Solar Panel Installation

Solar Panel Installation – What You Need to Know

Your solar company will submit the paperwork needed for the installation and interconnection to the grid. This process can take 2-4 weeks.

Panels should face south (assuming you live in the Northern Hemisphere) to maximize energy output. However, ground-mounted panels can produce electricity in a variety of orientations.

Monocrystalline panels are made of a single silicon crystal and are typically black in color. Polycrystalline is a bit less efficient but more affordable and usually blue in color.


The permit application process varies, depending on the city or town where you live. The process also depends on the type of solar project you have. For example, some cities require PE stamps from a professional engineer on solar drawings to prove that the solar system complies with electrical and structural codes. This requirement could add significant costs to your project, as it will require you to contract with a licensed engineer (which may be challenging for many solar companies).

In addition, the local enforcing agency often requires a fire safety inspection, so they must be made aware of any plans for a solar project. Some communities have an established memorandum of understanding between the government building official and the local fire department that allows them to coordinate and streamline the permit process for solar projects.

In order to improve their solar permitting process, local governments should consider seeking input from the solar industry, electric utilities and other stakeholders. This will help them create a permitting process that is efficient, cost-effective and helps reduce soft costs for the entire community.


Solar Panel Installations are made up of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight to electricity. These cells are protected by a glass front sheet and a polymer back sheet, with wires connecting them to an inverter. Solar modules come in different technologies, colors, and sizes with varying energy output efficiency ratings.

The optimal siting of solar PV systems is a crucial factor in maximizing performance. A system’s output is impacted by building orientation, roof specifications, shading from trees or buildings, and the inverter design.

Solar PV systems can be heavy, so a professional will determine whether your roof can handle the weight before installing it. They’ll also ensure your system can withstand local weather conditions, including winds. They’ll typically test the system with a third-party structural engineer to make sure it meets the wind loading standards set by your local code. This will help to guarantee the safety of your system and prevent any damage from high winds.


The most common location for solar panels is on the roof. A south-facing roof that is free of obstructions maximizes available sunlight. However, ground-mounted systems are an option for sites where a rooftop is not feasible or desired.

A professional installer can also recommend and install a battery backup system to help offset your energy consumption during nighttime and inclement weather when solar panels aren’t producing electricity. This is especially important if you choose not to participate in a state program like Net Metering that credits your utility company for the excess energy you send back to the grid.

Other essential qualifications of a professional solar panel installer include attention to detail, knowledge of basic math and how to read diagrams, physical stamina for working at an elevated height, and excellent communication skills. In some states, a professional solar installer needs a license or certificate to perform the installation. Check with your local electrical board to find out what your state’s requirements are.


Generally, solar panels don’t need to be cleaned. Rooftop solar panels are at an angle that allows them to naturally clean themselves from dust, dirt and smog with rainfall. However, if you live in an area with heavy pollutants and you see a dip in energy production over time, cleaning your solar panels may be the answer.

Solar panel maintenance can be performed by homeowners or hired service providers. It can be easier to perform on ground-mounted systems than rooftop solar panels because they can be easily accessed for cleaning, inspection and part replacement.

It is best to hire a solar professional to perform routine maintenance and cleaning. They can also install a monitoring system so you can check on your energy production. The monitoring system can let you know when your panel is producing less than it should, which could be a sign of an obstruction that needs to be addressed. If your panel has been damaged, you can use the monitoring data to verify your warranty claim and have it repaired or replaced.