The process of how we design a solar energy system is often a mystery for most homeowners. Because of this, we would like to give you some insight into how we design a solar power system for your home or business. Solar system design takes into account two important factors – the amount of space that you have available for installing solar panels and the amount of electricity you consume annually. Other factors, like shading analysis and the efficiency of solar panels and inverters, also come into play depending on your property. Every home is different in its consumption of energy as well as its structural design. This is why a solar system design is most important to understand and we make sure you are fully educated on what your home energy needs are.
How we design a solar system
We calculate your homes daily energy use by determining watt-hour use per month/year (this information will be on a given utility bill) The amount of viable roof space determines the maximum number of solar panels that can be installed. An individual solar panel varies in size, but is usually around 16 square feet in a rectangular shape. The panels are affixed to racking systems that are more efficiently designed when installed in a contiguous space together rather than spread out all over the roof. The available roof space – limited by vents, chimneys, dormers and any required offsets from roof edges or roof-mounted equipment – may limit the system size such that a solar system offsets less than 100% of your annual electricity consumption. The average solar system in the US consumes about 300-400 square feet of space, so your viable roof space may limit the size of the solar system you are able to install. In this case, we may recommend higher efficiency panels that generate more electricity per square feet than standard panels. These will also come at a higher cost, but is something you might consider depending on your personal goals. An average solar panel system may generate different amount of electricity based on your location in the world and the orientation of your roof, so we will use various tools to estimate the viable solar system size. These tools allow us to use aerial imagery and to “draw” in system designs on your roof space in order to estimate the size of a system that will fit and how much electricity this system will produce each year given a number of assumptions. Typically, solar panel systems are designed to cover 100% or less of annual usage to maximize the financial benefits.
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The impact of shading on solar system design
If your roof has shading – from neighboring trees, other buildings or large chimneys – we may choose to leave these areas uncovered by solar panels to optimize the production of the system or may place panels in these locations with the understanding that these panels may produce less energy at certain times of the day. We also suggest changes to system design to create separate solar panel strings that are designed to avoid power loss from shading or may suggest the use of micro-inverters or power optimizers to help mitigate the impact of shading of the production of the overall system. The latter two technologies may come at a higher cost, but these costs may be justified by the additional power they help your system to generate. The above factors are taken into account when designing a solar system for your home or business. The process of providing an initial system design can be quite quick and doesn't cost anything with a free quote, and can often be turned around within a day or so.
Comparing all your equipment options is just as important
Most installers don’t just offer higher prices – they also tend to have fewer solar equipment options, which can have a significant impact on your system’s electricity production. We offer you the ability to buy whatever solar products that works best for you and your home and allow you to compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available. There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels and products on the market. While certain panels will have higher efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment doesn’t always result in higher savings.