At Howard Construction Co. and Southoward Solar Designs we strive to provide the high quality, energy efficient, cost efficient and simply PV Systems, whether it is for an Industrial, Commercial, or Residential PV application. Industrial PV systems require extensive site surveys. After determining who the existing Electrical Service Provider is (the ESP dictates how the electricity generated by a PV system may be used: See Below) we then proceed with an evaluation of the existing electrical service in order to determine the voltage and amperage of the resident Switch Gear and the method of interconnection. This is followed by an evaluation of the structural capacity of the existing roof structure and the type and age of the existing roof components. This is where HCC and SSD really shine. With our many years of experience in the construction of Industrial and Commercial buildings, WE KNOW BUILDINGS! We have Structural and Electrical Engineers on speed dial and they know us on a first name basis.
We approach Residential PV systems with the same attention to quality, efficiency and cost as with our Industrial or Commercial systems. Your Electric Service Provider has “Interconnect Standards” and will require a lot of paper work, and signed contracts. We will provide all information the ESP requires and file the “Report Of Proposed Construction of a Photovoltaic System” that is required by the North Carolina Utilities Commission for any PV system installed in North Carolina. In addition, we will conduct a site survey of your residence to determine the age and structural condition of your roof, the voltage and amperage of your load center (breaker box) and solar access with the same diligence and expertise as an Industrial or Commercial application. Shading is much more of an issue in residential PV systems than in Industrial or Commercial systems. We conduct “Solar Access Surveys” with the “Pathfinder”. A time tested device that has been used by solar designers for 30 years.
Most residential PV systems are mounted on a roof. But don’t limit yourself by thinking this is the only place you can put a PV System. PV Modules can be ground mounted. There are literally dozens of manufactures who make “Ground Mounts”. A system can be mounted on a carport. There are manufactures who provide “Solar Carports”. You can create an outdoor “Shade Oasis” as a garden structure or a shade structure such as a Pergola at a swimming pool.
You can mount a PV system on a pole or multiple poles. An important note; PV systems do not need to face true South to produce energy. They can face East or West with only a 20% loss in efficiency.
A Pole Mount is probably the most versatile mounting application for a PV System. It can be placed wherever the best Solar Access is located, whether it is a corner of your yard or in the parking lot of your Business. It can be fitted with a tracking device that allows it to follow the Sun on its path through the sky. This tracking can increase the PV System production by 25% for a Single Axis tracker and 30% plus for a 2 -Axis tracker. It does however add the complication of moving parts and the increased chance of maintenance.