SimplySolar, a solar energy company that serves northern California, makes it easy for homeowners to examine solar installation timelines. Simply Solar notes that every installation timeline varies, but the elements remain constant and we like to be really up front about what those elements are. SimplySolar gives the standard steps common to all installations and describe how they vary according to type of installation the homeowner chooses.
Below are the standard steps along with a brief description of each:
- Solar Project Commencement
The solar provider meets with the customer to present an agreement and discuss the installation process.
- Site Inspection and Engineering
After the agreement is signed the site inspector calls to schedule a complete inspection of the customer’s roof and electrical system. Based on the results of his visit engineers complete a final set of plans.
- Customer Approval of the Plan
The solar company emails the customer the final set of plans. The customer ensures that the placement of the solar panels suits him or suggests modifications to the plans and finally approves them.
- Obtaining Permit from Local Jurisdiction
As soon as the solar provider receives approval from the homeowner he submits the plans to the local building department. Permit approval, depending on the jurisdiction, can take anywhere from a few hours to over four weeks. If they require revisions a resubmission may be necessary.
After the solar company receives approved plans from the building department they contact the customer to schedule construction. It will start as soon as the customer wishes, depending on crew availability.
- Jurisdiction’s sign-off of Final Permit
Upon completion of the installation the solar provider schedules an inspection with the building department. Sometimes approval from the local fire department is required.
- Permission to Operate
As soon as the solar company receives all necessary permits they contact Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) or whatever utility company provides service for connection. They will email the customer for a digital signature. PG&E has up to 30 days to approve applications but they seldom take longer than a week.
How Long Does Installation Take?
Each installation is different but most will fit within the following three sets of guidelines:
This timeline provides customers with a smooth and seamless process, which accommodates most installs and homeowners… usualy about 6 to 8 weeks.
Homeowners with custom install requirements can expect a more involved process… that might require edits in plans and/or permitting. Reasons for custom installations include new construction, a new roof, unusual roof type, a special addition to the house or a ground mounted system. Time can vary from the usual 6 to 8 weeks up to several months depending on various conditions.
A rapid installation is only possible in certain jurisdictions and situations.That’s because special conditions apply. Over-the-counter permitting must be allowed and the building department must agree to inspection the day after construction is complete.