How long does a solar panel installation take?
One of the first questions homeowners have when they’re thinking about installing home solar panels is “how long will the installation take?”. Believe it or not, the actual installation can take as little as six hours. But, going solar consists of a lot more than just getting contractors up on your roof. There are a few additional factors you need to keep in mind when trying to plan out how and when to complete your installation.
We’ll walk you through the solar installation process and determine how long it may take for your home.
See how much you can save with solar panels
Solar installation timeline at a glance
- The total solar installation process will take somewhere between two and six months to complete.
- Typically, contractors install a residential solar system in as little as 6 hours.
- The longest part of the installation process is waiting for permit approval, which has the potential to take almost two months to complete.
- Once the system is installed, you still need to wait for one to six weeks for your city and utility to inspect and approve the installation.
- Waiting for the installation to be complete is worth the investment, as the system will provide you with thousands of dollars in electrical bill savings over 25 years.
Solar panel installation process timeline
Installation is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to switching to solar. Eight key steps make the entire process last anywhere from two to six months on average.
Choosing a solar installer
Time: 1 day to 2 weeks
Choosing a solar installer is the first and most important step of your entire solar journey. What company you pick determines not only the price of your installation but the quality and timeline as well!
You want to make sure you’re picking a reliable company that’s been in business for at least 5 years, have a NABCEP certified installer, and has positive customer reviews. This step can take you just a few hours, but it’s important to take the time to not only find a few installers you like, but also get and compare quotes from them. You definitely don’t want to cut corners when it comes to choosing the right company.
Getting at least three quotes will increase your chances of getting the highest quality installation at the best price point. The easiest way to find trustworthy solar companies in your area is by using our state-of-the-art solar calculator, which lets you see your potential solar savings and can help you start collecting quotes.
Find trusted solar installers in your area
Time: 1 week
After you choose your solar installer, they’ll need to perform a site assessment to make sure your roof is suitable for a solar installation. Someone from the installation company will come out to your house and take a look around to check out the condition, shading, size, and direction of your roof. They’ll also make sure your roof can handle the weight of solar panels, and take a look at your electrical panel to see if it would need any upgrades.
The site assessment will take less than a day, just a few hours at most, but we give this a timeframe of about one week to take scheduling into account.
Time: 2 to 3 weeks
Once it’s determined that your roof is ready for solar, an engineer will get started on designing your solar system. Your electricity usage, roof characteristics, local building code requirements, and utility requirements are all taken into account when designing the system.
The design process can take anywhere from two to three weeks on average, but it may take longer if your roof is more complex. Still, the planning stage for complicated systems probably won’t take much more than four weeks to complete.
Applying for building and solar permits
Time: 2 to 7 weeks
Adding solar panels is a construction project, so you need to have all of the proper permits before installation begins. Sadly, the permitting process is probably going to be the longest part of going solar. The exact permits needed vary from town to town. Some have very solar-specific permits while others have various building and electrical permits that need to be obtained.
Depending on the types of permits needed and the permitting processes in place in your municipality, it could take just two weeks to get approval – or almost two months. Let’s face it, having to wait that long for permits is annoying. But, the good news is your solar installer is the one who handles all the paperwork – you don’t have to worry about it.
Ordering equipment and scheduling installation
Time: 1 to 4 weeks
When your permits are approved, your company can start making moves to actually install your system. Some installers have the equipment on hand so they can get started on your project ASAP. You won’t have to wait for equipment to ship, but you might have to wait for them to have time in their schedule for your installation. That’s why we give this stage about a week minimum.
If your installer doesn’t have supplies at the ready, it could take a few weeks for everything they need to get delivered, especially with the ongoing solar industry supply chain issues.
Attention battery buyers: You may have to wait even longer if you are pairing your solar panels with solar battery storage. Batteries are in high demand, and it can be tricky to get your hands on one in a timely manner. Some installers may have them in stock, but don’t be surprised if the battery adds a significant amount to your wait time.
Time: 6 hours to 3 days
As we said earlier, the actual installation of your solar panels is going to be the shortest part of the process. For most residential solar installations, it’ll take just about 6 hours to complete!
Just like with the design of the system, the more complex it is, the more time it will take to complete. In general, your solar installation won’t take more than 3 days unless unforeseen issues arise during the installation. But, those worst-case scenarios are few and far between.
