Rooftop Solar – Converting Your Rooftop into a Power Plant

Summary: Rooftop solar refers to solar PV power plants mounted on top of roofs – building roofs, car parking roofs and other roofs.

Everyone today is talking about Rooftop Solar, those interesting looking solar panels on top of residential and commercial roofs. How does rooftop solar work and how could it benefit your house or factory?

Rooftop solar power plants enable the owner of a building to generate power right on his premises for captive consumption. This way, every building owner can become a power producer!

Rooftop solar is classified under Distributed Generation, as power generation is distributed across tens of thousands of rooftops instead of being centralised, as is the case with conventional power plants.

In addition to the conventional building rooftops, many building owners have also started utilizing rooftops of parking spaces, sheds and other accessory structures for solar power plants.

While rooftop solar power plants traditionally were put up on building rooftops, in recent times many building owners have also started utilizing rooftops of parking spaces, sheds and other accessory structures too for solar power plants.

As against having solar panels on the ground, having solar panels on the roof will require special consideration on some aspects:

  • Type of rooftop – type of material used for rooftop construction (is it reinforced concrete, or is asbestos…)
  • Shape and slope of rooftop – is the roof flat and horizontal, or is it inclined, or does it have some unique architectural shape?
  • What is the rooftop surrounded by? – for electricity generation from solar panels, what is present around the roof is as important as the roof itself; here, we are especially concerned with the amount of shade that could result from buildings, trees and other construction adjoining the roof.

solar_panelQuestions from the curious cat

How much space is required on my rooftop for 1 kW of rooftop solar power?

1 kW of solar power plant requires approximately 100 sqft or 10 sqm.

Can I run all my loads entirely on solar power from my rooftop?

While in select cases a rooftop solar power plant could power most or all your loads, in most cases, it will be difficult. Depending on the type of building (residential, commercial, industrial) and the extent of rooftop available, solar from your rooftop could power anywhere between 20-50% of your total load requirements.

If solar power from rooftop cannot supply all my load requirements, how can I make the best use of rooftop solar?

One of the best ways to use rooftop solar power plants is to use as a grid-tied rooftop solar power plant. In this case, even if your rooftop solar power plant is not able to meet all your power requirements, the deficit can be met from the grid.

Some nice videos for you

A simple animated illustration of an offgrid rooftop solar system

How home solar power works


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India Renewable Energy Expert