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Solar Project Timeline

A solar energy system involves a lot more than putting panels on your roof and plugging in. Let's walk through each step of the process.

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.

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.

A typical residential job takes one to two days to install the panels, inverter, racking system and wiring. However, scheduling your installation may take six to eight 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.

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 how much energy you use from Eversource and send back to the grid. When the installation is complete, the contractor should test the equipment to confirm that it is operating properly and provide you instructions on how to operate and maintain your system.

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 may also offer you a maintenance contract.

This solar project checklist will help you schedule the major steps in your solar installation. There's even space for you to track your own progress. Your timelines will vary because every project is unique.