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Solar Panel Installation Process: What to Expect

You have done extensive research, decided that solar paneling is a good choice for your home and are looking to hire a great solar contractor. Congratulations! You are now ready to begin the process of solar panel installation. Like any home renovation, the solar panel installation process will vary depending on your home’s unique attributes, so working in tandem with a seasoned contractor will ensure smooth sailing. Read on for advice on what to expect during the entire solar installation, and how to prepare for the installation process.

Table of Contents

The Solar Panel Installation Process, Step By Step

In general, home solar panel installation and activation follows this process:

1. Site Assessment and Design

  • Timeframe: 1-4 Weeks
  • This step begins with an initial site inspection, where your contractor will visit your home to get a better understanding of your needs. Your contractor will then design your solar panel system based on your home’s unique attributes. If necessary, most contractors can also work with you to address any issues that might hinder panel installation, like pruning nearby trees or making roofing repairs.

2. Permitting

  • Timeframe: 2-8 Weeks
  • Your solar panel designs must now be submitted to your local government for permitting. The process for approval varies from region to region, but never fear: Your contractor should work closely with you during permitting, and will likely be very knowledgeable about your area’s permitting process.

3. The Solar Panel Installation

  • Timeframe: 1-7 days
  • After receiving approval, your solar contractor can begin work. This includes ordering your solar panels, as well as making sure your roof is structurally sound and free of obstructions. On the big day, an installation crew will install the proper wiring and mounting equipment and then place and connect the solar panels themselves. Depending on the size of the solar panel system being installed, this process can be done within a day.

4. Government Inspection

  • Timeframe: 2-3 Weeks
  • A final inspection by your local government and/or municipal utility must occur before your new solar array can officially be turned on. An inspector will visit your home to ensure that your solar panel system is properly installed. They may also install a net meter, which tracks production and allows your home to send excess power back to the electrical grid.

5. Activation

  • Once you receive final approval, you can immediately flip the switch and begin harvesting solar energy for your home.

Factors That Impact Solar Panel Installation

There are several factors of your home’s design to take into account before beginning installation. Solar panels work best on large, rectangular, south-facing sections of roof. Also, mitigate shade cast by trees or nearby buildings, as that can reduce your solar panels’ efficiency.

Last, the type and age of your roofing material is an important consideration. Solar panels can be installed on almost any roofing, but the material itself will determine the mounting system that works best for your home. The material should be sturdy and rot-free. If a roof replacement is necessary, that job can often be completed in tandem with the solar panel installation.

Don’t be daunted by these considerations. A good solar contractor will understand your home’s unique properties and find the right number, size, and style of solar panels for you. Modernize is an excellent place to start your search for a trusted, local solar contractor to partner with for your solar panel installation.

How to Prepare Your Home For Solar Panel Installation Day

You might be wondering how you can physically prepare your home and family for installation day. The good news is that solar panel installation itself is a fairly convenient, hands-off home renovation that requires very little preparation on your part. Small thing to keep in mind include:

  • Work with your contractor to make sure your roof is free of obstructions before installation day. This might include pruning tree limbs or relocating your satellite dish.
  • Solar panel installation can be noisy, so consider how the sounds of hammering will impact your daily routine. For example, small children or pets might be more comfortable staying with family during installation.
  • Make extra space in your yard and driveway for the installation team. Remove decorations and outdoor furniture from the vicinity to allow room for scaffolding. You should also relocate your vehicles, so construction crews can park as close to your home as possible.

Solar panel installation can be a long journey, but it’s one that ends with a significant increase in home value. If you’re interested in reaping the financial and environmental benefits of a solar-powered home, our tools can help you get started.

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