Solar design begins with assessment. The key factors to consider are solar resource, suitable mounting area and a conscientious energy or power target.
The solar resource is a function of latitude, climate, orientation and tilt. Though we have ample solar resources in Texas, the conditions of the site must be carefully considered to best take advantage of the energy harvest. There is an orientation and tilt at each latitude that can maximize the annual harvest, but often this is balanced with other considerations and specific goals. The actual trade off of energy production to deviations from the optimal aspect can be very minimal.
Finding a suitable mounting area is a function of what is available and what is preferred. Many of our installations are simply mounted on an existing roof, provided the condition of the roof is good, the area is not shaded, and the underlying structure can support the redistribution of weight. If a roof is not available or preferred, solar can be mounted on a stand-alone structure away from the building. It is still electrically connected to the premise, but can be set away from the house up to 300 feet without drastic affect on wire sizing. A stand-alone structure can be placed relatively close to the ground or elevated such that the shaded space made by the panels can be used for storage, occupied or simply kept away from livestock.
Finally, we follow the principles of right sizing your system to meet your specific energy or power targets. Depending on the electric utility’s rate structure, we conscientiously size and orient the array (think number and wattage of panels) to produce the target amount of KWH in a given month or over the course of the year. It is also possible to strategically place and orient the array to produce a certain number of KW in order to meet a building’s demand in the case where demand charges are to be avoided.
There are cases where net zero can be achieved. This refers to making as much energy as you consume. It can be calculated over the course of a day, month or year, but typically, given the fact that daily and monthly consumption vary dramatically, we often target an annual net zero ratio.. We always consult with you to understand your current and future needs. If you are unsure of how your current needs may change once you’ve installed solar, we provide Lightgauge Data Monitoring to track your solar systems’ production and your building consumption.