Millions of homes in the U.S. are installing solar power systems, for good reason. Solar power is a renewable energy source that can save households thousands of dollars every year and give them true energy independence.
However, the process can be intimidating for those inexperienced with solar power. Generally, the entire installation process can take up to 60 days, although the actual solar panel installation is relatively quick. If you are completely new to solar power systems, you may want to brush up on solar basics before beginning installation.
Here, Suntria’s technical team reveals a straightforward, step-by-step timeline for solar installation.
Step 1: Consultation and Quotation (60-90 minutes)
A site visit is a necessary prerequisite for a thorough analysis of the roof structure and assessing the solar panel installation cost. During this visit, a home or business owner would also be informed of any flaws in the roof structure which would inhibit a successful installation process. Barring that, a good solar installer will explain the various solar panel and inverter options, warranty cover, and battery systems available for installation.
Following the needs assessment, the solar provider can provide a cost estimate. Assuming the client is happy with the quotation, the installation process can begin!
Step 2: Engineering Site Visit (1 Day)
As soon as the quotation is signed off, an engineer will do a full assessment of the compatibility between the existing electrical system and the new solar power system. They will also ensure that the roof structure is 100% sound and able to support the solar mounts. It would also be necessary to analyze the electrical panel to ensure it is compatible with the system and doesn’t require an upgrade. Sometimes steps 1 and 2 happen together, but the engineering site visit results in a more comprehensive analysis of structural and electrical compatibility.
Step 3: Permitting and Documentation (2-3 weeks)
Similar to any building project, the installation of solar panels requires the completion of requisite paperwork. When using a solar company, this happens behind the scenes, but it is good for the client to understand the process and possible delays from the start.
To explain, a residential solar power system is still connected to the utility “grid.” This means that contractors first need to secure permission from state authorities before connecting the home system to the utility grid system.
As local governments sometimes experience backlogs, this is generally the most time-consuming part of the installation process. However, permits are usually issued within 3 weeks of application.
Step 4: Order and Delivery of Materials (5-10 Days)
During the consultation and quotation phase, the client and the solar installer will select the best panels for the client’s energy needs. Once they are ordered from the supplier, this should take 5-10 business days, under normal circumstances. However, there could be delays due to backorders causing materials to be delivered in as much as 2 weeks.
Step 5: Solar Panel Installation (1-3 Days)
This is the exciting part! The actual solar panel installation is brief, so there is minimal disruption, as compared to other home renovation projects.
To start, the contractor will ensure the roof tiles or sheets are sound so that the mounting system can attach securely to the roof. Wiring is then laid to connect the solar power system to the general electrical system. Once the electrical system is complete, the solar racks are securely attached to the roof, and the panels are secured on the mounts.
Lastly, the microinverter is connected to the panels. As the solar panels on your roof absorb the energy of the sun and convert it into DC (direct current) power, microinverters convert that DC power to AC (alternating current), the form of electricity that homes use. To find out more about how microinverters work, here’s a quick explainer.
This entire process is relatively quick, but if you have chosen to install a meter as well, the installation process will probably take several more days.
However, top-of-the-line microinverters, such as those made by Enphase, include easy-to-use mobile apps, that allow you to track your overall energy and per-panel energy production data, monitor the system’s health, and share data with family and friends.
Step 6: Connecting to the Grid (2-4 weeks)
Connecting to the main grid requires approval from the local government. The solar installation company will manage this process. A government official will come to double-check the work of your solar installation company, while a representative from the utility company will come to ensure the system is compliant. Once authorities have approved the solar power installation, your system is ready to be connected to the grid!
In summary, the solar panel installation process is actually quite straightforward. When managed by an experienced solar provider, it will be simple, quick, and efficient! The dedicated team at Suntria Solar is committed to managing the process professionally, every step of the way.
Want to learn more? Contact us for a free consultation and estimate!