and potential foliage growth. As the sun’s position changes with the seasons, a clear roof in the winter could mean a shaded roof in the summer due to nearby trees. You should also account for the growth of trees and other greenery around your home; this could also affect the shade your home gets.

At Future West Solar, we’ll model your home using LIDAR 3D irradiance modelling for perfect placement, with respect to surroundings, hours of sunlight, shading and roof conditions to provide you with a customized solar system for your home. We’ll make the process super simple; check out some of our frequently asked questions for more information.

Climate specifics for Fraser Valley and Okanagan regions

For optimum solar energy generation, your climate is the star of the show. The Fraser Valley, with its temperate and rainy weather, and the Okanagan, with its hot and sunny weather, bring along a couple of factors to note.

If you live in the Fraser Valley:

  • Cloudy days: Frequent cloud cover means your solar panels might produce less energy. You don’t need to be discouraged, though. High-efficiency solar panels convert direct and indirect sunlight into electricity. So even on cloudy days, your system will produce energy; it may have a lower output than clear, sunny days.

  • Rainy days: Days filled with showers from up above may sound concerning, but rain can naturally help clean your solar panels, getting rid of dust and debris in the process. Nature will maintain your panels for you!

If you live in the Okanagan:

  • Sunshine: We are fortunate to have plenty of sunlight in the Okanagan region, which is ideal for efficient solar energy production. In the winter months, energy banked from net metering can be used, so it’s a win-win for all!

  • Heat: Known for its hot, dry weather, the Okanagan region can get pretty hot in peak summer. While this is accompanied by lots of sunshine, heat can be detrimental to solar panels’ efficiency. So, proper ventilation and high-quality panels are a must. Our team uses extremely high-quality panels from the world’s leading renewable energy brands, so you’re in good hands.

Switching to solar is a significant step toward a sustainable future; with the right preparation and Future West Solar on your side, your home can be a shining example of clean energy success. Ready to have a chat? Get a professional solar assessment today and take the first step toward harnessing the power of the sun!

Future West Solar is a full-service team with in-house contractors and extensive local experience, especially in the Kelowna and Chilliwack regions. We’re ready to answer any question you may have about solar energy. Thinking of making the big switch? Contact us to learn more about powering your life through sunshine!