Time: 1 to 2 weeks
Your installation may be complete, but that doesn’t mean you can generate electricity just yet. You need a few more stamps of approval before you’re really up and running.
First, a local inspector will likely come out to make sure the system was installed properly and meets all of the correct building requirements. This serves as a safety measure, so any issues can be identified before the system is turned on.
Like the site assessment, this inspection will only take a few hours maximum, but it might take a week or so to schedule the appointment.
Utility interconnection and permission to operate
Time: 2 to 6 weeks
You’re also going to need to wait for permission to operate from your utility company before you can start using your solar panels. It should come as no surprise that waiting for utility approval can take a while.
Usually, the utility will come to your property, install a new electrical meter that can properly message your solar energy production, and do a quick inspection. Once this is complete, your interconnection agreement will get the final stamp of approval and you’re officially ready to power your home with solar!
So, how long does it really take to go solar?
When you consider everything you have to do in order to get solar on your roof, you can typically expect it to take as little as two months to as long as six months. Keep in mind that this timeline is an estimate, and it can vary greatly depending on your specific circumstances. Your solar installer will give you the rundown on what the timeline usually is in your area.
Installing solar is worth the wait
We get it, six months is a while. But, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. Even though it takes a few months to get the installation completed, in many cases it will take only 9 years (or even less!) for the solar panels to pay for themselves. Then, you’ll get over 15 years of completely free electricity. Plus, it’s good for the planet. who doesn’t love that?
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you want to invest your time and money into a solar installation, you can use our free solar panel calculator to get insight on the number of solar panels you need, what incentives are available, how much you can save, and how long the payback period will be.
Ground-mounted solar panels: what you need to know
When you think of getting solar panels, you probably picture them on the roof of your house. That’s where they always go, right?
Well, not necessarily. While rooftop installations are the most common way to install solar panels, they can actually be installed in many different ways and locations. Of the many alternatives, the most popular one is a ground-mounted setup.
In this article, we’ll explain what a ground-mounted solar system is exactly, its pros and cons, and whether it’s an option worth considering for your home.
Calculate how many solar panels your home will need to eliminate your electric bill
- Ground-mounted solar energy systems are an excellent alternative to standard rooftop solar installations
- The big benefit to ground-mounting is that it lets you position your solar panels for optimal performance.
- On the flip side, ground-mounted setups cost more than equivalent rooftop setups.
- If you have a large property with energy usage, a ground-mounted system might be worth it for you.
What is a ground-mounted solar panel system?
A ground-mounted solar power system is just what it sounds like. a system of solar panels that are mounted on the ground on your property, rather than on the roof of your house.
A ground-mounted solar power system is just what it sounds like – a system of solar panels installed at ground level, rather than on the roof of your house.
Depending on your choice of racking system, the solar panels will be positioned a few inches to several feet above the ground.
Module-level power electronics, required for Rapid shutdown, will be attached to the panels, but other system components can be located some distance away, so you can put temperature-sensitive equipment like string inverters and solar batteries in your garage.
With ground-mounted installations, you have the flexibility to work with solar panels of any size, including large ‘commercial’ modules featuring 72 cells (or 144 half-cells) or more, whereas rooftop systems are typically restricted to 60-cell panels which are smaller and lighter.
Ground-mounted solar panels can be installed anywhere with good sun exposure and sufficient amounts of open space – a minimum of 350 square feet is usually required.
Ground-mounted solar panels are also known as backyard solar panels, free-standing solar panels, and ground-mount PV systems.
What are the different types of ground-mount solar installations?
You can use either a standard ground mount, which fixes the panels in one place, or a pole mount, which puts them higher off the ground.
Standard ground mount
Standard or traditional ground mounts use multiple small anchors to support a racking table for the solar panels. Many anchor types can be used, including concrete piers (most common), driven piers, helical piles, and concrete ballasts. The best anchoring method for you will depend on your ground conditions.
Standard ground mount systems typically hold the solar array in a fixed position, although options for manual adjustment are gaining popularity.
The standard ground-mount system is the easiest and most cost-effective solution for a ground install, and also the most popular.
To build a pole-mount solar system, you’ll dig a single deep hole in the ground. It’ll hold a large pole, upon which you’ll connect your rails and mount your solar panels.
Pole-mount systems offer greater clearance from the ground, which is useful in avoiding foliage or other ground obstructions. We’ve even seen animals grazing and taking shelter from the sun underneath them!
