How Long Does A Solar Panel Installation Take: An Estimated Timeline
Installing solar panels is not an overnight process. The timeline for going solar can vary depending on where you live, permit approval, and whether you are also installing a battery backup or an additional service panel. Most importantly, however, your timeline is contingent upon the solar installer you choose as a partner. The following is a breakdown of the solar installation process, including an average timeline for each step of the process:
S For Solar Panel Installation
By installing a home solar power system, you can reduce your dependence on traditional utility companies, offsetting the majority of your monthly energy bills. Plus, it offers a tangible method to curb your environmental footprint, making for cleaner, healthier communities.
Somewhat counterintuitively, the majority of what determines a successful solar project has little to do with the installation itself. Before getting into how to install solar panels, there are a couple of nuances to note off the bat. First, installing solar panels requires thorough knowledge of solar technology, design and engineering.
In other words, the average person will likely want to avoid a DIY solar panel installation and leave the process to professional local installers. A properly designed PV system will provide far more savings on the backend than most DIY installations will save on the front. The second thing to consider is that solar panel installation wont happen overnight.
Even after you choose the best solar panels for the job, there are a few vital steps in the installation process essential for ensuring a reliable, effective and efficient renewable energy system. Here are the basic steps of solar panel installation:
Solar Panel System Interconnection
To ensure safety, your newly installed solar panels are going to need to be inspected. Once a city official comes to double-check your installation, your panels will be approved to be added to the grid system. This process of interconnection might take a few weeks, but if you get the go-ahead, this will be the final step in installing your solar panels.
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Complete A Site Survey With An Engineer
Once you choose the best solar installation company for your home and sign a contract, the company will send an engineer to your home to evaluate your current electrical system, ensuring everything is compatible with your intended solar panel system design.
This engineer may be an employee of the solar company or an independent contractor. Be aware that if you have an old and outdated electrical system, the engineer may tell you that it needs to be upgraded or replaced. This is generally an indication that your new solar energy system will require more amps than what your current electrical system can accommodate.
In addition to checking out your electrical system, the engineer will also want to inspect your roof. Theyll need to ensure it is structurally sound and able to support the weight of solar paneling. Also, the engineer will be able to tell you if you need a specialized mounting system, such as for a flat roof.
A solar energy system will only perform as well as its designed, so hiring a trustworthy solar engineer is one of the most important steps in the process. Still looking for an installation company? to get connected with a solar installer in your area and receive a free quote.
Is My Home Good For Solar Power
Most homes are suitable for a solar panel installation. Some homes are more capable of generating solar energy than others though, but overall, the solar energy potential in Alberta is fantastic.
If you are building new, consider designing your home for solar panels.
The ideal tilt and orientation of solar panels is due South at a tilt close to the latitude. For Edmonton, the latitude = 53 degrees but a 45-degree tilt or a 12:12 pitch is nearly identical in energy production and is a much more common pitch/tilt.
If your home does not have a 12:12 pitch facing south, dont worry. There will be energy losses, but nothing detrimental.
The average Alberta home has a pitch of 4:12 or approximately 18 degrees. If this home is facing due south, it will experience approximately 9% energy losses relative to the ideal tilt/azimuth.
If you your home is facing East and West that is ok too. Some energy is lost, but the solar panels can still generate 100% of your annual demand.
East/West faces do provide advantages though. Homes with gables running North/South typically have a very large area to install solar. The additional area often makes up for the slight drop in energy output. Similarly, East and West faces will generate lots of energy in the morning and evenings, when people use electricity the most, helping the payback period of solar power.
Vents, chimneys, trees and other shading sources will negatively affect your solar power system.
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What Happens After The System Is Installed Can I Turn It On Right Away
After installation has been completed, our Inspection Coordinator will contact you to schedule the final building inspection. We will then submit the results of the inspection and a final application to your utility company to receive Permission to Operate . We will notify you when it is safe to activate your system.
The Solar Installation Process Will Take Months
So how long does it take to install solar panels? Well, unfortunately, this process does not take just a couple of days. If you want to install solar energy, the entire process can last for months. Thankfully, most of the steps can be handled by your solar installation company of choice. This is why you have to review every proposal that you receive carefully. The majority of the process involves waiting for paperwork, permits, and other approvals to be done, and all of these things happen behind the scenes. The only part you need to be concerned about is being on your property during the inspection.
