We take several factors into account when creating your panel placement. And yes, you have a say in where your panels go. Our design team uses Aurora Solar, one of the leading design software engines in the solar industry, which helps us determine optimal panel placement.
Important Factors in Panel Placement
Aurora Solar gives us access to LIDAR technology, which remotely maps out precise, three-dimensional visuals of your home and the surrounding area. Our designers can then create accurate-to-scale roof layouts with roof slope and heights provided by the software. From there, we can easily place and move panels to calculate your most optimal energy offset.
Anything that casts a shadow on your roof is considered shading. Trees and other homes in the surrounding area are accounted for in Aurora Solar, helping to create an accurate sunlight exposure reading. Our designers look at this when placing panels and prioritize spots on your roof with the most sunlight access.
Aurora Solar also utilizes irradiance mapping – the amount of solar access your roof receives throughout the year. Some spots on your roof receive more sun than others, so our designers work to place panels where they will be the most productive for you.
Your south-facing roof will receive more sunshine over the course of the year than your north-face roof here in the northern hemisphere. This is due to the sun's position above the equator. We will maximize panel placement on a south-facing roof first. East and west-facing roofs are also a good investment, receiving around 70% - 80% TSRF (Total Solar Resource Fraction). Having a south-facing roof is not the only way to achieve the energy offset that you want, as every roof will be a little different. Even north-facing roofs will have some solar access depending on shading and your location. Utilizing your available roof space to achieve 100% energy offset is our primary goal.
Another factor to consider with panel placement is the current obstructions on your roof. Anything from a vent to a skylight is an area where we cannot place a solar panel. Your design may reflect spacing between panels if something stands in the way of setting up a continuous array. It is possible to move some obstructions, like vents and piping, to accommodate solar panels, so add that to your special requests.
There are specific requirements on how much space needs to be left clear on your rooftop to comply with your local fire safety codes. A pathway for firefighters must stay clear in the case of an emergency. We research what codes are in place in your area and put those requirements into Aurora Solar.
Aesthetics and Your Requests
Our team wants to make sure you get the system that not only fits your needs, but looks how you want it to look. There is a place to input special requests in your first form submission after checkout. Near the end of that form, the requests section will look like this:
Feel free to add any additional electrical usage you could be expecting, upgrades you want to make, panel placement requirements, or anything else you might want. We would love to hear from you.