The Process of Going Solar – Beginning To End
Making the switch to solar is similar to any large process that people only go through either once in their lives, such as planning a wedding and getting married. However, the switch to solar requires significantly less work, planning, and time. That said, there are bound to be questions around the process, timing, finances, and every other aspect that one imagine. This blog aims to serve as a reference guide for anybody looking to go solar, but still want to ensure they are going about it in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Before we begin the step by step process, it should be noted that similar to other events that you might go through only once in your life, such as a wedding, everybody’s process and situation is going to be slightly different. That said, the larger picture should still remain relatively the same.
Inquiring About Solar
If you have been doing research on solar, chances are that you have started getting online ads about solar and potentially some information about government tax rebate programs. Most research will show multiple solar companies in the area. We have another blog that tells you about how to choose which local solar company is right for you.
Once you inquire about solar, if it’s a general form you filled out online, you’re likely to get multiple calls. If you chose one specific company and filled out their form, that company will contact you and schedule an appointment to determine whether or not you would be a good candidate for solar.
Consultation by Company
Due to COVID, many companies have started using Zoom or similar services to do their consultation, using google maps or similar services to get a frame of reference for your property. Others companies are continuing to use face-to-face consultations because they are able to easily determine whether you would make a good candidate, without having to guess using satellite imagery. In person visits allow the company to better determine the size and primary cardinal direction your roof is facing, whether there are any large obstructions to sunlight, and other various items that can also help you better determine whether you are a good candidate for solar. Any consultation, whether online or in person, should be a free consultation at no cost to you.
During the consultation, the company will likely ask for other information such as your last 12-24 months of energy bills. This information is to help them design a system that is appropriate for your needs. While there are estimators out there that base your energy consumption on the size of your property, this isn’t always the most accurate as it is highly dependent on a number of factors, such as whether you keep your house at 68 degrees or 74 degrees.
Once the solar company has all of the necessary info, they will size and design a system accordingly. This should also take into account which solar panels you chose, as different panels have different warranties. After the plan is created, you will get a chance to look everything over, review the finances, and if everything is to your liking, sign the contract.
Site Surveys and Permits
Once you sign the contract, your involvement should mostly be letting workers into your property for a full site survey and during construction. The full site survey is where the solar company will get actual measurements of your roof (or ground if you are getting ground mounted solar panels), assess the structural supports of where the solar panels will be attached, and do an analysis of the electrical system to ensure it is able to handle the load, among other things.
From here your solar company will draw up a blueprint. It is recommended to ensure your solar company is using licensed engineers from your state to draw up these blueprints. KC Solar ensures to use only licensed engineers to create the blueprints for your project. This blueprint creation process can take a few days, or up to a week, depending on the complexity of your project.
These blueprints, along with other paperwork and files, then need to be submitted for the proper permits. This is something your solar company will take care of for you. This is also the step where the timeline for projects will vary considerably from project to project. Depending on where you live, you will likely have to get permit approval from your Authority Having Jurisdiction (or AHJ), as well as your current electric provider.
While there is some work happening to standardize these processes, currently they can vary significantly based on what city, county, and state you live in, as well as who your current energy provider is. The processes also differ for urban versus rural settings. In these scenarios, rural AHJs are often quicker to approve permits than ones in more urban areas. The same oftentimes holds true for receiving the necessary permits from the electric company. These processes generally take a couple of months, but your solar company should be keeping you updated every step of the way.
Construction and Inspections
Once all the necessary permits are approved, construction can begin. Your participation will once again be necessary as you let the crew onto your property. How long this takes depends on the complexity of your system, but weather permitting, even the most complex projects typically take no longer than 3 days. During this process, the AHJ will send someone out to inspect the site and ensure everything is being built to code. After the construction is complete, the energy company will send out a representative to inspect it, and then install a net metering device.
Once construction is complete, and the inspections are done, all that’s left to do is flip the switch and you have officially gone solar! At this point is when you will begin paying the loan used to finance the project, or begin paying yourself back with free energy from the sun.
Start Your Switch To Solar Today
If you are looking for the best solar company in Kansas City, look no further than KC Solar. They are your local Kansas City solar panel installation experts. Once you schedule a no-pressure site visit, our experts will help you understand what solar system specifications would be best for your home or business.
KC Solar is the only local solar company in Kansas City with KC natives who own and operate the daily activities of the business. What does that mean for you? We care about you because we care about this city, and we only want the best for it.
And be sure to download our Free Solar Panel Buying Guide for more information.
We look forward to serving you!