Step 1: Find a Contractor (2 to 4 weeks)
Once you decide to go solar, you need to find a contractor to install the panels. Contractors who made it on your short list should conduct a site visit and evaluate your usage to determine the appropriate system size and initial design. This step could take anywhere from a week to a month or longer depending on how busy the contractors are when you call to schedule site visits.
Step 2: System Design (Up to 8 weeks)
After you choose a solar installer, the formal design process begins. This includes detailed layouts of where each panel will go on the house, how they are tied in and more. It's also possible that your roof or electrical panel will need to be upgraded.
Your contractor will apply for building permits with the appropriate local authority and for interconnection and net metering with Eversource. For Massachusetts residents, your contractor might also initiate an application for the SMART incentive program on your behalf.
Step 3: Installation (1 to 2 weeks)
A typical residential job takes one to two days to install the panels, inverter, racking system and wiring. However, scheduling your installation may take 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the backlog. Once plans are approved, the installer will order your panels and mounting equipment and schedule your installation.
On installation day, racks are mounted on the roof to hold the panels, followed by the inverter, meter and electrical disconnects. The panels are then attached to the racks.
Step 4: Inspection, Interconnection, and System Testing (1 to 2 months)
After the system is installed, the local building or electrical inspector conducts a system and wiring inspection. Your solar contractor works with Eversource to complete the paperwork necessary to interconnect your solar system to our grid.
Eversource will install new meters to measure how much energy your solar panels produce and send back to the grid and how much energy you use from Eversource. When the installation is complete, the contractor should test the equipment to confirm that it is operating properly.
Step 5: Enjoy your Solar! (25 years)
After Eversource issues your permit to operate, your solar contractor will work with you to turn on your new system, check that the new meters are functioning properly, and complete the final paperwork. Now you're ready to generate clean, renewable power and discover the benefits of net metering and SMART incentives.
Most solar panels have a 20- to 25-year manufacturer warranty with inverters warrantied up to 25 years. Your solar contractor should provide a minimum 5-year warranty to protect against defective workmanship, electric component breakdown, or significant degradation in electrical output. Your solar contractor might also offer you a maintenance contract.