As a solar array installer, one of your top priorities is probably ensuring that you’re providing your customers with high-quality, high-efficiency, and low-maintenance solar systems. 

To achieve this, it’s crucial to gather as much information as possible about the site before beginning the pole mount installation process. By asking your customers the right questions upfront, you can identify potential challenges and make informed decisions that will lead to a successful installation. 

At MT Solar, we design and manufacture mounting structures for solar modules and arrays of all sizes. Our team is dedicated to making the best pole mount solutions for installers and end users, which has been our driving force since day one.

In this article, we’re outlining the six essential questions you’ll need answered before starting any solar array installation project. By the end of the article you’ll have a clear understanding of the answers you need to get started on a project. 

The Six Questions to Ask Before a Pole-Mount Installation

1. How old is the roof?

The age of the roof can impact an installation in a few ways:

Roof Condition: If a roof is old and in poor condition, it may not be able to support the weight of a solar array. Additionally, if a roof needs repairs or replacement in the near future, it may be best to address those issues before installing solar arrays to avoid additional costs or potential damage to the solar array during roof repairs.

Shading: Trees or vegetation that are taller and closer to the roof can cause shading on the solar arrays which may reduce the efficiency of the system. As a result, the placement of solar arrays may need to be adjusted to avoid shading, or the vegetation may need to be trimmed or removed.

Compatibility: The age and condition of the roof materials can also impact the compatibility of the solar array. For example, if the roof is made of older materials, it may be more difficult to install or may require additional preparation before installation can occur.

2. What is the angle of the roof?

The angle of a roof can impact solar array installation in several ways. The angle of the roof affects the amount of sunlight that hits the solar arrays, which in turn affects the amount of electricity the solar arrays can generate.

There are a few things to consider:

Optimal angle: The optimal angle for a solar array depends on the location where it is installed.

Seasonal angle adjustment: In many cases, it may be beneficial to adjust the angle of the solar arrays seasonally to maximize energy production. For example, in the winter months, it may be beneficial to increase the angle of the solar arrays to capture more sunlight at a lower sun angle.

3. Are there pests, birds, and other wildlife in the area?

Pests and birds and other wildlife all cause damage to solar arrays, and it’s important to be able to convey the impact of those things to the customer up front. 

Wildlife can impact the install in a few ways, including: 

Damage to equipment: Animals, such as squirrels, birds, and rodents, may cause damage to the solar array equipment, including the arrays and wiring. They may chew on wires or nesting material may accumulate on or around the arrays, which can cause problems with the performance of the system.

Regular maintenance of the solar arrays can help to detect any animal damage or nesting activity before it becomes a more significant problem.

4. What is your landscaping setup, and what are your long-term landscaping plans?

Landscaping and trees can impact solar array installation on the ground in several ways. Here are a few things to consider:

Shading: Trees and other landscaping elements can cause shading on the solar arrays, which can reduce the efficiency of the solar array. It’s important to choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight, and to trim or remove any trees or landscaping that may cause shading on the solar arrays.

Maintenance: Trees and landscaping elements that are too close to the solar arrays can cause maintenance issues, as debris may accumulate on the arrays or damage may occur from falling branches. It’s important to maintain a clear space around the solar arrays to ensure that they can function properly and to prevent damage.

5. What is the average temperature?

Temperature impacts the install in the following ways:

Material durability: Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can cause damage to the materials used in solar array construction. This can lead to issues with durability and overall lifespan of the solar arrays.

Location: Temperature can also impact the location and placement of the solar arrays. In areas with extreme temperatures, such as desert regions, it may be necessary to use additional cooling or shading measures to ensure that the solar arrays function properly.

6. How much snow accumulates in the winter?

Efficiency: The amount of energy produced by solar panels can be reduced during snowfall, as the snow can cover the panels and reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches them. This can result in reduced energy production and decreased energy savings.

Weight: Snow can also add weight to the solar panels and the support structures, which can cause damage. It’s important to design the solar array installation to withstand the weight of snow, and to ensure that it is properly maintained to prevent any potential issues caused by heavy snowfall.

Location: The location of the solar array installation can also impact the amount of snowfall it experiences. In areas with heavy snowfall, it may be necessary to use additional measures, such as snow guards, to prevent snow from sliding off the roof and potentially causing damage.

Timing: The timing of the snowfall can also impact the success of the solar array installation. If snow falls during the winter months, when the sun is at a lower angle, it may take longer for the snow to melt off the panels, which can result in reduced energy production.

with the answers to these questions, you’ll be better prepared to start your next solar installation project. By addressing potential challenges and considering site-specific factors, you can ensure that your customers receive a high-quality, low-maintenance solar system that will provide them with clean, renewable energy for years to come. 

Get started with the MT Solar Design Assistance form and see if an MT Solar array is a fit for your project!