2018 Solar Panel Installation Guide: 5 Step Process

Congratulations. Your decision to opt for solar power is beneficial to both yourself and the environment. Get ready to enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty with your very own solar panels!

From the day you purchase your solar panels to the day they begin to power your home can take up to three months. Much of this wait arises from the installation process and time it takes to connect your panels to power grid.

Listed below is your 2018 solar panel installation guide: 5 step process

#1 Engineer’s Visit

After signing the solar contract (through a lease, cash purchase, power purchase agreement or loan), an engineer will be scheduled to visit your home to assess its electrical status and ensure compatibility with the new energy system. Engineers usually work in conjunction with installers but may also be independent contractors hired by the installer. The engineer’s visit occurs with a couple of days after you have signed the contract.

What can you expect during the engineer’s visit?

He/she will assess your roof’s condition to ensure that it is structurally sound. They will also examine the electrical panel (grey box located in the basement) to determine whether it needs an upgrade. If an upgrade is required, this means your panels will need additional amps of current. Your electrical box will need to increase its ampere capacity accordingly.



Is the engineer’s visit and installer’s visit the same?

No. Both site visits are different. The installer’s visit is a general one. He or she will evaluate your roof type, shading, roof angle, system size required, etc. before a contract is signed. The installer may also take photographs of your property and take measurements of the roof.

#2 Signing Documents and Obtaining Permits

Obtaining solar panel installation is a considerable financial decision. There is a lot of paperwork involved, although most of it is handled by the installer. However it pays heed to know what’s involved behind the scenes. One of the most important things you need to apply for are federal and state solar incentives such as local solar programs, federal ITC, clean energy financing, SRECs (solar renewable energy certificates and government rebates.

Apart from incentives, you need to apply for building permits. These are location specific. For example, in some states a 3 feet clearing space is required on the roof surrounding the panels. Your installer will be well versed in these requirements and restrictions. They can assist you in determining which permits are required. In some cases, the installer may just complete the paperwork for you. The time required to complete this step will depend on your installer. While this step is being completed, be sure to follow up on the progress of the paperwork.

#3 Ordering Equipment

In this step, you will select your panels and inverter and schedule an appointment for solar panel installation. These decisions are made before signing the contract. The order is placed with the installer’s primary distributor.

There are two important components to your solar installation: the inverters and solar panels. Many homeowners take into account the price, efficiency, durability and aesthetics of the brand they’re considering. To be confident in your purchase, conduct research on your own and learn the differences between power optimizers, string inverters and micro-inverters. In addition, seek out what are the best rated solar panel brands in the market. This step will help you feel informed and prepared prior to the installation process. Solar companies aren’t as busy during the winter.

Once the equipment order is placed, your home will be listed on the installer’s queue. The time until your panel is installed will vary according to how many installations are there prior to yours. To reduce this time, opt for a winter installation.

#4 Installation of the Solar Panel

This is an exciting day for every homeowner. To ensure your installation proceeds without any hiccups, prep your roof beforehand. Ensure all tiles or shingles are properly attached. In addition, there shouldn’t be any debris on your roof. If there are large trees on your property that are in direct sight of your panels, make sure they are trimmed.

When the installer arrives, they will start by placing electrical wiring to connect your panel and the general power system. After the wiring is complete, the racking system that will support your panels will be installed. This is the only item that will be attached to your roof. Lastly, your inverter will be connected to your panels. (They are instrumental in converting direct current into alternating current, to be used on the electric grid and in your home.)

The time taken for the entire installation process will vary from one up to three days. This depends largely on the size of the system. If you’re opting for net metering, a power meter will be required which will increase your installation time.

#5 Interconnection and Approval

In this final step, you’re literally flipping on the switch and generating power from your rooftop panels. Before your panels are linked to the electric grid, a government inspection of your solar installation will occur. This includes inspecting the electrical panel, the wiring, the mounting of the panels and ensuring everything is to code. If everything fares well during this inspection, you will receive an official connection to the power grid.

Lastly, a representative from the electric company will also conduct a final evaluation. If there are no issues, he or she will give the ‘okay’ to go live immediately. The duration between gaining approval from the government and the utility company and connecting to the grid can range from two weeks up to one month.

With this 2018 Solar Panel Installation Guide: 5 Step Process, you will get an in depth understanding of the entire procedure.

To take advantage of the many benefits of a solar power installation, get in touch with Pssolarsystems today.