A solar site assessment is crucial for accurate solar panel system design and sales proposals. However, it can be time-intensive, so pre-qualifying leads beforehand can save valuable time.
Providing prospects with ballpark price information and basic solar power knowledge can help. Before visiting a property, conduct a feasibility analysis using satellite images or solar design and proposal software such as Aurora. This can help flag potential issues and avoid unnecessary visits. Some solar companies conduct remote surveys using aerial images and online data, but it’s important to understand the whole survey process.
Here are the 8 steps to perform a solar site survey
- Gather customer information
- Use satellite or aerial data
- Take roof measurements
- Perform a shade analysis
- Evaluate the electrical system
- Determine the solar panel location and layout
- Create a system design and proposal
- Provide the homeowner with the proposal
1. Gather customer information
The first step is to gather information about the homeowner’s property and energy needs. Besides property information such as the address, local utility and permitting details are important. Find out how much electricity they use, when they use it, and their preferred system size. This information will help you design a solar energy system that meets their needs.
2. Use satellite data and pictures
Satellite or aerial data is a critical tool for conducting a solar site survey. You can use satellite images or aerial photographs to assess the roof’s orientation, slope, and shading. This data can also help you determine the best location for the solar panels. Pictures of the house, street, and entry gate help the installation team to prepare the installation. These pictures can be provided by the customer herself.
3. Take roof measurements
To design a solar energy system, you need accurate measurements of the roof’s dimensions. Measure the length and width of the roof, as well as any obstructions or penetrations, such as chimneys or skylights. These measurements will help you determine the solar panel layout and ensure a precise fit. Today, you can usually do this automatically by using a solar design software. Solar design software also helps you to simulate solar projects, perform various analysis and create a proposal for your solar project.
4. Perform a shade analysis
Shade analysis is crucial in determining the solar potential of a property. Use a solar pathfinder or a solar design software to assess the shading on the roof. This analysis will help you identify any obstructions that may block the sunlight and affect the solar energy output.
5. Evaluate the electrical system
Before installing a solar system, evaluate the property’s electrical system. Check the electrical panel and wiring to ensure it can accommodate the solar energy system. You may need to upgrade the system to ensure it meets the necessary requirements. In Germany, you often need to replace the meter with a smart meter before you can connect the solar system to the grid.
6. Determine the solar panel location and layout
Using the information gathered from steps 1-5, determine the best location and layout for the solar panels. Identify the optimal angle and orientation for the panels to maximize energy production. Ensure that the panels are installed away from any shading and obstructions. Again, solar design software can help you to automate and streamline these processes.
7. Create a system design and proposal
Once you have determined the solar panel location and layout, create a system design and proposal. The proposal should include the system size, components, and estimated energy output. It should also include the installation cost and estimated payback period. Luckily, there are software tools today that helps solar companies to do that very fast.
8. Provide the homeowner with the proposal
Finally, provide the homeowner with the system design and proposal. Review the proposal with them and answer any questions they may have. Ensure they understand the benefits of the solar energy system and how it can reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.
A solar site visit can reduce costly changes
In conclusion, performing a solar site survey is a crucial step in designing and installing a solar energy system. By following these eight steps, you can conduct an accurate and comprehensive survey that meets the homeowner’s energy needs. Inaccurate data during the planning process can lead to tremendous cost, especially when things need to be changed. Streamline processes such as the site survey is important if you want to scale your solar business.