Residential rooftop solar panels can be installed in weeks while commercial installs can span months
While installing the actual rooftop solar panels is not a prolonged task and can be accomplished within 3 to 4 days, the entire solar panel installation process involves certain steps that can be very time-consuming, thereby stretching the process over the span of a few months.
Bearing this in mind, there isn’t a definite answer as to how long an installation takes, for some people the project is completed in a few weeks while for others it can even last for as long as half a year. On average, the installation can take around 3 months. Strictly speaking, the installation duration depends on a few particular factors which can vary from project to project. Therefore, expecting to have a complete installation at the same time as a friend or known associate may set you up for disappointment.
Factors that determine how long a rooftop solar panel installation takes
This might raise another question for you – what factors determine the duration of an installation project? Well, don’t worry, this article will quench your thirst for curiosity.
- The solar installation company you hire for the project.
- Site Assessment to get an outline of your area.
- The local permitting process to get you a permit for the project.
- The project scope and the type of rooftop solar panels and mountings used.
- Interconnecting the system and utility connection process.
- Final inspection of the system.
Choosing a Solar Installation Company
Of course the first and foremost step is to choose a company competent enough to properly plan and execute the project of installing rooftop solar panels. Solar panel installation requires knowledge and experience. The solar panel system has various intricate parts involved such as the panels themselves which can be quite susceptible to damages. Therefore, the installation needs to be performed with care and skill.
Furthermore, you might not be aware of this but the performance of your solar panel system hugely depends on the way the rooftop solar panels are positioned. The system delivers peak performance when your panels are positioned at a certain angle from the horizontal plane and facing a certain direction. The company you hire should be aware of this and should have the technical skills to determine where this position lies for your specific case.
The system delivers peak performance when your panels are positioned at a certain angle from the horizontal plane and facing a certain direction.
Carrying Out a Site Assessment for a rooftop solar panel install
Once you’ve decided on a solar installation company to handle your project and have signed a contract with them, the next step in the process is to conduct a site survey. The company will send over a team of engineers that will carry out a thorough assessment of your property in order to evaluate the status of your current electrical. This is done to ensure that your current setup is compatible with the solar panel system you’re having installed.
It is important to know that in the case that your current electrical setup is too outdated to facilitate the solar panel system, the engineer will recommend upgrading or replacing the system. Usually, this implies that your current electrical system is unable to accommodate the amount of amperes that your new system requires it to.
A team of engineers will carry out a thorough assessment of your property in order to evaluate the status of your current electrical. This is done to ensure that your current setup is compatible with the rooftop solar panels you’re having installed.
Furthermore, the team of engineers will also inspect the installation site (your roof). This will help in determining whether the site has the adequate structural integrity to bear the weight of the new system.
The team will also evaluate which type of mounting you’ll require to position the panels for peak performance. The panels are more often than not installed in an inclined position to receive direct radiation from the sun. In case you have a flat roof, you’ll need special mounting to accommodate such positioning.
Securing a Local Permit for the Solar Project
To ensure that your solar panel installation is legal and meets all local safety and zoning regulations, you’ll need to secure all necessary documents and permits. Doing it the other way around – installing rooftop solar panels first and getting permits after – can stack up a variety of head-aching legal problems for you and the company.
While it is true that there is a lot of paperwork involved in a solar panel installation project, the silver lining is that the majority of it will be dealt with by the company heading your project. Even though you won’t have to do much more than sign a few papers, it’s still crucial to know what your signature is being used for.
Following are some of the permits and legal issues that your hired company will apply for:
- Obtaining local electrical and construction permits on your behalf.
- The company will file applications for the federal or state incentive programs that might reimburse you for the upfront cost of the installation project.
- Singing an interconnection agreement with your local utility company (in simpler words, it means to secure permission from the utility provider to install solar panels and conduct net metering).
By filing all the documentation, you can potentially secure tax credits, rebates, or financial aid from some other federal renewable program to help you offset the expense of the rooftop solar panels.
This stage considerably stretches the installation process. It takes quite a bit of time for your solar installation company to prepare and submit all the required documentation. However, it takes even longer for the government agencies to process all of the paper work – up to several weeks. This entire stage can take around a month to two months.
Designing the Solar Panel System and Planning the Installation
By now, you will have already decided between the different types of the various components that go into your solar panel system. This includes the type of solar panels, the inverters (if applicable), and the solar batteries for your home. These choices are usually outlined in a proposal that you receive well before signing your contract.
However, you’ll have to make a choice between performance and affordability when choosing a solar panel type for your project. Naturally, the company you’re working with will guide you in choosing what would work best for you.
You’ll have to make a choice between performance and affordability when choosing rooftop solar panels for your project. Naturally, Firefly Solar will guide you in choosing what type of system would work best for your project.
The solar company will have to order parts such as mountings and brackets if they’re not in stock, this will of course add to the installation time. once all the parts and equipment are ready, your installation will be scheduled and executed. This planning and designing stage can take a week or two.
Installation of your rooftop solar panels
The installation team will arrive at your property on the scheduled day and begin the installation process. The roof will be prepped for the installation by ensuring there are no loose tiles or shingles. The team will then lay the wiring for the system and finally the mounting or racking will be installed. Once this is done, the panels will be placed in and a connection to the inverter and battery will be provided.
The time required for the installation can vary depending on the size of the project. Generally, most residential solar panel installations are completed in one to three days.
Connecting the System to Your Utility
A representative from your local utility company will be required to interconnect the system, which entails connecting it to the electrical grid. This allows you to draw electricity as needed while also safely feeding any excess energy back into the grid, earning you credits from your utility company through net metering schemes.
Once the inspector approves the system and issues a PTO (Permission to Operate), you can start using it to generate electricity.
Inspection of your rooftop solar panels and completed system install
A local inspector will visit your property and evaluate the installation of the system to ensure that the panels are securely in place and that everything is according to regulations. Once the inspector approves the system and issues a PTO (Permission to Operate), you can start using it to generate electricity. Depending on the location of your home and the timeliness of the inspector, the inspection stage can take up to a week.
Solar panel systems are the future of power generation. Installing rooftop solar panels can be extremely beneficial and cost-effective in the long term. However, the installation of these systems is complicated and requires care. Therefore, you need to ensure that the company you hire has the competence to carry out a well-executed installation. The team at Firefly Solar is ready to answer your questions and give you a no-obligation price quote.
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