Solar Panel Site Assessments: Roof Inspection

There are several important parts of the process if you're thinking about installing solar panels on your home or building, and some of these take place well before any panels go up. One of the single most important here is a site assessment, where solar power professionals will come to your location and evaluate its potential for solar panel installation.

At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we're here to provide a comprehensive range of residential and commercial solar panels for clients around Salt Lake City, Boise and nearby areas of Utah and Idaho. We regularly provide comprehensive site assessments for clients to help them understand exactly how suitable their location is for solar power, plus to go over some other vital concepts. In this two-part blog series, we'll discuss everything you should know about solar panel site assessments - why they're important, what takes place during them, and how they cover both your roof (part one) and other home systems (part two) to evaluate your situation.

Solar Panel Site Assessment Basics and Purpose

For those who are just getting started with solar panel considerations, it's important to recognize that not every home or building is a good fit for this technology. There are several factors that can affect the performance and viability of solar panels, such as roof orientation, shading from nearby trees or buildings, and even local climate patterns.

This is where a site assessment comes in - it helps determine if your location is a good fit for solar panel installation and what specific considerations need to be taken into account. This process is typically done by licensed solar professionals who have the expertise and knowledge needed to evaluate your site accurately.

Furthermore, a site assessment is meant to help professionals get a firm idea of what type of solar panel system is best for your specific location. This includes determining the size and layout of the panels, as well as any additional equipment or modifications that may be necessary for optimal performance.

Basic Tenets of a Solar Panel Site Assessment

Generally speaking, solar panel site assessments can be broken down into three simple categories, each of which we'll discuss in more detail throughout this series:

  • Roof assessment: This is the most important aspect of a site assessment, as it involves evaluating the condition and orientation of your roof to determine if it can support solar panels. The main objective here is to ensure that your roof has enough unobstructed space to accommodate the panels without any shading issues.
  • Electrical system assessment: Solar panels need a way to connect to your home or building's electrical system, which is why it's important to assess its capacity and compatibility with solar technology. This will help determine what kind of solar panel system can be installed and whether any upgrades or modifications are needed.
  • Energy consumption assessment: In order to accurately estimate the potential energy production from your solar panels, a site assessment takes into account your current electricity usage. By understanding your average daily energy consumption, professionals can determine the best size and type of solar panel system for your needs.

The rest of part one of our series will focus on roof assessments and what solar professionals are looking for here. Part two will dig into assessments of your electrical system and your electrical consumption needs.

Interior Roof Assessment

When it comes to roof assessments, solar professionals will be looking at both the interior and exterior of your roof. Interior assessments are meant to evaluate the structural integrity of your roof, ensuring that it can support the added weight of solar panels.

Some key factors that professionals will consider during an interior roof assessment include:

  • Basic condition: Professionals will look for signs of damage, like leaks or cracks in the roof. Any issues with your roof's structure need to be addressed before solar panels can be installed.
  • Roof material: Different roofing materials have different levels of durability and compatibility with solar panel installation. This will also help determine what type of mounting system is needed for your specific roof.
  • Attic space: Solar professionals will inspect your attic to ensure that it has proper ventilation and enough space for inverters, batteries, and other equipment that may be needed for the solar panel system.
  • Insulation: Proper insulation is essential for the efficiency of your solar panels, as it helps regulate the temperature of your home and reduces energy waste. If necessary, professionals may recommend adding or upgrading insulation during their assessment.

Exterior Roof Assessment

The exterior roof assessment is equally important and involves evaluating your roof's orientation and shading factors that could affect solar panel performance. This includes:

  • Roof orientation: The direction your roof faces will affect how much sunlight it receives throughout the day. South-facing roofs are typically the best for solar panel installation, but other orientations can also work depending on factors like shading and climate.
  • Shading: Nearby trees, buildings, or other obstructions can cast shadows on your roof and reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches your panels. Solar professionals will identify any shading issues and recommend solutions, such as tree trimming or panel placement adjustments.

In part two of our series, we'll discuss the remaining aspects of a solar panel site assessment and how they help determine the best solar panel system for your specific location. In the meantime, be sure to consult with our team at Intermountain Wind & Solar for any solar power needs around SLC, Boise or other parts of Utah and Idaho.

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