The Value of a Solar Evaluation

Have you been curious about installing solar power, but are unsure of where to start? Could solar energy be the right path for you? 

Value of a Solar Evaluation | Sunwatts

Deciding to start a solar project may seem like a massive undertaking at first; however, it has never been easier and more affordable than now. Whether you choose to do it yourself or explore a full-service professional installation, there are multiple factors to take into consideration to ensure that you are investing your money wisely towards the right energy system. A solar evaluation is the best place to begin to determine if solar is right for your needs.

What is there to learn from a solar evaluation?

Prior to performing a detailed system design, a solar evaluation is a quick assessment to determine how solar can work at a home or business. It is the first step and an invaluable part of the process. By having an early and detailed examination of the site, this can help prevent any unwanted surprises and unexpected costly changes to the project during or after the installation. As we like to reference the wise woodworker's adage, it is better to measure twice and cut only once. 

A thorough assessment of the residential or commercial property will provide you with the practicality for a solar array installation at your location and what to expect for the generating capacity of the system. It is key to evaluate the electricity consumption of the property to determine if a solar system will be financially beneficial. The solar evaluation will be able to answer any financial questions you may have; such as the approximate cost of the project, and how much you can expect to save based on your energy usage both annually and over the system’s lifetime. Our solar experts provide you with all the latest rebates and tax incentives available to help maximize your savings, as well as financing options to fit any budget.

After the site evaluation, the assessor will determine the best location for the solar photovoltaic (PV) array. Depending on the space available for the array, you can select from a roof, ground-mount, or pole-mount installation. It is critical that the solar panel system installation occurs where it will get access to direct sun exposure for maximum energy production. If roof-mounting, it is ideal that the roof faces south. Although a solar PV system will work in any direction, a roof facing north is approximately 40% less productive. Evaluating the solar access of the PV system also includes assessing any potential shading obstructions to the panels. There should be little to no shade or obstructions from trees, vents, or other buildings. Whether it requires the trimming of trees or racking components to orient the panels, setting the array for optimal solar access is vital to get the most power out of your PV system.

The assessor will also inspect the structural and surface integrity of your roof. The size, location, and spacing of the beams and rafters will need to be measured to determine the viability of a roof installation. The roof can only be single-layer. If the age and condition of the roof will result in repairs within the coming years, then a ground or pole-mounted solar array should be considered. The examination will also determine the storage location for a battery and accessibility for the wiring and inverter.

The main benefit of the solar evaluation is to have a full cost and benefit analysis before taking any action. However, the evaluation itself comes with its own expense. While evaluations vary in price, a site evaluation can be an additional few hundred up to thousands of dollars added on to the total. Determination of this cost is generally dependent on the complexity of the installation and size of the array. On the contrary, the value that an evaluation holds by avoiding wasted spend on increased design and implementation costs after installation comes at a sharp contrast.

The solar evaluation should address any questions or concerns you may have and give you a clear picture of the solar potential of your property. Having all the facts upfront will allow you to maximize your savings on installation and make an informed decision on the energy system that is right for you.

If you’ve been on the fence about making a move towards installing solar at your home or business, this is indeed the year to do it. 2019 marks the last year for the 30% federal tax rebate before it decreases. Contact the solar specialists at SunWatts, formerly, today to request a quote or to schedule your professional solar evaluation.

May 13th 2019

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