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What to expect when you’re expecting solar panels

August 19th, 2020 | By Chad McComas

You’ve decided to go solar and you’re expecting solar panels. Owning your power is right around the corner. The papers are signed, you’ve gotten the necessary approvals, and all that’s left is the solar installation. The installation process requires a lot of precision, and it’s important to understand the process that the installation team follows. Pink Energy Executive Production Manager Mike Weber explains what homeowners should expect when they are expecting solar panels.

What to expect before the solar panel installation begins

Our customer’s happiness is our happiness. Well before installation day, Pink Energy’s expert design team mapped out personalized designs for each individual home, and they were approved by the homeowner. On site, we ensure the homeowner is still content with that panel design, and we move forward accordingly.

“We try to be as transparent as we can in the beginning to really go over the design, describe the scope of work to them to so that they know where everything is going to go. Once we agree upon everything, we’re just going to get started,” Weber explains. “These are quick installs and our installation team is very well-trained. These guys just get it done. Usually installs will take us a day, larger installs might take us two days. That’s about it, we don’t really exceed two days.”

What roles will the team have once they arrive at my house?

The typical Pink Energy installation teams is made up of five employees. The typical setup is two roofers, a main electrician, an electrical helper, and a ground installer. The ground installer typically assists both ends of the process. He/she helps the roofers with what they need to avoid constant ladder usage. They also assist the electrician, who is also the crew lead and oversees the five-person team.

“The installation team normally gets panel ready within two hours. Then it takes them an hour or so to install the panels. From there they must do energy an efficiency package, and that can take about two hours,” says Weber. “For a 20-panel system, five to six hours is an average time for the team to get this done.”

Panel ready is when the installation team chalks and maps out the design, creating a blueprint of where the panels will go. The process is a different for ground-mounted installations, as the installation crew installs metal beams that hold the panels in place. But most of our customers opt for roof-mounted installs.

solar panels-solar panel installation-Pink Energy

Notice how the bolts that hold the racking are installed with flashing, so that there are no roof leaks.

Weber explains, “Once they have the roof chalked out and mapped out, they will locate the rafters where all the attachment points will go. And then the first step once they map the roof out is, they get all the attachments in. They get the quick-mount racking system up, and from there, we will have to use PV wire which is UV-rated wire and we will wire-manage the system.”

Wrapping up the solar panel install process

Wire management means connecting the panels together, and extending the wiring down the side of the house to the inverter. Remember, the inverter converts the DC electricity generated by your solar panels into the AC electricity your home can use. The panels are secured on the racks by bolting them into place, allowing your panels to withstand most wind, rain and snow loads.

“Each panel has a positive and negative lead on it, and they are short, and we need to extend those almost like an extension cord,” Weber explains. “We’ll run an extension cord from the beginning and end of where the panels are going to be and that needs to go down to the inverter to bring all the energy created by the panels down to it. Then, we have to run that UV-rated wire from the roof down to the inverter.”

Once the panels are bolted on the roof and the wires are properly managed, the electricians make sure the inverter and AC disconnect are properly connected. And if a customer added battery storage, that is added as well. Once all is complete, all that is left is to install the energy efficiency package. From there, the crew is finished and the house is now more energy efficient. We install the energy efficiency package because we want your home utilizing the solar energy it’s producing to the fullest!

With the install crew’s job complete, all that remains is for the utility company to flip the switch, and then you will reap the benefits of your brand new solar panels!

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