8 Reasons You Need a Thorough Solar Panel Inspection

SolarCalendarFebruary 26, 2019

Transitioning your home to solar energy has long-lasting benefits for energy consumption, cost, and the environment. Making that transition safely, securely, and seamlessly is what Vivint Solar is about.  The below checklist will help guide homeowners through the solar installation process.

We are proud to lead the industry in the strictest installation process possible, making sure our customers are set up for solar system success for years to come. In fact, we take the quality of the installation so seriously that the industry asked us to -- literally -- write the standards on what a great solar install should look like.

A Vivint Solar installation requires a robust 86 Point Inspection which means our customers receive the highest quality install -- and peace of mind. Our trademark Inspection process means our crews are highly trained and follow a detailed checklist, covering all the bases: from how we mount and wire the solar panels to making sure we leave the job site in the exact same condition we found it. We understand the significance of working on and around families’ homes and take pride in helping them make such a meaningful improvement to their lives.

Installation

Here are eight areas we focus on to make sure you receive the best install possible:

1. Grounding and bonding

“Grounding” refers to the way we give electrical current a redirect path to the ground. Since the earth doesn’t conduct electricity very well, it’s a great place to steer a current. Your home electrical system should already include copper grounding wires for this exact purpose. When we install a solar array, we just connect or “bond” it to your home’s grounding system through an equipment grounding conductor (EGC). The EGC is designed to group all the metal components of your installation into a single unit which is then connected to the electrical system, grounding it safely and completing a circuit.That current surge needs to go somewhere, and the typical solution is to send it to ground, since the earth doesn’t conduct electricity very well. Your home electrical system should include copper grounding wires so there’s a grounding path in case of a problem.

Our technicians thoroughly inspect the grounding and bonding of your solar installation to make sure all the equipment works well.

2. Solar module wiring

The individual solar modules or panels in your array must be wired properly so they run harmoniously with your other home systems. This wiring is a complex system that involves wiring each panel to an inverter, so your home can transform solar power into electrical current.  We make sure that connection is sound, up front, so your panels can perform for the long haul.

3. The Junction Box (Jbox)

The junction box, sometimes called the “Jbox,” stores all the electrical wires from the solar panels and keeps them safe from the elements. The wires from the panels connect to diodes in the box that keep the power flowing in one direction and help keep the wires organized.

We ensure the junction box is secured properly to the solar module and that the wires are properly hooked up to the diodes.

4. Overcurrent Protection Device

Solar installations come with an overcurrent protection device. As the name implies, this device ensures your home won’t experience short circuits and other overcurrent effects.  Our team makes sure that the breakers are the correct size and model so the device works reliably. 

5. Mounts and penetrations

Your solar array is mounted to your roof on a large metal rack, and like anything involving your roof, we account for exposure to the elements, structural integrity, and simple wear and tear when we do an install. For example, we inspect the roof beforehand to make sure it can bear the weight of the panels.

Then, once installation gets underway, we thoroughly inspect the mounts themselves to make sure they’re securely attached to the roof and able to withstand reasonable weather conditions. 

6. The Array

We make sure the solar array is level throughout, and the solar cells in the modules are all in working order. Loose wiring is properly secured, and we ensure all the panels have adequate space between them so they can perform at their best. 

7. Discrepancies between the CAD and the installation

Knowing there can be a slight difference in the design when satellite images or the aerial shots used to make the computer assisted design (CAD) don’t quite match the actual site,  we always check for potential discrepancies while we’re on the job site, in person. 

To the untrained eye, a slight deviation in the CAD might not be noticeable until later, when reversing it is a little more difficult. But our customers are not to worry: We do a thorough review up front to make sure our installs are custom to the actual site and not impacted by CAD differences.

8. A clean jobsite

Like any project that requires construction or a major installation, the site should be completely cleared of any debris and cleaned up once the job’s done. The only evidence your solar provider was ever there should be the array itself. We pack up any extra parts or materials, down to the screws.

Clarity and thoroughness aside, making sure a jobsite is restored back to its original state is just good professional courtesy. We know we are working on and around your home and are respectful of that.

Solar that lasts

The typical solar installation is meant to last 20 to 30 years, with regular monitoring and maintenance to perform its best. The best way to ensure your solar installation lasts as long as possible is installing it correctly to begin with and inspecting it thoroughly to head off any potential issues. 

We’re proud of the work and dedication it’s taken to develop the best installation process in the industry and the confidence and peace of mind it provides to homeowners like you. 

Getting a solar array installed? Give us a call at 877.404.4129 and we’ll perform a thorough inspection.

How to Go Solar

Vivint Solar makes renewable energy a simple and affordable alternative. We take care of everything from solar system design, to paperwork and permitting, to installation and maintenance.

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