Steps to Solar Panel Installation
Solar panels are a great way to go green and save money on electricity costs. However, they also pose some safety concerns, so installing them on your home requires a trained professional.
The first step to solar panel installation is determining your energy needs, which involves calculating how much electricity you use on a regular basis and how much of that power you want to generate with your new system. Once you know this, you can work with a solar contractor to design your solar installation.
Estimating Your Solar Panel Costs
The cost of a solar system varies depending on the type of panels you choose and the size of the array. You can start by looking at your electric bill to see how many kilowatts (kW) of power you use on a daily basis. This will help you estimate how much your system will cost to install, and it will also let you see how much energy you can save by going green with solar.
Once you’ve determined your energy needs, you can start comparing quotes from different contractors. Look for bids that include a breakdown of the hardware, labor, and permitting costs. In addition, check for quotes that include a cost per watt or estimated cost/kWh.
Choosing the Right Panels
The type of panels you use will play a big role in how efficient your solar system is. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are the most common options, but you can also choose string ribbon or micro-channel solar cells.
Some manufacturers offer higher-quality panels that have better performance and lower prices than others. You should discuss the difference in performance and price with your solar contractor before making a final decision.
You should also consider whether the panels you’re using are suited for your climate and where they will be installed. For example, the best location for panels on your roof may be the eaves of your home or at an angle to maximize sunlight exposure and minimize shadowing.
Getting the Permits You Need
The next step is to get your installation approved by a local government agency, which will issue what’s called permission to operate (PTO). This process can take several weeks or more, but it ensures that your electrical and wiring are up to code and that your new solar system will not interfere with your current electricity use or utility services.
If you’re unsure whether your solar panel installation will be allowed in your area, consult with your local building department or zoning department to find out more about what you need to do. This will help you avoid any problems down the road.
A qualified installer will be able to ensure that your system meets all local regulations, as well as help you navigate the permit process. This process can also help you secure any rebates or tax credits you might qualify for, so it’s worth doing the legwork to ensure your solar installation is legal and efficient.