It takes a lot longer to install a commercial solar panel array than a residential one. This is due to a number of factors, including the size of the array and the complexity of the installation.
The amount of money invested is also orders of magnitude higher for a commercial installation, so the company wants to be sure that the job is done right.
But, what is a commercial solar panel system?
What is A Commercial Solar System?
A commercial solar system, also known as a grid-tied solar system, is a photovoltaic (PV) system that generates electricity for business or organizational use and feeds any excess electricity back into the public grid.
Commercial solar systems are typically much larger than residential PV systems, and they may use a different mix of components and technologies.
Rooftop solar is by far the most popular type of commercial solar, accounting for about three-quarters of all installations.
Rooftop systems can be installed on any type of building, including warehouses, office buildings, retail stores, and manufacturing plants.
The majority of rooftop systems are mounted on the roof itself, but they can also be attached to the side or front of a building.
Ground-mounted solar is often used for large-scale commercial PV projects, such as utility-scale solar farms.
These systems are usually mounted on metal frames or racks that elevate the panels off the ground.
Ground-mounted systems can be installed in a wide variety of locations, including open fields, parking lots, and agricultural land.
A lot of commercial solar systems use tilt-up mounts, which allow the panels to be tilted at an angle to optimize energy production.
Floating solar panels are a newer type of PV technology that is gaining popularity in Europe and Asia.
These systems are mounted on platforms that float on bodies of water, such as lakes, reservoirs, and canals.
Floating solar panels have several advantages over the traditional rooftop and ground-mounted systems, including a cooler operating temperature and a reduced risk of damage from wind and waves.
How Long Does It Take To Install Commercial Solar Panels?
It takes on average between one and three months to have a commercial solar system installed.
This time frame can be affected by a number of factors, including the size of the system, the availability of workers, the weather, and the permitting process.
The installation process itself usually takes one to two weeks.
What Holds Up The Installing Process?
Planning and permits
The first step in any commercial solar project is the planning phase.
This is when the site is surveyed, the system design is created, and the necessary permits are obtained.
The permitting process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the jurisdiction.
In some cases, a special permit may be required from the utility company.
Waiting on grants
A lot of people don’t realize this, but commercial solar projects can often take longer because the business is waiting for a grant from the government.
This is especially common in the United States, where there are numerous federal and state programs that offer financial incentives for solar installations.
The grant application process can take several months, and it’s not uncommon for projects to be delayed while the business owner waits for approval.
Scheduling and weather
Once the planning and permitting phases are complete, the next step is to schedule the installation.
This can be tricky, as it depends on the availability of workers, the weather, and the lead time for materials.
In many cases, commercial solar installations are scheduled around the summer months, when the weather is more favorable and workers are more readily available.
However, it is possible to install a system at any time of year.
The actual installation process
The installation of a commercial solar system usually takes one to two weeks.
This includes the time needed to mount the panels, connect them to the electrical grid, and test the system.
After the installation is complete, the system will need to be inspected by the local authorities before it can be turned on.
Installing and implementing tracking systems
Unlike most residential solar installations, a lot of commercial systems use tracking devices to follow the sun throughout the day.
Tracking systems can increase the amount of electricity generated by a PV system by up to 30%, but they also add complexity and cost to the project.
The installation of a tracking system can take an additional week or two.
They also need to be optimized and tested before they are put into operation.
Shipping of equipment
Like most materials, the vast majority of solar equipment is imported from China.
This can add several weeks to the delivery time, as the panels need to be shipped by boat and then cleared through customs.
In some cases, it may be possible to expedite the shipping process by using air freight.
However, this is usually only done for smaller systems.
Customs and delays
It’s not uncommon for solar equipment to be held up at customs, which can add even more time to the delivery process.
In some cases, this can be due to delays in the paperwork.
Other times, it may be because of an issue with the shipment itself.
For example, if the panels are damaged in transit, they will need to be repaired or replaced before they can be installed.
This can add several weeks to the project timeline.
Now you know the different factors that can affect the installation time of a commercial solar PV system.
As you can see, there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration, and the process can take several months from start to finish.
If you’re thinking about installing a solar system for your business, it’s important to plan ahead and allow for adequate time to complete the project.
However, if you do embark on a commercial solar project, you can be assured that you’ll be making a sound investment that will pay off for years to come.