Another advantage of pole mounts is that they can easily incorporate a single-axis or dual-axis tracking system; these enable the panels to follow the sun over the course of the day and thus produce more energy.
On the flip side, pole mounts with tracking systems have a higher cost per watt, so it’s usually more cost-effective to buy a standard ground-mount array featuring a greater number of panels.
What are the pros and cons of ground-mounted solar panels?
Here’s what to consider if you’re thinking about going solar with a ground-mounted solar panel installation.
|Great way to bypass any roof issues, existing or potential (limited space, structurally weak roof, etc.)
|expensive than a rooftop solar system
|Higher energy production, as you can position your solar panels in the optimal direction and angle
|Takes up valuable real estate
|Easy to clean and maintain
|Affects the home’s overall aesthetic
|Harder installation process
The biggest advantage with ground-mounted solar panels is that they offer greater control over your solar panel direction and angle. Solar panels need to face either south or southwest to receive maximum direct sunlight. On flat ground, you can position solar panels in any direction you want to maximize sun exposure, unlike on a slanted roof.
This advantage means ground panels often receive more sunlight, allowing them to generate more solar power, thus saving you more money.
Your roof may also have obstructions, such as a skylight or chimney, which would make it difficult to install panels there. The ground generally provides more room to install more panels than the roof does.
On the other hand, panels on the ground can interfere with your home’s overall aesthetic more than they would on the roof. Installation of ground panels also takes significantly more time and effort and is generally more expensive than rooftop panels.
However, if your ground-mounted system is also able to produce more energy, then this extra cost can be offset over time.
Find out how much you can save with a ground-mounted system
Are ground-mounted solar panels right for my home?
If your home uses a lot of energy, then ground-mounted panels might be better for you. This is particularly true if you have a lot of open space on your property, allowing you to install more solar panels than you can fit on your roof. Installing a larger system will allow you to generate more power and better meet your needs.
Of course, if your yard is on the small side, there might not be enough room to install as many panels as you need. Additionally, if you don’t have the extra space, installing solar panels on the ground will leave little to no room for your lawn, flower beds, or other landscaping. If that’s important to you, then rooftop panels may be a better option.
I should also point out here that a ground-mount solar system is not your only option if your roof isn’t suitable for solar panels; you can also consider a solar carport, or even a solar patio, gazebo, or pergola.
How many ground-mounted solar panels will I need?
The average home requires about 19 solar ground-mounted panels.
Here are the back-of-the-envelope calculations used to reach this figure:
- Let’s assume the use of 400-watt panels and a location that gets 4 peak sun hours per day. Each solar panel will produce 1.6 kWh (1,600 watt-hours) of electricity per day.
- Average household energy usage is around 900 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per month or 30 kWh per day.
- To build a solar system capable of covering average energy usage, you’d need at least (30 kWh / 1.6 kWh =) 19 solar panels.
Your home’s electricity usage and sunlight availability may be different from average, of course. To find out the exact number of solar panels required by your home, use our advanced solar calculator below.
Calculate how many solar panels your home will need to eliminate your electric bill
What are the best ground-mounted solar panels?
Here are the top five companies that provide ground-mounted solar panels.
- Qcells: With high-quality solar panels and U.S. manufacturing, Qcells are one of the best in the business.
- Maxeon (formerly SunPower): Maxeon has the most efficient panels, but they’re expensive.
- REC Group: REC panels are known to deliver excellent performance.
- Trina Solar and Canadian Solar: These solar manufacturing giants sell highly-reliable panels at budget prices.
Can I perform a DIY installation using a ground-mount solar kit?
Yes, some homeowners have been successful with DIY ground-mount solar panel installations.
When it comes to buying the equipment, you can either find a special ground-mount solar kit or ask an equipment supplier to adapt a standard rooftop kit for you by swapping out the mounting racking equipment.
However, DIY ground-mount installations are generally considered more challenging than rooftop jobs since you’ll need to use concrete and perhaps even an excavator when anchoring the array.
Final thoughts on ground-mounted solar panels
Ground-mounted solar panels can provide a number of advantages over standard rooftop panels. The extra energy they’re able to produce can make them well worth the price. Do some research on your own, and talk to your local solar installer to find out how ground-mounted solar panels can best help you meet your home’s energy needs.
