Residential Solar Steps
The process of going solar can be a daunting task for home and small business owners, but it doesn’t have to be. In just five steps you can decide if solar is right for you and begin the process of being your town’s next solar-powered homeowner. You can also go solar with people in your community by signing up for the Solar Workgroup’s Solarize program here.
Step 1: Self evaluation
Many houses in Southwest Virginia have great solar potential, so how can you tell if yours is one of them? The amount of sunlight your roof gets each day and your available roof space will affect the amount of energy you can produce with a solar array. To self-evaluate your home’s solar potential, check the following links and tips on how to see if solar energy is perfect for you.
Structural analysis (optional):
Step 2: Professional evaluation
Solar installers contract directly with a customer to install solar panels on homes, businesses, and other buildings throughout the community. Many solar installation companies provide free satellite and on-site evaluations for interested residents. Below is a list of solar installers that have been in contact with the Solar Workgroup and have expressed interest in the region’s solar industry potential and should be able to provide a professional evaluation. It is best to get 2-3 quotes from solar installers so you can compare prices and services.
|Company||Location||Photovoltaic||Free Site |
|Baseline Solar||Blacksburg, VA||X||Xemail@example.com
|Blue Ridge Suns||Max Meadows, VA||X||Xfirstname.lastname@example.org
|Ecological Energy Systems||Bristol, VA||X||X||(423) 573-4361|
|Solar Conexions||Blacksburg, VA||X||Xemail@example.com
|Solshine Energy Alternatives||Check, VA||X||X||rick@SolShineEnergyAlternatives.com
The above table of installers is ordered alphabetically and does not indicate preference.
Step 3: Collect annual electricity bills
In order for a solar installer to best identify how much you can save and how many panels your home should have, ideally you will need to provide your utility bills for the past 12 months. You can contact your utility provider to request this information or download it from your online account.
If you do not have one year of electricity service recorded, an installer may be able to estimate your usage using existing bills or may recommend that you wait until you can provide 12 consecutive months.
Step 4: Select your installer
A large part of the decision to go solar is the selection of a solar installer. Solar installers can help provide resources such as financing options, solar site assessments, and maintenance options that are critical to going solar. If you’re not sure about the quotes you received, feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you evaluate them. Be sure to check out this resource from Solar United Neighbors on How to Spot Solar Scams.
Once you select an installer, they will take care of everything from contacting your utility and your local town for all necessary permits and approvals. Just sign your contract and they’ll take care of the rest.
Step 5: Enjoy years of cheap renewable energy
Your new solar panels will continue to generate electricity for up to 35 years while saving you money along the way. For examples of others in Southwest Virginia that have already started enjoying their solar arrays visit our My Solar Neighbors page!