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:

  • Roofing
  • Electrical
  • Shading
  • 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!


Can I Grow My Garden With Solar?

Solar energy is a clean, affordable way to power your home. Now more than ever, Florida homeowners are making the switch to solar and saving big money on their electric bills, all while promoting a cleaner, healthier environment.

Most homeowners don’t know that solar energy can be used in some surprising ways, aside from powering the appliances and fixtures you rely on in your everyday life. In fact, solar energy can even help you grow your garden. Whether you choose to fill your garden beds with flowers or crops, you can benefit from solar panels in the garden. Read on to learn how.

1. Solar Energy Can Power Outdoor Lighting

Many Florida homeowners rely on solar-powered outdoor lights to illuminate walkways and other landscape features after dark. Whether you want to highlight all the hard work you’ve put into your flowerbeds, or you want to spotlight a unique landscape feature like a fountain or special ornamental plant, solar energy provides clean power for a full scope of lighting fixtures, all night long.

Solar energy can also be used to power insect repellent lights throughout the night, so you can sleep tight knowing that pests aren’t attacking your garden and feasting on all your hard work.

2. Solar Energy Can Power Grow Lights

Trying to grow crops or plants that aren’t native to your area? Solar energy can power grow lights to help these plants thrive. Many gardeners rely on LED grow lights to provide light to plants that can’t soak up enough from the sun, using various colors to get the desired result, like orange and red lights to stimulate photosynthesis. Solar energy provides clean power for LED lights, so you can optimize growth for both crops and flowering plants.

3. Solar Panels Can Provide Helpful Shade for Crops

The price of produce is higher than ever, so many homeowners across the country are turning to backyard gardens to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Solar energy can help the process in a surprising way—by providing shade that helps crops thrive.

If you install ground-mounted solar voltaic panels to power your home, the best place to plant crops is right below them. The panels provide sufficient shade to ensure your plants don’t get dehydrated. In fact, crops grown beneath solar panels need only half as much water as those that are exposed to full sun. The panels block sunlight, so your crops can soak up moisture instead of losing it to evaporation.

Explore the Many Benefits of Switching to Solar

Switching to solar energy to power your home comes with many surprising benefits. Not only is an investment in solar energy good for your wallet and the environment, but it can also help you grow a more fruitful garden. Want to learn more about all the benefits you’ll enjoy when you switch to solar? Reach out to the solar experts at Solar Bear of Tampa today at (727) 471-7442 and find out how easy and affordable it is to make the switch!


Will Installing Commercial Solar Disrupt My Business?

With Florida being a leader in solar power, businesses can take advantage of this energy source and save thousands each year. But installing commercial solar power can be an intimidating decision for business owners due to the cost associated with it.

Our pros at Solar Bear Orlando explain how installing commercial solar power can impact your business. Let’s get started!

Commercial Solar Power

As businesses in Florida continue to explore more sustainable and cost-effective energy sources, many are considering the option of commercial solar power. With an array of benefits ranging from lower utility bills to tax incentives, installing commercial solar is becoming increasingly attractive for businesses both large and small.

The decision to switch to a cleaner energy source, however, does come with certain considerations. For example, you’ll need to evaluate the size of your business’s roof or land area as well as the cost involved in the installation. Additionally, it may be necessary for you or your staff to learn how to properly maintain and operate the system once it has been installed on your property.

Some of the benefits of installing solar at your business include:

#1. Reduced Operating Costs

No matter its environmental impact, the decision to go solar as a business is most often about saving money on long-term operating expenses. Think about how great it would be to offset some of your overhead by using the power of the sun. Sounds nice, right?!

Today, photovoltaic panels are more affordable and accessible than ever before, allowing organizations the opportunity to own a power-generating asset, rather than having to rely on public utilities.

By installing a commercial solar system, companies can also increase their property value with a clean source of energy.

#2. Less Reliance on Public Utilities

Having solar power to rely on, businesses will become less reliant on public utility suppliers for all their energy needs.

This has numerous benefits, especially during power outages. But it is important to know that in the event of an outage, grid-tied commercial solar systems will be forced to go offline if excess electricity can no longer be fed safely back into the grid.

For this reason, many companies are including battery backups in their solar installation projects.

