With more than three percent of electric power being generated from solar energy and the trend set to grow, the United States is poised for massive growth in this sector. In addition, the cost of solar PV panels has significantly dropped in recent years, making solar installations an increasingly viable and attractive option for homes. During the installation of any solar energy system, there is a certain amount of planning, research, and weighing options. When you advise customers about adopting the renewable energy path and capitalizing on solar power systems on their rooftops, it helps to guide them through the proper evaluation process. Also, a checklist can be provided to assess if they are ready to install a rooftop solar system and what factors they must consider. A checklist like this can help customers make the right decision, reduce their solar maintenance costs, and make the most of the long-term benefits.
A typical rooftop solar installation includes solar panels, AC/DC switches, an inverter, and an electrical conduit. The home’s roof is a vital factor to consider, and there are also several things to keep in mind in terms of post-installation maintenance. Here are a few points to add to your guidance checklist when you engage with your customers and prospects.
- Condition and load bearing capacity
Since the roof will hold the bulk of the solar panel installation, it becomes highly critical in the larger scheme. For instance, homeowners must consider the condition of the roof. Can the roof handle the weight of the solar installation, especially over a long period? Roofing depends on how the home is constructed and in what period it was built. A certified inspector must examine the roof to assess its load-bearing capacity. There is no point in going through the elaborate installation process, and all the infrastructure is set up only to discover later down the line that the solar panels and supporting equipment are posing structural risks to the home, causing damage, leaks, or wear. While solar equipment costs may decrease, the total investment in rooftop solar installation involves a significant commitment from the homeowner and is an important decision. The roof condition may be essential to add to the pre-installation checklist.
The slope is another factor that can impact the functioning and efficiency of the solar installation. While there is no hard and fast rule about the slope, it helps to have a slope between ten and thirty degrees. A good slope helps the roof drain off rainwater and prevent damage and corrosion from accumulated moisture. It also helps ease the cleaning and maintenance when debris gets on the roof.
It’s imperative to check if artificial structures or trees are causing long shadows to fall on the solar panels. The whole point of a rooftop installation is to get maximum exposure to the sunlight and gain leverage from as much uninterrupted light as possible. If a large shadow covers part of the solar installation, it will mean that on a long-term basis, the home will gather solar power inefficiently and lose out on its full potential.
Depending on where the home is located, extreme weather and inclement conditions can cause damage to the roofing and potentially affect the solar installation. Does the house need special measures regarding weatherproofing or any other structural protection so that the installation is safe? For this, the roof must have the necessary space to accommodate any additional structures.
Identify the Right Solar Developer
Finding the right solar developer is a decision that has long-term consequences. The company must be reliable, have reference-ready customers, a proven track record, and dedicated customer support. The investment can become a liability if there is poor support, delays in servicing, and high costs of maintenance and repairs.
Check Warranty Management
Rooftop Solar Installations involve separate components manufactured and supplied by different companies. Panels, mounting structures, electrical components, and inverter. Each part has its warranty period, terms and conditions, and minimum performance guarantees. When the solar developer installs, integrates, and puts all these components together, they often provide warranties for the system. It’s essential to evaluate different solar developers and check the component warranties based on the companies they use parts from and their warranty duration and terms. What repairs and replacements are covered in the warranty period, hidden costs, etc.?
Does the home need Grid Connectivity?
Opting for a net-metered grid-tied connection can be beneficial in the long run. This allows the home to manage costs more effectively and generate a higher ROI through the balance of power consumed and generated. However, several documents and approvals are required for a grid-tied connection, and the solar developer must handle all these processes seamlessly. In addition, some homeowners prefer to use battery-powered independent solar plants to be uninterrupted by power outages. However, this may be a less desirable route with battery costs and maintenance involved.
Check for Product Insurance
Another vital aspect to check before going ahead with a rooftop solar installation is the insurance cover on the product and components. When evaluating different proposals, this factor can be essential in tilting towards the right service provider. Problems can creep up from faulty parts and defective installation processes during installation and even after the set-up is done. If they are not covered by insurance, it could spike costs significantly.
Check for State Subsidies
Since the government is actively promoting the adoption of renewable energy, there are various tax credits, subsidies, solar rebates, and loans for solar energy projects. Programs vary across states, and it’s essential to fully understand the programs available to a homeowner in a particular state and their implications in terms of costs, operation decisions, and installation choices.
Check Maintenance Packages
Periodic cleaning of panels, general solar installation inspections, servicing, and parts replacement come under the scope of maintenance contracts. Homeowners need to be educated on the need for regular maintenance; lack of proper upkeep can increase costs in the long term and cause several disruptions during the use of the unit. It’s a good idea to help customers understand what maintenance work is involved, how frequently maintenance is required, and what the costs are for a reliable AMC with the desired service scope.
Fielda – Enabling Reliable Rooftop Installation Evaluations
A checklist like this is only indicative. You can adapt it as you need to help customers properly assess their requirements and make more informed decisions about their rooftop solar installations. Fielda helps you efficiently manage and monitor a variety of checklists during the evaluation phase or even post installation during maintenance and servicing. You can modify them effortlessly to suit your unique processes and create custom workflows to enhance communication with your customers and other operational teams. Fielda eliminates manual paper-based data gathering and all the hassles related to physical forms. This gives you instant access to data with simple metrics and dashboards so you can keep an eye on inspection status or any follow-up tasks. With Fielda, you are better equipped to collect, manage and analyze data digitally for competitive advantage.