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Step-by-Step Guide to Solar Panel Installation

Dive into our step-by-step guide to clearly understand the solar panel installation journey for a typical residential home.

We will look into selecting the right installer, the various stages of pre-installation assessments, and the ins and outs of permitting and approvals. Then, we will show you how the actual installation process works, post-installation items, and the overall benefits of making the shift to solar. 

Whether you’re a new homeowner looking into solar for the first time or are ready to pull the trigger on solar a second or third time, this guide has you covered!

Choosing the Right Solar Installer

New House with Solar Panel

Your journey to harnessing solar energy begins with choosing the right solar installer, a decision that can significantly influence the success and cost of the installation. 

It’s imperative to invest time in conducting comprehensive research, ensuring that you partner with a reputable solar company that aligns with your specific needs. In the competitive landscape of solar providers, it’s important to gather multiple quotes. 

This not only provides a broader perspective on the available options but also ensures that you receive a fair and competitive offer. Companies like These professional engineers at our company are instrumental in guiding homeowners through the intricate decision-making process, ensuring every step is informed, transparent, and tailored to individual requirements. Their expertise ensures that homeowners are not just purchasing solar panels but are also embarking on a journey that is professionally advised and engineered, as well as strategically planned.

Site Evaluation

When thinking about using solar energy for your home, the first step is to check if your house is right for it. This check called a site evaluation, helps decide if the planned solar setup will work well. 

During this check, experts determine the best location and orientation for the panels, usually favoring a south-facing direction in the Northern Hemisphere. They then look at the roof to see if it’s strong enough to hold the solar panels. They also peek into the attic to understand the roof’s inside structure, which is important for setting up the panels.

The home’s current electrical wiring is also checked to make sure it can work with the new solar system. Another important thing they look at is if anything, like tall trees or nearby buildings, might block sunlight from reaching the panels. And if you’re thinking about storing extra solar energy for later, they’ll also find a good spot in your home for a battery.

Solar Installation System Design and Contract

solar panel on a domestic roof

After the site evaluation, the next step is designing the solar system. This design is made based on what was found during the check and aims to get the most energy from the sun. 

Embarking on your solar journey with Strive Solar is a decision paved with precision and assurance. The path to solar is intricate, yet, Strive Solar ensures a streamlined experience.

But it’s not just about how well it works. Homeowners often think about how the panels will look on their roofs and want a design that looks good with their house. The design also needs to fit in easily with the home’s electrical system.

The main goal is to make sure the solar setup can produce a lot of energy, considering where the house is and other things that might affect it. Sometimes, the first check might show some problems. When that happens, the design might be changed a bit to make sure the solar setup works well and meets what the homeowner wants.

Of course, before system design and engineering can take place, a solar company will want you to sign a contract to ensure that they are compensated for their time and effort to provide this work.

In this phase, we will be reviewing, signing, and validating items, which are accessible via the Strive Solar installation contractor platforms (such as website and mobile apps)

Key Deliverables in Solar Design and Contracts

  • Determine Goals & Savings: We’ll provide a clear picture of energy needs, savings estimates, ROI, and environmental contributions.
  • Address Equipment Queries: Dive into the efficiency, lifespan, durability, and brands of our solar panels.
  • Explore Financial Options: Understand purchase, financing terms, and how to claim available tax credits.
  • Highlight Process & Maintenance: Learn about the installation, monitoring, maintenance blueprint, and steps to keep your system optimal.
  • Conduct a Virtual Site Survey: Evaluate property specifics, local permits, weather impacts on the system, and grid dynamics.

Steps in this process:

  • Introductory Session (1-2 Hours): Connect with a Strive Solar representative. Assess solar feasibility, equipment choices, potential property value impact, and get insights from customer testimonials.
  • Site Survey (30 Minutes): Most homeowners use a mobile device for this virtual guide. Highlight spots for photos, essential for an apt design, considering possible weather impacts.
  • Contract Review (1 Hour): This covers system design, pricing, upgrade options, financing conditions, storage solutions, site enhancements, warranty, and Strive Solar Protect coverage. Take your time; understand and endorse.
  • Document Verification (1-2 Days): Our team cross-checks documents for precision, ensuring adherence to solar regulations, safety measures, and local standards.
  • Engineering Design (1-2 Weeks): Expert analysis of data, roof metrics, local rules, and potential downtime scenarios crafts a high-performance, scalable solar system. Some cases necessitate in-person audits for thoroughness.

Should system redesigns surface post-contract or prerequisites like re-roofing arise, or even considerations about decommissioning or system removal in the distant future, Strive Solar is on standby. Our continuous support, troubleshooting prowess, and educational outreach are part and parcel of our commitment.

Physical Solar Installation Process

After the design engineering and contracts are done, the next step is the physical installation of the solar panels and solar system peripherals.

The process of physically installing solar panels is detailed below. This physical installation, encompassing both mechanical and electrical facets, typically takes a short duration.