SolarReviews Blog Author
Zeeshan is passionate about promoting renewable energy and tackling climate change. He developed these interests while studying at beautiful Middlebury College, Vermont, which has a strong FOCUS on sustainability. He has previously worked in the humanitarian sector — for Doctors Without Borders — and in communications and journalism.
Installing Solar Panels On Van Or RV
Aug 24th 2020
Solar power is a popular solution for people living their best lives on the open road, but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating. How many panels do I need? How to install solar panels on RV? How to wire an RV solar install system? Do I really have to drill holes into the roof of my van? And can I install solar panels myself without blowing up my van? Here’s some our favorite tips to install solar panels on your rv or van and make sure you can succeed in mounting solar panels on rv.
How many solar panels do I need install on van?
To decide how many panels you need for your van, we recommend using the Renogy Solar Calculator to help determine your specific needs. The Solar sizing calculator allows you to input information about your lifestyle to help you decide on your solar panel requirements. You’ll just need to know what total watts your electronics will consume, how long you plan on running the devices, your charge controller efficiency, and average sun hours per day. The solar panel calculator will then be able to tell you the minimum and recommended system size, as well as the recommended battery output.
When sizing a system for your van, you also might want to give some extra thought to what you actually need in your space, i.e. do you really need to operate that blow dryer or blender in your space? Maybe an insulated cooler will fit your needs just as well as a refrigerator. Making those adjustments to your lifestyle will save you from having to have a larger, more expensive system to meet your energy needs.
What solar system components I need to install?
Because of the variety of factors at play when it comes to system size and cost, complete van solar systems can range from around 500 for the simplest set-up to upwards of 2,000 for larger installations. Adding additional panels and batteries will also increase that cost as well.
The key components of a solar van installation are:
- Solar panels: Solar panels come in two main types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Polycrystalline panels are cheaper, but they are also less efficient. For RV solar panel installation with limited space, we’d recommend going with monocrystalline panels for the most bang for your buck.
- Charge Controllers: Charge controllers sit between the energy source (panels) and storage (batteries). It prevents overcharging of batteries by limiting the amount and rate of charge to your batteries. They also prevent battery drainage by shutting down the system if stored power falls below 50 percent capacity and charge the batteries at the correct voltage level. This helps preserve the life and health of the batteries.There are two main types: pulse width modulation charge controllers and maximum power point tracking charge controllers. Pulse Width Modulation charge controllers have been around longer and are simpler and less expensive than MPPT controllers. PWM controllers regulate the flow of energy to the battery by reducing the current gradually, called pulse width modulation. Maximum Power Point Tracking charge controllers are the best option if efficiency is your highest priority. With MPPT controllers, the current is drawn out of the panel at the maximum power voltage, but they also limit their output to ensure batteries don’t get overcharged. MPPT charge controllers will monitor and adjust their input to regulate the current from your solar system. The overall power output will increase as a result and you can expect efficiency ratings of 90% or higher.
- Battery storage: You’ll also need a way to store all the power you’re generating with your solar panels. There are a range of battery options that range in price from 100 to more than 1200, depending on the technology. Lead acid batteries are the most inexpensive option and are available at most big-box and auto stores. Absorbed glass matt batteries store 10 to 15 percent more energy than lead acid batteries and charge up to four times faster. Lithium ion batteries are the most expensive option, but also last four times longer than lead-acid batteries and weigh much less.
- Inverters: Inverters turn DC power produced from your solar panels and stored in your battery into AC power. An inverter is necessary to power the common appliances found in your RV or van, from laptops to microwaves. Inverters range from 150 to more than 350.
- Mounting Hardware and Wiring How do you get everything connected? Wiring your system can be one of the most scary components to worry about, but Renogy makes it easy to put your system together. Renogy has a range of weatherproof wires, adaptor cables, tilt mounts, and other accessories to get your system up and running. Unsure of how to connect your panels to your charge controller? Renogy has an adaptor kit designed specifically for connecting a Renogy solar panel to a charge controller.
How to install solar panel on van or rv?
How to do mounting solar panels on rv? Again, refer to Renogy to answer your big questions about the van or RV solar install. The Renogy installation manual is a comprehensive guide on how to wire an RV solar system which will be able to answer all your questions about putting your system together. Additionally, the Renogy wiring diagram gives you a good primer for how a system should be connected.
Tips for a Successful RV Solar Panel Installation
- Test all your components before you mount the components on your van.