Every city and local government has its own regulations. So some of the steps listed above may not apply in your area. Or you may have to deal with other things like solar financing. But if you add up all the steps involved, plan for your solar energy system to take a few months to be finished. Then you can enjoy solar power for many years to come.
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How Long Does It Take To Go Solar
Each state has slightly different requirements when it comes to residential solar so the timelines can vary. In this article, well describe our own process at Vivint Solar to explain all the essential steps associated with solar panel installation and how long each should generally take.
Other installers might have slight variations in their process , or slightly different names for their steps, but be wary of any company that skips any of the steps below because theyre all important in ensuring you get a safe, reliable, solar energy system installed on your home.
If youve already begun your solar journey with Vivint Solar and want to track your progress, simply log in to Account Center to get more details.
Five: Scheduling Your Solar Installation
When the paperwork is approved and your equipment order has been sent, your solar installer can finally schedule the installation. If your equipment needs some time to arrive, this could push out your installation. The other major factor will be your installers schedule. During the busy months of the year, a solar installer may be booked for several weeks or even a month out in the future. It can be frustrating to wait for their schedule to clear, but at least this indicates that your chosen installer has a great reputation and a thriving business.
If you want to speed up the installation process, one option is to start during the offseason. Winter time is typically slower for most solar installation companies and can help get your solar installation on the calendar more quickly.
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Finding & Hiring A Solar Company
The first step in installing solar panels is deciding what company will do it for you. Different companies offer unique products that might not be right for your home or yard. The panels might not be readily available, which could delay your installation timeline.
Before you choose a solar company, youll need to ask the right questions to learn about their products and how they install them. A representative from the company will need to visit your home to see how much shade you have and what type of panels will be best for your square footage and electrical needs.
Each visit can take a couple days to weeks. First, you have to decide if the company has what you need. Then, you have to schedule an appointment, which needs to fit into your schedule and the reps schedule. Afterward, the sales rep needs to write an estimate, then deliver it to you. Finding and hiring a solar company can be a test of patience.
If the solar company has what you want, and their price fits your budget, you might be able to decide right away. Otherwise, you could spend weeks or months trying to find the best company and product for your budget.
Order The Right Equipment
Once you have all the correct permits and paperwork in place, your solar installer will be ready to order your equipment. Note that, by this point, you will already have picked out the types of solar panels you need and the best solar batteries and inverters for your home.
These decisions are typically laid out in a solar proposal, sent well before you sign your contract. Naturally, youll want to make sure you research how solar panels work and the different options available to you.
Whether you want the most efficient solar panels or the most affordable, your solar installer can help you pick equipment that will help you achieve your solar energy goals. Once your solar equipment is ordered, your name will be added to the installers queue. Basically, this means youll be put on the schedule for an installer to assemble your solar panels as soon as they arrive from the distributor.
Consultation And Solar Panel System Design
You want to ensure that your solar panels are optimum for your space, therefore youll need to schedule a consultation with the solar power company to figure out the kind of panels that are right for your home. The solar power company will likely ask some simple questions like: The price of your utility bills and the type of roof you haveis it made of shingles, tiles, or clay. Once those details are confirmed, you will be able to get an estimate for the work. Before moving forward, the team should also devise a design plan, too, based on your roof.
Inspection And Final Approval
When your solar panel system is completed, you cant generate power just yet. An inspector will visit your home to ensure that the panels are up to code. This step can take up to one week.
The purpose of the different inspections involved with your solar panels is not to delay the process but to ensure that everything is up to par with the permits you have submitted to the local authorities. As long as your installer did everything right, you can then turn on your panel system. This process will depend on how efficient your local government is and may take several days or weeks.
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Why Do My Designs Show Panels On The North Side Of My Roof
In the northern hemisphere, its typically best to have your panels on a southern mounting plane. We may evaluate any available north-facing roof space in order to design your solar system for maximum production and aesthetics, while still factoring in the systems overall efficiency. To ensure each solar panel is installed to produce the most energy, we avoid placing panels near obstructions such as trees or other structures that may block the path of the sun.
