What to Expect From a Solar Site Visit
Once you have determined that your house is a good candidate for solar power system, and you are aware of the approximate costs as well as how the installation will proceed, it is time to schedule a visit from a professional solar installer. The Cooler Planet Solar installer directory will point you to the reputable, experienced solar power professionals in your area. However, being prepared for the visit will make it as efficient as possible, and guarantee an accurate estimate. A few common concepts and some basic solar technology knowledge will ensure that you understand what the installer tells you after visiting your home.
Have your energy bills handy
The installer will need to use your monthly energy bills, at least a year’s worth, to calculate the appropriate system size for your residence. A year’s worth of energy costs is a much better indicator of your TOTAL energy usage in a typical year, as a monthly bill will fluctuate.
Once installers determine the size of the system needed to generate the amount of power you are seeking to produce, they then must ensure that there is enough sunlit roof space to accommodate the system. Average panel size is 3 x 5 feet. As a general rule 400 square feet of uncovered roof exposure will support a 3.5-4 kWh system.
The solar installer’s proposal
If you are using an experienced solar installer, you should receive the following information, if not then you should most certainly ask for it.
- First look for complete breakdown of how they made their calculations.
- Then you will need to see a thorough breakdown of the costs, for the panels, inverter, wiring and other system components, as well the anticipated labor charges.
- Finally, any construction project should be presented to you with a proposed timeframe. Any issues that could delay the work, from weather conditions to the unavailability of parts, should be addressed up front and be part of the timeframe estimate.
Make sure to receive everything in writing, including a warranty for the actual work. The manufacturers of the panels and other components will stand behind their products, and you want installers to stand behind their work, too. Do not forget to specify that the installer is responsible for permits, rebates and all required paperwork. No reputable and professional installers will have any problem with any of these requests, as it is the normal course of business in their industry.
Take your solar installation one step at a time
Remember to take things one step at a time, and never proceed when you are in doubt about anything. Get your questions answered and your concerns addressed as you go. This will save you time, money and exasperation, and you can never be at a disadvantage if you stay an informed, inquisitive consumer.
Go or No
You are now at the point where you will be making a final decision, “go” or “no go,” concerning your solar installation. If you are uncertain about anything, do not plunge ahead, but return to the areas about which you are unclear and get all of your lingering doubts addressed.
The investment in going solar is substantial in terms of money, and time, so you want to get it right. If you work hard, work smart, and get an installer who does the same thing, you will be in good shape to proceed.