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Can I Put Solar Panels On My Pergola

Why Would You Consider Using Your Garage For Solar Panels

Upgraded: backyard solar panel pergola now with 1,000 watts

Even if you live in a very sunny climate, solar wont work on a site that has severe shade. While partial shading is common in many home installations and can be mitigated to some degree with equipment choices such as half-cut solar cells and microinverters, heavy shade can restrict your solar production to the point where its uneconomical to install solar.

But what if you have a detached garage with a south-facing roof that doesnt get any shade? That might be a great solution for you, but only if the factors are right.

What Is A Solar Patio Cover

The meeting point between solar technology and external home décor is a solar patio cover. Typically, patio covers beautify outdoor spaces and make them more comfortable.

Experts claim a pergola is one of the most aesthetically appealing and affordable ways to provide shade for your backyard. But technology is taking things a step further by allowing you to install solar panels on a structure thats not your house roof.

Most people can install solar panels on their roofs, but not every surface is ideal. Or some dont want their roofs to get disfigured. Consider a solar patio pergola.

More than half of your financial electrical problems are solved with a solar patio cover. One of the perks of a solar patio cover or solar pergolas is that it doesnt need additional land. It can either be installed into a pre-existing structure or incorporated into the new design of your home.

Anyone can use a solar patio cover its ideal for commercial and domestic properties. Its a trend of offering comfort and luxury to guests and property owners while also producing electricity at a cost-efficient rate.

In a nutshell, a solar patio cover is a good investment for homeowners who dont have enough space on their roof, live in a house with an older roof, or have a barrel-type roof.

Should You Build Your Own Patio Cover For Solar

Your options are far from limited when it comes to solar panels. The technology is expanding to include many specifications, serving a wider audience.

Now, there are affordable solar technologies, leaving you with many options for your property. As such, you dont entirely have to miss out on the systems perks.

If your roof is unsuitable for solar panels, try the patio cover instead. And if you dont own one, you can build it for this purpose.

So, its reasonable to build your own patio cover for solar, but thats not all youll be getting. Its a total package that creates a wonderful aesthetic for your home while also helping you maximally harness the suns power.

Whats more, there are many types of patio covers. And if your desired structure passes some requirements, its good to go. The construction must be sturdy enough because lag bolts will be drilled into the roof while installing the solar panels.

You should also consider installing the structure in the south at a 45-degree angle. Additionally, ensure that nothing would block the panels from receiving ample sunlight. These measures ensure that maximum sunlight reflects on the surface to ensure efficient performance.

Summarily, if you cannot install solar panels because your homes roof is unsuitable, consider building your own patio cover.

Itll not just help you cut back on electricity costs but will also create a space for relaxing with the family.

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Solar Panels Visually Improve Your Pergola Or Patio

As mentioned earlier in this post, both a pergola and a patio are beautiful home additions. Installing solar panels as their roofs elevates the look even further. With the first glance at a perfectly installed solar pergola, youll just know that its quite a stylish feature that youve been missing on.

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How Much Does A Solar Pergola Cost

Smart Home Tech, Devices and Hubs

The cost of a solar pergola will vary greatly. It can depend on:

  • The size of the structure.
  • The amount of solar panels.
  • The type of solar panels being used.
  • The construction materials that need to be purchased.

If you were to consider a basic 10 x 10 design, you can expect to pay in the region of $1500. But again, you need to consider the above factors.

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What Is The Cost Of Solar Panel Pergola

For a 10 × 10 design, a basic solar pergola without the expense of panels starts about $1500. Other elements influencing the price are the pergolas size, materials, and general style. The cost of the panels is then calculated.

Additionally, you will require solar panels, micro-inverters, solar controllers , etc. so that would cost you around $3200 more.

Can We Put Solar Panels On The Pergola Guide 2022

In situations where a rooftop is either unsuitable or insufficient to meet a homeowners or business owners energy needs, solar pergolas are growing in popularity as a means of generating solar power. To achieve the best of both worlds, the solar array is elevated on a frame.

It is undoubtedly a very effective method for harnessing solar energy, and the best part is: that it will not ruin your homes aesthetics. But can we put solar panels on the pergola?

Even though installing solar panels on their own is a wise choice, doing so in conjunction with a pergola gives your house advantage. Here is an extensive guide on solar panel pergola in case youre still interested.

  • Which solar panel types work best when mounted on a pergola?
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    What Are Solar Pergolas

    A pergola is an outdoor living space that consists of a roof on top of four or more pillars. A wooden pergola is usually tall and narrow and made up of slats of wood laid horizontally. They are a beautiful way to shade your outdoor living space.

    Solar pergolas incorporate solar panels on a pergola for the bonus of energy production.

