One of the greatest advantages of solar power is its astounding pace of installation. Thanks to their simplicity, solar panels can be installed significantly faster than most other power generation technologies. When it comes to residential solar panels, a trained team of technicians can install a typical rooftop system in 2-4 days.
However, going solar involves many other steps besides just mounting and connecting panels. Your installer will carefully assess your location for the feasibility of a solar power system and calculate the perfect size. They will conduct several measurements before the actual installation. That’s not all, there are even some regulatory steps after your system is ready on paper.
All of these steps, together, can take anywhere between 2-4 months to complete. There are, of course, exceptions to these numbers, especially when major supply chain issues strike, such as with the COVID pandemic, which can double the time spans.
Let us take a look at each of the steps involved – from the day you first speak to a consultant, to the day your system is switched on.
Steps in 10 kW Solar Power System Installation
Below is a list of the steps involved in going solar, with a brief explanation and the average timeframe required for each step.
1. Finding the Right Installer – 1-5 Days
Once you have decided to explore going solar, the first step is to find a reliable installer that suits your needs. Some of the important traits to look for in an installer are:
- Experience: Look for an installer who has sufficient experience with solar power, and preferably, energy efficiency technologies in general.
- Location: It is not a good idea to hire an installer who is six hours away from you. For instance, if you are located in Southern Ontario, a Toronto-based installer could be your best bet.
- Transparency: We all agree on one thing – going solar is a big deal, and you don’t want to settle for a company that does not clearly inform you about all the minute details about your system. Make sure you ask plenty of questions related to warranty, savings predictions, maintenance, etc.
An excellent example of a perfect installer for Ontarian homes is Green Integrations, which has been in the energy efficiency sector for over a decade, with an impressive track record of about 300 high-quality projects, and a team of experts who familiarize you with your solar power system to the best possible extent.
In this step, the installer may also provide you with the cost of a solar power system based on your electricity bills and roof information. This can help you decide if the installer is a good fit for you.
2. Detailed Site Survey – 1 Day
Once you have shaken hands with an installer, the next step is a detailed site survey. A site survey specialist(s) from the installer’s team visits your premises for the same. They will take a look at the roof size, type, age, any shading objects, etc. They will also look at your electrical panel to see if it needs any upgrades.
Some installers also use a drone to capture aerial imagery and build a 3D model of the property. This allows the creation of a more sophisticated, more accurate design of your system.
A site survey usually lasts a few hours, wherein the survey specialist will take plenty of notes and hand those over to the engineering team for the next step.
3. System Design and Final Engineering – 3 Days
There are multiple ways to install a solar power system in the same house. A good installer will figure out the perfect, most optimum way to install it on your roof. Such a system will generate maximum power in a minimum number of panels.
The engineering team takes care of this step, designing the perfect system for your location using data provided by the survey expert. Most installers use dedicated software for this step, utilizing satellite imagery as well as the 3D model created using drone imagery. Based on the complexity of your home and its roof, this step can take 2-3 days.
3. Connection Approval/Permitting – 2 Weeks
Once your installer prepares a final design for your system, the next step usually entails the longest wait of all steps, especially because it is not entirely in the control of your installer. After your design is ready, it needs to be submitted for approval to the relevant regulatory authorities, such as utility companies and town offices.
This is necessary since a solar power system is connected to the grid, except when it is a fully off-grid system installed on a remote cabin in the wild. The authorities examine that the design is safe and fit for grid connection. This step takes about 2 weeks but can vary based on the authority in question.
At this stage, the installer will also apply for any incentives/rebates that are available for your solar power system.
4. Equipment Ordering and Delivery – 2 Weeks
Once the utility company/city office has given the nod, the installer orders equipment for your system. This includes solar panels as well as inverters, racking, cables, and other miscellaneous items.
If there are no supply chain disruptions, receiving the system equipment can take up to two weeks.
5. Installation – up to 4 Days
Finally, the day arrives when the installer’s truck enters your premises with the equipment, and it is unloaded on your site.
For simple homes, it is possible that the installation takes a mere day. But in general, the installation procedure can take anywhere between 2-4 days, based on factors such as the complexity of the building.
A good installer will ensure that the installation follows all the safety norms and procedures and that it does not adversely affect the roof or other parts of the house.
6. Commissioning and Post-Installation Inspection – 1 Day
After your system is installed, one final step remains. The installer will attend and assist with the inspection by your utility company/city office, and ensure that the bidirectional meter is installed.
Once that is done, the system is switched on and you are ready to enjoy bill savings and clean energy from your solar panels.
The prospect of going solar is exciting, and the process even more so. Most homeowners are curious about the steps and the time required in installing a typical solar power system, such as a 10 kW one.
Thankfully, going solar does not take painfully long, nor is the process overly complex. The process includes only six steps, and you need to play an active role in just one of them.
On average, a system is installed in just a few months. And a good installer will always ensure that you are well informed about the status at every stage, and the process is as smooth as possible.