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Understanding the Professional Solar Panel Installation Process: A Complete Guide

An icon of a hammer and the text Guide to Professional Solar Installations overlaid on a house with solar panels.
PublishedJune 28, 2024
UpdatedJune 28, 2024
AuthorBrian ChurchWriterEditorCory O'Brien HeadshotCory O'BrienSenior Director - Growth Marketing
In this article
The 4 Steps to Begin Your Solar Panel Installation
The Post-Purchase Solar Panel Installation Process
Contact Palmetto for Your Home Solar Installation

The solar panel installation process is relatively simple, but with custom solutions necessary for every home and plenty of electrical jargon to decipher, it can be intimidating for first-timers. In this step-by-step guide for homeowners, we break down the solar panel installation process into two distinct phases with eight easy stages to illustrate the emission-free journey toward home energy savings.

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The 4 Steps to Begin Your Solar Panel Installation

If you are starting from square one, you can begin with these four steps to install solar panels on your home.  

Assess Your Property’s Solar Feasibility

Before you begin to contact potential installers, consider learning the basics of how solar panel systems work to determine whether or not your home is suitable for an installation. In short, the ideal home for solar panels in the US has a south-facing roof, with ample unobstructed installation space, and full sunlight most of the day. Partially shaded properties and east or west-facing roofs can also be suitable for solar panels. 

While roofs with conventional pitches are great for direct sunlight absorption in the US, solar panels can also be installed on flat roofs (or ground-mounted) and tilted to the ideal angle for electricity generation.

See the potential savings of solar panels on your roof in seconds.

Get to Know Your Home’s Energy Use

Solar panels provide a cheaper and greener way to power your property, and the long-term value they deliver will arrive on your electricity bills. To determine what size solar panel system is best for your home, you can quantify your property’s electricity consumption by looking at your energy bills or interval data (if you have a smart meter) from your utility. 

Looking ahead, it is important to think about how your energy habits may change when considering solar panels. For instance, if you are planning a home addition, replacing your gas range, or making an EV purchase, your electricity use may increase in the near future. 

Discover how solar panels can help you save on your electric bill.

Talk to Solar Panel Installers in Your Area

Across the United States, many different companies and contractors help develop solar energy solutions for homeowners, and like any home improvement project, it is good to consider multiple options. While you may be tempted by the cheapest possible offer, it is very important to consider installer longevity before making your decision. As solar panels last for over 25 years, the best customer experiences are delivered by companies with the credibility to guarantee multi-decade products and services.   

Want to make a game of it? Here are 20 questions to ask your solar installer.

Weigh Your Solar Panel Purchasing Options 

Finally, in considering multiple offers, the final stage of your solar buying process revolves around making important purchasing decisions. While cash payments can deliver the greatest ROI, most homeowners choose to finance or lease solar panels in order to mitigate high investment costs. To maximize your solar savings, you should consider multiple financing or buying options to optimize your cash flows and discover ways to reduce your total investment costs with tax incentives and rebates.    

Learn everything you need to know about the solar tax credit.

See how much you can save by going solar with Palmetto

Step 01
Step 02
My electric bill is $290/mo

The Post-Purchase Solar Panel Installation Process

Once you’ve committed to your solar panel installation, then the real fun begins. From contract signature to fully functioning panels on your roof, most US residential solar installations are completed and operable within two to five months. Your solar panel timeline may be impacted by your installer’s construction queue and the efficiency of local permit processes as well as any unforeseen project delays. 

Final Plan Design

Although your solar contract will contain the primary details of your energy system, the precise details of your project plans must be finalized before the installation process can officially begin. Almost always, this involves an engineer visiting your property to take exact measurements and perform a full-site assessment.    

Permitting and Approval

For grid-tied solar panels to legally operate in the US, the project must be approved by the electric utility serving the property as well as the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), prior to installation. Permitting processes vary from state to state (and municipality to municipality), and most locales require a licensed engineer or electrician to sign off on the plans before they can be considered for approval.  

System Installation

Once you’ve got the go-ahead from your local building authority and utility, then it is time for installation day. Although large or complex roofs can increase project timelines, most home solar panel installations are completed within a day or two.

Inspection and Interconnection

After your solar components are installed, the system must receive permission to operate (PTO) from the local AHJ and electric utility. During this step, representatives from utilities will visit your home and inspect the solar energy system to ensure everything has been installed according to the plan and up to code. After approval from both entities, your solar panels can then officially be “switched on” and interconnected to the utility grid. 

Contact Palmetto for Your Home Solar Installation

With dedicated customer service starting on Day One, Palmetto is your home solar energy partner in the US. We take a homeowner-first approach at every step of our solar panel installation process, from initial meetings to system optimization and decades of guaranteed renewable energy savings. 

Take your next step towards energy savings with solar. 

Discover what it's like to install solar panels with Palmetto, get a fast and free quote for your home, or learn more about our company.

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My electric bill is $290/mo
About the AuthorBrian ChurchWriter

Brian is a writer, NABCEP PV associate and outdoor enthusiast living in Denver, Colorado. As a freelancer, Brian has written hundreds of articles to help individuals, businesses and our planet benefit from solar power and sustainable energy systems.

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