What is a Solar PV Site Survey?

If you’re thinking of buying a solar PV system then you’ll need to get a site survey done first. Here are the main reasons why:

  • To find out if your location is suitable for solar PV
  • So the surveyor can learn how you use electricity. This helps him/her to design your system in a way that provides the greatest benefit for you
  • The site survey is a great time to ask all your questions about solar
  • It’s a chance for other stakeholders like spouses and business partners to learn about the solar PV opportunity
Tools for a site survey - helping to design your solar PV system and make sure it meets planning requirements.
Sketching a solar PV system design during a site survey. Image License: CC-BY, Credit: energyd.ie

Understanding Your Electricity Use

The surveyor should ask questions about your electricity use to understand your needs better. This part can be done ahead of time. Good companies will make sure to custom tailor the PV system to maximise the benefits for you.

Finding a Place for You Panels and Hardware

The surveyor should identify a suitable location for the solar panels. This might mean taking measurements to make sure there’s enough space. Similarly, the surveyor should plan the layout of the electrical hardware. He/she will look at your fuse box, Earth rod, and immersion heater. Having seen your home or premises, the surveyor will give you an opinion and discuss your options with you. He/she might also take some photographs for the installation crew, to help them plan your installation efficiently. In addition, the site survey is a chance to make sure that you system will be in line with the solar planning regulations.

Discuss Your Options

After the survey, the surveyor can give you a general outline of the system that best suits your needs. The surveyor might give you a quotation there and then, or might go back to the office to prepare a quotation for you. The surveyor will ask for your feedback and might provide you with alternative options.

Getting Answers to All of Your Questions

The site survey is a great chance to ask your questions about solar PV, especially technical questions. Consider writing a list of questions in advance to ask your surveyor.

And finally

If you’re in Ireland then the surveyor will probably ask for your signature to prove that the survey took place. This is important because getting a site survey done is a requirement to qualify for the SEAI grant.