Why Arrange a Solar Installer Site Visit?

If you are considering installing a solar electric (photovoltaic) power system, the best thing you can do is arrange a site visit with a qualified solar installer today – it is free and there are no obligations.   

When you are first contacted by a solar installer(s), they will ask you a couple of simple questions which will determine whether a solar electric energy installation at your home or business is possible.  Installers will often use map/satellite programs on Google and Yahoo! to take an initial look at the site.  Once the basic details are established, the installer company will schedule a site visit by a solar sales technician.   

A site visit is an investment of time for you and the solar technician (1-2 hours + travel time), so have your utility bills available and be ready to answer questions about current and future electrical power usage.  Upon arrival, the technician will do a detailed inspection of your roof to collect data on the age, size, condition, pitch and location of the proposed solar array site.  The technician will also be on the lookout for objects that shade the site; trees, sky lights, chimneys and other objects on the roof or ground can be problematic for a solar installation as they will prevent sunlight from reaching the photovoltaic panels and decrease efficiency. 

In addition to the solar panels, the technician will also have to determine the positioning of the inverter and electric utility meter that connect the solar array to your building/utility grid and monitor performance.  These will usually be in a garage or utility closet; electrical wiring will connect the solar array on the roof to the equipment.   

Once the technician has completed the site visit, he/she will be in a position to input the site data and utility bill information into the solar electric system software program.  Technicians typically carry laptops and can show you the results immediately; many installer companies are able to transfer this information into a company presentation which provides a detailed overview of all aspects of the proposed solar electric system. 

Reviewing these materials carefully with the technician will provide the best opportunity for you to have a detailed discussion about all aspects of the system including the size/cost, rebates, equipment, installation and how it relates to your current and future electric power needs.  

For a project as important and expensive as solar, you will likely have follow-up questions, and want to get a second opinion.  Meeting a second solar team will give you an opportunity to compare price and more importantly, question the technician about the company and products.  Don’t be afraid to challenge assumptions and ask lots of questions about the proposal, installation process and milestones for completion and payment.   

So book a site visit: get prescreened; meet the solar technician; get an accurate site (specific) assessment and quote; and, get your questions answered.