- Mark the location of your solar panels and mounting points to avoid having to measure again.
- Measure twice (even three times!), drill once.
- You probably need less power than you think. Don’t forget to use the solar panel calculator for an accurate estimate of your energy needs.
- Remember not to drive your vehicle with your solar panels in a tilted state.
- When flipping the switch, remember that if your solar panels are connected to the charge controller, and the charge controller isn’t connected to the batteries to move the current, you could blow up the charge controller. Make sure everything is connected!
- Ask for help! Having someone to help you when you’re handling large solar panels to the roof of your van makes a huge difference and keeps you from potentially hurting yourself.
- Not ready to take the full solar plunge? Consider trying portable solar panels that don’t require you to mount panels on (and drill holes into) the roof of your van.
The next ariticle is The Ultimate Guide To DIY Off-Grid Solar Systems for further helps, before mounting solar panels on rv, you can also size your battery, Inverter, and charger controller with the following video. Going solar on your van or RV doesn’t have to be scary. By referring to the wealth of educational resources available to you, taking the time to properly size your system and select your components, and asking for help, you’ll be harnessing power from the sun before you know it.
Solar Panels by Sunrun
Learn about our best-in-class solar products and services.
Experience Peace of Mind for Decades to Come with Sunrun Rooftop Solar Panels
When you team up with a solar company like Sunrun, you can create your own affordable, clean energy and gain independence from your utility company. A Sunrun solar installation can help power your home when the sun is out while you boost control over your energy usage and reduce your dependence on fossil fuels.
We offer several residential solar plans to help you start your solar journey. Find out which is the ideal fit for your budget and unique energy needs.
We offer some of the best solar rooftop panel systems on the market, and you can bring them home through a lease payment plan, flexible solar financing, or by paying outright. Our made-to-fit solar solutions, paired with exceptional service and our industry-leading solar guarantee, have positioned us as the leading residential solar and energy storage company in the U.S. 1
Solar panels are just one part of the solution to experience energy freedom and security. To ensure you get the most out of your home energy system, consider adding a solar battery back-up service like Sunrun’s Brightbox. Hundreds of millions of people were affected by blackouts from 2008 to 2017. 2 With Brightbox, you can keep your lights on and your food fresh during outages with a Smart, affordable, and reliable back-up power system.
Benefits of Adding Sunrun’s Battery Storage Service to Your Solar Panels
Brightbox doesn’t need dangerous, expensive, and toxic fossil fuels to work. 3 When the sun is out, it can store clean and affordable back-up power for later use.
Brightbox paired with a Tesla Powerwall can help you back up your entire home, or you can back up just the rooms you need with an LG Chem solar battery.
Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem solar batteries can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, and they typically come with a 10-year manufacturer warranty for your peace of mind.
Solar with incentives
Our Automated Site Modeling tool is a revolutionary technology that allows us to design a custom Sunrun home solar energy system based on your roof’s unique dimensions and layout.
Sunrun’s Automated Site Modeling tool will use your roof’s individual profile, including shading, pitch, sun exposure, seasonality, and roof obstacles. This will ensure that the designed Sunrun solar panel system matches your home’s structure and unique energy needs. A customized system can let you know your potential control over your future electricity bills
Sunrun’s Product Selector is an innovative and simple tool. It lets you know in minutes which solar plan, with or without a home battery, can give you and your family more benefits in the long run, depending on where you live.
Sunrun’s Product Selector will use information about your roof’s type and pitch, your household size, and other important aspects, like if you have a home office or if you need back-up power, to recommend the best Sunrun home solar plan for you. This can help secure the peace of mind you deserve during rising energy costs and power outages while reducing your carbon footprint.
Does my state offer incentives to go solar?
See the states where Sunrun is currently available and the solar incentives that might be offered where you live. Some of the most common solar incentives include tax credits, property tax exemptions, and rebates. No matter what state you live in, you may be eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) if you decide to purchase a home solar energy system.
You can get a Sunrun monthly plan to lease your solar panels or prepay for your renewable energy through a solar power purchase agreement or PPA plan. As a result, any incentive savings you would receive through tax credits and rebates with a system purchase can be passed to you in the form of a lower solar bill.
How do solar panels work?
