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.
1. INITIAL CONSULTATION
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 virtually via video conference, 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 policies that apply to you, check the net metering policies your state offers.
- 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 30 percent of the cost of your solar panel system on your annual federal taxes.
- 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.
2. SITE ASSESSMENT AND DESIGN APPROVAL
Timeline: 2-6 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 further assess your home’s potential for solar. For this step we use drones with highly specialized software to measure your roof.
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. At your “Design Complete” call, 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.
3. PERMITS AND APPROVALS
Timeline: 4-6 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. This includes utility interconnection agreements, net-metering applications, local building and electrical permits, and all rebate incentive documents. Other than the occasional signature we may need from you, we’ll handle the heavy lifting and take care of all the necessary communications and paperwork.
We’ll keep you updated with email and text notifications as applications are submitted and approved, along with any action items we might need from you, so that you know exactly when to expect us for the installation.
What factors can affect this timeline? The most common delays in approvals tend to come from the local utility companies which at times encounter processing backlogs, and HOAs, which may have specific rules in place for installing rooftop solar. Many states have laws that protect homeowners who want to install solar, but finding an installer who has strong relationships with HOAs and authorities that have jurisdiction over solar PV projects can shorten this timeline and make it a hassle-free process for you.
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.
Timeline: 4-6 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.
6. 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 with our operations team to answer any additional questions you may have.
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 panel service and maintenance department in Texas, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina.
*Specific timelines are estimates only and are subject to factors outside of Freedom Solar’s control. On average, customers can expect it to take a total of 3-6 months from signing the contract to the system powering their home.
If there is any conduit to be run inside your attic or garage, or other location where the conduit will be run. Likewise, if any equipment (such as the solar inverter(s) or a battery backup) are to be mounted inside (such as a garage), we will need access to that space. Otherwise, you are not required to be present during the installation.
We will let you know the estimated arrival time of the crew for your installation. If there are any locked gates that would restrict access to areas we need to work, we ask that these be left unlocked (if possible) if you will not be home. If there are any gate codes (to access your community, for instance) please share those with us before the installation start date.
Please ensure that your pets are secured for the duration of the work anytime our employees are onsite. If we arrive at your house and see that there is an unsecured animal in the work area, we will knock on the door and ask you to put your animal away. If you are not home and the pet is loose in the work area, we will attempt to contact you but will not enter. If we cannot complete our scheduled work due to a loose pet, you may be charged a $250.00 trip fee. Please respect this company policy to help us keep your pets and our employees safe!
We can arrange for our crew lead to meet with you on site on the first day of the installation to go over proposed conduit runs and equipment locations.
Our team will be in touch with you about the remaining steps to get your system on. These steps vary depending on your utility and local jurisdiction. Upon passage of any necessary inspections we will provide instructions about how to energize your system, and you will be given access to your monitoring portal.
The final step of the process is the Launch Meeting, which will be scheduled with our operations team. At your closeout meeting you’ll receive a final packet of materials for your installation. This packet contains your system’s design packet, product and warranty information, and service contacts.
LOOKING FOR SOLAR INSTALLERS YOU CAN TRUST?
A solar panel installation is a big project. That’s why it’s important to feel confident 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 like 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 consultation.
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