Your Ultimate Solar Site Survey Checklist for Homeowners
Thinking about harnessing the power of the sun to fuel your home? A solar panel installation can be a game-changer, but before you take the leap, there’s a crucial step you should know: the solar site survey.
In this Solar Site Survey Checklist, we’ll walk you through the easy steps of performing a solar site survey right so you don’t have to worry about missing anything.
Before we begin, it is a good idea to check what side of your roof gets the most sun exposure, typically this is the south-facing side. Alright, now lets get into it.
Step 1: Gear Up with the Right Solar Site Survey Tools
You don’t need a toolbox, just some everyday items. Grab your smartphone or camera, a tape measure, a screwdriver or multi-tool and finally a ladder. These will be your trusty companions for your solar journey.
Step 2: Snapping Exterior Solar Site Survey Photos
Start by taking at least four photos around your home. Capture your home’s front, back, and sides from different angles, creating a 360-degree visual. Think of it as capturing your home’s best angles for the solar spotlight.
Step 3: Main Service Panel (MSP)
Find your main service panel, often hanging out on your home’s exterior. With your phone or camera take the pictures below:
- Snap a crystal-clear picture of the interior, of the main service panel for the experts.
- Once you have that, use your multi tool or screw driver to remove the panel cover and take a picture of the wires in the panel.
- Take a picture of any and all stickers to help the experts identify anything important.
Once you have those, you can reinstall the panel cover.
Step 4: Focus on the Utility Meter
Next we are going to zoom in on your utility meter, making sure those numbers on its face are in full view and take a picture. This little detail paints the bigger picture of your energy usage.
While you’re at it, capture another shot from around 10-15 feet away. This helps the experts map its location on the wall.
Step 5: Exploring the Sub Panel (Second Breaker Panel)
Does your home have a sidekick sub panel or an extra breaker box? If so, give it some camera time.
Snap a picture of its door, first with the cover on and then off (you’ll need your screwdriver or multi tool friend for this). And yes, don’t forget to photograph those stickers on the door – they’re the VIP badges of the electric world.
Step 6: Ascend to the Attic Space
Time to climb up to the attic! Click a few shots that show off the trusses or rafters, and give a visual tour of the attic’s layout.
- Snap one shot of the whole attic space
- Snap another picture of the plywood above the trusses or rafters
Then get two more pictures zoomed in on the trusses,
- One capturing the size of the wood on the trusses
- Another showing distance between the trusses (it is best to measure from the center of one truss to the center of the other).
Tip: When you are moving around the attic, make sure to step on the trusses or rafters. DO NOT stand directly on the sheetrock, we don’t want to fall through the ceiling.
Step 7: Take Measurements Like a Pro
Next using the ladder climb up on the roof, be sure to use a flat level surface to position the ladder. Once you are on the roof whip out that tape measure and jot down the measurements of your roof. This space will be the stage for your solar panels’ performance, so the more accurate, the better.
Take note of any and all items on the roof, such as a satellite dish, plumbing or HVAC vents, or anything else that sticks out of the roof. This will guide the number or orientation of the solar panels on the roof.
Congratulations, you’ve just aced the solar site survey! By following these easy steps and sharing the photos and measurements, you’re setting the scene for a solar panel setup that’s perfectly tailored to your home. A solar site survey is like giving your home a solar makeover – you’re not just saving energy and money, you’re making the most of what Mother Nature has to offer. Get ready to bask in the glow of clean, green energy!