You can’t talk about solar panels without talking about silicon. Silicon is a non-metallic element and the second-most abundant material on earth. 4 It can also convert sunlight into electricity, and it’s a key component in a solar system (also known as a photovoltaic, or PV system). 5
Solar panels, solar cells, or PV cells, are made by slicing crystalline silicon (also known as wafers) that are millimeters thin. These wafers are sandwiched between protective glass, insulation, and a protective back sheet, which make a solar panel. The back sheet helps to regulate the temperature and humidity to optimize the solar panel’s efficiency. 6 Multiple solar panels connected together create a solar array, and ultimately, a solar system.
Then there’s the physics of how solar cells work: Electricity is made when electrons move between atoms. The top and bottom of a silicon wafer in the solar cell are treated with small amounts of atoms of extra materials—such as boron, gallium, or phosphorus—so that the top layer has more electrons and the bottom layer has less. When the sun activates the electrons in these oppositely charged layers, the electrons move through a circuit attached to the panels. This flow of electrons through the circuit is what generates the electrical current that ultimately powers a home. 7
What are the different types of solar panels?
Monocrystalline solar panels:
Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency and power capacity out of all other types of solar panels. Another reason why people choose them is because of how they look. The solar cells within monocrystalline panels are square-shaped and have a single, flat black color, making them the most popular type of solar panels among homeowners. 8 Sunrun uses monocrystalline PV modules in all its home solar systems.
Polycrystalline solar panels:
The manufacturing process of polycrystalline solar panels is less costly than monocrystalline panels, but it also makes them less efficient. Usually, polycrystalline solar panels don’t have the corners cut off of them, so you won’t see the large white spaces on the front of the panel that you see on monocrystalline panels. 8
Thin-film solar panels:
Thin-film solar panels are less costly and easier to install than their counterparts. Still, they aren’t the best option for a home solar installation due to their efficiency, lightweight material, and durability. 8
How long do solar panels really last?
When you consider investing in a solar installation, you might wonder how long home solar panels last. Studies show that solar panels can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, or sometimes longer. 9 Still, this doesn’t mean the panels on your roof will stop producing electricity after a couple of decades. It just means their energy production will decrease by what solar panel manufacturers consider optimal to meet the average household’s energy needs.
Do home solar systems have a warranty?
All of our solar equipment is backed by factory warranties. On top of that, our monthly solar lease plan and prepaid solar plan (also known as a solar PPA) come with 24/7 proactive monitoring and free maintenance on us. If we notice that your rooftop panels or solar battery aren’t working at their full capacity, we’ll send an expert over to fix it without you lifting a finger. This benefit sets Sunrun apart from the other solar installers in the country.
How does Automated Site Modeling work?
After you enter a few details about your home, our Automated Site Modeling tool will analyze hundreds of thousands of variables in home solar system designs to build a high-resolution image of the ideal system for your roof. These factors include your home’s pitch, seasonality, sun exposure, shading, and roof obstacles. This helps Sunrun guarantee you receive maximum benefits from your new home solar system.
How does Sunrun’s Product Selector work?
After you answer a few simple questions about your home’s details, lifestyle, and electricity usage, Sunrun’s Product Selector will let you know if a monthly lease plan, prepaying for your solar energy, financing a system, or purchasing outright—along with a back-up power service—is the most cost-effective solution for your unique needs.
Are Automated Site Modeling and Sunrun’s Product Selector really free?
Yes. At Sunrun, we’re committed to providing you with the best technology, services, and tools, like our Automated Site Modeling tool and Product Selector, to make your switch to solar as affordable and straightforward as possible. This can help you worry less about controlling your electric bills and protecting your home during outages while reducing your carbon emissions for decades.
Do solar panels get hot?
Rooftop solar panels can get hot, particularly during scorching summer days. If the panels do get hot or overheat, they can produce less energy as the temperature rises above their optimal energy production range.
In general, residential solar panels are designed to reach their peak efficiency level at 77 °F (25 °C), but their efficiency will decrease by 0.5% for every degree above this temperature. The actual percentage of lower production varies by the solar panel’s manufacturer and model. Ultimately, you want to aim for an exterior temperature range of 59 to 95 °F (15 to 35 °C). Yet, it’s unrealistic for rooftop solar panels to stay within this range all year, especially in places where temperatures can go past 100 °F (37.8 °C). Fortunately, most solar panels can withstand heat up to 149 °F (65 °C). 10
Nonetheless, solar panel overheating can be prevented. Many solar panel manufacturers cover the panels in a material that generally conducts and vents heat away from the glass. In addition, solar panels are usually mounted a few inches above the roof, which allows airflow space to help move heat away from the panels.
