If you would like to consider solar for your homes or business you may be overwhelmed by the amount of information needed to make a decision. This is where a good solar company proves its value by providing assessment, advice, education and recommendations. But for those who would like to pursue it further without consulting a solar installer, or rule it out, here are some guidelines.
For a roof mounted solar system, contiguous (few dormers, vents, pipes, etc.) roof space that faces south, with little to no shade, is ideal. West and southwest facing roof can work very well too. A lower pitched roof is an easier installation than a steep roof, but not necessary. A flat commercial roof can be compensated for by angling the modules, and a rubber membrane on the roof can avoid penetration by using concrete ballast to secure the system.
You may also have the option of a ground mounted system, if you have some extra space on your land. In this case, trenching runs the wiring from the panels to the inverters and your meter.
There is more involved than which way your roof faces and what the pitch is. Yes Solar Solutions will analyze your energy usage, look at your roof on Google Earth if available, and make a free site visit if you look like a candidate. With a Solometric Suneye camera, we can project what your shade issues are all year long, and then recommend the optimal solutions. There are a variety of configurations, including types of panels: American made modules like Suniva, European made including REC and MAGE and Chinese manufactured modules like Yingli.
Your roof or ground mount solar array might benefit more from either a single string inverter (which has all wiring running back to it from the panels), or micro-inverters, which are connected directly to each panel. There are also power maximizers like Tigo that increase production of the panels, enabling the user to mitigate loss from multiple roof pitches and shading.
It may also be that a good solar company will tell you that you are not a good candidate for solar, saving you some time and energy. Click or call one (919-459-4155?) to find out. Watch for our next post on how to choose a solar installer.