Installing solar panels can seem like an overwhelming task. It’s a big investment, and you want to be sure that it’s done right. In this blog post, we will take a look at the process of installing solar panels from start to finish. We’ll discuss what goes into the installation process, and we’ll also talk about the work involved in each step. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect when you decide to install solar panels on your home or business!
After you’ve signed your solar system contract and had your site assessment, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of solar panel installation! While the whole process of solar panel installation can vary depending on the specific project, there are generally five main steps involved:
The first step in any solar panel installation is an engineering site assessment. This assessment helps to determine things like the amount of sunlight that your property receives, the best location for the panels, and the type of system that would be best for your needs.
During the site assessment, an engineer will come to your property and take a look at things like the angle of your roof, the amount of shade, and the size of your property. They will also check the quality of your roof to make sure its structure can support the weight of the solar panels if you’re planning on installing panels on your roof.
The electrical box on the side of your house is where the solar panels will be connected to your home’s electrical system, so the engineer will also take a look at this during the site assessment. They want to be sure that the box is up to code and that it can handle the additional electricity that will be flowing through it once your solar panels are installed.
They are also checking for any potential obstacles that could make the installation process more difficult. Once the site assessment is complete, the engineer will put together a report with their findings and recommendations. This report will be used to determine if the photovoltaic (PV) system that you’ve chosen is the right one for your home or business.
After the site assessment is complete, the next step is to get all of the necessary permits and documents in order. The permitting process can vary depending on your location, but it generally involves submitting an application to your city or county. This will be beneficial when you apply for incentives like the federal solar tax credit, local solar programs, or solar rebates wherein you are compensated for the renewable energy that your system produces.
In addition to that, you will need to fill out some paperwork like building permits, electrical permits, and any other required documents. These all vary depending on your specific location. There are some states that have very simple permitting processes, while others can be quite complicated.
In some cases, you may need to get a variance if your property doesn’t meet the requirements of the local zoning laws. For example, if you live in an area where houses must be a certain distance apart, and your house is too close to your neighbor’s house, you may need to get a variance in order to install solar panels.
The permit process can be time-consuming. While your solar installer will likely take care of most of this for you, it’s still always good to be aware of the requirements in your area. After all, this is a big investment, and you want to make sure that everything is done correctly and legally.
Now that you’ve got all of your permits and documents in order, it’s time to order your solar panels and schedule the installation!
You’ll need to decide on the type of solar panel system that you want, as well as the number of panels. This will be based on a variety of factors like your budget, the amount of sunlight that your property receives, and your energy needs. The two main components that you’re going to choose are your solar panels and the inverters.
Your installer will most likely have a preferred brand of panels, but it’s always good to do your own research as well. Most things that homeowners factor in when choosing solar panels are:
It’s important to remember that solar panels are a long-term investment. While the initial cost may be high, they will eventually pay for themselves and then some. In most cases, it takes between five and ten years for solar panels to reach their full ROI (return on investment).
Once you’ve decided on your system, it’s time to schedule the installation! The installer will need to come out to your property to do a final walk-through, and then they’ll be able to give you an exact date for when the installation will take place.
Now that everything is scheduled, it’s now time for the solar panel installation to take place! While different installers have different methods, the process usually goes something like this:
1. Setting Up Scaffolding
The first thing that needs to be done is to set up scaffolding around your property. This will provide a safe and sturdy platform for the workers to stand on while they’re installing the panels. The scaffolding will need to be tall enough to reach the highest point of your roof (or wherever the panels are being installed). It will also need to be securely anchored to the ground.
2. Installing the Solar Panel Mounts
The next step is to install the solar panel mounting system. This will be the structure with which the panels are attached. The installer will first attach brackets to your roof (or wherever the panels are being installed). They will then attach the rails to the brackets. The rails will be what the panels are actually attached to.
3. Installing the Solar Panels
Once the mounts are in place, it’s time to install the panels themselves. The installer will carefully lift each panel and attach it to the rails. In most cases, the panels will be attached with special clamps that allow them to be adjusted. This ensures that they’re always in the optimal position to receive sunlight.
4. Wiring the Solar Panels
The next step of the process is installing the electrical wiring. This is what will carry the solar power electricity from the panels to your home. The installer will run a conduit (a type of tubing) from the panels to your electrical panel. MC4 connectors will then be used to connect the wiring to the panels.
5. Installing the Solar Inverter
After the wiring is in place, it’s time to install the solar inverter. This is a vital component of the system because it converts the DC electricity from the panels into AC electricity that can be used in your home. The inverter will be mounted on the side of your house (usually near the main electrical panel). This can be either indoors or outdoors, but inverters are more efficient once they’re kept in a cooler place. So once your inverter is placed outdoors, it should be kept away from the afternoon sun.
6. Bonding the Solar Inverter and Solar Battery
Once the inverter is mounted, the next step is to bond it to the solar battery. The solar battery will store the electricity that’s produced by the panels so that it can be used when there’s no sunlight (such as at night or on cloudy days). The installer will connect the inverter to the battery using cables. These cables will also need to be connected to the main electrical panel.
7. Connecting the Inverter to the Consumer Unit
After the battery is connected, the next step is to connect the inverter to the consumer unit. The consumer unit is what controls the electricity in your home. It’s usually located in a cupboard or closet. The installer will connect the inverter to the consumer unit using special cables. These cables will need to be run through a hole that’s drilled in the wall. A generation meter will also be installed at this time. This will allow you to track how much electricity is being produced by the system.
8. Testing the System
Once everything is connected, it’s time to test the system. The installer will turn on the inverter and check to see if it’s producing electricity. They will also check the generation meter to make sure that it’s accurately tracking the amount of electricity being produced. If everything looks good, then you now have a working solar panel system.
The final step of the process is to get approval and interconnection from your utility company. This step can vary depending on your location, but it usually involves filling out some paperwork and passing an inspection. This step involves having a representative of your local government to come and check that your system is installed correctly and meets all the safety requirements.
After you pass the inspection, they will then allow you to connect your solar panel system to the grid. Once you’re connected, you’ll be able to sell any excess electricity that your system produces back to the utility company. This usually happens through a process called net metering.
And that’s it! You’ve now completed the solar installation process from start to finish. Congratulations on taking this important step towards clean energy by having a solar energy system. We hope that this guide has been helpful in giving you a better understanding of what’s involved in a solar panel installation.