Despite the reduction in efficiency from extreme heat, solar energy generation doesn’t stop. The lower electricity production due to scorching weather balances out with the longer days of sunlight throughout the seasons. Although solar panels work best on cold, sunny days, they produce solar power year-round in nearly every location and climate.
Do solar panels work in cold weather?
Solar panels create energy from sunlight—not the sun’s heat. In fact, solar panels produce electricity more efficiently in cooler conditions. Even in the most frigid weather, solar panels can turn sunlight into electricity.
How does this work? Colder temperatures enhance solar energy production efficiency, which increases the amount of electricity produced. Electrons are at rest in cooler climates. When the electrons in solar panels are activated by increasing sunlight, a voltage difference is attained that creates an electric current.
Warmer summer temperatures raise the overall energy levels of electrons in solar panels. This increased energy level decreases the energy differential that can be gained, producing less energy. A higher energy state interferes with solar panel electricity production since some energy transfers into heat instead of electricity. Your home doesn’t need to be in a warm-weather state like Arizona, California, Nevada, or Texas to generate year-round reliable solar power.
Do solar panels work at night?
While solar panels need sunlight to create electricity, there are two ways you can benefit from solar power during the nighttime: enroll in a net energy metering (NEM) program (if it’s offered where you live), or add a home battery storage service, like Sunrun’s Brightbox.
Net energy metering (NEM): Lower-cost grid energy at night
If NEM is offered in your state and by your utility, you may be eligible to earn credits on your bill for the excess solar energy you produce and send to your utility company. 11 At night, you could use those credits toward drawing electricity from the grid at a lower cost. Net metering may help you save money on your future electricity bills. Visit your utility company’s website for more information.
Solar battery storage: Reliable, affordable back-up energy, day and night
A battery storage service like Brightbox can let you store the excess solar power you produce for later use. This stored solar energy can help keep your devices and appliances running at night, during outages, cloudy days, and rainy afternoons.
Brightbox offers two lithium-ion solar battery storage options: Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem. Tesla Powerwall can help yo back up your entire home while LG Chem can help you back up to four circuits inside your home. There are also differences in software and app functionality.
Request a free, personalized quote to connect with a Sunrun Solar Advisor and determine which Sunrun back-up solution would work best for your home.
How does Brightbox work?
Brightbox allows you to store the excess energy your solar energy system produces during the day to use it in the evening, at night, or when the electric grid fails due to physical damage or an extreme weather event or.
Do I need solar panels to use Brightbox?
Aside from very rare exceptions, Sunrun’s Brightbox service includes rooftop solar panels. Brightbox can store 100% clean, renewable, home-grown solar power directly from the rooftop panels when the sun is out, so you can use it when you need it most.
Can I add Brightbox to my current home solar system?
At this time, Brightbox with a Tesla Powerwall or LG Chem solar battery is only available in the installation of a new Sunrun home solar system due to tech compatibility issues. We can’t install rooftop solar panels or a home battery if you already have an existing solar installation or if Brigtbox’s battery storage service isn’t available in your area.
What happens during a solar installation?
Once you’re approved for a solar installation, your property will undergo a site assessment, and an expert solar technician will schedule a visit with you to confirm your system design.
After that, our Solar Design Experts will make any necessary adjustments to your design and get your final approval. Once it’s approved, we’ll submit your design to the city for permitting, which can take up to eight weeks. From there, either Sunrun or one of our local certified partners will start your solar installation. We only partner with the top-rated solar installers, so you can rest easy knowing you’ll have the highest quality solar installation available.
When your installation is finished, the city or county will perform a final inspection of your system. Once it’s approved, it’ll be connected to the grid, and we’ll submit your documents to the utility company. After your utility company grants Permission to Operate (PTO), you’ll be all set to start powering your home with the sun.
What happens if I move?
We have an entire team of professionals standing by to help you sell your solar home and transfer your contract, if applicable, to the new owners. Sunrun makes it easy to pass your solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) to the new owners. Our Service Transfer Specialists handle everything from educating realtors and potential buyers to working with escrow officers, title agents, home inspectors, as well as anyone else who might need to know about your system and solar lease or PPA agreement.