Introduction to Solar Panel Installation:

Solar Panel Installation - Process Street

This solar panel installation checklist is designed to lead you through the steps necessary to install a series of solar panels on a residential or commercial property

The checklist walks through the overall steps in the process while detailing key considerations in the tasks. Within each task are form fields where you can upload information pertinent to the project. 

We've also included a final task which guides you through setting up your invoicing system with Process Street if you wish to use it. 

Solar power is a rapidly growing industry and unlike other traditional forms of energy generation, it can be directly harnessed by the consumer. 

The price of solar panels are dropping worldwide and certain areas are seeing huge spikes in usage. Over the last 10 years, Europe has seen solar power generation jump from 0.1% of production to 10%. Many European countries are experiencing renewable energy outputs equal to entire nation demand on particularly hot or windy days. 

The US isn't far behind in the rise of solar with companies like Elon Musk's SolarCity vying for the industrial market and the globally high levels of consumer spending power meaning that individuals and families across America are able to install panels on their homes and contribute energy back into the national grid. 

We built this checklist with that consumer demand in mind, to help the small firms across America meet those needs. 

Solar Panel Installation - EnergySage

Enter the client details

Use the form fields within this section to record all pertinent details relating to the client. 

Assess the suitability for solar power

The first step in a solar installation project is assessing the viability of solar energy generation for the particular location. 

There are some very easy steps which you will take:

  • 1
    Is the roof in the shade?
  • 2
    Which side of the roof receives the most sunlight?
  • 3
    Is the structure stable enough to support panels?

These are some of the obvious considerations you must take into account when evaluating a site. However, you'll need to check a few more things too. 

Use the form fields to document these measures. 

Apply for relevant permits or permission

Going through the process of installing solar panels involves an initial period of managing permissions and permits. 

It is important to make sure that all necessary documents have been collected and submitted before beginning any work. The financial cost to the customer of purchasing and installing solar panels is significant and there shouldn't be unnecessary risks attached to that. 

What permits are required will vary nation by nation and state by state - town by town, even. 

Make sure you gather a detailed analysis of the legal process for your area.

Use the form field below to document whether all permits have been applied for

Choose the photovoltaic system type

Choosing the panels is an important part of the process as these panels will sit on your client's roof for the next 20+ years. 

It is vital you assess build quality and buy from a trusted supplier. Most solar panels have to adhere to certain industry standard performance tests and should generate between 200 to 350 watts. The higher the energy generation, better return they'll give your client. 

You should have a consistent supplier set up, but it is always worth checking up on the market - particularly with the rate of technological progress within the sector!

Perform a risk assessment on the project

Solar panels and renewable energy protect our planet, but they won't be able to do so unless you protect yourself. 

Make sure to run a risk assessment before any project begins

Use the form field below to upload your risk assessment.

Inspect the roof for stability

If the roof is not stable then you put yourself in danger and you put the client in a precarious long-term position also, as they could find their roof collapsing in on them.

Use our subchecklist below to check certain considerations.

  • 1
    Is the roof even and level?
  • 2
    Are the tiles secured?
  • 3
    What is the condition of the roofing structure?
  • 4
    Is the roof sufficiently protected from the weather?

Select the location of the inverter and install

A typical location for the inverter to be installed might be by an electrical panel in the garage. This kind of storage keeps it hidden with other utilities yet next to other important components in the solar system. 

Consideration needs to be given to the different kinds of inverters available which could be employed within this system. There are three principle types of inverters to discuss: string inverters, micro inverters, and power optimizers. 

It is wise to discuss this with the client and explain to them the different options available along with the pros and cons of each. 

Use the form field below to document your approach to the inverter.

Build any scaffolding or support systems needed

You can either construct your scaffolding yourself or have an external company come in to do so.

Often, not much scaffolding is needed on small residential builds and a selection of harness options can compensate for large structures. 

You can see this in the video below from Solar City.

Two Solar Panel System Installations - Solar City

Manage the wiring from the roof to your inverter

Make sure all wiring from the inverter is safely led up to the roof so that it will be easily accessible once the panels are installed. 

Prepare the roof for solar panels

Preparing the roof for solar panels will hopefully only require adding racking to the roof. 

Of course, if the roof is in a terrible condition it may need to be renovated which adds significant time to the job. You can use our roof installation process to guide you through that process.

Check out this video below for some examples and demonstrations of installing solar racking and flashing.

Kinetic solar racking and mounting

Mount the panels on the roof

This is the task everyone most associates with the process but it is likely one of the easier parts. 

Make sure you are safe working at heights and be careful not to damage the solar panels in the process. 

The panels should be firmly secured with a 10cm space between the roof and the panel to allow for cooling. 

Connect your panels to the inverter

Select on the dropdown form field below to confirm you have connected every panel to the system. 

Run post-installation checks

Now that the installation process is largely complete, run through these basic checks to confirm the project has been done successfully. 

  • 1
    Check the polarity is plus on plus, minus on minus
  • 2
    Protect the battery in a box to avoid short circuiting
  • 3
    Make sure the cooling space between panel and roof is 10cm
  • 4
    Provide the panels are angled for maximum efficiency
  • 5
    Double check the panels are not in shade
  • 6
    Check there is easy access to the controller
  • 7
    Make sure controller wiring is organized and clear
  • 8
    Check all cables are weatherproofed
  • 9
    Provide all wire thickness/length is correct for output

Add a power meter to measure output

An optional, but recommended, extra is to add a power meter to the client's system in order for them to be able to more accurately measure their energy generation. 

Discuss the option with them and record the details in the form field below

Invite a local government representative for inspection

Use the email widget below to notify the local government institution that the build is finished and ready to be inspected.

Invite an electrical company representative for approval

Use the email widget below to contact the local electrical company so that your client can start contributing to the grid. 

Plan an annual cleaning procedure

Talk with your client about the maintenance requirements for solar panels and help them set up a system for managing it. 

This can be a secondary service your company offers as an upsell or it could be a simple process you help the client build independently.

Either upload the process below or include a link to it if you're using Process Street to build it. 

Build a process to track grid revenue

Help explain to your client how best to track their revenue to ensure they aren't being given a bum deal. 

You could use Process Street to help them build an ongoing process to monitor their solar revenue.

Send invoice to the client

Congratulations on a successful construction project. 

The contractor can use the Process Street invoice generator template to send their invoice to the client. 

This invoice can be sent automatically from this checklist by clicking to complete the task. 

You can use Zapier to connect this task in this template to your invoice so that you can automate the sending process. 

In Zapier, select "Make a Zap" and search for Process Street. It will prompt you to create a trigger - select "New Task Checked". It should then prompt you to connect your Process Street account to your Zapier one. You simply follow the link Settings & API tab of the organization manager on the pop-up.

Follow the steps provided by Zapier and it should connect the two accounts together. From here it will let you search for the template you want to run the Zap from, and choose the task you want to hook it up to.

After you've selected those options you can test that step and your trigger should be set. 

Next, you can create the action to be initiated by your trigger. You can use a third party system like WebMerge or you can use Zapier's built-in email service to generate HTML emails. Either of these solutions can be used to generate and send your invoice.

To read more about these steps and how to create the invoice check out this article

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