What are the steps and hoops that await you in your pursuit of clean energy for your San Diego home? We’ll take you through the solar installation process in general, but bear in mind that every installation is unique, and even more so if you choose to go with custom solar panels. Start to finish, the journey to a solar-powered home or business can be between one to three months or longer.
Solar installation process step 1 – Find the company
First of all, you need to find a solar installation company that you trust and that fits your budget. It’s ok to compare prices, but don’t choose your solar installer based on price. You’re about to make a huge home improvement, and you don’t want to risk it with a sub-par contractor. And neither do you want to sacrifice your nerves during the installation.
So, how to compare companies? Check their qualifications, experience, presence in the market, customer testimonials and online reviews. Check their BBB rating as well. Also, as you contact the installers, compare the way they handle your inquiries. Are they ready to answer your questions? Do they seem trustworthy?
As you go about company selection, there are some things you can do on your own. Check whether your homeowner’s insurance policy needs updating. Do research on the permitting procedures in your area. Bear in mind that not all installers will offer help with permits, so inquire about that when you shortlist the contractors.
Solar installation process step 2 – Pre-design site visits & prepping your home
When you choose a solar installer, you will agree on a system size estimate. A few site visits will be needed to make a fully-informed design for your solar panel system.
Solar specialists will determine how much sunshine your roof gets. They will look at the direction the sun goes over your roof, so they can establish the best possible placement for your system.
Electricians need to make sure your home’s wiring is in a good enough shape to be connected to the grid. If not, your home will need to be rewired, which extends the process.
A roofer will need to examine the condition of your roof to make sure it can withstand the weight of your solar system. Keep in mind that solar panel systems have warranties of around 25 years, and it would be best if your roof didn’t need repair during that time. Removing solar panels to repair your roof would set you back a few thousand dollars.
Solar installation process step 3 – design
With all the information ready, your solar installation company can now go about designing your solar system. The design drawings will specify the exact placement of your solar panels, their orientation, system components, the wiring and other details you agree on. If you make changes to the design draft, that extends the process. Nevertheless, it’s important that you are 100% satisfied with the design.
Solar installation process step 4 – permitting
Once the design is approved comes the time to obtain the necessary permits. The contractor should guide you through the process, and their experience may prove crucial at this point. As we said before, you should check whether the contractor submits the documents to the local planning board, or whether you do it. This can take anywhere from a week to a few weeks, depending on the capacities of the board.
Solar installation process step 4 – installing your system
When your permit comes through, the installation can take place. Based on your system’s size and complexity, the installation can last one day or a few days. You’ll know a time estimate in advance.
Solar installation process step 5 – inspection
When your solar system is up, SDG&E or SCE and a city inspector will come to inspect your system and give it the final approval. You will make a Net Energy Metering application with your utility company and they will come to ensure that your system can be safely hooked to the grid. After this, a city inspector will perform an on-site system review and inform the utility company that the city approves of your solar system.
The final step is – your utility company reviews the city inspector’s report and issue you the Permission to Operate. This stage is around one to two weeks.
Now you can flip the switch and enjoy a home powered by clean energy!
Reach out to Action Solar Installers of San Diego for a free estimate!
Action Solar Installers of San Diego offers you a free estimate for your solar power project in San Diego. We have A+ rating with BBB, and over 40 years of experience in the home comfort industry. We can make your solar installation process a smooth sailing – call us today to discuss your needs!