With the current influx of solar technology (and the looming date of another decrease in federal solar tax credits), it seems like solar panels are popping up all over the place.
The length of time it takes to install solar panels depends on a few different factors.
Here are all the different factors that contribute to the time it takes to install solar panels and the expected time of each method or factor.
Solar panels are not as invasive as many other types of home additions. Even though people will be on your roof and working around your house, there isn’t much that usually needs to be done to the house itself.
Although, don’t misconstrue; even for a professional, making sure solar panels are put in the right way can be time-consuming. Energy Informative explains that the full course of work from start to finish for a 20- solar panel, the standard 3-kilowatt system, consists of 75 man-hours in total. This is further broken down into the estimation of 49 man-hours of electrician installation labor and 26 man-hours of non-electrician installation labor.
Of course, you have to remember this is an approximate number of hours. If your house is smaller, bigger, or your project is more involved or less involved, that time can vary. Thus, the more acceptable estimation is between one and three days.
What Size Are Your Solar Panels?
Since solar panel installation is a business, most want to get each job done as quickly as possible and since this is their job, they usually get really good at it. However, there are certain jobs that just take longer and one of the reasons is that you have larger solar panels.
Remember, you have different sizes available to you, and the different sizes that you should use depend on the building you are equipping for solar power. For instance, the average residential home uses 65 inches by 39 inches, while the common size for commercial buildings is 77 inches by 39 inches.
Yet, those aren’t the only options. Depending on the type of roof you have and the acceptable weight your roof can handle, solar panels can be bigger or smaller to accommodate your needs. Most solar panels weigh about 40 pounds each, so if your roof can’t handle that, you are going to have to be creative; which could add time to the planning stage as well as the labor stage of the installation.
How Are Your Panels Being Wired?
The wiring of your solar panels could also play a role in the length of time your installation takes. Here are the two most common solar panel wiring methods:
When solar panels are wired in a series, you are wiring one panel to the next. In a solar panel series, it is easy to increase the voltage while the amps stay the same. This is a good system if you have a long system to run but it is usually not part of a residential system.
Parallel solar panels are set up with all the positive terminals and all the negative terminals wired together. This takes more wire but it offers more amps, while the voltage remains the same. This method of wiring does not require an MPPT Remote and will continue to work even if the panels are mismatched.
The wiring method pertains to the timetable of the installation of the solar panels, because one method may take longer for a specific crew to complete. For instance, if this installation crew is used to doing Series wiring, but your home requires Parallel wiring, it could take longer for the installation to be complete.
Or, if they expect to do a Series wiring and end up needing to do a Parallel wiring system they might run out of wire which will extend the timeframe of your solar installation while they wait for more wire to arrive.
Basically, it all comes down to the individual experience, so it is difficult to put all solar panel jobs on the same timetable.
How Long Does It Take to Decide What You Want?
Solar panel installation is a big investment. That means it is a big decision. Until now, this article has focused on the installation itself. However, the decisions you make and the length of time it takes for you to decide exactly what you want takes time too. There are a lot of decisions to be made when you are investing in solar panels.
Most people take a few weeks, sometimes longer to decide exactly what they want to do. That’s okay. Everyone within the solar industry understands that for individual households, installing solar panels is a big deal and so your local installers are likely to be extremely helpful. So, do your research, get quotes, and think about the options.
Lastly, while you are making all those decisions, make sure to look into the permits you need to get and ensure that they are put in for as soon as possible. Depending on the area, it might take longer than you think to get the official okay and until that is done installers cannot work on your solar panels anyway.
Therefore, it is important to know what you need and who needs to get it so that when you are ready you don’t have to work through any more red tape.
Ultimately, the time it takes to install solar panels varies wildly. For as much as the process shouldn’t be overly invasive, it is a process that needs to be done right and every project is different. Averages come from the masses but when it comes to your individual project, all of these different factors play into the timeline and either make it run long or get done quickly. That is why it is so important to do your own research and know exactly what you want and what your home is capable of. That way, it is less likely you will run into a decision during the installation process that causes the installation to run longer than you expected.