As you are using the Clean.Tech app to build and share solar proposals with your customers, it is important to thoroughly evaluate and qualify each property for solar. Here, we will take a look at three particular qualifying components: Shading, Roof Condition, and Electrical Infrastructure and share examples of each. With approximately 70% of homes in the U.S. having solar potential, be sure to expand your knowledge around these qualifying components so you make the most efficient use of you and your customer’s time when qualifying solar leads, canvassing neighborhoods, and designing solar systems in the Clean.Tech app.
Proper analysis of shading on the roof of a home is crucial when evaluating a suitable solar installation.
1. Elli (our automated intelligence) accurately predicts how much electricity the solar system will produce, factoring in shading and the sun’s annual path (available sun hours) when generating 3D designs using the Clean.Tech app. Elli makes it easy to predict the shade caused by surrounding trees and buildings when designing systems directly in the app. Take this house as an example. In the 3D view, you can touch and hold the sun to move it across the sky to see how shadows and shading affect the design.
If your home only experiences a bit of shade throughout the day, don’t worry. Contrary to popular belief, a home and its panels don’t need to be perfectly situated in the sun all day to benefit from a solar system. That said, if your home is shaded for a majority of the day, it’s probably not a good idea to install solar panels without trimming or removing trees.
For more detailed information regarding shading, click here to better understand how to calculate and assess the impacts of shade using the height of surrounding trees and their distance from the home and proposed solar system. Here are some images of homes where rooftop installations are not recommended without tree removal or trimming:
If the homeowner has removed trees but they are still visible by Elli
We can create a manual 3D model of the home to depict the annual solar production based on the current shading reality if trees have been removed yet are still visible when entering the desired home’s address in the app. Through Chat Support, send us an image of the home indicating the trees that have been removed, along with annual kWh usage, and the desired offset percentage. With this information, we will create a design for you to review and edit directly from your Clean.Tech dashboard. Given the time intensive nature of these requests, please allow up to a 24 hour turnaround.
Ahead of selecting in the app what type of roof and roofing material the solar system will be installed on, you will want to evaluate and confirm the overall health and age of the roof to be confident it will accommodate the desired solar system, and if a re-roof should be considered by your customer.
If the roof is of a composition material, or has asphalt shingles, here are a few examples of physical signs of wear to look for that may indicate a roof replacement is required prior to solar installation:
When assessing and qualifying a roof for solar, also look for wood rot, as the structural integrity of the home’s rafters and framing are important to accommodating the weight of the solar system. This can best be seen by inspecting the rafters in the attic where the system will be installed, in the soffit and facia, or the wood ‘overhang’ on the underside of the roof. Here are a few examples of physical signs of wear to look for:
And, be aware solar can not be installed on wood shake roofing material, so incorporate a reroof into the system cost for these customers.
Every home has a main electrical panel that powers all of the electrical devices connected to the structure. The size of this electric panel, measured in an ‘amp rating, alongside with the panel’s main breaker setting will dictate the size solar system your home can accommodate. A good rule of thumb is that if your customer’s home has a panel with a 100 amp rating or lower, you should take sufficient photos of the panel and greater electrical infrastructure for inclusion with your Clean.Tech proposal, as it’s quite possible what is termed a Main Panel Upgrade (MPU) may be required to handle the energy demands of the proposed system. The determination of which is the best option is based on a combination of infrastructure capability and state and local jurisdictions’ requiring one or the other.
Here are examples of electrical panels requiring an upgrade: The first photo clearly shows a 100 amp rated panel, which is undersized as an adequate power source for a mid-to-larger size solar system. The second photo
illustrates a panel that does not have ample space to add breakers for the solar system:
The good news is main panel upgrades are commonplace, the downside is their cost can be up to $2,500 of added cost (“adder”), so definitely quantify this potential need so such costs can be included in project financing. Always include photos of the main panel in your Clean.Tech solar system proposal, and always feel free to share main panel photos with us in chat support to assess the need for upgraded electrical infrastructure.
So to wrap up, it’s important to properly qualify the home when prospecting your solar installation projects. We want you to be as efficient as possible with your time developing good solar leads, and to be sure you are reviewing the home’s Shading, Roof Condition, and Electrical Infrastructure in this process. Please send us a message through chat support to discuss your property’s qualification for a solar system, as we are excited to assist you in determining and deciding whether a specific home is a good candidate for a Clean.Tech solar system.