Can A House Run On Solar Power Alone
Practically, it is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining – which means when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.
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How To Install Solar Panels Guide
Heres what well cover in this guide:
- How to secure solar install permits
- Selecting the right equipment
Why You Can Trust EcoWatch
We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites.
S Involved In Installing Solar Panels
There are different stages involved in installing a solar panel system. Each of the steps is required and will take time to complete.
Finding a Trusted Installer
This is the first and most important step if you want to enjoy solar energy for your home. Choosing your installer will take time, and rushing this step will do you more harm than good. Picking the best solar installation company involves steps such as seeking referrals from your family and friends, reading reviews on websites, and asking important questions.
Get Multiple Quotes
When choosing a solar company, you should get multiple installation quotes so you can compare prices. This will also enable you to get a feel for the different installation companies in the area. Remember that the cheapest or most expensive quote isnt always the best. You have to pay attention to the experience of the installer and the quality of the solar panels. This step can take months.
After identifying the contractors and receiving their proposals, the next thing is to review what they have to offer. A good proposal should have the following:
- schematic of the placement of solar panels on your property
- basic diagram of the inverter, wiring, meter
- list of equipment
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Three: Raking In The Solar Incentives
Investing in solar panels for your home isnt cheap, which is why its so helpful when the government offers to shoulder a portion of the bill. Even now, a variety of renewable energy incentives are still available to homeowners who pay for solar. The biggest one is the Federal Investment Tax Credit which lets you deduct 26% of the cost of your solar installation from your tax bill.
Many state and local governments also offer their own incentive plans, including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Your solar installer should be able to identify all the renewable energy incentives you qualify for and help you apply for them. Typically, this process occurs in tandem with pulling permits, so it shouldnt add a lot of additional time to your installation.
Size And Type Of Solar Panel System
Once permits have been approved and your installation is scheduled, the actual installation of the solar equipment itself is perhaps the quickest part of the process.
Most solar companies can install a rooftop residential solar panel installation in one to three days, depending on how many panels youre installing and how complicated the installation is. If youre installing a large commercial solar panel system, expect the installation to take anywhere from a week to a couple of months.
The process of installing a ground-mounted solar panel installation can take more time because of the additional work required your installer will need to trench your land to run the wiring from your solar panel system to your building. If the location of your solar panel system is far from your electric meter, this can add on quite a bit of time.
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Structural Or Geotechnical Inspection
Time needed: days or weeks.
Depending on your local regulations, a structural engineer may need to come to your home to take a peek at your roof. If youâre going with ground-mounted solar panels, you may need to have a geotechnical engineer poke at the soil in your yard to determine what type of foundation will be required.
This is another step that doesnât require much actual time from you, but usually you will need to be home to answer the door. Scheduling this can take several days or more out of the calendar.
Good For The Environment
Solar panels dont produce any type of pollution or greenhouse gasses. Instead, they create electricity that is clean, renewable, and emission-free.
Solar power can also positively affect the environment by reducing or replacing other, more harmful energy sources. And a solar panel system can also work to reduce demand for fossil fuels and shrink your carbon footprint.
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Secure The Right Permits
Before your solar panel installation, youll have a few bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Specifically, youll need to obtain all the right permits and documentation to ensure your solar panel installation is legal, meeting all local safety and zoning requirements.
You wouldnt believe the headaches that can accompany an installation carried out before permits are issued. This step may sound intimidating, but heres the good news: While there is plenty of paperwork associated with installing solar panels, the majority of it is handled by your solar company.
You may not have to do much at all beyond lending a signature here and there, but its still important to have some sense of whats happening behind the scenes. Heres what your solar installer will file for:
- Local electrical and/or building permits on your behalf
- Interconnection agreement with your local utility
- Applications for state or federal incentive programs that curb the upfront cost of solar panels
Its not a bad idea to follow up and get updates every few days, just to make sure the process is still moving forward smoothly. Solar companies are busy with business, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
If youre ready to start getting quotes from local installers near you, use the links below.