Solar power now represents half of the generation capacity being installed in the US, and corporations are well aware of its benefits. However, there are many key decisions that affect the final outcome when installing a commercial solar array. In this article, we will provide 4 tips that will help you achieve better results.
Get a professional solar PV system design for your commercial building.
1) Get a Professional Energy Audit and Roof Inspection
Knowing how your building uses energy is very helpful before installing any system that generates electricity. A professional energy audit gives you a detailed breakdown of how each building system uses electricity and fossil fuels, and you can make the best decisions to reduce consumption. You can also combine your commercial solar installation with energy conservation measures to achieve even greater savings.
An energy audit will tell you your current electricity consumption profile, and the potential savings you can achieve with energy efficiency measures. Your solar power system can then be designed according to the expected consumption after improving efficiency. If a commercial solar array is sized based on current power consumption, and energy efficiency is improved later, you may end up with an oversized system.
Getting a roof inspection is equally important, so you can identify the best areas to install solar panels. Design engineers can also choose an ideal racking system, ensuring that the modules are firmly attached without damaging your roof. Beware vendors offering “generic” solar offers without a previous assessment; they are probably looking for a quick sale, making assumptions and skipping important details.
2) Make Sure Your Solar Design Meets Local Codes and Manufacturer Requirements
Any building upgrade must be approved by the local building department, and this includes commercial solar systems. This is especially important if you plan to install solar panels for buildings located in different cities. There can be major differences in code requirements, even if your properties and solar installations are very similar. A qualified design firm like NY Engineers can help you meet the requirements of different states and cities.
When installing solar panels, you also need to make sure that any instructions provided by manufacturers are followed carefully. You can now find many solar panel brands with product warranties of up to 25 years, but only if they are installed and used properly. Your solar PV system design must not only be compliant with local building codes, but also with the instructions provided by equipment suppliers.
3) Hire a Qualified Solar Installation Company
Poor workmanship can lead to many technical issues, even if you purchase high-quality solar panels and hire a professional design firm. You should look for a contractor who is licensed in the state where your building is located, and ideally they should also be certified by NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners).
The best solar installers will include additional warranties beyond those offered by manufacturers. This ensures that your investment is protected, and technical issues that may affect performance in the future are covered from the start. Solar manufacturers may also offer better warranty terms based on the installer’s qualifications.
NY Engineers not only offers solar PV system design services, but also supervision and project management. To ensure a professional solar installation, you can choose one of our pre-vetted contractors.
4) Look for High Quality Solar Panels and Inverters
Top-quality solar panels come with a higher price, but they offer increased productivity over time and a longer service life. In other words, each dollar invested in higher quality is recovered multiple times in the form of electricity savings. A qualified design firm can choose the optimal equipment brands for your projects, but being familiarized with solar panel specifications is also helpful.
Ideally, you should look for solar panels with a high conversion efficiency to use roof space optimally. You also need to consider the PV modules performance at high temperature, since they can get very hot after several hours under the sun. The rated service life of solar panels and their warranty are also important, since you will want a system that generates clean electricity for a long time.