    Choose The Type Of Solar Panels You Want

    Building a Solar Pergola

    This is an important decision you have to make when installing solar energy in your home. And there are two choices an open or closed structure.

    The former is a transparent structure that allows you to see through the panels. Its a great meeting point for home décor and technology, and its more affordable than you think.

    And on the other hand, you can choose a closed structure. It embodies the opposite qualities regarding visibility.

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    What Type Of Solar Panels Are Best For Mounting Pergolas

    monocrystalline: Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient pergola panels and can generate up to 22% more electricity than polycrystalline or thin film pergolas.

    polycrystalline: Polycrystalline solar panels are the least expensive gazebo panel option available and can generate up to 18% more electricity than monocrystalline gazebos. They also come in a variety of shapes, including traditional square and rectangular options, as well as modern curved styles that look great on pergolas!

    thin film: Thin-film canopy panels are the most affordable canopy panel option available, but they only generate up to 16% more electricity than monocrystalline canopies.

    Related Article: Poly Vs. Mono Solar Panels: Whats the Difference?

    Pergola Solar Panels Sizes And Wattage

    The average size of a 100 watt panel is 1005mm x 670mm which gives an area of 0.673 square meters, or 7.25 sq ft.

    What are the dimensions of a 100 watt solar panel?

    As my pergola roof is 15m2 , Ive no worries there!

    I like 100 watt panels because they are easy to handle. I almost always use the flexible solar panels, but more of that later. Of course, there many sizes of panel to choose from see the size chart below:

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    Wattage And Size Of Pergola Sun Panels

    Once you have established how much energy you need your solar panels to produce or how many solar panels you require, your next question is bound to be, is the roof of my pergola big enough?

    Most 100W solar panels are 39.5 inches x 26.5 inches , giving you an area of 7.25 square feet, or 0.673 square meters.

    You will now want to measure the roof of your pergola.

    Once you have this measurement, you can divide it by the square footage of the average solar panel to see how many you can fit onto your roof.

    We like 100W panels as they tend to be easy to handle, but they arent your only option out there.

    So we have a size chart coming up for you to help you decide what wattage and size your solar panels should be!

    How To Calculate Solar Power Generation

    Smart Home Tech, Devices and Hubs

    The amount if energy any solar panel can generate depends on how much of the suns energy falls on its surface. Its called irradiance.

    Although this value varies according to location, professional installers use an average value of 4 kWh/m2/day for estimating purposes.

    This value is also known as peak-sun-hours find yours for your location here.

    How much power can a solar pergola produce?

    From the previous section we found that 15 x 100 watt panels would fit on a pergola roof size 12ft by 12ft, and that a 100 watt solar panel can generate 400 watt-hours per day at an average peak-sun-hours of 4.

    Energy from 1500 watt solar = 1500 x 4 = 6kW per day.

    Use the table below to find the amount of solar energy your pergola could produce per day, month and year:

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    What Sorts Of Things Need To Be Taken Into Account

    The two biggest concerns with a solar power pergola will be the support structure, and allowing for correct positioning to catch the maximum amount of sunlight. The beams must be sturdy and framing may need to be added to the roof of the pergola to support the additional weight of the panels if it hasn’t been designed for that kind of weight. Bear in mind too that a pergola will be harder to weatherproof, since most have no walls to shield them from the elements.

    The design of the pergola has to be such that it’s angled correctly to take full advantage of the sun exposure. If you are building on top of an existing pergola, you may find that youll need to make adjustments to the area to match a north facing inclined roof.

    • Utilises a space not normally used for anything else.
    • Cost effective method to expand your existing solar array.
    • Flexible design opportunities.
    • Panels do not offer any sun penetration, full shade only.
    • Higher cost to roof a pergola with solar panels than a standard roofing material.
    • Harder to weatherproof since all walls are open.

    Whats A Solar Patio Cover

    A solar patio cover, also known as a solar powered patio cover, is a type of shade structure for your backyard porch that can provide your home with solar electricity. Its usually attached to your home and is supported by 2 or more columns or posts. A solar pergola is the perfect for homeowners who cant install solar panels on their roof. Luckily you can use a solar patio cover in your back yard if you have enough space.

    According to EnergySage, Solar patio covers are part of an emerging category of solar that uses a structure other than the roof of your home or business as the framework for a solar system installation. These structures are often commonly referred to as solar pergolas.

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    Can You Put Solar Panels On A Pergola

    To answer the most essential question straight away: yes, you can put solar panels on a pergola. While a single solar panel can weigh in at 30 to 50 pounds a piece, most pergolas can easily carry 10 solar panels depending on the pergola size.

    Furthermore, the panels can withstand all types of weather conditions making them suitable for most houses. If youre unsure if your pergolas roof will be able to carry the solar panels, we recommend you call an expert.

