This Key Part of Solar Installation Is Often Overlooked
Installing solar power in Florida is becoming an increasingly popular choice for those looking to reduce their environmental footprint and their energy bills. But before embarking on the exciting project of a solar installation, it is important to understand an often-overlooked part of the solar installation—the site survey.
A site survey will provide insight into the best placement for the system, optimize performance, and ultimately make sure that you are getting the most out of your solar setup.
Our team at Solar Bear Orlando outlines everything you need to know about a solar site survey.
What is a Solar Site Survey?
A solar site survey is a crucial step in the process of installing a solar system and involves analyzing the location where the panels will be installed. The site survey includes evaluations of the:
- Structural needs
It also lays out the most efficient setup for the system and detects any potential issues that might come up during the installation process.
What Information is Gathered from a Site Survey?
The information that is collected during a typical site survey for solar installation is why you will use it to take your design and turn it into a permit-ready plan.
Generally, solar contractors will need to know:
- Roof measurements and data including the pitch
- Solar exposure through shading analysis
- Visual inspection of roof conditions
- Electrical system information to determine interconnection methods
- Structural information such as rafter size and spacing
All these things will have a big impact on your solar system’s installation and future output.
Solar Survey Steps
Let’s briefly go over the most important steps in a solar site survey so you are aware of what the process entails and what to look out for.
#1. Gathering Information
First, all pertinent information about the property will need to be gathered. This includes basic things like the street address along with permitting details.
#2. Aerial and Satellite Imagery
A satellite or aerial image of your property will be pulled to make preliminary assessments and determine any limitations for your solar project.
An aerial view also allows your solar installer to determine roof access points.
#3. Roof Assessment
The next thing in the solar site survey is an assessment of the condition of your roof, including how many layers of shingles there are. This is crucial because your home’s roof needs to be in good enough shape to support the weight of the solar installation.
Plus, it also needs to last for the average lifespan of the solar system—25 to 30 years—or you will have to uninstall the panels to have a new roof installed.
A general rule is that asphalt shingle roofs should be 10 years old and in great condition before installing solar panels.
#4. Measuring the Roof
Once the condition of your roof has been evaluated, the next step is measuring the roof’s surface to determine where solar can be installed.
The roof area and pitch, as well as any obstructions like skylights and chimneys, will be noted as well.
#5. Shade Analysis
The next step is a shade analysis. All nearby trees or buildings that are taller than the roof will be noted, and a shade analysis tool will be used to collect data from every facet of the roof; one at each corner and one in the middle.
#6. Electrical System Assessment
Your home’s electrical system also needs to be assessed during a solar site survey. This determines how the solar system will be interconnected to your electrical system and can help your installer decide on what equipment is needed for the installation or any required upgrades.
This electrical assessment includes:
- Photo of the electric meter including the utility meter number
- Main disconnect location
- Electrical panel location and sub-panels
- Electrical panel circuit breakers
- Location of the transfer switch if you have one
- Proposed inverter and battery location
- Possible locations to run conduit
- General locations for proposed electrical equipment
#7. Structural Analysis
The final step is the gathering of the information needed for the structural analysis. This helps identify if the existing structure can bear the load of the solar installation.
The surveyor will note the type of structure and whether the roof uses rafters or a truss for framing. They will also note the spacing and span between each roof facet that will be used for the solar panels.
Read More > Will My Homeowners Insurance Go Up if I Install Solar?
Rise and Shine in Central Florida with Solar
Solar power is a great way to save money and energy in Central Florida. With Solar Bear Orlando, you will have an experienced team of professionals to help you make the switch.
Ready to get started? Contact our friendly team at Solar Bear Orlando for a comprehensive solar survey and consultation today; (727) 471-7442!