When it comes to ending our dependence on oil, solar energy is a step in the right direction. If you’re interested in having solar panels installed on your Rockland or Orange County home, the first step is to have a New York solar company visit your home and perform a solar site assessment.
Many factors go into determining whether your home is a prime spot for a solar installation. Here’s a look at what New York solar companies consider when assessing homes across the state.
Roof Orientation and Pitch
If you choose the standard route of having a solar array mounted to your roof, that’s where New York solar companies will send most of their time during an assessment. They first inspect the orientation and pitch.
In the northern hemisphere, a south-facing roof is important to maximize solar panel efficiency in most cases. However, if your roof doesn’t have a southern exposure, a west-facing roof is sometimes acceptable. In fact, such an orientation may actually yield more electricity during peak times for electricity production.
The pitch is also an important consideration, though it rarely makes or breaks a solar installation. After all, panels can be mounted to special racks that tilt them to maximize solar exposure throughout the entire year. If your system requires racks, it changes the way the installation looks and may increase the initial cost.
New York solar companies measure the size of the roof with the most ideal sun exposure to determine how large of a solar array will fit. Existing roof penetrations are carefully considered when mapping out the roof’s total size. Plumbing vent stacks, electrical conduits and attic vents could greatly limit the size of a potential array because panels come in specific dimensions and can’t be trimmed to fit between roof penetrations.
In addition to planning space for the solar panels, installers must also consider where the wiring and inverter will go. The goal is to place the inverter close to the panels and route the wiring so it’s out of site but still accessible. Off-grid installations with battery banks must also be designed with an energy storage location in mind.
Roof Type and Condition
New York solar companies must take your roof type into account, since some shingles are easier to work on than others. Asphalt shingles – the most common roofing material out there – is the easiest type for solar installers to work on. More delicate roofing materials such as slate or wood aren’t out of the question, but they’re certainly factored into how ideal your home is for a solar installation.
The condition of your roof is equally important. If your roof is damaged from high wind or hail, now (before you have solar panels installed) is the time to have it replaced. Then the panels help protect your roof from future damage. Just remember to factor roof replacement costs into the total investment required for the project.
Your roof’s structural stability also factors into the size of a potential array. The roof must be able to bear the weight of the panels and any necessary racks. To determine this, New York solar companies measure the size and spacing of attic-ceiling rafters and roof beams. Repairs may be required here if the wood has begun to rot.
Having a south-facing roof doesn’t guarantee ample sun exposure. Nearby structures or trees could cast shadows on parts of the solar array during certain months of year or certain times day, making it less efficient. One simple solution is to trim branches back so they don’t shade the roof. As for nearby structures, the installer must simply work around them.
Home Energy Consumption
Expect to have a discussion with New York solar companies about your average electrical use and peak demand times to determine if a solar array will generate enough power to sell excess energy back to the grid or if you’ll simply lower your electric bill. Energy storage is a big part of the conversation for off-grid solar installations.
Benefits of a Solar Site Assessment
You might get a general idea of whether your home is a candidate for solar based on these factors, but a personalized solar site assessment is still important. It helps you grasp how much electricity a solar array on your roof could produce, the associated installation costs, and whether going solar is worth it based on your current electricity consumption.
By combining information from every aspect of the assessment, New York solar companies can design a custom solution based on your site and electricity needs. Be sure to choose a New York solar company that takes the time to get every detail right so your system will perform optimally for many years to come.