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Solar Installation: How It Works

January 22, 2024 | Reading Time: 9 minutes

If you’re considering making the switch to solar energy, you might be curious—or even a bit anxious—about what the installation process involves. We understand that transitioning to solar may feel overwhelming, which is why we’re here to guide you through every phase.

There are common steps that every solar installation follows but it’s important to remember that the process can vary from home to home. Factors like your location, the type of building, roof characteristics, and even local regulations can impact your installation.

Here are the general steps of solar installation so you can get a better understanding of what to expect when you go solar.

Solar Installation Guide

1. Site Visit

When you decide to get a free solar quote from Isaksen Solar, you will immediately be paired with an expert Project Manager who will oversee your installation process from start to finish. They will be available to answer any of your questions and keep you informed every step of the way. Think of them as your guide, or main point of contact throughout the transition.

Your Project Manager will begin by meeting you at your home and conducting an initial site audit of your property.

Your Project Manager Will Take Note Of:

  • How much electricity you use
  • Your electrical panel location
  • Your electrical panel’s service limit (200 amp, 400 amp, etc.)
  • Your meter model and its location
  • Your roof’s structure and integrity (internal and external)

By the end of your meeting, your Project Manager will be able to give you a clear picture of your system.

After Your Project Manager Visits, You Will Know:

  • The size of your system
  • The cost of your system and your projected monthly payment
  • Your interest rate
  • Solar incentives you qualify for
  • Your system’s layout
  • A tentative timeline of your system’s installation and activation

At this point, you will decide if you would like to take the next step in the process by signing the proposed contract.

2. Site Audit

After your contract is signed, an official audit of your property will be conducted by our Site Auditor.

They’ll use a drone to measure your roof’s exact dimensions so we’re completely confident in our proposed system size and layout. If there are any changes from the Project Manager’s proposal, the contract will be updated and the system will go into the design phase.

3. System Design

Next, your system is officially designed and all plans are finalized. This virtual simulation is what your team of installers will work off come installation day.

3. Permitting and Incentives

After all plans are finalized, it’s time to seek government approval and financing.

Permitting

The permitting process is unique to each property’s local government. Lucky for you, you won’t need to lift a finger.

At Isaksen Solar, we handle the filing of all permits on your behalf. The only thing you’ll have to do is sit back, relax, and wait for their approval.

Incentives

Every property will be eligible for different incentives, making this process look a little different each time. But similar to permitting, we will apply to all incentives you qualify for on your behalf.

If there is a particular incentive you are interested in or would like to know more about, let your Project Manager know so they can provide you with more information and relay your specified interest to our incentive team.

4. Installation

Now the real fun begins! Once permits are approved and finances are in order, your system is ready to be installed.

Installation can take up to two days depending on the size of your system. The install team will need access to your electrical panel so we ask that you’re home for the duration of the install.

It’s normal to hear drilling and banging throughout install day. While it isn’t always pleasant, we do our best to work as quickly and efficiently as possible and cause as little inconvenience to you and your neighbors.

Read more about what to expect on install day.

5. Inspections

After the system is installed, we’ll schedule inspections with your city’s building and electrical department who will confirm the system adheres to code and is ready for grid connection.

They will need access to your electrical panel to ensure the integrity of all connections so we ask that you’re home to let them in.

6. Grid Connection

Once your system is approved by a building and electrical inspector, your utility company will come to your home and switch out your meter. Usually, they will not need access to the inside of your home to do this and may come when you’re not there.

You will know your new meter has been installed if you lose power momentarily. At this point you should give us a call so we can instruct you through the powering on process.

7. Power On

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for!

It’s now time to power on your system and enjoy all the benefits of making your own energy. We’ll walk you through turning on your system over the phone and make sure you’re accessing your Isaksen Solar App properly.

Your app is your one stop shop for monitoring and tracking your system’s production and your home’s consumption. Don’t worry, we’ll be monitoring your system too and we’ll reach out if there’s anything we see that’s concerning.

8. Monitoring and Maintenance

The final phase of the solar installation process involves monitoring and maintaining the system through the duration of it’s lifespan.

You’ll be equipped with your app and we’ll be keeping a close eye on it as well.

Of course, we are here to answer any questions that may come up and we’ll be sure to reach out with any updates on your system.

Congratulations on your solar installation! We know you have a bright future ahead of you.

 

Solar Installation: Frequently Asked Questions

Is solar installation free?

Solar installation is not free but there are many government incentives that can bring down the cost of your system.

You will pay for your solar system and installation service with fixed monthly payments. Depending on the size of your system and your financing situation, your system can be paid off within five years.

How long does solar installation take?

Solar installation can last one to two days depending on the type of system you’re installing, the size of your system, and other factors like scheduling availability and weather.

What is solar installation?

Solar installation is the process of setting up a solar panel system and supplemental equipment to transition a property’s source of electricity from the electrical grid to the sun.

What is the average solar installation timeline?

The average solar installation timeline is three to six months from the day you sign your contract to the day your system is activated.

Here is a breakdown of this time period:

Phase of Solar Installation ProcessEstimated Time for Completion
First Visit & Site Audit2 weeks
System Design3 weeks
Permitting & Incentive Approval4 weeks
Installation2 days
Inspections2 weeks
Grid Connection6 weeks

What incentives are available for installing solar panels?

Depending on your state and system, available solar incentives will change. Typically, the Federal Solar Tax Credit is available to all US residents who install solar. This incentive offers a 30% tax credit.

Learn more about solar incentives in Rhode Island.

Learn more about solar incentives in Massachusetts.

Will installing solar panels damage my roof?

Installing solar panels will not damage your roof. In fact, solar panels can even provide some protection to the area they cover.

Here are the steps we take to ensure your roof will not be damaged in the solar installation process:

  1. Surveying the initial condition of the roof and recommending roof replacement if necessary
  2. Certifying our proposed system to ensure the roof can handle the weight-load of the panels
  3. Properly installing the panels with sufficient sealants and flashing around the mounts to prevent water leaks and protect your roof from the elements
  4. Making recommendations for regular maintenance of both the roof and the solar panels throughout their lifespan
  5. Offering only certified and long term warrantied panels that cover any damage caused during installation

When is the best time of year to install solar panels?

Solar panels can be installed at any time of year. There is no optimal time of installation however, you will see the greatest amount of electrical production in sunnier months and your installation may be less prone to weather delays in warmer seasons.

How do I monitor the performance of my solar panels?

You can monitor the performance of your solar panels through your Isaksen Solar App.

This app will give you full access to your system’s electrical production and your home’s consumption of energy at any given time.

We’ll be monitoring your system on our end as well and will be notified immediately if there are any issues with it’s performance.

What is the average lifespan of solar panels?

Solar panels are typically guaranteed a lifespan of 20 to 25 years through their warranty. Beyond that, they can still be functional but will operate at a lower efficiency.

You can expect to replace your solar panels every 25 years to maximize their production rates and allow your home to independently generate electricity.