Bill Haman, P.E.
Program Manager

A registered professional engineer in Iowa and Wisconsin.

  • over 30 years of engineering experience in both the public and private sectors
  • industrial programs manager
  • Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program manager since 1996

What is the best direction for a roof with solar panels ?

The best overall orientation for a stationary solar energy project is due south or 0 degrees azimuth. Slight deviations from due south will only slightly affect your systems performance. Deviations from due south greater than 30 degrees can begin to dramatically affect the output of the array. An optimum roof pitch for year round production would be 8/12 pitch. It is very important that the placement of the home relative to trees be considered to avoid any shading that might occur that will substantially lower the performance. Take into account that small trees often grow to be large shade trees. Similarly, any chimney placement should be considered to avoid shadow casting.

There are a few financial incentives available to you for constructing a solar energy project. The U.S. offers a 30% income tax credit against the cost of the system. The tax credit is available through 2016. Seek the advice of your tax professional to understand how you can take advantage of this incentive. The Iowa Energy Center administers the Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP) which offers up to 50% of the financed cost of the renewable energy project at of rate of zero percent and for a term not to exceed 20 years. A complete listing of national and state incentives can be found at www.dsireusa.org.