From the minute they’re installed until they need to be replaced, solar panels can save homeowners up to $30,000.
However, those savings come at a higher upfront cost. While it’s worth it in the long run, is spending extra time and money on the installation process a good idea?
In short, yes. Solar panel installation isn’t as difficult or involved as you might think. We’ve put together this step by step guide to show you what’s involved in solar panel installation so you know what to expect before you get started.
Make sure you keep reading below!
What to Expect from Solar Panel Installation
The entire solar panel installation process can take anywhere from five to 16 weeks. It just depends on who you’re working with, the condition of your home, the weather, etc.
Here’s a quick look at the different steps you’ll have to go through before you can turn on your solar panels.
1. Professional Assessment
To start, you’ll need to get in touch with a contractor, pick a date and time, and have them come over to your property. (If you aren’t sure who to hire, type the phrase “home solar companies near me” into Google to find a few options.) The contractor will take a look at your home to figure out how many solar panels you’ll need, choose the best location for them, and address any prerequisite work, such as repairing roof damage.
The entire assessment should only take a few hours or, at most, a day or two.
2. Layout Design
After the initial assessment, your contractor will help you put together a design plan. This will map out where each solar panel will go, which direction they’ll face, what angle they’ll have, etc.
If you’ve done a lot of your own research, you may have your own design you want to stick to. In this case, you should still show it to your contractor so they can check it, approve it, or make any necessary changes.
You should set aside at least one to four weeks for this step.
3. Permit Application
You might have all the logistics planned out, but that doesn’t mean you can start hanging your solar panels yet. First, you need to get the right permits. To do this, you’ll need to send your solar panel design to your local government.
Don’t know what forms to fill out or where to send them? That’s okay. Your solar panel contractor will know, and they’ll walk you through everything you need to do.
You should get the right approval within two to three weeks (but it can take as long as eight weeks).
4. Installation Process
Once you have the proper permits, your contractor will order the solar panels (it might take a few days for the panels to arrive at your home). The actual installation process, though, is relatively fast. Your contractor will be able to hang all the panels in a matter of days. If your house is large or you need a lot of solar panels, however, the process can take a bit longer.
5. Government Inspection
Your solar panels are installed and ready to go, but you need to have one final inspection before you can start using them. Someone from your local government will visit your home and take a look at your solar panels to ensure everything is up to code.
If you don’t have a net meter already, the inspector may install one on your property at this time. This meter will track your production, and it isn’t large, so you don’t have to worry about it getting in the way of anything.
Depending on when the inspector arrives at your home, this step could take two to four weeks.
Did the government inspector give you the “okay?” Then it’s time to turn on your solar panels! All you have to do is flip the switch, so you can get the power streaming in a matter of minutes.
Can You Speed up the Process by Going DIY?
You can DIY your solar panel installation if you prefer, but it likely won’t speed up the process. You’ll still need to work with the local government to get the right permits, and that is the step that takes the longest.
Working with a professional solar panel contractor may actually help you save time in the long run. Since they have years of experience, proper tools, and a team of workers (in some cases), they can hang the panels a lot faster than you could on your own.
You’ll also have to get a lot more hands-on if you choose to go the DIY route. All the work the contractor would normally take care of, such as the initial assessment, the design, the installation, etc., you’ll have to do on your own. Since you’ll have to do this around your normal work schedule or daily responsibilities, it might slow things down even more.
Making the Switch to Solar Panel
The solar panel installation process does require a few inspections and the right permits. However, if you hire a professional contractor, you won’t have to be too involved in the details yourself. Instead, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your new power source once the contractor leaves.
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