Have you had a surveyor come by, look at your home for 5 minutes and say they are ready to give you your quote? I suggest caution....
For a solar installation there are several things that it is really important to get right, otherwise you may not get what you are promised. In this blog I step through some of the key points to give you something to judge your surveyor by.
If you have an array of solar panels on your roof, it is very important that your roof is sound. We make sure we look in the roof space, measure joists and joist-spacing, and look out for any evidence of damage to timber or felt. If there are items going through the roof, we ask ourselves if this affects the install.
This example shows the joists, but also highlights a Positive Input Ventilation system that will require the roof vents be kept clear or moved as required.
It is important to accurately assess how much space is on your roof, and how much should be accessible for solar. Measurements with tape measure and inclinometer or even laser are common.
Once measured, we normally keep a spacing of at least 30 cm between the panel edges and the roof edge to keep it looking neat and to make it less vulnerable to wind loading.
This example shows a screen grab from a phone based inclinometer used to measure pitch of the roof.
A critical component is to measure shading well. A simple but handy tool is illustrated below. This MCS approved tool gives you an eyepiece to look through and note the obstructing bodies visible when looking south. Done properly, this must treat close items different from far items; for example a vent stack on the roof could have a big impact on a system if not properly designed.
The user looks through the eyepiece due South and notes the shading obstructions for each separate aspect of the roof or separate string of panels in the design. This is an example of the survey report for a partially shaded roof.
This example shows 9 segments affected by the shading objects, leading to a shading factor of 0.91. This means that the effective output of your solar panels will be 91% of what it would be without the shading in that location in the country.
The electrical system is checked for location, need for additional consumer board elements, existing grounding of gas/water mains.
Also noted are intended locations for solar and battery components and practical cable routes between the various elements. These can be discussed with the home owner to make sure they feel comfortable about any decisions made.
Once the survey is completed, we can upgrade our initial estimate with a fixed price quote to give you peace of mind.