The basics of solar installation
Although the actual solar-panel-installation process only takes a total of two to five days, it can be as long as four months before a solar array is up and producing at your residence or business. Most of the delay is caused by preliminary research, getting required permits and undergoing necessary inspections—but despite the initial investment of time and money, solar energy reaps strong financial benefits in the long run.
Here’s a breakdown of how the process usually works:
- Initial Site Survey. Unless you’re already sure of what contractor to use, you should receive estimates from various companies before deciding with whom to sign an agreement. That contractor will evaluate your site and be able to tell you how feasible, affordable and timely installation can be. Unsure of how to choose a contractor? Here’s a tip from Solar Energy Installers: “[Y]ou should ask for proof of necessary licenses, examples of previous installations in your area and past customers who can act as references. If an installer is properly licensed and has done quality solar installations in the past, you are much more likely to have an experience that meets all your expectations.”
- Rebate and Permit Applications. Because installing solar panels may qualify you or your business for certain rebates—you can find what your state offers at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency—you’ll want to apply for these financial benefits. Likewise, your contractor will obtain building permits before beginning construction.
- System Installation. The actual solar installation takes a few days and involves three steps: installing railings, installing panels and connecting the inverter box with the electrical system.
- Inspections. After construction, you’ll have a building inspection and a utility inspection, after which you’ll get connected to the utility power grid.
After the entire process is complete, you’re ready to enjoy the financial benefits of solar power, from tax credits to energy savings! You may also want to contact your home insurance provider to add the system to your policy.