Once you’ve taken the decision to get a rooftop solar PV plant and have signed an agreement for it with an installer, you’d wonder how long it will actually take for your plant to generate electricity.

The answer for this isn’t really simple.

What are the factors that affect the time for the power plant installation?

There are vendors who quote a time period of anywhere from a few days to six months. This is because the answer varies from project to project. You’ve to basically know that installation isn’t really going to happen overnight.

A few parameters on which the duration of a rooftop power installation depends are listed below:

  • Complexity of the rooftop PV system

There are vendors who quote as little as three days for a 3KW rooftop system with around 20 solar panels. But again, this cannot be applicable universally. For example, if the systems come with battery backups, it adds to the complexity of the system. And the days quoted wouldn’t hold well anymore.

  • The kind of roof you own

Solar PV plants are easily installed on flat concrete roofs. But the same is not the case with the other roof types. Metal roofs and other type of roofs may need to be manipulated to accommodate the power plant.

  • Acquiring permits for the plant

After contracts are signed by the owner and the installer, they need to be sending to the electric utility company. This is done for the approval for “permission to operate” when tying to the grid. And also permissions have to be acquired from structural engineers working for the local authority to determine whether the roof can bear the weight of the power plants. These bureaucratic procedures may take anywhere from a week to a month.

  • The kind of incentives you are looking for

Installation of PV systems as such actually might take a couple of weeks only. What takes longer is to qualify for solar rebates, credits and other incentives. If you plan to go for a net metering system, the utility might take a while to set up a bi-directional meter (net meter) for your system.

  • The region you are in

There could be variation in duration of installation because of region-dependent policies and permits applicable. But apart from these, depending on where you live, some roof-mounted systems may require a greater tilt or careful orientation. For such a scenario, a mounting rack might be required which could take up additional time for installation, usually extra two hours a day.

  • The solar market in your area

Now, if you are specific about the kind and make of the components you want to employ, it may not always be available in and around your location. You may have to wait a certain time to get the products of manufacturers’ of your choice.

  • The time of availability for the installation

In some cases, the time of availability for the actual installation of the plant might be limited. For example, in case of a company, owner of the rooftop wouldn’t want the installation activities to go on during business hours of operation. This would prolong the duration of installation of the project.

So all in all, we can say that as far as the actual rooftop solar installation is concerned we might be usually looking at 3-4 weeks, assuming that prior permissions for setting up the plant and such is obtained. But as discussed above, this is not the case for every rooftop project out there. It can be actually useful to talk to an installer beforehand to get a fair idea of the problems which can hinder the speedy installation of the power plant.

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