It’s a common call that we get – something along the lines of, “I’m getting ready to put drywall up and I was wondering, is there anything we need to do to prepare for solar panels we want to install?”
That’s when we have to kick things into high gear. It usually involves getting us to the job site urgently. We have to coordinate with the general contractor, electrical contractor, and other trades to have the best outcome. Sometimes it’s too late to hide wiring inside walls and to make our job easier (and less costly). Fortunately, the solar panel installation business is largely a retrofit trade, so we can usually do things quite well after the house is built, but getting some things done during construction is better for a few reasons:
- Hiding wiring and conduits in walls, underground, in attics, or in crawl spaces can improve the appearance of the system, particularly in large or complex structures with complicated roofs and attics.
- Running wiring before cavities are closed up is less labor-intensive, saving on cost.
- On some roof types, there are performance advantages to mounting solar attachments before the roof is finished.
- We can work with other trades to avoid obstructions in the area of the solar arrays (like plumbing vents, roof vents, and other potential obstructions).
- Landscape mistakes that cause shading issues can be avoided.
- Roof trusses can be evaluated and supplemented if necessary while things are still opened up and unencumbered by insulation, mechanical, and wiring obstructions.
It is commonplace for us to work with builders to make your solar panel installation experience as smooth as possible. We love being involved during the home build. Remember that we need to obtain permits to do solar panel installations. That requires engineering. Getting these important steps out of the way early avoids delays.
When To Call In A Solar Contractor
The simple answer is that it’s never too early. We can work with your architect to maximize usable space on your roof if you get us in early enough. If it’s too late for that, we can at least work with your builder to keep your costs down and make the system look as good as possible, and achieve peak performance. Cooperation among trades results in the best experience.
Many times there are complications like whole house generators and meter/main combination panels that make solar panel installations difficult or require major rework. Sometimes we are essentially irreversibly limited in capacity if the correct utility service equipment is not installed. We can work with your electrical contractor to avoid these problems.
If you are looking for solar pool heating, we can help recommend pool equipment that will work most effectively to achieve the desired outcome. If you are looking for solar electricity we can recommend energy-saving products to potentially reduce your solar panel needs. The earlier we are involved, the more helpful we can be.
All of this early effort requires coordination with the builder and other trades. There are electrical, plumbing, roofing, and structural aspects to what we do. The best outcomes are achieved when everyone is on board with your interest in solar panels. Often there is resistance from one or more parties, and we can help alleviate any fears and concerns.
This coordination requires a local solar contractor who can visit the job site frequently and quickly when needed. Don’t rely on an out-of-town contractor or national solar company to work effectively with your builder.
When It’s Too Late
It’s almost never too late to call in a solar contractor. However, at a certain point, it’s best to just complete your new home build and treat your solar panel needs as a retrofit situation. As mentioned earlier, the solar contracting trade is largely built on a retrofit model. Products exist to work with existing buildings to allow for solar panel installation. Manufacturers are coming out with new and innovative ways to make retrofits perform better, easier to install, and less costly.
But there is no question that sooner is better than later.
So if you are building a new home (as the owner or the General Contractor), give us a call now and let’s start the conversation!