Solar power is now a mainstream form of energy production in the US. There are more than 3 million systems, residential and commercial, across the nation. If you’re like many homeowners, you’ve likely thought about the possibility of getting solar panels for your home.
Unfortunately, many other major renovations on a home are better understood than panel installation. After all, you generally know what you’re in for when you remodel a kitchen or put on an addition.
If a lack of certainty about the panel installation process has you hesitating, keep reading.
If you’re on the fence, a quick look at the advantages of solar energy may help. One of the main benefits of solar power is that it can help you save money by cutting down on your energy bills.
It’s also a straightforward way for you to go green and help the environment. The more solar energy you produce, the fewer fossil fuels you consume. You may even see a boost to your home value.
With the benefits covered, let’s jump into the process.
Your first step is a consultation with a solar installer. They’ll go over system design and financing options with you. In most cases, they’ll also arrange for an engineer to come with them or visit separately.
The engineer will examine your roof and attic to ensure it has sufficient strength to support the panels. If your roof won’t support a system as is, or the roof is old, they may recommend a new roof or adding support to the roof.
You’ll need permits for a solar panel installation almost everywhere because it’s a major change to your home’s structure. Getting permits can go quickly, but routinely takes up to a month. Most installers will help you get the permits, but make sure you ask about it.
Once you settle on a system design and get the financing in order, you’ll order the equipment. That means things like the panels themselves, the rails for the panels, the inverter, and the battery.
Once the equipment arrives and the permits are secured, the installation takes place. Installation usually only takes two or three days but can extend to a week. Get a time estimate from your installer.
You may need a general contractor to come in and add additional supports before installation.
After the installation, you’ll need an inspection. If you’re grid-connected, you’ll also need the local utility to make the final connection or sign off before you turn the system on.
Panel Installation and You
Getting a panel installation for solar energy in your home may sound daunting. Yet, the actual installation process is often the least time-consuming and stressful part of the process.
Most installations happen quickly and with minimal intrusion into your home. The steps leading up to installation typically take far longer and involve more direct input from you.
Looking for more tech that can improve your home? Take a look at the posts in our Technology section.