    So, if theres sufficient space under the outbuilding, and your pergola is strong, then you can put solar panels on a pergola. Next, lets take a look at all the advantages a solar pergola roof can offer you.

    Solar Rooftops Vs Solar Pergolas And Patios

    Solar Panel Pergola Pt 1

    Many people prefer rooftops for obvious reasons. It is the closest to the sun and provides ample space for the panels. They are easy to install and there are a lot of solar power companies that provide installation and cleaning services. In other words it is the most practical solution.

    But there are cases where freestanding structures are ideal. Here are some instances.

    Large Ground Structures. You have a large freestanding structure. It is enough for a 5kwh or 10kwh solar array. That is enough to power a house. Why bother putting a solar system on the roof when it is easier to do it on this pergola? If you own a large enough ground patio, it is easier to install than on the roof.

    Space Limitations. If your roof has limited space, installing the panels on a pergola or patio can provide extra power. Or maybe you just need a bit of solar energy in the backyard. If a solar powered light bulb is insufficient, a small solar panel will do.

    Optimum Angles. Solar panels have to face true south for maximum performance and the roof pitch has to be 30 to 45 degrees. If your roof meets neither requirement, you can install the panels on a freestanding structure provided it is large enough to meet your needs. Or you can install the panel on the roof but add more panels on the pergola for extra reserve.

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    A Standard Size For Solar Pergolas

    Our standard and most affordable pergola is 10 x 10 and provides a great mix of function and production. It is often combined with a full-roof solar system. We typically place 6 to 20 solar panels on the pergola. Each solar panel will reduce your power bill by an average of about $6 based on the installs we have completed. A full 36-panel system can eliminate about a $220.00 power bill.We often try to place these pergolas away from shaded trees to make them produce better solar energy, but again normal function is often more important than production with these outdoor entertaining areas.

    A flat solar pergola to shade a back porchA flat roof is often the best for continuous solar production, so building flat roof solar pergolas will often be the most efficient power producers. For optimal performance, a slight pitch is used.

    Are Solar Panels A Waste Of Money

    If you live in an area with high energy rates and a suitable solar rating and can afford the initial investment, its worth installing solar panels in your home while the 26% tax break is in place for the good of the environment and your wallet. But dont expect to eliminate your power bill overnight.

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    Which Is Better Rooftop Solar Vs Solar Pergolas Gazebos And Patio Covers

    For most houses, the rooftop is the place with maximum surface area and highest exposure to the sun. It is usually also convenient to mount solar panels there, as minimal construction or modification is required. These factors are why roof-mounted solar panels have remained the most popular option for homeowners.

    However, in many instances, your roof might not the right place to put your panels. Here are some of them:

    • Space constraints: Your roof does not have space for the number of solar panels your require. .
    • Shade: Obstructions like surrounding buildings or trees might block direct sunlight from hitting your roof.
    • Unfavorable angle or positioning: You will not produce maximum power unless your roof faces south. The roof angle, or pitch, also needs to be at the right level to work best.
    • Aesthetics: Maybe you just dont like the way theyd look on top of your house…

    Ground-mounted solar panels are one alternative to consider. But they have one big disadvantage: they require substantial amounts of real estate, space that you cant use for anything else.

    This is where the solar pergola, solar gazebo or solar patio coveras well as the solar carport enter the picture. They are all dual-use structures, so theyre more space efficient than a ground-mounted setup. You might already have one of these structures out back, which you might easily be able to adapt or modify to hold solar panels.

    Why Shouldnt I Put Solar Panels On My Roof

    Outdoor Solar Chandelier for your Pergola: Easy DIY Installation

    If your pergola roof isnt sturdy, then we do not recommend adding solar panels.

    The last thing you want to do is cause any structural damage to your pergola!

    You also dont want to add any solar panels if your pergola is in a shaded area that doesnt get much sunshine.

    The solar panels only work when they are absorbing your sun, so if there is no sun above them, they arent going to work!

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    Phase : Assembling The Structure

    Building the structure

    Once you have the concrete footing with braces ready and the wood has been sanded and coated, you can assemble your wooden structure.

    To do this, start with your ground posts. Make sure you have enough clamps so that you can brace everything before screwing and attaching.

    Additional Info:


    • Place your columns, posts, climb your upper braces and place the upper beam into position.
    • To anchor everything you can use the following screws and bolts: Simpson strong tie structural wood screws and nut washers.
    • After securing the first beam, replicate the process on the second one, present it and attach them to the roof risers.
    • With both beams secure, it is time for the rafters.
    • You can either do all the woodwork of the rafters onsite or off. If on-site, youll need a Japanese handsaw, a circular saw, a sander and some chisels.
    • After the cuts are made, you can sand and stain the rafters.
    • Then measure the final resting place and screw them up from the top with timberlock 10 inch long screws.


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