What is the process for going solar?

Whether you decide to go with a full-service provider that takes care of everything, or do more of the work yourself by subcontracting with a local installer, going solar typically takes 3–6 months.

3–6 months
Average time from quote to installation

Receive a home solar analysis

1
Average time: seconds

Enter your home address into Project Sunroof to estimate potential energy production and bill savings you could generate with rooftop solar.

Connect with solar providers and compare quotes

2
Average time: 1 week

Share your Project Sunroof analysis to be contacted by solar providers in your area.

How to choose a provider

Contract with a provider

3
Average time: 1 week

Finalize agreement with the provider you prefer.

Design system and obtain permit

4
Average time: 1 month

Review and approve your system design so your provider can get permits from your local building department.

Install and inspect

5
Average time: 1-2 months

Typical systems can be installed in a day or two. After installation local city and utility representatives will come out to your home to inspect the system.

Utility net metering agreement

6
Average time: 1 week

Residential solar systems often generate more electricity than your home uses during daylight hours, so you’ll need a net-metering account with your utility. Most installers will help you select the right plan to ensure optimal savings over time.

Switch on and start saving!

7

Once approvals are granted, you can switch on your system and begin generating clean power.

Start your process with a home solar analysis

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Installation van illustration

How should you choose a solar provider?

Choosing to go solar is a valuable investment. Selecting the right solar provider is an important decision that can make for a smooth transition and impact overall system performance. From providing an initial quote and arranging financing, designing and installing the system, to maintaining it over time, there are many aspects that your provider manages.

Key factors in choosing a solar provider

  • Experience: How long a solar provider has been in business isn’t the only sign of a good provider, but it helps. Look for how many years they’ve been in business and how many systems they’ve installed.
  • Customer rating: Customer ratings sometimes don’t tell the whole story, especially if the review is only about the initial phone call. But reviews and testimonials are good insights into overall customer service and response time.
  • Workmanship: Look for certifications, licensed contractors, and photos of completed jobs.
  • Final solar quote: A good solar provider will be transparent. Make sure they list out all your estimated costs with projected savings, system installation, and maintenance costs, as well as product warranties to help protect your investment.
  • System components: Look up what panels and inverters they offer. Some providers have a wide range of types.
  • Timing: It’s a good idea to look at a solar provider’s average wait time for installation. Ask when they would schedule your installation.
  • Guarantees: Make sure they provide product and performance warranties. Look for length in coverage. The standard is 20 year warranty for solar panels, which leaves you worry-free for the duration of your lease or loan or purchase.
Solar panels and savings illustration

Which solar panels should you use?

When selecting solar panels, review the following details with your solar provider:

  • Best value for your targeted savings: Depends on how much usable roof space you have, panel power production, and cost.
  • Aesthetics: Panel color and mounting systems can be beautifully designed to integrate well with your home architecture.
  • Panel manufacturer quality and warranties: Protect your investment by picking high-quality panels backed by 20–25 year warranties.
Solar panels and savings illustration

Which solar inverter should you choose?

Inverters transform the solar electricity generated by panels (DC power) into useable electricity (AC power) for your home. Typically installed near your home's electric panel, the inverter you choose should be determined by the design of your system.

Types of inverters include:

  • String inverters: Convert electricity from multiple panels.
  • Microinverters: Convert electricity from a single panel.

When selecting solar panels, review the following details with your solar provider:

  • Inverter manufacturer track-record and warranties: String inverters typically carry a 10-year warranty and may need to be replaced during the life of your solar installation. Microinverters sometimes carry 25-year warranties and may not need to be replaced.
  • Best fit for your solar installation: The choice of string or microinverter often depends on how much shade your roof gets. Discuss with the solar provider what makes the most sense for your situation.
Solar panels and savings illustration

How can you track the performance of your system?

To maximize your solar installation performance and savings over time, most providers include ongoing monitoring as well as maintenance services, in case something goes wrong with your system.

Savings illustration

See how much you can save

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Want to learn more about rooftop solar?

Learn about how solar works