Head Shot Image of Tim Grenda with green background by: Tim Grenda

blog post
by: Tim Grenda

What to Expect During Your Sullivan Solar Power Site Visit

July 6, 2016

A site visit is an early but very important step in designing and installing a solar power system that will efficiently produce enough electricity to power your home and let you do away with your utility bill.

Surprisingly, many solar power companies skimp on this crucial step and don’t conduct a site visit. Instead, these companies rely on outdated satellite images from Google Earth to view your property and determine its solar suitability. This can lead to a system that is poorly designed and not suited to provide your home with all the power it needs.

At Sullivan Solar Power, we conduct a formal site visit of every installation to help us make sure that your solar energy system is properly designed to provide you with the maximum savings for years to come. Our project developers are not your typical solar power industry salespeople. They are the most knowledgeable, experienced and trained in their industry, so you can rely on them to give you the most complete and accurate picture of your solar power potential.

Here is what you can expect from your Sullivan Solar Power site visit.

The Roof

The condition of your roof must be determined before any solar panels can be placed there. If your shingles or the supporting structure of your roof is worn out, damaged or otherwise not suitable to support the solar panels and other equipment we’ll be placing on your roof, we want to know that before we begin installation.

Doing roof repairs after a solar system installed can be a costly and inconvenient project that is better done, if they are needed at all, before the panels and other equipment are installed. Also, be sure to check with your financial advisor to see about applying a federal tax credit for roof repairs made as part of a solar power installation, as this is another benefit to making roof repairs along with going solar.

If those other solar companies aren’t climbing up on your roof to take a look around like we are, you’re not in good hands. You’re not getting the same detailed and complete analysis that you’ll get from Sullivan Solar Power.

During your site visit, a Sullivan Solar Power project developer will climb on your roof to take measurements and determine its overall condition and suitability for solar. If your home is under 15 years old and the roof is deemed in good condition, no further work is needed to proceed with going solar.

However, if your home is more than 15 years old, the project developer will call in our in-house roof inspector to conduct a more detailed inspection of your roof. It’s important to note that Sullivan Solar Power employs its own roof inspector, not a subcontractor, to do these inspections.

If after the roof inspection it is determined that your roof needs repair, Sullivan Solar Power can recommend a qualified roofing contractor to do the repairs before our crews install your solar power system. Or you can hire your own roofers to make the necessary repairs, if you prefer.

Pro Tip: If your home is 15 years or older, you should have a professional roofer come inspect it to make sure it’s in good enough condition to support a solar power system.

Shade

During the warm summer months, shade is just about the best thing ever. But to a solar power system, a cool place in the shade is not a good thing.

Shade cast by neighboring buildings, trees, or other obstructions that reaches your solar panels can dramatically reduce the efficiency of your system and keep you from producing as much clean, green electricity as your system was designed to produce. During your site visit, your dedicated project developer will fully evaluate your property and determine whether shade is an issue.

Pro Tip: Double the height of trees located around your property to estimate the reach of shade that will be cast by the trees and account for the changing angle of the sun during the year.

Sun Access

Having sufficient direct access to the sun year round is essential to having a solar energy system that generates the electricity your home needs. To help determine whether your property gets sufficient direct access to the sun, our project developers use a device called the Solmetric Sun Eye 210 to take four precise readings and determine whether your roof sees enough direct sun light during various times of the year to efficiently generate electricity.

Pro Tip: If your roof receives less than 90% of annual solar access, it is not recommended that you install a solar power system.

What are you going to do with this information?

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