Legend Solar’s power production guarantee backed by experience, knowledge, and training

In an industry filled with fly-by-night operations setting up shop for a few years and disappearing as quickly as they appeared, it is vital you find a solar company that stands the test of time — and stands behind its claims.

Among the many elements that set Legend Solar apart from the competition, the power production guarantee is often at the forefront of customers’ minds.

“I think that’s a big reason why customers choose Legend Solar,” says Phil McLeod, director of compliance for Legend Solar. “Once they’re our customer, they stay our customer.”

The power production guarantee is a 25-year assurance that the solar system will generate the amount of power Legend projects it will, plus or minus 10 percent. If not, Legend Solar will pay the difference at whatever the utility company charges per kilowatt-hour, or Legend will install additional panels if the problem is ongoing.

This guarantee is separate from the three 25-year warranties on the SunPower solar panels themselves.

“Customers like the fact that they can call us to see what their production is like, and that we do annual checks on their power production,” McLeod says.

The power production guarantee has been part of the Legend Solar promise since the early days of the company, part of the foundation for a strong company that co-owners Shane Perkins and Shaun Alldredge put in place.

“We have a product that’s going to do what we say it will do,” McLeod says.

But how do they determine exactly how much power your panels are going to produce?

The process

The secret is a multi-layered process that includes the understanding and implementation of the Aurora software.

It begins by analyzing Google images and street views to get a feel for the property. Then the sales people come in, measuring the space available for the panels, the height of the trees on the property and the pitch of the roof to tighten up their initial projections.

“Once we have the exact details, the software we use is very, very accurate,” says Logan Bentley, senior solar analyst.

Using the Aurora software, Bentley and his team are able to build a three-dimensional image of the home. They then analyze weather data for the specific area to determine where the sun is going to hit best, where the shade will be and the average number of sunny vs. cloudy vs. rainy and snowy days. From there, they are able to run a simulation to predict the amount of energy the solar panels will produce over the course of a full calendar year.

“We can break it down monthly, even hourly,” Bentley says.

How accurate is the program? When Legend Solar tested the software projections against the actual energy being produced on homes they’d installed on prior to using the software, “we are within 2-5 kilowatt hours of production,” Bentley says.

More than just plugging in numbers

Although the software technology available certainly enhances Legend Solar’s ability to project the amount of energy a particular solar array will produce, it is not simply a matter of plugging numbers into the computer.

Bentley and his team have spent numerous hours participating in trainings, webinars and other professional development regarding the software. They’ve even taken some electrician classes to get a better view of how it all works together. Plus, Legend Solar has played a key role in developing the software over the years, playing around with beta versions provided to them by Aurora and providing feedback.

“We’ve seen the changes in it. It’s very, very accurate,” Bentley says.

Keeping their word

Even with all the technology and precision, there is one variable that is out of anyone’s control: Mother Nature.

“Sometimes weather impacts it,” McLeod says.

For example, in February and March of last year many of Legend’s customer’s in a particular area produced at 108 percent. This year, because of a higher number of cloudy days, it’s been 89 to 90 percent. But rest assured, if Mother Nature’s whims cause the panels to produce below the projection, Legend is ready to write the check to pay for the extra utilities.

Lisa Larson is a freelance writer covering a wide range of topics. See more of her work at www.lisaglarson.com and follow her on Twitter @LisaGLarson and www.facebook.com/larsonlisa

Category: How does solar power work?, Residential Projects