  • Smart Power Management: In addition to emergency preparedness, solar and PV storage systems can help businesses control their energy production and use throughout the day. To help save money, smart management systems allow the company to use stored power both overnight and during periods when utility energy is billed at a higher rate. Smart!
  • Advantages Over Gas-Powered Generators: When compared to traditional gas-powered backup generators, solar panels, and PV backup storage systems eliminate the need for ongoing fuel deliveries. Instead, the air pollution, excessive noise, and upkeep costs that are typically associated with backup generators can be replaced with clean, emission-free solar-powered systems.

#3. Lessen the Environmental Impact & Brand Image

In addition to lowering your business’s carbon footprint, installing solar panels will create an overall greener brand image. As you know, environmental friendliness is becoming more important today. 

If you can show that your business is committed to helping the environment, you will attract new customers that share similar values.

Will the Installation of Solar Disrupt My Business?

You’re likely thinking, well this is great! There are so many benefits to installing solar. But what about the installation itself? Will it disrupt my company’s daily operations? No. We work hard to ensure that it won’t!

We know how annoying disruptions can be to any business whether it is a restaurant, office space, or in the industrial realm. This is why we work efficiently to ensure a timely installation with the least disruption to your business operations as possible.

Depending on the scope of your solar installation, the installation process itself can take a week or two, with minimal disruptions. Again, this depends on the size of your project. Some smaller commercial projects for office spaces or restaurants can be completed in under a week.

Power Your Business with Solar Energy

If you are on the fence about installing solar panels in your commercial space, it’s time for your business to take part in the solar revolution! From reduced energy costs and less reliance on utility companies to a smaller carbon footprint, there are many benefits for businesses choosing solar.

Get powered up! Contact Solar Bear Orlando for a commercial solar quote today at (727) 471-7442!


Are Cheaper Inverters a Safe Choice?

When homeowners make the wise decision to switch to solar energy, they face a critical choice—whether to invest in higher-priced microinverters or cheaper string inverters. Are these cheaper inverters a safe choice? Read on to learn all you need to know, so you can choose the right solar setup for your needs.

What Is an Inverter?

Inverters do most of the heavy lifting in any photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system. Solar panels soak up sunlight throughout the day, producing energy in the form of direct current (DC) electricity. This energy must be converted into alternating current (AC) before it can be efficiently used in your home, and that’s where inverters come in. They convert the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into safe, efficient, and inexpensive AC electricity that’s easily applied to everyday appliances.

Microinverters Vs. String Inverters

When it comes to inverters for residential solar energy systems, you have two choices: a series of microinverters or a string inverter system. Microinverters are single units attached to each solar panel, so you’ll have the same number of inverters as panels in your system. Each microinverter converts DC to AC electricity, independent of the conversion performed by the other microinverters.

A string inverter system, on the other hand, is a single electrical box installed near the home’s main service panel. It functions as a series circuit for all the solar panels that are hooked up to it, converting electricity for all associated panels. This option is much more affordable than the microinverter route since a string inverter is only a single component. Not only is the string inverter itself cheaper than buying several microinverters, but fewer labor hours are required to install it, making it even more affordable. But is it safe?

Both microinverters and string inverters are very safe for residential solar systems when they’re installed correctly. While string inverters are a cheaper option, they’re often the safer choice. Since they have fewer electrical components, there are fewer connection hazards compared to systems that rely on microinverters.

Pros and Cons of Microinverters and String Inverters

It’s clear that string inverters are the cheaper and safer choice, but there are pros and cons to each inverter option. String inverters are also easier to troubleshoot and wire to solar panels, but they do have some drawbacks. They’re not as efficient as microinverters if solar panels are in partial shade at any time of the day. They’re also not as flexible as microinverters, since increasing the size of your solar system requires investing in a separate string inverter, making the system more costly and complex.

In terms of lifespan, microinverters have string inverters beat. Microinverters often come with a 25-year warranty, while string inverters carry warranties between 8 and 12 years.

Which Inverter Is Best for Your Home?

Not sure which inverter option is the best choice for your residential solar energy system? The solar experts at Solar Bear – Tampa are ready to answer all your questions. Call us today at (727) 471-7442 to learn more and schedule your free consultation.