Switching to solar energy is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your electricity bills. However, the first and most critical step in the process is choosing the right solar installer. This article outlines the new solar panels installation process, including choosing a solar installer, performing a site assessment, system design, obtaining permits, scheduling installation, installation, inspection, and utility interconnection.
Choosing a Solar Installer
This is the first step in the solar installation process and one of the most important. Choosing the right solar installer will determine the quality and cost of your solar installation. Take the time to research and compare quotes from at least three solar companies in your area to ensure you’re getting the best value for your investment.
After you have chosen your solar installer, they will perform a site assessment to determine if your roof is suitable for the new solar panels. During the site assessment, a representative from the solar company will visit your property to evaluate the condition, shading, size, and direction of your roof. They’ll also check if your roof can handle the weight of solar panels and if any upgrades to your electrical panel are necessary.
Once your roof is deemed suitable for solar, an engineer will design your solar system. The design process takes into account your electricity usage, roof characteristics, local building codes, and utility requirements. The engineer will determine the optimal number and placement of the new solar panels to maximize energy production and minimize costs.
Applying for Building and Solar Permits
Before installation can begin, you need to obtain the necessary permits. The permitting process varies from town to town and can be time-consuming. Your solar installer will handle the permit application process for you, but the time it takes to obtain approval depends on the types of permits needed and the permitting processes in your municipality.
Ordering New Solar Panels and Scheduling Installation
Once permits are approved, your solar installer will order the equipment needed for your installation. If your installer has the necessary supplies in stock, they may begin installation right away. However, if the equipment needs to be shipped, it could take a few weeks to arrive.
New Solar Panels Installation
The actual installation of your new solar panels is the shortest part of the process. The time it takes to complete the installation depends on the complexity of your system. If everything goes smoothly, your solar installation won’t take more than three days, but unforeseen issues may arise, causing it to take longer.
After the installation is complete, a local inspector will visit to ensure the system was installed properly and meets all the correct building requirements. This serves as a safety measure to identify any issues before the system is turned on.
Utility Interconnection and Permission to Operate
You’ll need permission from your utility company before you can start using your new solar panels. The utility company will install a new electrical meter that can properly measure your solar energy production and do a quick inspection. Once this is complete, your interconnection agreement will get the final stamp of approval, and you’re officially ready to power your home with solar energy.
Making the switch to solar energy can be a complex process, but the benefits are well worth the effort. By choosing the right solar installer and following the installation process, you can reduce your reliance on fossil fuels, save money on your electricity bills, and make a positive impact on the environment.