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Essentials of installing panels

Adrienne SorensenSeptember 4, 20183510

Essentials of installing panels

When you install solar panels, there’s a process for what needs to happen to get your panels ready to begin powering your home. Overall, from the day you sign your contract with your installer, it will typically take between one and three months before your solar panels are grid-connected and producing energy for your home. Here is the first step to getting solar panels installed in your home.

An engineer starts the assessment

Technically signing the agreement with your installer is the first step, but step 1A is having an engineer come by your property to evaluate the electrical status of your home and ensure everything is compatible for solar panels on your roof. This engineer will typically work directly with your installer, but the engineer could also be independent and hired by the homeowner. You can expect the engineering site visit to occur soon after signing with your installer.
 

During the visit, the engineer will evaluate the condition of your roof to ensure that it’s structurally sound. They will also look at your electrical panel to see if you’ll need to upgrade it. Older electrical panels need to be upgraded to handle solar power. If you hear from an installer that they need to upgrade the electrical panel, it simply means that your panel is too old or it means that your new solar panels will require more amps of current and the ampere capacity of your electrical box will need to increase.

 

It should be noted that this engineer visit is different than a general site visit which is when an installer evaluates your property to consider system size, roof type, the angle of the roof, and shading, but that is done before the contract is signed. Additionally, though an engineer will typically come by, in some cases the installer can take photos of the property and conduct their own measurements of the roof and the engineer will be okay with signing off without doing his or her own visit.

 

Buying solar panels is a big decision and connecting to a municipal utility requires permits so everything is done right. The best way to make sure everyone is on the same page in the solar panel process is to use paperwork, contracts, and permits so everything is done right. This is our send part of what you need to know about installing solar. Most of this paperwork is dealt with by the installer, but it is still important to know what’s going on behind the scenes of your solar installation.
 

State and federal tax incentives discussion

One of the main things you’ll be applying for will be state and federal solar incentives such as the federal tax credit, local solar programs, clean energy financing initiatives like PACE loans, government rebates, and solar renewable energy certificates. Each state and city have different regulations, so it is better to check with your installer to see what rebates are available.

 

In addition to applying for incentives, you will need to fill out other paperwork like building permits. These permits are specific to where you live. For example, certain states require that a roof has three feet of clear space surrounding the solar panels, whereas other areas of the U.S. will allow you to install panels across the entire surface of your roof. Your installer will know the restrictions and requirements of the states in which they operate, and can help you figure out which permits are needed. Usually, your installer helps you fill all this out.

 

The time frame for this step is mainly dependent on how long it takes your installer to get it all finished and submitted. If you’re eager to get your panel system up and running immediately, just make sure to follow up with your installer to check on the progress of your paperwork. For more information, click here.

 

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