Not only does switching to solar energy save money, but it also protects the environment. If you’re thinking about taking this step, congratulations! Installing solar panels is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.
Those new to the solar panel world often ask, “how long does it take to install solar panels for your home?”
If you’re interested in learning the answer, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about installing solar panels for your home.
How Long Does it Take to Install Solar Panels for Your Home
Solar panel installation for residential properties is a relatively short process. Depending on the size of your roof and the solar system you choose, it typically takes about one to two days to complete the work.
Of course, the solar company may run into unexpected issues and need to do additional work to get the panels installed. Bad weather might also cause a delay. But without any hold-ups, the installation itself is actually the quickest part of the process.
However, that doesn’t mean you can get a solar system in just a day or two. Numerous stages need to be completed before and after installation.
Solar Panel Installation: The Whole Process
The installation process isn’t just about a company coming to your house, putting panels on the roof, and activating the system. In most cases, it takes several months from obtaining the necessary paperwork and permits to completing the installation.
We’ll explain the entire process in detail to give you a better idea of what it takes to install solar panels.
Depending on where you live, you may have access to several solar installers. Research the market to see which ones are the best. You want to look for experienced companies that own the necessary permits and have good online reviews from previous customers.
If your neighbors have solar panels, ask them what companies they used. Their experience can help you decide.
After you’ve done your research, select two or three contractors with the best reviews and a strong track record and ask them for quotes.
Once you’ve received proposals from the contractors you’ve reached out to, it’s time to review them. Each proposal will contain a plan that shows where the panels will be installed, along with the wiring, meter, and inverter. Proposals will also include a list of necessary equipment and the total price.
Before writing the proposal, contractors may need to visit your house. But in most cases, they use satellite images for reference. In some cases, they may even fly a drone over your home to get a better view of your roof.
Carefully review the proposals and ask any questions you may have. Pay attention to warranties, different equipment options, panel types, price, etc. While an important factor, price shouldn’t be the deciding one.
Take your time with the decision and don’t let a company rush you into making the wrong choice.
Once you’ve selected the solar contractor, they will send out a team to perform a site assessment, examine your roof, and discuss the plan.
The team confirms whether the actual state of your roof matches the initial investigation and makes the necessary adjustments. Professionals will then check if the roof can support the solar panel weight. In addition to inspecting the roof, the contractor team will also assess your electrical system and determine whether it can withstand solar panel installation.
Any issues they identify could significantly affect the price and the process length. Keep in mind some companies do on-site evaluations after signing the contract. Although this isn’t anything suspect, you should ensure there’s a clause in the contract that enables you to back out without any penalties if the price changes.
Design Plan and Contract Signing
After the evaluation, you’ll receive a design plan from the contractor containing detailed information about solar panel installation. This plan focuses on how many solar panels you need, where they will be installed, and how they will look. Once you approve the plan, you’ll need to sign a contract. Take your time to carefully review it and discuss everything you find unclear.
The right company won’t push you to sign the contract as soon as you get it. Quite the opposite: they’ll explain everything in detail and answer all your questions.
You need to obtain different permits before the installation process, and these vary depending on where you reside. Since this is a construction project, you’ll need to clear it with your local government and let them know what you’re doing. You’ll also need a photovoltaic and electrical permit and possibly a structural one if you’re installing rooftop panels. If you’re installing ground-mounted panels, you’ll need a different permit.
You may also need approval from your homeowners’ association.
Your solar contractor typically takes care of the necessary paperwork and assists you in the process.
Depending on the location, the number of permits you need, and how busy government offices are, obtaining permits can last anywhere from one week to several months.
After receiving the necessary permits, the solar company can order panels and the necessary equipment they don’t have in stock. This process can also take a while, especially if the parts are shipped from overseas.
Structural or Geotechnical Inspection
This step depends on your local regulations and the panel type you want. A structural engineer may have to inspect your roof before the installation process if you’re going with rooftop panels.
If you want ground-mounted panels, a geotechnical engineer may need to visit the site. Although this step doesn’t require any action on your behalf, it can still take a while until you manage to schedule the visit.
Solar System Installation
You’ve finally come to the installation part. As previously stated, the process typically takes one or two days, depending on the roof size and solar system type.
Usually, one team will install the panels while another installs the inverter, wiring, and other necessary equipment.
The solar company will also install a new meter that keeps track of how much power you’re bringing into the grid. In some cases, the utility company you’re using may send their worker to do this part. In that case, it might take some time to schedule the visit, prolonging the whole process.
Local and Utility Inspections
If you thought the process ends with solar system installation, unfortunately, you’re wrong. The system can’t be activated until the final inspections are completed.
Again, the number of inspections depends on where you reside, but in most cases, the utility company and a local inspector will need to take a peek at your solar system. They will determine whether the solar panels are installed correctly and are up to standard.
The process could be quick, but it could also take weeks, depending on the availability of the utility company and the inspector.
After the solar panel system passes the necessary inspections, it needs to be connected to the local power grid. This is the final part of the process undertaken by your utility company. Depending on how busy they are, it may take a few weeks until you get an appointment.
The Sun Can Pay Your Bills
Solar panel installation is only a part of a process that can take up to several months. The installation itself lasts one or two days, but many steps need to be completed before you get to it. Although it may seem like a lengthy process, the benefits are definitely worth it.
If you were wondering, “how long does it take to install solar panels?”, this article has provided the necessary answers. We hope we’ve explained everything you need to know about the whole process and that you’ve now decided to go solar.