How to Install Solar Panels

Solar panels are an excellent way to harness renewable energy from the sun to power your home or business. If you’re interested in installing solar panels, keep in mind that the process is complex, and there are several steps you need to take to ensure a successful installation. In this article, we’ll go over the process of installing solar panels, from checking for compatibility to obtaining permits and working with your installer and local utility company.

We also cover reasons it may be wise to opt for a professional solar installer who can help you get the most from your investment and ensure a flawless solar system installation.

Steps to a Solar System Installation

Before you begin the solar panel installation process, it's important to ensure your property is suitable for solar panels. Here is a general overview of what goes into installing solar panels to help you make an informed decision about hiring a solar installer.

Consider Roof and Ground Space Size

One of the most important factors to consider is the size of your roof or ground space. Solar panels require a certain amount of space to generate enough power for your home. A typical solar panel is about 5-6 feet long and 3-4 feet wide, so you’ll need enough space to accommodate multiple panels. A south-facing roof is typically the best option, but east or west-facing roofs can also work.

If you don’t have enough roof space, you may be able to install solar panels on the ground. This will require a large enough piece of flat land that is not shaded by trees or buildings. These judgments may be difficult to make without the expertise of a solar expert, so if you’re unsure, speak to one of our qualified solar advisors.

Ensure Sufficient Sunlight

The amount of sunlight your roof or ground space receives is another important factor to consider. Solar panels require direct sunlight to generate electricity, so you must evaluate whether your property receives enough sunlight throughout the day. Even though panels can usually perform well in conditions of low light, they’ll need at least four direct hours of sunlight daily, so monitor your roof to see how often the sun hits it throughout the day. The more sunlight your property receives, the more electricity your solar panels can generate.

Evaluate Obstructions

Obstructions like trees or nearby buildings can block sunlight and reduce the efficiency of your solar panels. You’ll need to evaluate whether any obstructions could impact the amount of sunlight your property receives. If there are any obstructions, you may need to trim trees or remove them altogether to ensure that your solar panels receive enough sunlight.

Check the Age and Condition of Your Roof

If you’re planning to install solar panels on your roof, you’ll need to evaluate its age and condition. Solar panels can last for decades, so it’s essential to ensure that your roof is in good condition and can last as long as your solar panels. If your roof is old or in poor condition, you may need to repair or replace it before installing solar panels.

Evaluate Electrical Compatibility & Energy Usage

It’s important to evaluate whether your electrical system is compatible with solar panels. This involves an evaluation of your electrical panel and wiring to ensure that it can handle the additional load from the solar panels. You may need to upgrade your electrical system to ensure compatibility. If you don’t have experience with your electrical system, don’t risk your safety — call an electrician to help you handle this step.

An engineer can also evaluate your property’s historical energy usage to determine the size and design of a solar panel system that would suit your needs. They will assess your current electricity bills and factor in any planned changes to your energy usage to design a system that meets your energy needs.

Roof or Ground Space Evaluation & Assessment

An engineer can assess the roof or ground space you have available for installing solar panels as well as the condition of the roof and ground space to ensure its suitability for solar panels. They will evaluate the size, orientation, and slope of the roof or ground space, as well as any potential obstructions like trees or nearby buildings that could affect the amount of sunlight the panels receive. They will check for any damage, leaks, or other issues that could affect the solar panel system’s performance.

Get Permission to Operate Your Solar System

Before you can start using your solar panels, you’ll need to obtain permission from your local government and your utility company. This typically involves an inspection to ensure your system is up to code and meets all safety requirements. The permitting process can be complex and time-consuming, so working with a knowledgeable installer who can help guide you through the process is important. Your engineer will assess any local permitting requirements and building codes to ensure that the solar panel system will comply with all relevant regulations.

Get Your Solar Panels Installed

Once you've completed all the required preparations, your installer begins the installation process. This typically involves mounting the panels on your roof or ground space, installing the wiring and inverter, and connecting the system to your electrical panel.

Mounting Your Solar Panels

The installer will provide the necessary mounting hardware to securely fasten the solar panels to the structure. This may involve drilling holes or using brackets. If the panels are installed on the ground, a foundation or rack system may be utilized for additional support. This ensures the stability and durability of the panels.

Installing the Wiring & Inverter

Once the panels are mounted, the next step is to install the wiring and inverter. The wiring connects the solar panels to the inverter, which is responsible for converting the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in your home. The installer will carefully route the wiring from the panels to the inverter, ensuring proper protection and insulation to prevent any electrical hazards.

Working With Your Local Utility

Your installer works with your utility company to ensure your solar panels are properly connected to the grid. They also help you monitor your system and ensure it operates at maximum efficiency.

Ready to Electrify Your Life?

At Axia Solar, we simplify the solar process by providing all the services you need from one company — from solar system installation to permitting and financing. So if you’re asking for advice about how to install solar panels, we recommend using a service like ours to streamline the process, save you time, money, and frustration, and maximize your investment so it lasts for years to come. If you’re interested in installing solar panels, we can help. Contact us to schedule a site survey and learn more about how solar panels can benefit your home or business.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Installation

Have questions? We’re here to help

Before the installation process can begin, you'll need to prepare your property. This may include trimming trees, cleaning your roof or ground space, and making any necessary repairs.

The best time to install solar panels is during the off-season for your utility company — typically during the fall or winter months. This can help you avoid the busy summer season, and it may also be easier to schedule inspections and obtain permits during this time.

Installing solar panels can be expensive, but several financing and incentive programs are available to help offset the cost. You can apply for federal, state, and local incentives and financing options like loans or leases. Here is a link to the Department of Energy to help find the right incentive for you: Department of Energy Tax Credit Guide