A Step-By-Step Guide to Solar Panel Installation

As alternative energy becomes increasingly popular, more people are installing solar energy systems than ever before. Deciding to go solar is a big decision that significantly impacts your home or business, and the process may seem overwhelming and complicated. That’s where we come in.

At Bright Eye Solar, we make getting set up with solar energy a breeze. Our standard solar panel installation process involves six simple steps, and we handle all of the details for you. We’ve broken down each phase in more detail below so you know exactly what to expect.

Assess Your Home’s Overall Energy Efficiency Before Going Solar

Solar is a wonderful way to go green, but if the rest of your home isn’t as efficient as possible, it may not be the best investment for you right now. We recommend upgrading your appliances, windows, and insulation before committing to a solar panel installation. You should also consider the age of your roof, since this plays a major role in your home’s viability for solar energy.

Step 1: Site Survey & Initial Consultation

While there are solar panel options for your home (and nearly everyone else’s), there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your budget, timeline, and property specifics all impact your installation, which is why we start every new job with a detailed consultation and site survey. If your property supports multiple installation locations, we’ll also review the pros and cons of each one to help you make an informed decision.

As mentioned previously, we sometimes recommend high-efficiency appliances or new insulation as an alternative to a solar panel installation. These investments may deliver better immediate value for your money, and we always keep our customers’ best interests in mind.

We’re currently offering a $50 Amazon gift card to anyone who completes a short screen share with us. To receive your gift card, simply provide a copy of your electric bill, participate in a brief screen share, and answer a few follow-up questions. Get started with this offer and learn more here!

House in neighborhood with solar panels on roof

Step 2: Proposal & Cost-Benefit Analysis

If you decide to go solar, our team will create a detailed proposal that outlines the work involved, your solar panel installation cost, and your system’s anticipated monthly and annual electricity output. If you’re interested in adding battery backup to your system, we’ll also review the details and costs associated with solar energy storage.

Your proposal will also include an overview of the solar energy financing options and leasing opportunities available to you. This information allows you to perform a cost-benefit analysis and determine how quickly you can expect a return on your investment.

Step 3: Engineering & Administration

Our team will complete detailed CAD drawings of your system’s panels, inverter(s), and other components before doing any on-site work. We’ll also submit your paperwork for any applicable state or federal incentives, manufacturer’s rebates, or third-party financing programs.

At this point, we’ll complete interconnection and net metering agreements with your utility provider and obtain any required building and electrical permits from local and state regulatory agencies. We’ll also contact you to schedule a date to complete your installation.

Step 4: Solar Panel Installation

We start by ordering all of the necessary components for your installation from our supplier partners. We work with many leading manufacturers and have access to competitive prices on some of the most advanced solar energy systems on the market.

A typical roof-mounted home solar installation involves the following steps:

  1. Wiring
  2. Testing the structural integrity of your roof
  3. Installing the mounting system, inverter, and hardware
  4. Final connections
  5. Flipping the switch

If you have land available and want to save a step, you can also mount your solar panels on the ground. This is a great option for homeowners who have open space that isn’t shaded.

How Can I Prepare for My Installation?

The best way to think of your solar panel installation is to compare it to any other home renovation. It’s a big investment, and there’s always the potential that something might go wrong. However, you can minimize your risk and ensure you’re as prepared as possible by following the tips below.

Maintain Realistic Expectations

It’s important to understand that your solar system probably won’t generate enough power to run your entire home without backup. Don’t think of solar as a self-contained solution. Instead, think of it as a way to offset your reliance on fossil fuels, leave an environmentally friendly legacy, reduce your carbon footprint, and hedge against rising utility prices.

Work with a Reputable Provider

Choosing a trustworthy and knowledgeable solar energy provider like Bright Eye Solar guarantees you get the best prices and customer service. We’re your Pennsylvania-based solar panel and power installer and can guarantee a customized, full-service experience that’s second to none.

Take Advantage of Rebates & Accessories

There are many ways to offset your initial solar panel installation cost, including municipal, state, federal, and private programs. Many manufacturers also offer rebates. Our knowledgeable team can recommend any applicable rebates and, in many cases, take care of the paperwork for you. Consider also doing your own research, as new solar energy financing options and incentives are created frequently.

Ask About No Money Down & Monthly Payments

Remember that when you go solar, you’re not really adding a new monthly bill to your budget. Instead, you’re replacing one monthly bill for another. And the monthly payments associated with your new system are often less than what you’d pay the utility company for the same amount of electricity. It may take slightly longer to reach your payback period if you opt for 100% financing, but you’re still saving money immediately and adding value to your home.

Bright Eye Solar offers 12 and 18 month no money down financing opportunities to make solar energy more affordable than ever. Contact our friendly team today for more information.

How Long Will My Solar Installation Take?

The actual installation process (or the amount of time we spend on your property) is usually no longer than one or two days. Keep in mind that larger residential systems and commercial jobs may take longer. From start to finish, the entire process – initial consultation, paperwork, ordering parts, etc. – is typically six to eight weeks.

Inexperienced installers may struggle with the permitting and engineering phases, but our experienced team streamlines the solar panel installation process to minimize the risk of delays.

Group of solar panels near farm

Can I Buy & Install My Own Solar Panels?

In many parts of the country, only certified installers are legally permitted to connect a home solar system to the grid. If this isn’t the case in your area, you can certainly tackle the design and engineering components of a solar installation. However, it’s important to understand that your system’s design and installation play a key role in determining its efficiency — and how quickly you see a return on your investment.

While the DIY route may save you some money on your solar panel installation cost, the small added fee of working with a professional is almost always worth it in the long run.

Step 5: Testing & Tweaking

Once your initial installation is complete, we test your system to ensure it’s delivering the promised performance and make any necessary adjustments. If you choose a fixed system, we may need to move the panels slightly to maximize their sun exposure and avoid obstacles that weren’t apparent during the site survey. We’ll also take the time to explain everything you need to know about your new system and put together a maintenance schedule to ensure maximum production.

Step 6: Regular Maintenance

Other than keeping the core components clean and debris-free, most home solar installations don’t require much routine maintenance. Plus, unlike geothermal and wind turbines, there are no moving parts to burn out. Bright Eye Solar offers on-site service and can monitor the performance of your system to ensure it continues generating the power you need.

How Long Will My Solar Panel Installation Last?

While longevity varies based on the model, a new set of solar panels typically lasts 30 years or longer with manufacturer-specified maintenance. It’s important to note that solar panels do lose a small amount of efficiency each year, but this is less than 1% of their overall capacity. After 25 years, the average panel will produce 85-87% of its original minimum peak power rating, which is why most manufacturers offer a 20-25 year warranty.

Solar mounting systems are generally made from high-grade aluminum and stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about corrosion and rust. They’re also protected beneath the solar modules and generally have a similar warranty. The solar inverter is often seen as the “weak link,” so it’s important to choose one from a reputable company that’s warrantied for at least ten years. Keep in mind that manufacturers typically offer a 25-year warranty on microinverters.

Ready to schedule your site survey and initial consultation? We’d love to hear from you! Submit the form below to connect with our knowledgeable sales team and learn about your best residential solar options.

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