When looking for quotes or parts for your solar array, you might notice that virtually all companies recommend a solar site assessment.
Most companies provide this service for free with no commitment to move forward with their recommendations. Even so, you might have wondered whether an evaluation is necessary, as well as what takes place when workers show up to assess the site.
What Are the Main Components of a Solar Site Analysis?
When professionals evaluate properties for solar installations, they must answer three main questions.
- What is your current power consumption?
- How much of it do you wish to replace?
- How big of a solar array will that require?
They then complete an evaluation based on the unique conditions of your property and your specific needs.
Before evaluating anything, professionals will need to know what your priorities are.
You can provide this via email or over the phone. However, it’s a good idea to be present for the site assessment, so they can ask questions or point out findings that are specific to your goals vs site conditions. Work with a professional to ensure your solar panel specifications suit your needs.
How Many Solar Panels Should You Install?
Talk to a solar expert about your property, energy consumption and we’ll tell you how big your solar power system should be.
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Ground-mounted solar panels can cost you valuable real estate outside. They are also more susceptible to potential flooding and other weather hazards, so professionals will evaluate these risks.
A roof installation is often better, so an evaluation is necessary to determine the health of your roof and how much weight it can safely hold.
It’s also important to consider solar orientation and other environmental factors.
A solar company will complete a thorough analysis of your electricity usage to determine the effects of its solar energy recommendations. Assessing power consumption is especially important if the goal is to be 100% off-grid and if the solar system will power high-consumption devices inside.
If you provide a budget at the start of the project, it will provide parameters for professionals to work within. They can inform you whether they are realistic parameters to meet your goals based on site conditions.
What Is the Purpose of the Pathfinder Solar Site Assessment Tool?
The solar pathfinder is one of the most important tools used during a site assessment. It helps professionals determine the best location and orientation for solar panels. This ensures eventual placement that absorbs the most solar radiation and produces the highest output.
It is a complex tool that has been in use since the 1970s. In fact, the solar pathfinder is behind solar tax incentives and even the solar ratings you see on real estate listings.
What Are Important Items to Add to Your Solar Site Assessment Checklist?
Professional solar installers bring their own checklists when evaluating your property and energy needs. However, you should have one as well. Ensure that the professionals you hire address all these bases:
- Your reasons for investing in solar power
- An evaluation of your power consumption needs
- An assessment of any existing green energy options on-site
- Recommendations for system size and add-ons
- Estimated return on investment
- Overview of potential incentives at the local, state and federal levels
- The next steps to bring your solar goals to life
What Are the Risks of Skipping Out on Solar Evaluations?
The main reason site evaluations are crucial before beginning an installation is to ensure the highest return on investment. Only professionals can help you determine the best location, orientation, size and components necessary for your system. Skipping a professional and in-person evaluation comes with big risks:
- Safety: Not all structures or soil types are suitable for solar installations. Extra weight on some roofs could cause them to cave in. Similarly, some soil types do not drain well and have higher risks of flooding.
- Incompatibility: Building a system that is bigger than your home or business could take away cash that you could have better allocated elsewhere. Similarly, an underpowered system could send you back to the drawing board when it proves inadequate.
- Incentives: If you only hire installers, these professionals might not inform you of the many solar incentives in your area. These could range from tax credits to special grants and beneficial arrangements with your local energy company.
At Airis Energy, we begin every installation with an accurate solar assessment. This ensures we have a thorough understanding of what your needs are and what it will take to meet or exceed them. Contact us to get started.