For a long time, solar panels were something you saw occasionally at someone’s home or at a business. In recent years, though, the number of installations has soared over the 2 million mark. It’s a sign that solar energy has become more mainstream and that the technology offers a better return on investment.
If you plan on going solar or are just entertaining the idea, though, you likely wonder what’s involved with solar panel installations. Keep reading for our quick guide to what you should expect from a solar panel company during your installation.
There are a few preliminary steps that go into the installation process. Right off the bat, you’ll need a site assessment.
That’s when a solar panel installation service, such as Blue Raven, evaluates your home’s potential for a roof-based system. They’ll offer recommendations for strengthening your roof, if necessary. They’ll also create a system design that can meet your needs or wants.
The company will then acquire any necessary permits from the city or town for the installation. These steps can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
The actual process of installing solar panels goes fairly quickly. Depending on the size and any complexity of the system, it can take as little as one day. Most installations take less than a week.
The company will install the panels on your roof. They’ll also typically tie the system into your electrical system. Alternatively, they may install a ground-based system if your roof can’t support the weight of the panels.
Most systems tie into the local electrical grid. Systems that don’t connect with the grid will include an on-site battery system.
Most locations will require an inspection of the system before you turn it on. The inspection ensures that the solar panel installation process meets all the relevant electrical codes. It also ensures that the system won’t’ disrupt or damage the local grid when you turn it on.
The inspector may come from the city, town, or the local utility provider. Your local utility service may also install a meter to track electric production from your system. This lets them accurately credit your account for the electricity produced.
Turning It On
The final step in the installation process is when you actually turn the system on. This happens when the inspector signs off on the installation meeting all the necessary requirements.
Solar Panel Installation and You
A solar panel installation can look like a major undertaking at first blush. In reality, you spend most of the time between contacting the solar company and turning the system on simply waiting for things.
You wait for a finalized system design. You wait for permits. You wait for the inspector to come out and approve your system. The actual installation process for the system usually only takes a day or two, which means minimal disruption to your life.
Looking for other ways you can upgrade your home? Check out the posts over in our Technology section.