Before the work begins: Scheduling a consult to determine eligibility & incentives
Getting started with solar is as simple as scheduling a free, 5-minute initial phone consultation with our team of specialists. We’ll ask basic questions about your current electricity usage, the type and size of your home, why you’re interested in solar, and address any concerns you may have. We’ll also walk you through your state incentive programs so you understand your savings potential and have a rough idea of the total cost. Next, we’ll schedule an in-home or virtual (Zoom or Skype) appointment to perform a more in-depth evaluation of your home and go over equipment, costs, logistics, and next steps.
Before the work begins: Deciding on solar panels & coverage
During our in-home (or virtual) inspection appointment, we’ll work with you to determine the appropriate number of solar panels for your home and where to place them. To maximize the output of your solar panels, we generally choose a south-facing side of your roof that has minimal shade or tree coverage. By looking at your electricity consumption records, we’ll be able to estimate the number and type of panels you’ll need to convert either a portion – or the entirety, in some cases – of your monthly energy consumption to solar. At this stage, we’ll also discuss your options for storing excess energy either via net metering or a battery. Once you’ve had a chance to review everything, we’ll send you a detailed quote outlining estimated cost of labor, materials, wiring, engineering, and permitting so you can secure financing if needed.
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Before the work begins: Obtaining permits
Don’t worry – you won’t have to make any trips to the city hall. We’ll file your building permit applications and take care of any other administrative or regulatory paperwork based on your local requirements. The timeline for permitting varies widely from one town to another, but we’re typically able to obtain building permits within a couple of months. Once everything is approved, we’ll call you to schedule an installation date.
Before the work begins: Preparing the job site
It’s important that your roof is in good shape and structurally sound before installing solar panels. In some cases, we may recommend or require that you replace your roof ahead of time. If this is the case, we’ll let you know well in advance of your installation date. It may also be beneficial to remove certain trees or cut back branches to maximize the sunlight exposure on your roof; we’ll help you find a tree removal expert to tackle any landscaping projects if needed.
The installation team arrives
As soon as your roof is ready, materials have arrived, and permits have been obtained, we’ll set up a date to begin the installation process. Our installation team will work to get the panels installed as efficiently as possible, minimizing the disruption to your day-to-day. Depending on the size of your PV system, we can complete most solar panel installations in one to three days. Keep in mind that this work can be loud – we’ll be drilling and hammering on your roof, after all – so you may prefer to be out of the house for some of the time.
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The solar panel installation process
Once we’re up on your roof, the actual installation process starts by bolting the mounts (the structures that support the solar panels) to your rafters. We’ll double check the tilt to make sure the proper angle is achieved before installing the panels themselves, carefully securing each panel to its designated mount. Once the panels are finished, we’ll tackle the electrical wiring, connecting the panels to one another and installing the conduit. Next, we’ll install the solar inverter, typically mounting it on a shaded exterior wall, and then connect the solar panels. Finally, we’ll connect the inverter to your home’s main breaker panel – as well as the solar battery, when applicable, or to the grid.
Installing the main service panel
For most solar installations, we’ll need to upgrade your main service (breaker) panel to accommodate your new system. This panel is typically located in your basement, garage, or somewhere on the ground floor; we’ll need access to that area of your home during the installation process. The main breaker panel is the central “hub” of your home’s electrical system and will play a key role in the overall efficiency of your solar panels.
Wrapping up: The final system check
Once all of the components are in place, we’ll go through a thorough checklist to make sure everything has been properly installed – including the PV array, wiring, inverter, batteries, charge controllers, and grounding. We follow the proper safety procedures before and during testing, posting safety signage where required and walking you through each component so you understand exactly how your new system works. Once everything is verified, our team will clean up the job site and leave you to enjoy your newly solar-equipped home!
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Wrapping up: The city inspection & connecting to the utility company power grid
If your solar panels are connected to the electrical grid via net metering (as opposed to using a battery to store excess power), you’re required to pass a city inspection before activating your solar panels. We’ll facilitate this inspection for you and make sure your system is promptly approved and connected to the grid.