What to Expect From the Solar Panel Installation Process

It might surprise you to learn that almost 4% of US homes have solar panels installed. It's no secret that solar panels can provide an enormous reduction in energy bills, but not everybody understands what the solar panel installation process is like.

Before you work with a solar panel installation company, there are certain factors you need to consider. Let's explore the key information you should know.

Site Evaluation

Your solar panel installer will come to your home to ensure that your site for renewable energy is viable.

This will help everything go smoothly during installation. In the event that something has changed in the original contract, amendments to the contract will be made. You will have the opportunity to review these changes before approving them.

The primary attributes your installer will survey our the roof, attic, and electrical setup. If your system will contain a battery, they will also take a look at battery replacement.

Design Approval

After they have approved the site, they will then focus on the design. The installer will also make any required changes that have already been approved.

The installer might provide their own input on required changes to ensure that they are implemented correctly. Once the designer receives the owner's permission, the process will move forward. System production, electrical work, and aesthetics of the design are the main concerns during the design approval segment of the installation process.

Permit Acquisition

This is an integral part of solar panel installation. Permit acquisition ensures everything is in accordance with safety codes. These include regulations related to structural, electrical, and fire guidelines.

The installer will provide the city with documents about the proposed system. In most cases, there are fees associated with document review.

These will vary depending on your city and state. Some providers cover these costs for homeowners.

Be sure to ask the person you work with about your financial obligations.


Once the city approves the design, installation can begin. In general, installation takes only a couple of days to complete.

Most people also don't need to be present at the house during installation. For this reason, many people schedule solar panel installations while they are on vacation. This allows them to avoid the inconvenience of the process.

For example, the insulation company will likely need to turn the power off at some point. This can be highly inconvenient for those who are present at their house.

City Inspection

Once installation concludes, a city inspector will come to the site. They will ensure that the installation aligns with the city's regulations. They will also check if the system remains within the approved scope of work.

For example, let's assume that your home is approved for the installation of three solar panels. If the city inspector finds that you installed five instead, there could be issues.

In most cases, you won’t have to worry about any problems. If complications do arise, your solar panel installer can help you overcome them.

Utility Connection

There's one more step after the city approves the installation. The utility company needs to inspect your system before they connect it to the electrical grid. The homeowner will apply for a utility connection and provide the necessary documents to the utility company.

This includes the approved scope of work, the contract between the installer and homeowner, etc. A representative from the utility company will inspect the installation to ensure that it meets the company's guidelines. At this point in the process, it's unlikely that anything will go wrong.

However, there are scenarios where installers make oversights that lead to issues with the utility company. Depending on your local utility company, there could be a fee associated with this inspection. In many cases, the cost for this inspection is included in the contract with the installer.

Once the utility company approves the installation, the homeowner can finally use their system to produce energy. Although the utility approval process can seem inconvenient, it's a necessary part of installation. It aims to regulate the solar industry and keep homeowners safe.

For example, let's assume that a homeowner worked with an inexperienced installer. If the utility company didn't inspect the installation, they could deal with many complications. A common problem in this scenario could be electrical issues.

Getting Started

To get started, you'll need to find a reputable solar panel installer. Research their past reputation so you can get an idea of what they're capable of. See what other clients have had to say about their project timeline, customer service, etc.

The more experienced they are in the industry, the better.

Inexperienced installers aren't guaranteed to provide poor results. However, they are less likely to meet your needs compared to somebody who has a strong industry presence.

Always prioritize working with someone who is communicative. This will help you complete the project as soon as possible. It will also prevent you from encountering obstacles along the way.

Once you find a reliable company, you can start saving and go solar.

Solar Panel Installation Is Straightforward

Although it might seem complicated at first, solar panel installation is a straightforward process that is easier to understand than most people think. The above guidelines will help ensure that you remain fully aware of what to expect if you choose to install solar panels.

Our blog has plenty of other lifestyle articles that you can use to prepare yourself for decisions like these in the future. Be sure to check them out today!

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