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Is Solar Right for You?

Is Solar Right for You?


Gathering and Analyzing Your Energy Use  

Before we begin designing, sizing, and preparing your site location for a solar energy system. You will need to evaluate your total power use now, as well as find opportunities where you can conserve and save.

There are many ways you can minimize and eliminate wasteful electric spending, which translates into savings when purchasing your system.

Note: For every $1 spent on energy efficiency, you can save up to $5 on the cost of going solar.

blue-one.png Is Solar Right for You?

blue-two.png Determining Your System Type

blue-three.png Sizing Your System

blue-four.png Design Your System

First, gather your energy bills and calculate your annual average Kilowatt Hours (KWh) usage, (make sure to note your highest usage and lowest if you’d like). You can do this several ways, one is to take twelve monthly statements and adding all KWh use together, then dividing that sum by 12 – this will show your average annual usage. You may also have an indicator of your total annual usage on your bill, online account, or you can always call your electric company customer service line and have them tell you your annual usage. This part is critical as you will need to know energy demands before sizing a system.

*If you have less than 1 year of energy usage at your residence or commercial site, then try looking at least 6 months’ worth and calculating from there. Try anticipating adding more use in winter months, and less in summer depending on data available to you.

Reduce Wasteful Energy Consumption

Now that you have your annual energy usage, you can consider what is drawing your total monthly KWh use. Every residence or commercial building is different, and utilizes different appliances, lights and energy using equipment for their total electric demand.

You may either use our approximate Power Chart Usage Table for typical usage percentages and hourly watts of appliances. You can also try to use our Load Evaluation Chart to calculate daily energy usage.


*Neurio Home Energy Monitor

Another way to monitor and help reduce energy spending is by installing a home (or commercial) energy monitoring device such as Neurio. The sophisticated yet simple and inexpensive energy monitoring solution that reports real energy usage and helps inform users with intelligent data to make smarter energy decisions.

Alternatively, you can try contacting your utility or local government to find out about any energy saving plans. They may have free or low-cost programs for evaluating your energy usage and you can find out where your location may be losing energy through ducting, walls, windows and more.

Click to see 100 ways to reduce your energy spending.

Evaluating Your Installation Site


Once you have completed analyzing and understanding your annual average KWh usage, you can begin evaluating the potential for solar at the residential, commercial or utility grade site for installation. Start by getting an aerial image of the proposed location through Google Maps or a map tool of your choice. You may also have blueprints or schematics showing layouts, area sizes including land, and directional designs showing where all parts of the site are facing in relation to North, South, East and West. Overall shading issues should also be mapped out if they may exist on your installation site.

Alternately, you can also try Google’s Project Sunroof which will show you your roof-top solar potential for select areas.

  • Space – Will there be enough square footage either on roof or land to accommodate the total anticipated solar energy system? You will also need to meet code and regulations set forth by the local fire department on municipalities to adhere to their rules and regulations for a roof-mount photovoltaic array.  *If space is limited, we can supply you with higher-efficiency, higher-watt solar panels and other options to meet your energy demands.
  • Roof and Land – Does your roof or land have the proposed integrity to handle a solar energy system? This is especially true for roof-top arrays, to be sure you may want to contact your roofer to ensure you do not void the roof’s warranty and that the roof will be able to handle the load of the solar array. Furthermore, the ideal orientation for your array will be true south, although west and east facing roof space can also be utilized. *Solar can be installed on many different roof types including; Composite Shingle, Flat Tile, Spanish S Tile, Flat and Metal Roofs.
  • Shading – Anything that can cause an obstruction at any point during day light hours (both summer and winter), can affect the performance of your solar array. Trees, chimneys, or anything that will cause shadows to be present on top of the face of the panels will hinder performance. We can solve this issue by utilizing micro-inverters for your array if necessary.
Identifying Available Solar Yields

The location you plan to install solar on will receive a certain available solar energy yield in your area. This amount differs from region to region within the United States, as such, the amount of sun hours differs from each zone.

Locate where the installation site is, and you can gauge how many sun hours you will receive on a daily basis (hours based on annual average).

You can reference the NREL – Photovoltaic Solar Resource: Flat Plate Tilted South at Latitude map to see what areas will harvest annual KWh in energy. *Make a note to your general daily KWh solar yield.


Incentives, Rebates, Rules and Regulations

Every state is different, and certain states help incentivize solar while others don’t when planning solar panels to be installed on your property. It will be important to reference DSIRE for any information you might need to know how local, state and federal incentives and rebates might affect the cost of going solar after taxes.



Contacting your local municipalities and fire department to find out about any rules or regulations is also important. You can also find out about permits and processes to complete from your local courthouse on solar arrays. We provide a complete set of Services for Solar Permits, Diagrams and Designs.

You might also want to contact your local energy company to find out what the rules are as far as connecting solar to their electric lines, feed-in tariffs, and other concerns for grid-tie systems. The utility company may have different rules per state on what and how much solar energy they are willing to buy back, (and in what excess).

Read more about Solar Incentives and Rebates.

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