Solar Electric Consultation, Design and Installation
No matter what type of solar electric system you are interested in any reputable solar company will first start with an on site solar resource consultation. There is no way to thoroughly predict a systems performance or accurately estimate installation costs without being on side and gathering the following data:
– Electrical Usage
-Existing Electrical Infrastructure
-Roof Shape, Size, Orientation & Tilt
-Shading Information from Installation Area
-Utility Meter Information
-Local Codes & POA Issues
Of all this data the installation area shade information is the most important. Without it there is no way to accurately predict the energy production from a proposed PV array. This energy production is crucial to providing a financial return on your investment in solar energy.
If a client desires an off grid or grid tied with battery backup system then the solar site assessment needs to be much more detailed and collect data on:
- Backed up electrical loads – critical loads
- Usage patterns of these loads
- Typical duration of these loads
- Surge power of possibly concurrent loads
- Days of autonomy
- Location of battery storage and relationship to existing electrical infrastructure
- Winter/Summer shading and insolation data
- System usage patterns
This type of system works in sync with your utility company’s electric power grid, sending solar energy into your home’s utility service panel to meet your energy needs while sunlight is available. Most grid tied systems are connected to the utility grid through a bi-directional meter that can register reverse electricity flow. This meter, with utility net meter billing, allows you to “store” excess PV generation for use later in the billing cycle. Essentially, this allows your electric meter to “run backwards” to save you money on your electric bills. This type of solar electric system is the most cost effective and thus the most popular worldwide. This type of system does not store any energy, so if the power from your electric company goes out, this type of PV system will not operate even if sunlight is available.
Grid tied with Battery Backup
Many of our clients need a way to backup critical loads in their homes. Refrigeration, well pumps, HVAC units, light outlets, etc. are the most common. We can design a system to provide backup power to only a few critical loads or simply power to the whole home. In addition to providing backup power this style of system can offset your daily electrical usage and export extra energy to your utility where it will be stored as a credit on your bill.
This style of system offers the best of both grid connected systems and off grid systems since it can do both. The grid connected aspect allows the system to offer a quicker payback since it reduces your monthly electric bills. The battery based energy storage aspect offers you power when the utility fails from the solar, the battery and optional fossil fueled generator.
This style of system is typically installed where no utility connection is possible, or utility connection is too costly. With an off grid system you are totally responsible for producing 100% of the energy you require on a year round basis. Because of this a very in-depth site visit and system design process is required to make sure you have the energy you need throughout the year. These systems are more complicated and require a certain amount of owner engagement but offer a freedom like no other.
As a certified Solar PV Installer, we can repair and maintain any make or model of Solar PV system even if Richter Solar Energy did not install the equipment.