To finalize your solar energy system design, our solar specialists will review all of the information you submitted, as well as mapping data on your roof, satellite images of your home, historical building data available through your local municipality, and any requirements laid out by your local building department, electricity provider, and HOA (if applicable).
Based on this data, we’ll design a custom solar energy system to meet the needs of your household while optimizing for performance and long-term savings. Roughly speaking, there are two key questions to answer:
- How much energy should your solar system produce to optimize your long-term savings?
- Where should we place your solar panels to achieve the best results?
While question one relates to offset, or the percent of your current electricity needs that can be offset by clean solar energy, question two relates to performance, or the amount of energy your solar panels can produce based on your location and the solar potential of your roof.
The ‘Custom’ in Solar Design
The same system, if installed on two, identical houses in the same neighborhood, will yield different performance and savings results. Why? Because energy needs vary by household, while system performance is dependent on environmental factors that differ from one home to the next.
Even small variations in the angle of your roof or the direction of your home relative to the path of the sun can impact system performance. Other factors include seasonality, weather, and shading.
Solar Design Considerations
All of this information factors into your final design. Here’s a quick rundown of the key factors we consider.
|Based on||Tell us|
|Household energy usage||Utility bill
|How much energy you need based on your historical electricity usage|
|Roof layout and solar potential||Home address
Solar mapping data
|How much energy you can produce and where to place your solar panels|
|Local safety and permitting requirements||Home address
|How to engineer your design|
|Energy offset limitations||Your electric utility provider||The maximum system size we are authorized to install|
|Design preferences and parameters||Home profile
If applicable: HOA
|Any aesthetic or design specifications we need to consider|
|Savings potential||Electricity rates
Utility net metering programs
Local & federal incentives
System cost and financing
|Which system size will maximize your long-term savings|
Solar Site Improvements
During the design process, our solar specialists will also evaluate the need for site improvements to prepare for your solar installation. Depending on the age and condition of your roof, electrical equipment, and wiring, site improvements may be either recommended or required for your solar installation. In some cases, we’ll also recommend trenching, tree removal, and other site improvements.
If your project requires site improvements, our Customer Experience team will reach out to discuss pricing, options, and any impact to your solar installation timeline.
Reviewing Your Final Design
On average, it takes about 5-7 days for our solar energy specialists to finalize your design. Once complete, you may be prompted to review the design, including the number and placement of solar panels.
Your final solar design will include a rendering of your home with solar panels installed, and will outline each of the following:
- Solar Energy System Size
Calculated by multiplying the panel rating, measured in kilowatts (kW) of direct current electricity, by the number of panels.
- Solar Panels
The total number of panels in your solar energy system. Each rectangle represents one solar panel.
- Solar Arrays
Based on the layout of your roof, panels may be grouped into multiple arrays to maximize performance and efficiency. Each number represents a solar array or group of solar panels.
- Average Electricity Offset
The percent of your current electricity needs that can be offset by clean solar energy. Calculations are based on your current energy usage and forecasted energy production averaged across 12 months.
To review the design, start with the basics: Do we have the right address? Does the aerial image match the layout of your roof? Then, focus on the placement of your solar panels: Does the solar panel placement reflect the preferences shared in your site survey? If your home is part of a Homeowner’s Association (HOA): Does the design meet your HOA’s regulations?
Once your design is approved, we can finalize your project and move forward with permit and utility applications.