How long does a solar panel installation take?
One of the first questions homeowners have when they’re thinking about installing home solar panels is “how long will the installation take?”.
But first we have to consider and follow the nexts steps.
- Choosing a Sollar Installer
- Consultation with the Solar Specialist
- Design Approval
- Applying for permits and Interconnection
- Install Day
- Inspection and permission to operate
1. Choosing a solar installer
Choosing a solar installer is the first and most important step of your entire solar journey. What company you pick determines not only the price of your installation but the quality and timeline as well!
You want to make sure you’re picking a reliable company that’s been in business for at least 5 years and has positive customer reviews. This step can take you just a few hours, but it’s important to take the time to not only find a few installers you like, but also get and compare quotes from them. You definitely don’t want to cut corners when it comes to choosing the right company.
2. Consultation with Solar Specialist
After you choose your solar installer, they’ll need to perform a site assessment to make sure your roof is suitable for a solar installation. Someone from the installation company will come out to your house and take a look around to check out the condition, shading, size, and direction of your roof. They’ll also make sure your roof can handle the weight of solar panels, and take a look at your electrical panel to see if it would need any upgrades.
The site assessment will take less than a day, just a few hours at most, but we give this a timeframe of about one week to take scheduling into account.
3. Design Approval
Once it’s determined that your roof is ready for solar, an engineer will get started on designing your solar system. Your electricity usage, roof characteristics, local building code requirements, and utility requirements are all taken into account when designing the system.
The design process can take anywhere from two to three weeks on average, but it may take longer if your roof is more complex. Still, the planning stage for complicated systems probably won’t take much more than four weeks to complete.
4. Applying for permits and Intercionnection
Adding solar panels is a construction project, so you need to have all of the proper permits before installation begins. Sadly, the permitting process is probably going to be the longest part of going solar. The exact permits needed vary from town to town. Some have very solar-specific permits while others have various building and electrical permits that need to be obtained.
Depending on the types of permits needed and the permitting processes in place in your municipality, it could take just two weeks to get approval – or almost two months.
6. Install day
As we said earlier, the actual installation of your solar panels is going to be the shortest part of the process. For most residential solar installations, it’ll take just about 6 hours to complete!
Just like with the design of the system, the more complex it is, the more time it will take to complete. In general, your solar installation won’t take more than 3 days unless unforeseen issues arise during the installation. But, those worst-case scenarios are few and far between.
7. City inspection
Your installation may be complete, but that doesn’t mean you can generate electricity just yet. You need a few more stamps of approval before you’re really up and running.
First, a local inspector will likely come out to make sure the system was installed properly and meets all of the correct building requirements. This serves as a safety measure, so any issues can be identified before the system is turned on.
Like the site assessment, this inspection will only take a few hours maximum, but it might take a week or so to schedule the appointment.
You’re also going to need to wait for permission to operate from your utility company before you can start using your solar panels. It should come as no surprise that waiting for utility approval can take a while.
Usually, the utility will come to your property, install a new electrical meter that can properly message your solar energy production, and do a quick inspection. Once this is complete, your interconnection agreement will get the final stamp of approval and you’re officially ready to power your home with solar!