When evaluating your site for the installation of solar photovoltaic panels, there are two key areas you must consider. One, does your site receive enough sunlight? Two, are there any obstacles you'll need to clear or work around in order to collect the necessary solar energy? Let’s address each of these questions to clue you in as to what you should be looking for.
Does my site receive enough sunlight?
Answering this question will require consideration of your location's weather. The occasional cloudy day isn't a big deal, but regular periods of gloomy weather can pose a challenge. Luckily, most locations in the United States receive the necessary sunlight to use solar energy. Some are better than others, so investigate your location further to get a better idea of your solar resources. An almanac or other weather resource is a good starting point.
Do I have obstacles to work around?
This second question is one you may have to work a little harder to assess. When planning to install solar panels, it's very important to choose an idea location for their placement. Trees, buildings, and other structures can stand in the way of your solar panels collecting the necessary amount of energy.
There are a few ways you can go about identifying possible obstacles. First, you'll need to know the path of the sun across the sky. Remember, the sun’s path changes throughout the year, so keep the paths of different seasons in mind when looking for obstacles. You can use a sun chart for your location, which can make the process easier.
Another option for identifying potential obstacles in your home's path may be to build a model of your home and its surroundings. Whether you decide to build a three dimensional diorama, or just sketch a map of your area, you'll have a useful tool for finding structures, natural or otherwise, which can stand in your way when collecting solar energy for home use.
Smith Sustainable Design is experienced in performing solar site surveys to aide in installation decisions. We perform a thorough analysis of your space to determine the ideal location for your solar system panels.