With countless sun-filled days and virtually year-round warm weather, it comes as no surprise that California remains the national leader in solar energy. Thanks to statewide clean energy initiatives, increased community awareness, and readily available financial assistance programs, solar energy is on the rise and is only expected to continue to rise in California.
Currently, enough solar energy within the state exists to power approximately 3.5 million homes. The goal is for 33 percent of the entirety of California’s energy source stem from renewable resources by the year 2020, rising to 50 percent of all electricity by 2030. From cash back to tax breaks and rebates to a variety of financing options, several viable finance initiatives will further the push towards solar energy and a cleaner, more affordable future.
Solar Installation Process
The entire solar process from the initial planning stages to the final step of generating your own solar power can take anywhere from approximately 45 days to a few months. Although there may be slight variations in the order or duration of each step depending on the solar company you choose, the installation process for most companies consists of the following steps:
- Site Assessment: The company will send a trained technician to your home to learn about and assess your property as well as help you evaluate your energy needs. Based on this information, they will put together a complimentary customized quote that will detail all your solar energy options.
- Agreement: A solar design expert will send you the agreement for your review. Based on your opinion of what is contained in the quote, the solar expert will modify the agreement as necessary so that it is exactly to your specifications. After the adjustment have been made, you will receive the final agreement for you to approve of and sign off on.
- Permitting: After you approve the finalized agreement, the solar company is then legally required to submit you personalized plan to the city in which you reside for permitting approval. It is a good idea to take this time to ensure your property as a whole is up to code since this will be required in order to move forward with solar panel installation.
- Installation: As soon as the city approves your solar energy system design and grants the necessary permit to move forward is when the solar company can get to work on installing your system. The morning of the installation day, a team will arrive to mount the solar panels on your roof along with any additional solar equipment specified in your agreement. You can expect the following course of action from the solar installation team:
- Arrival: Upon arrival, you will have a chance to review your personalized plan one last time, including all electrical components and design elements.
- Clear access: The crew will designate and clear a safe work zone and roof access areas.
- Place rails: The team will mount and install the rails on your roof on which the solar panels will lie.
- Install wiring: Once the rails are set, the installers will place all the electrical wiring that will connect any other solar equipment specified in your plan such as an invertor or net meter.
- Place panels: Finally, the team will place your solar panels.
- Inspection: Once your solar panels are officially installed on your roof, the city or county where you reside will come to your property to conduct one final inspection. They will ensure all the components of your new solar energy system are up to code and in proper functioning order before connecting you to the electricity grid.
- Utility Interconnection: Finally, your solar company will send all your energy system documentation to your local utility provider in order to keep track of your system and its performance, including solar energy power used and produced.
- Power On: Once your system is installed, inspected, and signed off on, you’ll be officially ready to power your system up and immediately start enjoying significant savings while generating clean, renewable energy that will leave you—and the environment—much better off.
Common Installation Problems
With multiple different solar companies performing multiple installations on a regular basis, installers have installed virtually every type of system on virtually every type of home. Installation teams have encountered and understand some of the most common issues facing customers when attempting to install solar—including how to avoid them all together:
- Old roofing: In order to install brand new, high quality solar panels expected to last over at least the next 20 years, you first need to ensure you have a quality roof that will last just as long on which to place your system. Prior to looking into panels, take care of all necessary roof repairs to get it in excellent condition. Making sure the foundation for your panels is solid will allow your enjoy the perks of your system without any worry or hassle for years to come.
- Proper permitting: You must secure the proper permitting from your city or county in order to move forward with any solar energy system. When your roof is checked out, what many inspectors wont’ tell you is that they will be reviewing all of your property. In order the approval to move forward with your solar panel installation, you must ensure that along with your roof, all components of your property such as balconies, pools, decks, etc. also be completely up to code. Not ensuring your home as whole is not up to date with permitting will stall the installation process.
- Not solar-suitable: In certain rare instances, your home may simply not be conducive to receiving all the benefits of solar energy. For example, if your property has a considerable amount of trees that provide significant shade, or if your house is positioned in a way that it receives minimal direct sunlight, then your property may not be ideal for solar. Reputable solar companies will be forthcoming in accurately assessing whether solar is a viable option for you.