Step by Step guide to a Low Cost Home Solar power system

Last updated on February 19th, 2018  

Please read

Why pay $35,000 for solar for your home when you can pay $7,500?

before reading this article.

I assume you have a fairly standard composite shingle roof. Mounting and installation costs may be more if you have a “complicated” roof.

One of things we do here at FiniteSpaces is help people “go solar”.  We generally assist with getting the paper work in order and helping find local installers.  Usually the fee is a couple of hundred dollars.

1. Determine the size system you want

Check your power bill as see how much power you use on average per month.

Hopefully your bill shows the average usage per month.

If not add up the past twelve months usage and then divide by 12.

2. Pick a system size:

                                              cost
size               power generated   cost     after rebate

4000 watt system:  720 kWh / month : $11,000   $7,500
6000 watt system: 1080 kWh / month : $15,000  $10,500
8000 watt system: 1440 kWh / month : $21,000  $14,700

3. See if you can fit the system on your roof (or the ground)

Identify where on your roof you can fit the panels and make sure the panels are not “shadowed” by trees or structures.  It is best if you can face the panels towards the South.

4. Contact your utility and/or local planning commission to determine what you have to do

Generally you will need to submit a plan.  Usually it is not very complicated.

It is usually made up of drawing of the panels on the roof and a “one-wire” drawing of the electrical part of the system.

Here is an example “one-wire” drawing (fixme)

5. Provide documentation as needed to utility and/or planning commission.

If required send the “plan” from step 4 to utility and/or the planning commission.

6. Find an installer & Electrician

Provide them with the plan and the paperwork you have gotten from the municipality.  You are not yet setting an install date but finding someone who will to do the installation work for a fair price.

There are two labor parts:

Installing the panels & inverter uses general labor familiar with solar roof installs.

The wiring and connection to the main power panel of the house requires an electrician.

7. Purchase the parts

If you want to finance your system I would contact a local bank for a home equity loan or line of credit.  This is by far the lowest cost way to finance your system.  I would suggest financing the system over 2 to 5 years at a monthly rate that is about 30% less than your current average monthly bill.

Then call up a supplier that has been in business for 20 plus years and order the parts.

Your panels and the inverter will likely be very heavy and arrive on pallets. You will need to store them some where until the installation is completed.

8. Arrange a date for the installer to do the installation

Just let your installer know all the parts have arrived and arrange a date for the install.

9. Arrange an inspection and final connect.

Contact the utility and/or planning commission as required.

10. Celebrate when your system is operating

11. Apply for rebates with the various government agencies.

If you would like us to assist with your install by providing various levels of guidance to make sure you get the lowest possible price and your install goes smoothly click here to send us email with your address and what you would like to accomplish.

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