See the new Metro Louisville “Installing Solar in Louisville” page for the most up-to-date information on design specification, permitting, historic and special use districts, and more.
Once you decide you may want to install solar, before you contact an installation contractor it is helpful to do a preliminary site assessment yourself. Does your site have good primarily south-facing sun exposure or is there a lot of shading? Is there suitable roof surface, or possibly a garage or barn surface, or alternatively, space for a ground mount? What is the age/condition of the roof? If it appears you have a reasonably good site, you would then want to contact one or more installers who will come out to do a more precise site evalation and get measurements before they can size the system and work up a quote.
Before you call, the installation contractor(s) you call will also need to know your average kWh use of electricity and cost per month. This varies tremendously by user, and depends less on square footage than the energy efficiency of the building and energy use practices of its occupants. Getting an average of your kWh’s used and cost per month over twelve months is best to account for seasonal variations in use. You can find this information on past electric bills or many utilities will print out a 12-months report upon request. For a solar hot water system your gallons of water used per month is needed. The cost figure will help you and the installer determine how quickly your system will pay off primarily through reduced energy bills.
After evaluating the site and getting meaurements, and gaining information on the average kWh’s used and cost per month, the installation contractor(s) will be able to tell you what size of system is possible and give you a cost proposal. You may decide to install a system that meets 100% of your energy needs, or 50%, or something less or more. Even if you want to install to meet 100% of your energy needs, the site may not support it. Once you decide on your best option based on site, price quote, budget considerations, you will sign a contract. The installer you select will then order equipment and be able to tell you when the job will be scheduled and how long it will take to do the installation. For residences, depending on size and complexity of the job, the installation can ofen be done in only one to three days. Large business installations will take longer to complete.