The Best Process for Solar Panel Installation in NY

Are you contemplating a solar panel installation in NY? As a Rockland or Orange County resident, you may wonder exactly how the installation process works and how long it takes. If you leave the job to the pros, you can sit back and relax while they do the work, all while remaining informed of which step is currently underway.

The best installers follow a set process for installing solar arrays so customers know exactly what to expect. The time it takes to complete each step varies based on the condition of the site and how quickly third parties respond. Here’s what a solar panel installation in NY looks like, a process that takes as little as three months from the initial consultation to a completely finished product.

Site Assessment

When you first show interest in switching to solar, you should have multiple companies assess your site and offer a quote. This gives you some choices to consider. A site assessment takes up to two weeks of multiple visits and includes the following:

  • Determine home energy consumption to ensure that a switch to solar is advantageous. Typically, if you spend at least $100 a month on electricity, solar panels will save you money.
  • Check your roof’s orientation, pitch, dimensions, shingle type and overall condition. If the installer spots significant damage, a roof replacement may be necessary before the solar installation can begin.
  • Measuring sun exposure on the proposed installation area and deciding whether trees need to be trimmed or removed to reduce shading on the roof.

Final System Agreement

One to two weeks after the site assessment, the installer of your choice sits down with you to sign a contract. The agreement includes all the information that affects the total cost of the installation, including:

  • System size and energy output
  • Number of solar panels
  • Solar panel manufacturer
  • Number of power inverters
  • Power inverter manufacturer
  • Mounting hardware needs

Now’s the time to receive answers to all your questions. Once you sign the contract, your switch to solar is officially underway!

System Design

Every home is different, so a solar design for your neighbor across the street is probably different from the one that will work best on your roof. The installer creates a custom design based on your home’s architecture, projected electrical needs and other factors determined during the site assessment. Choose an installer who takes three to four weeks to meticulously work out every detail so your solar array will perform efficiently for decades to come.

Permits

Permits are required to install solar panels in New York. Fortunately, you can sit back and let the installer handle it.

During the system design process, the installer created structural design and electrical blueprints along with specification sheets for all system components, from the solar panels to the inverters. The installer submits these documents to your town/municipality for approval. If you’re part of a Homeowner’s Association, the installer gets approval from this organization as well.

Be aware that this is one of the most time-consuming pieces of the solar installation puzzle – the process takes about one to six weeks, depending on how quickly everyone responds to requests – but your installer will work hard to obtain all the proper permits as quickly as possible.

Installation

Once everything is in order, the installation can begin! This is the shortest step in the process, usually only taking one day to complete. Plan for up to three days in case the installer runs into complications.

Be sure to choose an installer with years of extensive experience completing solar panel installations in NY similar to yours. Ask how the installer plans to comply with rules and regulations to keep workers safe.

Inspections

Once installed, you can’t flip the switch just yet. First, the installer must clear the system with your town/municipality and notify your utility company. A representative will come to your home and conduct a final walkthrough, including an electrical and building inspection. This is necessary to receive the all-clear based on local regulations and get your solar panels hooked up to the power grid. Inspections usually take three to eight weeks.

Utility Approval and Activation

This is the final step for a solar panel installation in NY, which takes anywhere from one to 12 weeks. Once the system is signed off by the inspector, a production meter is installed so you can participate in net metering, which is when you feed any excess electricity generated by your solar panels back to the grid. The utility company flips the switch and you begin powering your home with clean energy from the sun!

Solar panel installation in NY is a complicated process, but with the help of a professional installer, you can sit back and watch as it unfolds before your eyes.

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