How to Pass a Solar Inspection
You’ve installed your own solar panel system -- congratulations! Solar inspection after installation is required for residential solar customers, so you will have to pass a solar panel inspection with a city or county inspector before you go live. This can be easy if you’ve “crossed all your t’s and dotted all your i’s,” or it can result in receiving a correction list if you missed any required steps.
While the process may vary by inspection service and local government, your results may depend on the degree to which you completed your installation.
Today we’ll review how you can make passing your solar panel inspection process a breeze.
Install Your Solar Kit Correctly
When installing solar panel systems, make sure you follow all recommended steps to remain in compliance with energy and safety standards. Unfortunately, people often cut corners during the installation process or make substitutions for necessary equipment they don’t have on hand.
Ground Your Solar System
One of the more confusing parts of installing residential solar is equipment grounding (EG). Grounding keeps you — and anyone who has access to your solar PV system — from coming in contact with electrical current. You must ground any metal or electrically conductive materials to avoid electrocution and fire dangers.
Grounding Installation Tips
- Make sure your solar racking is grounded per the racking manufacturer’s instructions.
- Make any splices in your grounding conductor with permanent crimps rather than using wire nuts.
- Land the EGC at the grounding busbar and continue it to the ground rod if possible.
Grounding Regulation Tips
- Educate yourself on grounding rules for your city or county to avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Understand that rules change over time. The older your home is, the more likely you will have to modify or upgrade the existing grounding system.
- Ask your local building department questions before you schedule your inspection to ensure you can complete any necessary modifications before the inspector arrives.
Document Any Plan Changes
Make sure to document any “as-built” changes to your installation before the inspection. For example, suppose you make changes to plans already approved by the building department. In that case, an inspector may approve them on the fly -- but more often, they won’t. In that case, you’ll have to resubmit your plans so that the inspector’s copy matches the approved plans exactly.
Prepare For the Inspector’s Visit
- On the day of inspection, make sure you are present to walk through the system with the inspector.
- Before your appointment, take covers off all equipment so that the wiring inside is visible.
- Provide safe access to the solar panels on the roof by setting up a secured ladder for the inspector to climb.
- Make sure you have the stamped copy of the solar permitting plans ready for them to see.
Be On Time
Do not be late for an inspection appointment. You may be given a four-hour service window or be told what order your inspection is that day. In either case, it is best if you plan to wait the whole day if necessary to wait for the inspector.
If you aren’t there when the inspector arrives, you will automatically fail. You then run the risk of dealing with an annoyed inspector when your appointment is rescheduled.
Remember, inspectors are people too. Being nice can’t hurt your inspection results. Like any human being, inspectors are much easier to deal with when they are in a good mood.
Don’t complain if the inspector is late. Chances are they’re already dealt with problems and other difficult people! Take corrections with a smile because the same inspector will likely return to re-inspect your system if you need to make changes.
Enjoy Your New System!
Once you have passed the inspection, get ready to do a victory dance! Now you can enjoy lower electric bills, a smaller carbon footprint and the freedom of having completed a successful DIY solar project.
For more information on how to install your own solar power system, contact the experts at GoGreenSolar.