When selecting a professional solar installer for your home or business, it’s important to research your options thoroughly.
You will likely look at various companies’ websites, check their ratings with the Better Business Bureau and read customer reviews. Eventually, when you have narrowed your
choices down, you will begin requesting estimates for your photovoltaic energy system.
Before making a final decision, however, it may be best to request an onsite consultation.
Contrary to what you may have heard, onsite visits aren’t for the purpose of giving you a sales pitch in person. Reputable solar installers and contractors recognize the importance of an onsite consultation prior to finalizing the design and pricing a photovoltaic system.
An onsite evaluation provides a wealth of information that will allow you to make an informed decision about powering your home or business with photovoltaic energy.
Online solar calculators can tell you — in general terms — the potential of a photovoltaic array on your rooftop.
PVWatts, from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Mapdwell from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Google’s Project Sunroof are all trusted online calculators that can help estimate the optimal size and configuration of a photovoltaic panel system for your home.
The problem with using online calculators, however, is that they are only as accurate as the information you put in. Also, some of the terms they use — such as system losses, roof azimuth and solar radiation — are a mystery to many potential solar adopters.
Without a solid understanding of how photovoltaic arrays work, it can be difficult to design a productive system using the estimates generated by online tools. And, until a solar installer visits your location, they may be using similar tools to prepare your preliminary price quote.
Online tools can be helpful, but they are no substitute for a professional site consultation from a qualified solar installer or contractor. By visiting your home or business and conducting an in-person evaluation of your property, a contractor can factor in details that may not be apparent to the online calculators.
A professional onsite evaluation of your home’s solar potential involves a thorough analysis of your rooftop, calculating its pitch and orientation as well as obstructions such as skylights, chimneys and vents.
Also, the solar installer will evaluate the condition of your roof thoroughly to determine whether it can provide the necessary support for a photovoltaic array. A qualified solar contractor also will determine if any shading issues exist, as they could affect the output of your system.
Can a photovoltaic system fit into your budget? What are your financing options? How much can you save by adopting photovoltaic power?
Online calculators and remote estimates can’t provide specific answers to questions like these, but a professional solar installer can. The return on investment for photovoltaic power can be incredible, but it varies for each homeowner and business owner. Understanding yours requires the advice and opinions of a qualified solar installer with knowledge and experience of current incentives, rebates and financing options.
With an onsite consultation, you will also have the benefit of expert answers to all of your questions about using photovoltaic power.
At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we are happy to provide you with a preliminary estimate for your photovoltaic system installation. However, before finalizing your price breakdown and system design, we believe that a site visit is highly beneficial.
If you would like to learn more about how solar energy can benefit you, contact us today. Serving commercial and residential clients in Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming, Intermountain Wind & Solar is the premier solar installer in the Intermountain West.
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