A rooftop solar system can save you thousands of dollars over its lifetime – provided that it’s installed correctly.
A poor installation could easily damage your roof, leading to costly repairs, and may even reduce the lifetime of the solar array itself. What sets a professional solar installation apart from one that isn’t? Find out what one looks like so you can get the most out of your solar array.
Start By Choosing a Reputable Solar Installer
It’s so important that you choose the right solar installer if you’re going solar. Not only do you want to choose an experienced solar installation company, but it’s also a good idea to stay local. Local solar installers understand your weather, know the ins and outs of state rebate and discount programs, and are much more likely to provide a better customer service experience in comparison to national vendors.
Maybe most importantly, a local installer will be less expensive than a national company. According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a local solar installer could save you 10% on installation costs for your home solar system.
How Experts Install Solar Panels: The Process
Before we get into our specific installation process, it’s a good idea to take a look at the overall process of how to install solar panels. This general overview will help you understand the most common requirements that are needed for a professional solar installation.
Sign Your Contract
This first step will help you understand exactly what’s to come in your installation process. Your contract is a detailed explanation that should be used as a guide if you ever have any questions about your particular system. Most importantly, the contract will also show you the details related to how you choose to finance your solar power investment. Within your contract you will also choose your equipment, such as your solar panels and inverters.
An engineer is needed to evaluate what kind of electrical system you currently have in place to make sure your new system is compatible. Two important components that your engineer will evaluate are the type of electrical box that you currently have in place and the status of your roof. For obvious reasons, you never want to install solar panels on an old, failing roof.
Start the Paperwork Process
Paperwork for permits, inspections, rebates and incentives are all a part of the early process. This can be a lengthy step in the process because the paperwork has to flow through many channels to receive different types of approvals. However, it’s also an essential step to make sure you are legally operating with all safety measures accounted for in your plans.
If your roof is old and damaged, it’s possible that you might need a complete roof replacement before you can install solar panels. In cases of minor damage, your installer might make a few quick fixes to any shingles that are loose or broken. Once your roof is ready to go, the electrical wiring is installed so that your panels can be connected.
The Installation of the Panels
This is the part where everything comes together. The panels will sit on a racking that is leveled and spaced out properly across your roof. Finally, your inverters are connected to your paneling.
The final round of inspections will come from two sources: your local town government and a representative from the electrical company. Both inspectors will check for quality and safety related to the installation process. Once you are given the “OK” by both inspectors, your electrical company will connect your solar system to the grid. At this point, your installation process is complete.
How We Install Solar Panels: Our Specific Process
Our specific installation process at Bell Solar & Electrical Systems was carefully designed to provide our clients with the kind of customer service experience that is unmatched by any other company. As you read through the steps below, you will see how our thorough process ensures that you end up with safe and effective solar panels to power your home or business for many years to come.
A member of our team calls and emails to introduce you to Bell Solar and kick off the process, answering any additional questions you might have.
The site survey is performed by a certified drone operator to evaluate your roof for proper sizing and direction. We gather as much information as possible about your home and roof to optimize the production of your solar panels.
Engineering and Design
We submit all site survey measurements to our engineering team that produces the solar design and permit set for your home.
Design and Customer Approval
We email the layout of the solar panels on your home for review and approval via e-signature.
The approved engineering design is submitted to NV Energy to generate the net metering agreement.
The approved engineering design is submitted to the correct jurisdiction in order to obtain the required permit.
All material is ordered based on the approved engineering design. You can check out some of the material options here to get a better idea of features and prices.
All material will be delivered and secured directly to the customer’s rooftop to ensure the safety of the homeowner and our team members.
Our professional installation crew will arrive at your home to install the system.
A representative from the city will come out to inspect our work and make sure it’s up to all national electric and building codes.
Once the system has passed the city inspection, we upload the passed inspection card to the NV Energy portal. This will trigger the net metering agreement which will be emailed directly to you via DocuSign for e-signatures.
Utility Inspection and Permission to Operate
NV Energy will review all the documentation and then schedule their own inspection to review the installation. Once the inspection is passed, NV Energy will send out an email issuing PTO. This lets us know we can turn your solar system on to start producing power!
Activate the Solar System
One of our team members will come to your home to commission the solar system and get it up and running properly. Once everything is activated, you will receive an email to the Enphase Enlighten portal to access the system monitoring tools.
Any additions to the solar system such as an LED lighting package or thermostat will be installed after the system is turned on.
Critter Guard and Conduit Paint
Once the system is confirmed as up and running, a member of our team will return to paint match all conduits, install a critter guard, and clean the solar panels to ensure the aesthetics and longevity of the system.
Trust Bell Solar to Install Your Solar Panels
Our meticulous installation process is in place to give our customers peace of mind that their solar panels are safely installed to function at their highest capacities. Now that you have a better idea of how solar panel installation works, we hope that you will feel more comfortable in your decision to go solar. If you are looking for further details on our installation process, you can check out our website here.
For all things solar, including benefits of solar, solar components, maintenance factors, financial incentives and more, check out our ebook, The Solar Panel Buyer’s Guide for Next Steps.