When you have decided to take the leap into a lifetime of clean, sustainable energy with a solar panel installation for your home, now the question is how long will it be until you’re actually generating electricity from your system?
It’s important to know that, just like with any other home improvement project, each solar installation is as unique as the home it occupies. Still, here at Freedom Solar we believe in complete transparency, and we understand that you want to be generating the sun’s energy as quickly as possible! That’s why we’ve made a clear and simple timeline to help you understand exactly what to expect throughout each step of your project. From the initial consultation through installation and into lifetime service and monitoring, Freedom Solar Power will take care of every part of the process.
Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of all of the steps required in a solar installation project, as well as the timeline for each.
Timeline: 1–3 days
Our scheduler will reach out to you to let you know what is required to begin construction and select a date for the construction. Our NABCEP-certified team of full-time Freedom Solar technicians will arrive and work quickly and efficiently to install solar panels with minimal disruption to your schedule. Within one to three days, you’ll be able to harness the power of the sun for clean, sustainable energy.
We’ve finally reached the most exciting part. Once all approvals are complete, you’re ready to begin the installation of your new solar panel system!
What factors can affect this timeline? The duration of this step will vary based on the complexity and size of your system. Most of our home solar installations are completed in a single day. However, more complex systems such as ground-mount systems or battery backup systems can take longer to complete.
First things first: your journey to solar starts with an appointment with one of our expert solar energy consultants who can help you understand the details before moving forward. In preparation for your consultation, we will use satellite-based technology to evaluate your roof’s solar potential and analyze your electricity usage history to determine the optimal system size.
At that meeting, which can take place at your home or online via Zoom, we will provide you with a proposed system design and a personalized quote for your home. We’ll talk about financing and help you find every available incentive for saving on your solar panel installation, including:
- Net metering. This refers to a billing agreement in which your utility provider “pays” you for the excess energy your system produces, in the form of credits on your monthly utility bill. Most states have net metering — in fact, 41 states and Washington, D.C., have mandatory net metering rules. To find out the policies that apply to you, check for net metering in your state.
- Federal rebates. The solar tax credit (ITC) from the federal government is one of the best ways to dramatically lower your solar panel costs. The ITC allows you to deduct 22 percent of the cost of your solar panel system on your annual federal taxes. However, because this incentive expires on December 31, 2021, you’ll need to act fast in order to receive the federal rebate.
- Local incentives. Governments and utility providers offer various solar tax breaks and financial incentives to make solar power as affordable as possible. To help lower the cost of your solar setup, check to see what your state offers.
Our goal in this initial meeting is to provide you with the information and tools you need to make an informed decision about solar. We will provide you with an objective assessment of your home’s solar potential and the products we offer. If it doesn’t make sense for you, we won’t waste your time. If and when you are ready to move forward, you will sign an agreement to begin work on your solar project and, if you are financing the system, apply for your loan.
SITE ASSESSMENT AND DESIGN
Timeline: 1–3 weeks
Now that the financial part is taken care of, it’s time to get the ball rolling with a site assessment. Our scheduler will coordinate a day for our team to come out and verify the system design in your signed proposal. We use drones with highly specialized software to measure your roof, so we generally do not even need to get on your roof in order to complete the assessment.
We design each system to comply with zoning restrictions, any limitations that may be inherent in your home’s structure, as well as mounting and location limits — and we’ll also make sure it’s as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The design will determine the orientation and placement of the panels and wiring, the connections to an inverter and your home’s meter, and additional systems such as batteries. You will be asked to give the final approval before installation begins.
What factors can affect this timeline? This step in the process should only be delayed if you decide on any changes in the design of your solar panel system.
PERMITS AND APPROVALS
Timeline: (2–6 Weeks)
We’re so close to the actual construction here, but before we start the build, we need to get a few approvals from the city, your utility company, and your homeowner’s association (HOA) if you have one. From utility interconnection agreements and net-metering applications, to local building and electrical permits, to all rebate incentive documents, we take care of all the necessary communications and paperwork on your behalf.
We’ll keep you updated with email and text notifications as applications are submitted and approved, so that you know exactly when to expect us for the installation.
What factors can affect this timeline? If you live in an area with a robust solar energy market, the process should be streamlined enough that delays will be rare. The most common delay in approvals tends to come from the HOA, which may have specific criteria for rooftop solar. Texas law protects homeowners who want to install solar, but finding an installer who has strong relationships with the authorities having jurisdiction over solar PV projects and with HOAs can shorten this timeline and make it a hassle-free process for you.
Timeline: 1–4 weeks
After your solar panel system is installed, it needs to be approved by your utility company and a city inspector. Your utility company may also install a new meter that allows for net metering of your excess electricity.
We’ll work with the appropriate entities to coordinate these inspections. However, the timing is subject to the schedule of the utility and municipality. Once they give the go-ahead, your home solar panels will be activated and you’ll be ready to start generating clean, sustainable energy!
What factors can affect this timeline? The time it takes to process and complete these inspections will depend upon your own schedule, and will also vary by your jurisdiction and utility provider.
ACTIVATION & CLOSEOUT
Timeline: 1–3 weeks
Now that your solar installation is ready to start harnessing the power of the sun, we’re here to help you flip the switch on your solar panels. Freedom Solar will provide you with detailed instructions on how to energize your system, and we’ll grant you access to your monitoring portal (more on that below). We’ll also schedule a closeout meeting for you and your Energy Consultant to answer any questions you may have and complete your project.
What factors can affect this time? The only delays to this timeline are any conflicts that arise in your schedule related to the closeout meeting.
Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a hardworking solar panel energy system. But just because the installation is complete doesn’t mean we’re out of the picture. Freedom Solar is here to support you throughout the lifetime of your system, with 24/7 monitoring and ongoing service, should you ever need it. Your solar panel setup includes a web-based application so that you can monitor your power production and savings in real time, anytime.
What’s more, Freedom Solar builds systems to last, and we stand behind our work for the life of your solar power system, with the most complete warranty in the industry and the only dedicated solar service department in Texas, Colorado, and Florida.
LOOKING FOR SOLAR INSTALLERS YOU CAN TRUST?
A solar panel installation is a big project. That’s why it’s so important to know that you’re working with a team of technicians that has unmatched expertise and experience. As the largest residential solar installer in Texas, countless homeowners and businesses have chosen us for our expert installations and our friendly, helpful installers — even big-name stores such as Whole Foods and Office Depot!
We’re also serious about our COVID-19 safety measures. Our socially distanced installations allow us to set up your panels without ever needing to come inside your home. From consultation to installation, Freedom Solar can help you go solar while keeping everyone safe. If you’re ready to start generating a lifetime of sustainable energy, we’re here to help you begin the journey. Contact us today for a virtual consultation!