Knowing which solar technologies are the best fit for you and your home is far from trivial. The use and application of each component within a solar system will often vary based on the specific site conditions. For this reason, product selection can be confusing and overwhelming especially when multiple site factors are at play.
And, just with any technology, a poor assessment and application of said technology can produce an undesirable result in return. For example, a shading analysis done with little care could lead to a system that under-produces expectations or, sometimes worse, one that grossly overproduces leading to lower long-term financial returns.
So, Where Should I Start?
When designing a system there are always a myriad of considerations and compromises to work through in order to optimize your investment. The following is a list of some of the areas that Downstream evaluates during the sales process:
- Roofing material – What type of mount is needed to support the system and prevent leakages in the future?
- Size of the roof – Is the roof large enough to accommodate the system size needed? Do higher efficiency panels need to be considered?
- Shading on the site – Is it advantageous to consider optimizers or microinverters in order to reduce shading losses?
- The soil conditions (for ground mounts) – Are there issues that would prevent us from installing proper solar foundations (bedrock, poor soil structure)?
- The long term serviceability of the system – How easily/costly will the system be to service in the future?
- Aesthetics – The million dollar question: “Will they make my house look ugly?” There are ways around this, trust me. 😉
- Accessibility – For an Off-Grid system, is it imperative to clear the snow from the panels or adjust the tilt of the array?
These give you a general sense to the level of site information required to design the best system for your site. However, the site assessment is really only half the process.
Choosing the Best Products for the Job
Downstream is constantly on the prowl for new and better technologies that will serve our customers better. The truth is that there will never be one product that fits all needs and conditions. For this reason we are partnered with several suppliers and manufacturers in order to procure just what is required. From modules to inverters to monitoring and racking; having several options available to us helps us optimize your array and maximize your investment.
Our focus as a company has always been to provide the most value to our customers. This is why in many cases we will often offer a slightly less efficient panel in order to balance cost and performance. We generally accept the notion that paying 50% more for a panel to provide a 5% gain in performance is often not in the best interest of our customers.
For more information on the various products we deal with, please check out our Products page.
And if you’re interested in having a Downstream representative visit your site, feel free to fill out our free quote request form.
— Nick Kirk, Downstream Construction