Installing solar panels at home can seem like a daunting task, but it’s not that difficult. In this blog post, we will walk you through the process step-by-step of how solar panels are installed in your home. Let’s get started!
1. Engineering site visit
Before your solar panels can be installed, an engineer will need to visit your property to evaluate the electrical status of your home and ensure compatibility with your new Photovoltaic (PV) system. Here’s what you can expect during this visit.
The engineer will assess the condition of your roof and look at your electrical panel to see if an upgrade is necessary. This evaluation is necessary to determine whether a new PV system can be installed at your property. In some cases, an installer can take photos of the property and conduct their measurements without an engineer present. However, if there are any concerns about the condition of your roof or electrical panel, the engineer will need to take a closer look.
Once the evaluation is complete, the engineer will provide a report detailing their findings and whether or not a PV system can be installed at your property. If the engineer finds that an upgrade to your roof or electrical panel is necessary, they will provide recommendations on how to proceed. If everything checks out, then congratulations – you’re one step closer to powering your home with solar energy!
2. Preparation of Permits And Documents
Installing solar panels includes a ton of paperwork, just like any significant financial choice. Fortunately, the installer handles most of this paperwork; nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to be aware of what’s happening with your solar installation behind the scenes. You’ll mostly be submitting applications for local solar programs, state and federal solar incentives including the federal ITC, clean energy finance programs like PACE, government rebates, and solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs).
During the solar panel installation procedure, you will also need to fill out additional documents, such as building permits. These licenses are unique to your residence. For instance, whereas other regions of the United States permit you to put solar panels across the whole surface of your roof, certain states mandate that solar panels have three feet of clear space around them. Your installer may advise you on which permissions you need and, in many cases, can complete the necessary paperwork for you. Your installer will be familiar with the limitations and requirements of the states where they operate.
3. Ordering Of Materials
Your installer will be prepared to order equipment from their main distributor once you’ve completed the necessary papers. Before signing the contract that specifies the overall price, you will already have decided on the equipment your system will comprise.
Here are some things to think about if you’re searching for help choosing equipment, though. Solar panels and inverters are the two main parts you must assess for your clean energy system. For each, your installer will probably suggest a specific brand and provide a few choices. Most homeowners will utilize durability, efficiency, and beauty as their main criteria when evaluating the various manufacturers (other than price).
Spend some time comparing microinverters to string inverters to power optimizers and looking into the top-rated solar panels on the market to be sure you’ve chosen the proper equipment for your system. You may feel more prepared for the ordering and shipment phase of the installation procedure if you have evaluated your equipment selections.
Your property gets placed in your installer’s queue once the equipment ordering process is finished. When your paperwork is accepted, your equipment (panels and inverters) can arrive on the day of your installation (typically within one to two months). The number of projects your installer has waiting in line will also affect how long it takes to install.
4. Installation of Solar Panels
The actual installation of solar panels on a roof involves five key steps:
- Your roof will first be prepared by your solar installation, who will also check that the shingles or tiles are securely fastened.
- The electrical wiring that will link your electrical panel and general power system is then installed.
- They will install racking to support your panels after the electrical wiring is finished (this is the only piece of equipment that will be attached to your roof).
- The panels are put on the racking once it has been secured securely and is level.
- To transform direct current (DC) energy into the alternating current (AC) energy utilized in residences and on the electrical grid, your inverter(s) are finally connected to the panels.
Several respectable solar firms complete these procedures without incident, however, less-known installers could offer subpar service and omit crucial processes from your installation. Because the next and last stage of solar panel installation involves an inspection and final approval, which can disclose if your installer took shortcuts, you must choose the right company to install your solar panels.
5. Approval and interconnection
“Flipping the switch”, so to speak, and starting to generate power from your rooftop is the last stage in becoming solar. A town government official will need to assess the system and grant their approval before you can connect your solar panels to the electrical grid.
The representative will effectively double-check your installer’s work throughout this inspection. He or she will check to make sure the electrical wiring was done properly, the mounting was securely fastened, and the entire installation complies with the required electrical and roof setback requirements.
Can You Install Solar Panels Yourself?
Investing in solar power has significant financial advantages: it lowers your recurring electricity expenditures and may even raise the value of your home. Solar is still a significant investment that might cause sticker shock due to the high cost, but incentives like the federal tax credit for solar can lower your net cost by 26%.
It’s not surprising that many homeowners are exploring DIY and wondering if they can install solar panels themselves to save money. Simply put, certainly you can, but going it alone has both benefits and drawbacks. For instance, it might not be the best course of action if you still need to rely on some grid energy, and without professional training, installation can be very challenging.