Duration and Presence

The actual time it takes to install solar panels is a few days. Homeowners don’t necessarily need to be present, but they should be aware that their power might be turned off for a short period.

Key Points of the Installation Process

Professionals conduct a site evaluation to verify the planned system design. They check various aspects, including the roof and electrical setup. Once the original design undergoes any necessary changes, homeowners review and approve the final design. The approved design is then sent to the city for safety permit approval. After the installation, a city inspector ensures the work aligns with safety standards. The last step involves the utility company, which approves the system’s connection to the grid.

Mechanical Aspects

The mechanical process begins with the secure attachment of durable mounting brackets to the roof. These brackets support the racking system where solar panels will be mounted. The panels are then aligned at the correct angle and secured using bolts to ensure maximum sunlight capture.

Electrical Aspects

The electrical components are integral to the functioning of the solar system. An inverter is installed to convert the direct current (DC) produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) for home use. Proper wiring and connectors integrate the solar system with the home’s electrical grid. Safety measures, such as circuit breakers, are put in place to ensure safe and efficient energy transmission.

Importance of Professional Installation

Professional installation of solar panels is crucial for both safety and efficiency. These significant investments function optimally when installed correctly. Trained professionals adhere to safety standards, ensuring the panels are securely in place and capture maximum sunlight.

Post-Installation Steps After Solar Installation

1. Final City Inspection

Purpose and Importance: The Final City Inspection is crucial for ensuring the solar installation aligns with the permitted scope of work. This step is essential because it guarantees that the installation adheres to local safety and structural standards.

Duration of Work: The time it takes for this inspection varies based on location. Some cities might have a quicker turnaround, while others might take longer due to higher demand or bureaucratic processes.

2. Utility Connection and Permission to Operate (PTO)

Why is this step needed?: After the city inspection, homeowners need to gain approval from the utility company to connect their solar system to the grid. This is vital because it ensures the solar system’s compatibility with the local electrical grid and confirms that it won’t cause any disruptions or safety concerns.

Considerations

  • Net-Metering: Some homeowners might need potential meter upgrades to accommodate net-metering. This system allows homeowners to send excess solar energy back to the grid, effectively “rolling back” their electric meter.
  • Associated Fees: Depending on the utility company, there might be fees associated with the inspection, application, and potential meter upgrades. It’s essential for homeowners to be aware of these potential costs upfront.

Activating the Solar System

The Final Step–Once the city inspection is cleared and the utility company grants Permission to Operate (PTO), the final step is to activate the solar system. This is the moment homeowners often eagerly await — when they can finally harness the power of the sun for their daily energy needs.

Safety First: Before activation, it’s essential to ensure all connections are secure and the system is safe to operate. The solar installation company typically provides guidelines or a walkthrough for homeowners, ensuring they understand the activation process and any maintenance or monitoring tasks.

Monitoring Systems: Many modern solar installations come with monitoring systems. These systems allow homeowners to track their solar energy production in real time, monitor the health of their solar panels, and even estimate monthly savings. Once the system is activated, homeowners should ensure their monitoring system is online and functioning correctly.

Immediate Benefits: As soon as the solar system is activated, homeowners can start benefiting from reduced electricity bills. The solar panels will begin converting sunlight into electricity, powering the home during the day, and in some cases, sending excess energy back to the grid for credits.

Summary of our Solar Panel Installation Guide

Embarking on a solar panel installation process can be an intricate yet rewarding endeavor. Homeowners keen on adopting a solar energy system should prioritize choosing a reputable solar company. 

Renewable energy, in the form of solar power, offers homeowners a chance to contribute to the environment while curbing high energy bills. Once a suitable site is chosen, solar panel installations require the creation of a tailored design to ensure maximum efficiency. Crucial components of the solar power system, such as the solar inverter, play pivotal roles in converting sunlight into usable electrical power for electrical appliances. 

Considering the energy usage of the home, factors like how many solar panels are needed, the inclusion of a solar battery or battery bank, and potential solar photovoltaic panels are essential. While DIY solar panel installation might seem enticing, professional installation ensures the safe mounting of solar panel mounts, precise connections to the electric grid, and optimal placement for direct sunlight exposure. Systems often come with a solar inverter and sometimes even solar trackers to improve energy capture. Battery systems can be included for energy storage. 

With the continuous rise in solar electricity popularity, homeowners can save money, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and enjoy free renewable green energy. Deciding to purchase solar panels is not just about cutting costs but also about making a long-term investment in a cleaner future. With the installation costs balanced out by future savings and potential solar loans, the journey to solar power becomes accessible to many.

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  3. A solar energy solutions specialist will come out to your home and meet with you
  4. You will receive a personalized plan detailing our proposed solar system’s size and output, what it will look like, how much it will cost, our awesome financial options, and of course the savings in electricity you are projected to see!
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