Designing solar panel installations for homes is a surprisingly unique experience each time we do it. We don’t typically look at a home and say, “Okay, this house will get 5 panels and the one across the street will get 8 panels.” A lot more goes into it than that!
You may look at two homes and see similarities: roughly the same size, same pitch of the roof, in the same neighborhood, etc. But what you can’t see is the amount of energy each home is using on a daily basis. We need to consider things like:
- Is someone working from home all day or is the house sitting completely empty for the majority of the day?
- Are there a few teenagers living there who each have devices charging 24/7 and TVs in their bedrooms?
- Is it an older couple that likes to spend their evenings reading in dim lighting?
All of these factors affect the daily energy usage of a home or business (businesses typically have much higher energy needs!) as well as the size of the solar panel system that’s installed.
So how do we know what the appropriate size installation will work for your property? Let’s find out!
Evaluating Roof Dimensions
This may come as a bit of a surprise, but we’re able to start with preliminary system planning before we even set foot on a prospective clients’ property.
By using state-of-the-art LIDAR technology, we can use satellite imagery to map the rough dimensions of your home’s roof. This lets us know how much space we’re working with for the installation. It allows us to arrive at our first appointment knowing the absolute largest system that we could install on your roof.
Evaluating Weather and Shade
Next up, we take a look at the location of your home and the surrounding area, as well as the typical weather patterns.
If your home is located in a primarily shady area, or somewhere that is generally impacted by cloud cover, we may want to put additional panels on your roof to make up for the lack of sunlight being converted.
Conversely, if your roof is south facing without a tree for miles (and therefore in perfect sunlight most of the day), we’ll go into our appointment knowing that we can probably get away with installing fewer panels compared with a similar sized home across town.
Evaluating Energy Usage and Goals
The last thing we do is evaluate your home’s energy usage. We typically do this by reviewing the last few months of your electricity bills with you. And we also discuss your solar panel goals.
If you’re aiming to get your electricity bill as close to $0 as possible, then we’ll want to be able to max out the system we create for you. If you just want a system that will lower your bills during your highest usage months but aren’t necessarily concerned with zeroing out for the rest of the year, we may put a smaller system. And, of course, if you’re planning to purchase the system outright or take out a solar loan, we’ll consider your budget as well.
With all of that information combined, we’ll be able to determine the best size and placement of your solar panel system.
Ready to dive deep and learn everything you need to know about solar panels? Download our free guide: Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panels today.