Solar Installation On Your Garage
Installing solar panels at home can be a complex and costly task. Yet, with energy prices rising consistently, many people are considering making the investment. Mounting a solar power system on your garage roof is a fantastic option, particularly if planning restrictions make it difficult to put them on the roof of your home. You can either use solar energy to power your house, or just the garage itself. In the first case, you will need to run a cable back to your property. In the second, the system is independent and self-contained.
This is why having solar panels mounted on your garage’s roof is an excellent choice if you want to charge an electric vehicle (EV) at home. The panels sit on the roof, while the batteries can be stored inside the outbuilding. You will not need to do any groundworks to run cables back to the house or make any changes to your mains fuse box or upgrade your load. The only complication is desiging a system that can fully charge the car.
Common questions about mounting solar panels at home
Before we delve into the topic further, we want to answer some of the most-asked questions around it.
Are solar panels worth the investment in the UK?
Yes. Despite the characteristic grey skies and regular downpours, there is enough sunlight in the UK to power solar panels. Some areas get the same amount of solar energy as parts of France, Spain, and Germany.
Can I put solar panels on my garage’s roof in the UK?
Yes, as long as the roof is strong enough to support the panels and their brackets, you can mount solar panels on your garage. If you’re planning to install solar panels on your garage roof, make sure to let us know so that we can ensure that your roof structure is sufficient.
Do you need planning permission to install solar panels at home?
In most cases, no. If you install them on the roof of your property or an outbuilding, you can just go ahead and do it. Planning permission is required for stand-alone solar panels if they exceed certain measurements or are close to the property boundaries.
Can I install solar panels myself?
Yes, as long as you have good knowledge of power systems and are practical. However, it’s worth having the final product looked over by a competent electrician. Planning to charge your EV off solar? You may want to get everything done by a certified professional, so they can estimate the correct output needed to change your vehicle and install everything in accordance with the EV charging station requirements. Alternatively, you can mount the panels yourself and then have an electrician install and wire in the charging unit.
Planning a solar installation on your garage
There are five steps to designing a solar power system that fits your garage well and fulfils your energy requirements. For the best results, it’s best to plan everything in detail before you order or build the garage. Below are the five steps we recommend taking.
The solar power system
First, you need to work out your energy requirements, so you can estimate the number and type of panels you need to install. Have a look at battery and inverter options, too. Your garage will need to fit all of these. If the calculations sound too difficult, ask an expert to assist you and offer their advice. You may be able to generate more electricity via certain panel models, or you may be able to compensate for the lack of roof space by buying a bigger battery.
Then, consider where to build the garage carefully. Observe your property throughout the day to find the sunniest spot that is suitable for the outbuilding. You will also need to bear in mind how the sun’s position varies throughout the year - the same spot can receive a lot less light during the winter, as opposed to the summer.
Next, choose the size of the garage. Of course, dimensions will be limited by the amount of room available and any piping there may be underground. However, you will need an outbuilding with enough space inside to stow the batteries needed to store the solar power and the roof must be big enough to accommodate for the amount of panels you need.
Then, think about the garage’s roof. In order to capture the biggest amount of light year-round, the panels need a 40-degree pitch. Your chosen garage may not come with such an option, but you can adjust the angle of the panels with mounting brackets. You may want to install panels on both sides of the roof to generate power throughout the day or year.
Once you are set on the building’s design, you will need to decide whether to run cables back to your house or not. If you do, you will need to allow for the wiring to be run through the concrete slab you will likely need to build. If you don’t, you can simply run the wires from the roof into the garage and connect them directly to the batteries.
This completes your plan.
Using solar panels to charge your EV
In order to use solar energy to charge an electric car, you need to design the system around the EV battery’s size and requirements. Do not rush this step - EVs require a big amount of energy to charge fully. Investing in more efficient panels and a bigger battery pays off if you have a car with a big battery.
Your charging station choice will be limited, though - only some are compatible with solar power systems. Finally, you will also need to install a battery and an inverter to convert the solar energy into DC current.
Installing solar panels on an Olson Timber Garage
If you’re considering buying one of our sturdy and durable timber garages and installing a solar power system on it, you will need to choose the roof carefully. Only roofs with full trusses can support the weight of solar panels and mounting brackets. This means you should choose an Olson Timber Building 3 (OTB3), or opt for a roof upgrade on an OTB 1 or OTB 2. Any roof that can support tiles will suit a solar system installation.