Whether you are thinking of installing solar panels yourself (DIY) or hiring a company to do it for you, it is important to know how long the process will take. Solar panel installation is a big job, but it can be broken down into several smaller tasks.

In this article, we will take a look at the different steps involved in a typical solar panel installation, and how long each one takes.

How Long Does it Take to Install Solar Panels?

Residential solar panel installations generally take two days to complete. The majority of the time is spent setting up the scaffolding, so if you aren’t putting your solar panels on your property’s roof, it’ll take you much less time.

If you already have a solar panel system, it’ll take less time to install additional panels since the scaffolding will already be in place.

Adding new solar panels to an existing system usually takes about one day.

Related: How Much Do Solar Panel Systems Cost?

Approvals and permits

It’s also important to factor in the time it’ll take to get all the necessary approvals for your installation.

This can include permits from your city or county, as well as permission from your homeowners’ association if you have one.

The approval process can take several weeks or even months, so be sure to start it as early as possible.

The paperwork and communication will be done between your local council and the solar panel installation company, so you shouldn’t need to be too involved.

Related: Do Solar Lights Work In Winter? – The Ultimate Guide

Solar Panel Installation Steps

There are a few different steps involved in installing solar panels, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring someone else to do

Step 1 – Assessment

The first thing that needs to be done is an assessment of your roof. This is to make sure that the solar panels will have a good place to go and that they will get enough sunlight.

Once the assessment is complete, the next step is to prepare the roof. This involves cleaning it and making any repairs that are needed.

Step 2 – Set up the scaffolding

Once a contractor has to go above a certain height, they will need to set up scaffolding.

This is to ensure that they can work safely and that the solar panels are installed properly.

The scaffolding will take a few hours to set up, but it is an important part of the process.

Step 3 – Installing the solar panels

After the scaffolding is in place, the next step is to install the solar panels. This involves putting them into place and connecting them to the electrical system.

Installing solar panels is a relatively simple task, but it needs to be done carefully to make sure that they are secure and that they will work properly.

In order to attach each panel to make up part of an array, each panel will need to be attached to anchor points on the roof.

To secure the anchors to the rafters in the loft, the installer will have to remove some of the roof tiles.

This will provide a solid foundation for the solar panel mounts and ensure that they aren’t damaged during bad weather.

They might have to drill some holes, but they’ll make sure not to damage your roof or compromise its structural integrity.

Step 4 – Secure the solar panel mounts

The contractor will choose a location for your solar panel on the roof’s west or east side, depending on where it will receive the most sun throughout the day.

They will need to figure out the latitude of the tilt and the angle of the roof so they can secure the panels in the most efficient way.

After they have found the right location, they will use special mounts to attach the panels to your roof. These mounts will keep the panels in place and protect them during any rough weather.

Step 5 – Wire the solar panels to the inverter

Because most solar panels are pre-wired by the manufacturer, they simply need to be linked to the inverter.

It’s worth noting that smaller solar panel systems connect a single chain of wires to the inverter, while larger systems link many parallel connections.

An inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) electricity, which comes from the solar panel, into alternating current (AC) electricity.

The inverter is generally placed near the breaker box, which is the primary distribution point for electrical circuits in your house and can be either indoors or outside.

Overall, putting an inverter in place should take between 4 and 6 hours, depending on the size of the installation.

Although this process appears to be easy, it is preferable to hire a professional installer because things may go wrong at any minute.

If you want to perform this operation yourself, make sure your home’s electricity is turned off first.

Step 6 – Test the solar panel system

The installation process is complete. The installer – or you, if you’ve been brave enough to try this – must then double-check that everything is in functioning order.

This just entails turning the power back on and checking each component of the system to ensure everything is working properly.

Step 7- Connect the inverter to the solar battery (Optional)

Some homeowners choose to connect their solar panels with a solar battery (like a Tesla Powerwall), which will store any extra electricity generated on overcast days or at night and can be used then.

If you have a solar battery in your system, you’ll also need to connect the inverter to it.

When you’re done setting up the inverter in step 5, this process should only take a few minutes.

Related: Solar Battery Storage | What Are They? | How They Work?

Step 8 – Inspections and final checks

Once the solar panels are installed, there will be a few final inspections that need to be done.

This is to make sure that everything is working correctly and that there are no problems with the installation.

After the inspections are complete, the solar panels will be turned on and they will start generating electricity.

Factors That Impact How Long It Takes To Go Solar

Depending on the situation and your local weather conditions, the solar installation might take anything from three weeks to several months from start to finish.

Some factors may add a lot of time and cause delays to your solar energy project.

The following are the most significant reasons for delays:

Council/Local Authority Approval

This won’t apply to most households, however, if you live in a listed building or conservation area, you will need to get planning permission before going ahead with the installation.

The good news is that solar panels are usually considered as “permitted development” by councils so getting the go-ahead shouldn’t be an issue.

Main Panel Upgrade

Some upgrades might be required before the solar installation can be completed. This is most likely to be the case if your home has an old or out-of-date electrical system.

The installer will need to assess your current system before providing you with a quote for the work that needs to be done.

If this is the case, it’s best to get several quotes from different electricians to make sure you’re getting a fair price for the work.

Roof Repairs

If your roof is in bad condition, it might need to be repaired before the solar panels can be installed.

This is because the solar panels will need to be fitted to the roof using brackets, and if the roof is weak, it might not be able to support the weight of the panels.

If you live in an area with severe weather conditions, it’s also worth checking that your roof can withstand high winds and heavy snowfalls.

Again, it’s a good idea to get several quotes from different roofers to make sure you’re getting a fair price.

Solar Equipment Availability

The effects of COVID-19 and the solar seasonality on your solar equipment’s availability are two possibilities.

By the time your installation is scheduled to take place, certain solar panels, inverters, and key solar components may be out of stock.

This will definitely add time to your overall installation process.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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