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How long will a solar panel installation take?

Francisco CastroApril 25, 20193040

While the actual installation of solar panels on a roof should only take one to two days for an average home, there are a number of issues that go into play before you can start saving on your electricity bill.

In fact, on average, it takes about 35 days for a solar system to get up and running as it travels the course of you choosing an installer and closing the deal to actually getting approval for the system to start generating power.

This is because before those panels go on your roof, the installer has to design your solar array and secure initial permits (from your city government) and interconnection agreements (from your electric utility). 

The process

You can start the process of getting a solar power system by going to the Hahasmart price checker, a tool that calculates the price of your array based on your address and energy needs. It will show you the actual unit price of solar panels and inverters, which are the most critical parts of a solar powered system. It also gives you the estimated cost of installation based on thousands of completed solar projects. 

Next, you’ll want to find a solar installer. There are dozens of companies offering their service and you want to make sure to get the most experienced company for your project. 
You might want to get referrals from friends or relatives who have gone the solar power route. You can also check out online reviews of solar installer companies in your area. 
It’s always recommended that you get more than one solar installation quote. This allows you to compare prices and see which company fits best with you. 

A home visit

This may happen initially, but if you’ve been dealing with solar installation companies online or by phone, once you narrow your choices to one or two contractors, they will send a representative to assess your roof: its type, angle, general condition, shading concerns and other factors that could impact the actual installation or efficiency of the system. 

Armed with this information, they will design a solar array for your home and provide a layout. They can also also explain financing options and equipment brand choices. They will also provide you with a quote for the job. 

Once you sign a contract with your installer, they may send an engineer to further evaluate your roof and electrical system. He/she may recommend that you upgrade your electrical panel, for instance, to better handle the solar energy you’ll be producing. 

Permits

Once everything’s cleared, it’s time to get permits. Your installer will likely handle all of this, but it may take some time

As with any major modification to your home, your city will have to allow it, based on their building codes. Permitting requirements vary depending on where you live. Some cities require very strict permits, while others don’t.

Along with the permit process, the solar installer or you should be looking into local and state incentives that could significantly reduce the price of going solar. 

Securing the equipment

Once permits are cleared, it’s time for ordering the parts needed for your solar system. The installation company may want to work with Fortune Energy, which carries a large selection of solar equipment (solar panels, inverters, racking and wiring) for all project needs. 

If they have the parts in stock, getting the equipment will be relatively fast. Or they may have to order them.

The installation

Now it’s time to get on the roof. Every installer as his own way of doing things, but generally, they’ll follow these steps:

     Prepping your roof to safely and securely attach the racking where your panels will be placed

     Installing the electrical wiring that connect the solar modules to the string inverter (this may be different if you’re using microinverters) and your home’s electrical panel

     Setting up the racking to hold the solar panels

     Setting up the inverter that converts direct current electricity (DC) into alternating current (AC), which is what appliances use

     Installing a power meter needed for net metering so you can sell and receive energy from your utility

The final turn on

If you plan on using the net metering system in California, you’ll need to get final approval by an inspector from your local government and/or your public electrical company.

Once he gives the OK, your installer will be able to turn on your solar system and you’ll be on the way to saving on electricity.

Sounds like a lot of steps and each one is just as important as the next, but you want to make sure everything is done right. This is not a rush job. Remember that the solar system on your roof is guaranteed to keep working for 20-25 years, so it’s a long-term investment that needs to begin currently to avoid problems down the line.

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