Solar panels give you more freedom over your energy usage and save you money on your electric bill. There are many benefits of solar energy, and, if you’re ready to go solar, you may be wondering what the installation process is like. Using a solar energy provider, like Sun Solar, will ensure that your system is installed correctly.
What is the solar panel installation process? Here are 10 steps to going solar with Sun Solar.
1. Calculate Your Energy Usage
First, you’ll need to know how much energy you consume each month. Energy usage is calculated in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The average United States home uses about 914 kWh each month. Your electric bill may break down how many kWh you use.
You can also use your meter to measure how many kWh you consume in a month. To do this, you’ll need to read your meter at the beginning and end of the month. You’ll subtract the first reading from the last to get the number of kWh you used. Once you know how much energy you use, you will be able to determine how many solar panels you need to power your home or business.
2. Call The Experts
You’ll want to call a certified installer to determine if your home is eligible for solar panels. Our energy consultants at Sun Solar will be able to answer your questions about possibilities for solar. Depending on your needs and location, you can have your panels fastened to your roof or mounted to the ground.
When you call us, you’ll get an initial estimate on the price and number of solar panels you need. Sun Solar can complete your solar installation project within a few months of your first call.
3. Put Your Roof To The Test
If you want ground mount solar panels, ignore this step!
Your roof must be able to handle the added burden of solar panels. One of our consultants will evaluate the roof of your home or building before we design your system. Once your shingles and rafters get the O.K., we will create a solar system plan tailored to your roof.
4. Design Your System
The next step in the solar installation process is to design your system for optimal performance. The following factors can influence your system’s design:
- Space. If you are mounting panels to your roof, the size of your roof will determine how many panels you can have. Other things, like chimneys, vents, or always shaded areas, may affect where panels are placed.
- Direction. Your panels need to face a direction that receives a good amount of sun. If your roof faces north, it may not be the best place for solar panels. You can also put panels on a nearby carport or an open space in your yard or field.
- Location. Your location can determine how many panels you need. If you live in a sunny area, you may need fewer panels to produce enough energy. Those living in less sunlit spaces may need more panels to create the same amount of energy.
Our experts at Sun Solar will design your system so that you get the most out of your solar panels.
5. Get Your Permits
Before you can install solar panels, you have to obtain the proper permits. Depending on where you live, you may need to file electrical, building, and solar photovoltaic (PV) permits. Your local jurisdiction will require you to obtain a permit, and you will need to file a net metering application with your electric company. If your system is under 10 kW, your net metering application may take 30 days to be approved. For systems larger than 10 kW, your application approval may take 90 days.
In order to obtain these permits, you must show these entities your solar system plans. With Sun Solar, you won’t have to file for permits by yourself. We will take care of submitting your designs and help you obtain any permits necessary.
You may need approval from your neighborhood’s Homeowners Association (HOA) to install solar panels on your property. Check out these tips if you’re a member of an HOA.
6. Put Up The Mounts
Yay, you’ve got your permits! Now, we can start setting up your system. The first pieces we will install are the mounts. You need mounts whether your solar panels will be attached to your roof or installed on the ground. For ground mounted systems, mounts will be placed securely into the ground. These mounts will hold your solar panels up at an angle, so they can catch the most light. If you have panels placed on your roof, the mounts will be fastened to the rafters of your home or building.
7. Set The Solar Panels
Now that you’ve got your mounts in place, it’s time to install your solar panels. We will attach your panels to the mounts previously installed on your property or roof. If you have a ground mounted system, your mounts will hold the panels up above the ground. Solar panels on your home or building will be lifted off the roof by at least a quarter foot. Once the solar panels are attached, we will connect them to your electrical system.
8. Pass Inspection
Your new solar panels are up, and you’re excited to test your new energy system. Wait! You must pass inspection before you can use your solar system. A representative from your jurisdiction will examine your solar system to make sure it complies with building and safety codes. If your system passes, your electric company will also inspect your system and connect your meter to the grid.
9. Start Collecting Those Rays!
It’s time to flip the switch! Go to your electrical panel and turn your solar system’s breakers on. You may have a DC or AC breaker within the main electrical panel or in an additional panel. You’ll want to make sure these switches are on too. If your solar panels are located on the roof, your installer may have already flipped these external breakers on.
10. Sit Back & Watch Your Savings Roll In
Solar energy systems reduce your electric bill by offsetting your energy usage. Solar panels can earn you money back from your electric company. When you sell energy back to the grid, you can earn credits that reduce your next electric bill.
Over time, solar panels can save you thousands of dollars. The average homeowner saves between $10,000 to $30,000 over the lifetime of their panels. It won’t be long before your solar panels have paid for themselves and more! How much could you save with solar? Try our solar savings calculator.
At Sun Solar, we make the installation process easy for you. Contact us today to start planning for your solar energy system. We can’t wait to help you make your energy-saving dreams come true!