How to prepare for a solar assessment

Published: 19 December 2018

Have you recently requested a solar assessment? Here’s what you should know before your assessment date.

Are you interested in installing a PV system at home or your business and have requested multiple solar assessments from different companies? We’ve collated some simple tips that will help you get the most out of the process and prepare some great questions to ask your sales rep.

Let’s take a look.

1. Get your bill ready

Sometimes we forget where to find it, but the electricity bill is essential for the solar assessment. The energy bill shows the amount of kWh consumed in the last quarter and sometimes in the previous year as well. 

It will also show the price of electricity per kWh in your location and your patterns of consumption. All of this information is valuable for the solar installer to make an accurate quote and show you the savings that can be achieved by installing a PV system. 

2. Do your energy efficiency audit

An energy efficiency audit is a detailed inspection of the energy performance of your home or business. The auditor will evaluate historical and current use of electricity to quantify if there is inefficiency in patterns of consumption or products that are consuming too much power. 

This is especially useful for heating and cooling systems that tend to have leakages with time and will allow combining the solutions from the energy auditor with the solutions of the solar installer. 

This will maximise your efficiency by using solar energy to power only efficient electrical appliances or systems.

3. Check your roof

Your roof is probably the first spot that will be considered for your PV system. Check if it’s possible to remove any objects that may not be necessary, from the roof. 

This will mean more space for solar panels and fewer shading objects considered in the solar assessment.

Also, finding possible weak spots is essential as this will be an important fact to determine if your roof needs an upgrade or not.

4. Take a picture of your meter box

Solar systems need a bi-directional meter box to measure the energy fed back to the grid. By taking a picture of the meter box to show the installer you will find out if the meter box needs an upgrade or not.

5. Clear your schedule 

Whether it be an initiative of your own or your partner, it is advisable that both of you are present at the moment of the solar quote. This will allow both of you to ask questions with direct answers from the solar installer, avoiding misinterpretations and confusion later.

The solar home assessment will only last about 1 hour.

6. Do your research on the solar installer

It is always nice to check on the company that is producing the solar quote. Take a look at the type of products they offer, promotions, packages and more.

Also research about possible comments and reviews from previous clients. Finding nice comments is essential, but negative comments can give you an idea of the things that you might need to ask the installer.

Check on their website and see previous projects that have been installed across the years to get an idea of their experience.

7. Think about the electrical appliances that you use most

If you are looking forward to backing up some of your electrical appliances, it is best that you start thinking about the ones that you and your family want to be available when there is a blackout.

Remember that choosing loads with high demand currents such as hydro pumps or motors will consume large instantaneous currents, which is not ideal for PV systems. 

Therefore, it is best to back up only essential loads that you will need during a blackout.

8. Think of your electricity usage across the day

Solar PV systems generate electricity following a Gaussian distribution curve as the one shown in the figure below.

Home solar usage, representation of the daily average customer load curve

Patterns of consumption across the day will tell the solar installer if they can match the generated solar energy with your electricity consumption across the day. 

Self-consumption is always desirable as injecting excess energy to the grid will not be as profitable as avoiding electricity consumption from the grid during peak price times.

This might be essential to determine if your PV system may need a battery to increase self-consumption or not.

Conclusion

We have examined some of the most important considerations to make before the solar installer arrives for your solar assessment. 

This will allow you time to think why you want the PV system and to really analyse how you use electricity.

It will also give you time to think about all the questions that you might have. 

Some of those might include:

  • How many years has the company operated in the market?
  • What types and sizes of solar systems have they installed?
  • What top quality products can they offer?
  • What is the warranty provided by the company? How do I claim it?
  • What types of financing options do I have?
  • Have you considered increasing self-consumption in the design?
  • What are the customer service times?
  • Have you considered microinverters? (If your roof has multiple orientations)
  • What is best for me – ground mounted or a roof mounted system?
  • Have you checked the condition of the roof?
  • What are the installation times of the PV system?

Ready to schedule a solar assessment? Contact us today!

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