Solar Panel Installation Timeline
If you’ve made the decision to go solar, there’s a chance you have a long list of questions about the process. Going solar provides tons of opportunities to manage your long-term energy costs. A solar calculator can provide an estimate on what sized system you’ll need (in kilowatts) to offset all, or part, of your electricity consumption. The calculator can also estimate how much the system will cost you, how many kilowatt hours the system should produce annually, and what your financing options are.
Once you’ve chosen a solar partner, the first step in the process is to determine if your home is suitable for solar power. An engineer will come to evaluate your home. Though a south-facing roof in a sunny, free-of-obstruction roof is most ideal for panels, you can certainly benefit from solar even if your roof isn’t in the optimum spot.
The engineer will determine how much sun your panels should be able to capture. Then, the company will assess your financing options before moving on to the next steps.
Your solar partner should acquire the permits and paperwork needed to make sure your solar system is legal. They’ll submit paperwork to the local agencies and utility for final approval and will also help you understand the solar landscape in your state.
Requirements are different depending on where you live, so the processing time can fluctuate. Some cities have taken additional steps to make the permitting process quicker and easier, and are designated as Solar-Friendly Communities, or SolSmart Communities.
Getting Equipment and Installing the System
Like everything else, the installation time will vary. The complexity of your installation is based on the size of your system, structural considerations, availability of inspectors, and the weather. Most installations take an average of 2-5 days of on-site work, which are typically broken out over a period of around two weeks.
Once the system is installed, your utility and local officials will conduct a final inspection to make sure the work was done safely, appropriately, and to code. An electrician will review the installation and the electrical work and make revisions if necessary.
The inspectors will then sign off, and you can flip the switch on! Congratulations – you’ve now gone solar. Your solar provider will provide ongoing operations and maintenance and quality assurance.
Getting the most out of your new solar system requires a bit of attention and maintenance. Check out our guide to maintaining your solar panels. When you’re done there, learn more about how solar panels work in shade and bad weather.