What Happens After Solar Power System Installation

Once your solar panel system is installed, it typically requires minimal maintenance, if any. However, there are potential costs you might encounter afterward. In this article, we'll explore four factors that could affect post-installation costs and offer tips to mitigate them from the start.

Solar Panel Post-Installation

After the installation of your solar panels is complete, what comes next? There are still several post-installation tasks for your solar panels that need attention, such as:

  • Arranging and successfully passing your inspection
  • Securing permission to start using the system
  • Updating your meter to accurately measure energy usage
  • Performing regular maintenance, care, and troubleshooting, ranging from monthly to yearly intervals.

Schedule and Pass Your Solar Inspection

After your solar panel installation, the first crucial step is to schedule and successfully pass an inspection. Given that solar panels involve both electrical and structural work, local government and utility companies must ensure that the installation complies with building and safety regulations.

During the inspection, an inspector will meticulously review the entire system, focusing on both the electrical components and the structural integrity. They will assess various aspects, comparing the installation to the approved plans obtained during the permitting process with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

If the inspection reveals no issues, congratulations are in order — you have passed the solar panel inspection with flying colors! However, there may be instances where some adjustments are necessary before passing the initial assessment.

In such cases, don't worry — the inspector will clearly outline the areas that require improvement so that you can address them and reschedule the inspection for a successful outcome.

Set Up Interconnection and Obtain PTO

Following the successful completion of your inspection, the subsequent step involves arranging for solar interconnection and securing permission to operate (PTO) from your utility provider.

Solar interconnection entails obtaining approval from your utility company, ensuring that your system adheres to size and safety requirements and comprehending its impact on the grid. While similar to the permitting and inspection process, this phase involves collaboration with your utility provider rather than local government entities.

Typically, you'll submit the interconnection application concurrently with your permits, ensuring compliance with initial prerequisites before installation commences. For instance, in our case, we needed to modify the size of our solar panel system to align with the energy output parameters stipulated by the utility company.

Following your DIY installation, the subsequent post-installation task is securing permission to operate (PTO) from the utility provider. This entails another inspection conducted by the utility company to verify compliance with standards.

You'll arrange an appointment with the utility company for a system review, during which the inspector will identify any potential issues that need addressing.

Upgrade Your Meter

Following the inspection, if you qualify for net metering, your utility provider will install a net meter to monitor your solar energy output. The net meter records the fluctuations in your daily energy production and usage, and you'll receive a bill reflecting the difference.

Upon completion of these steps, you'll receive an official permission to operate (PTO) document, authorizing you to activate your solar panel system.

Set Up Monitoring

Now that your system is approved and ready to operate, it's important to monitor its performance to ensure it's working efficiently.

Many solar panel kits include a monitoring system that enables you to monitor your system's functionality, efficiency, and long-term performance.

By setting up the monitoring app and pairing it with your panels, you can instantly access data, track energy usage and production in real-time, view system statuses, and even troubleshoot common issues yourself.


Just like any electronic or computer system, common technical issues can arise with your solar panel setup, necessitating troubleshooting.

Here are a couple of common issues we encountered as DIY-ers, along with steps to address them:

  • If the system fails to power on initially or generate power: Ensure no wires are crossed or loose. Keep in mind there's typically a delay of about 5 minutes after turning on the system before power generation begins.
  • Loss of internet connection and data retrieval: Reconnect and pair your system following the manufacturer's guidelines.
  • App indicates a panel or optimizer is not functioning: The app might pinpoint the problematic panel, or you may need to isolate panels individually to identify the issue. Contact the manufacturer for warranty replacement if necessary.
  • Sudden loss of power production from the entire system: Start by confirming panels are clean and receiving sunlight. Then, inspect for loose wires, tripped breakers, or inverter malfunctions. If the problem persists, contact your manufacturer for troubleshooting assistance.

Routine Maintenance and Cleaning

Regular maintenance and cleaning are essential to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your solar panel system. Although solar panels have no moving parts, they are exposed to the elements and require routine upkeep.

In moderate climates, it's advisable to clean solar panels at least once a year to remove accumulated dirt and grime that may not wash away with rain. However, if you reside in areas prone to dust storms, heavy snowfall, or abundant falling leaves, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.

Fortunately, you don't need specialized tools for cleaning solar panels. Since they are typically made of glass, mild soap and water with a sponge or gentle glass cleaner suffice. A window washing kit can also be effective.

By completing these post-installation steps and maintaining your solar panels, you can enjoy clean, sustainable energy for many years to come!

Secondary Cost Saving Strategies

Solar panel systems have a lifespan of over 30 years, providing electricity from your rooftop for decades. However, during this time, trees near your panels may grow and eventually cast shade over them.

The cost of trimming or removing trees varies based on their size and height, ranging from under $100 to as much as $1,000. Generally, taller trees require higher expenses for pruning or removal.

To anticipate potential shading issues, many solar design tools can estimate tree growth over your system's lifetime. If you're concerned about trees in your yard, consult your installer to understand any future production impacts due to projected tree growth.

Post Panel Installation Services In a Nutshell

Maintaining strong communication is crucial for solar installers to manage client expectations effectively. Clear and open communication channels help align consumer expectations with the realities of the solar installation process.

Building trust and preventing misunderstandings are achieved through open discussions about project schedules, potential challenges, and achievable outcomes. Providing consumers with precise details about system capabilities, expected energy savings, and maintenance requirements ensures they have realistic expectations and are satisfied with the results.