Physical considerations for a solar application:
- Pick a job that you think would be a good fit for a solar system.
- The first consideration in choosing where to install a solar system is on the South facing roof. West can be almost as good if South is not an option. North and East usually are not suitable for solar installs.
- Shading is the biggest enemy to solar. You must know if the surrounding trees, roof dormers, chimneys, or other structures are going to cast shadows on the solar array.
- If penetrations such as soil pipes, roof vents, attic fans, etc. are in the way of the system they can usually be easily moved. However, you must remember to include labor and material cost in your bid for this additional work.
- You will need to know how close the solar array will be to the electrical meter. It´s not necessary to measure it down to inches, but you also don´t want to be off by 25 ft.
- You will need to know how accessible the attic space under the solar array will be. If possible it´s best to run the wires from the bottom of the array to the DC disconnect inside the attic and walls. If the attic and interior walls are inaccessible the wires can be easily run on the outside. The entire wring of a solar system is the electrician´s job. It is usually best to bring him into this decision early.
- If you are a roofing contractor you need to align yourself with a good electrician. A licensed electrician has to pull the permit from the building department. They will also be involved in the grounding of the array as it is being installed.
- If you are an electrician you will need to align yourself with a good roofer. Remember this is a roofing product as well as a solar product. A good roofer will understand how to put it together safely and flash it to the roof so that it doesn´t leak, much like he would an ordinary skylight.
- If you are a builder, architect, etc. you probably already have relationships with both of these trades, just make sure they are ready to be trained by us when the time comes.
Incentives and Tax Credits
- You must understand what the rebates and incentives are from the local utility provider, the State, or you´re local Government. They vary greatly by each individual utility/state, and will affect the financial prospective. The Federal Standard for all fifty states is a 30% income tax credit for the entire installed cost of the solar system. Some local energy providers have a system called Net Metering. All these things and more are what you will have to become familiar with if you are to become a solar contractor.
- For us to help you get started with your first solar sale, we will need the following information:
- The name and contact information of the electric utility provider for the job site.
- The name of the incentives and policies that promote renewable energy by your electric provider, state, or local district. These incentives come in different forms they could be called Renewable Energy Credits (REC´s), Performance-Based Incentives (PBI´s), Green Building Incentives, Utility Rate Discounts etc.
- The exact details of the incentives offered to your customer.
- The information described below under the heading: The Customer
- You will need to ask your potential customer for at least one year´s worth of their electrical energy usage information. It usually appears on the back of their bill under Current Billing Information, (see following example). When you have this information, (yellow highlight), add up each month´s usage to arrive at the usage for the whole year then simply divide by 12 to arrive at the average monthly kilowatt hour (KWH) usage.
- You will also need to know your customers actual cost of their electricity. This will be found under Total Current Charges at the bottom (blue highlight). Once again, add the bills up for an entire year and divide by 12 to arrive at an average monthly total electric bill cost.
- Ask your potential customer how much they would like to offset their bill by installing solar. Knowing this gives you something to shoot for when you begin to size the system. If your prospect has enough useable roof space and budget, a good rule of thumb is an offset of between 70 to 85%. As the typical American family goes, people generally become more energy conscious. They buy more energy efficient appliances and when the kids grow up and move out the refrigerator door gets pulled opened 90% less often. A 70 to 85% offset gives them room to move towards 100% over time.
How LUMA can help you:
- The drawing below is meant to act as an example of what we need to help you figure out your solar roof system. When you can send us the information , we will run it through our software and tell you approximatly what the system will cost you.