July 30, 2023

Solar Panels FAQs: Adding Panels, Permits, Placement & Installation Time

Solar Energy

Welcome! At Shine Solar, we understand the importance of providing comprehensive information to help you make informed decisions about your solar journey. In this blog post, we will answer some common questions that homeowners have when considering solar panel installation. From adding panels later to permitting requirements and installation timelines, we've got you covered. Our goal is to empower you with the knowledge needed to make those decisions and embark on a sustainable energy future for your home. Let's dive in!

Table of Contents:

  1. Can I Add Panels Later?
  2. Do I Need a Permit for Solar Panel Installation?
  3. Do Solar Panels Need to Go on the Roof?
  4. How Long Does It Take to Install Solar Panels?
  5. Conclusion

1.- Can I Add Panels Later?

Adding solar panels to an existing solar system is a common consideration for many homeowners. Whether you want to expand your system's capacity or simply start with a smaller setup, the answer is generally yes, you can add panels later. Solar technology is designed to be modular, allowing you to scale your system based on your evolving energy needs and budget. However, there are some key factors to consider:

1.1 System Design and Inverter Capacity

When planning for future expansions, it's essential to work with a reputable solar provider, like Shine Solar, who can design a system with expansion in mind. The inverter's capacity plays a crucial role in determining the number of panels you can add later. Upgrading to a higher-capacity inverter may be necessary to accommodate additional panels efficiently.

1.2 Roof Space and Orientation

It is important to evaluate your available roof space to ensure how many panels it can accommodate, and therefore how possible it would be to expand the solar installation. Additionally, assess the orientation and tilt of the roof to optimize the new panel's performance. Your solar installer can advise you on the best placement options for maximising energy production.

If you want to expand your solar installation and you do not have more space in your roof there are still some other options. If you have ample open land, we can discuss the possibility of installing ground-mounted solar systems or solar canopies as viable alternatives to rooftop installations. We will talk more about it in the third section of this blog.

1.3 Financial Considerations

Adding solar panels later will involve some additional costs, such as purchasing the new panels, inverter upgrades, and installation expenses. However, keep in mind that the investment can lead to further energy savings and a faster return on investment (ROI) over time.

At Shine Solar, we believe in transparent pricing, and our solar experts will work closely with you to design an affordable and scalable solar solution that aligns with your budget and energy goals. We are committed to making solar energy accessible to all homeowners, and our financing options further enhance affordability.

2.- Do I Need a Permit for Solar Panel Installation?

The permitting process for solar panel installation can vary depending on your location and the specific regulations in your area. Generally, most residential solar installations do require permits, but the requirements and complexity of the process can differ significantly. Here's what you need to know:

2.1 Local Building Codes and Regulations

The requirement for obtaining permits for solar installations can vary significantly depending on your location and local regulations. Different municipalities and jurisdictions may have specific building codes and zoning restrictions that govern solar panel installations. That’s why, before starting your solar project, you should familiarise yourself with your local building codes and zoning regulations. Some areas have specific guidelines regarding the size, placement, and appearance of solar panels. Working with a knowledgeable solar provider, like Shine Solar, can help ensure compliance with these regulations.

2.2 Permitting Process

Dealing with paperwork and permits can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Your solar installation company will typically handle the permitting process on your behalf. They should prepare and submit the necessary documents to the relevant authorities, streamlining the process and saving you time and effort.

2.3 Permit Costs

Another consideration when obtaining permits is the associated costs. Permit fees can vary depending on your location and the scale of your solar project. The fees typically cover the administrative processing of your application and inspections carried out by local authorities. Your solar company should provide you with a breakdown of the expected permitting expenses.

Navigating the permitting process is a crucial step in ensuring a successful solar panel installation. Shine Solar takes pride in handling all permit-related matters, allowing you to focus on the exciting transition to clean and renewable energy. Our extensive knowledge of local regulations and commitment to customer satisfaction sets us apart as a reliable and customer-centric solar company.

3.- Do Solar Panels Need to Go on the Roof?

While the rooftop is the most common location for solar panel installations, it's not the only option. Solar technology has evolved to offer alternative placement methods, allowing homeowners more flexibility in harnessing the power of the sun. Consider the following possibilities:

3.1 Ground-Mounted Solar Systems

If you have ample open space on your property, ground-mounted solar systems offer an excellent alternative to rooftop installations. These systems involve placing the solar panels on frames or poles securely anchored to the ground. Ground-mounted systems have several advantages, including:

  • Optimal Sunlight Exposure: Ground-mounted panels can be strategically positioned to capture maximum sunlight throughout the day, optimizing energy production.
  • Easy Maintenance: With panels installed at a lower level, maintenance and cleaning become more accessible, ensuring that your system operates efficiently.
  • Scalability: Ground-mounted systems are highly scalable, allowing you to add more panels in the future to meet increased energy demands.

Our team of solar experts at Shine Solar will assess your property's layout and sun exposure to determine whether a ground-mounted system is a suitable option for your needs.

3.2 Solar Carports

Solar carports present an innovative solution that combines solar energy generation with practicality. Instead of merely serving as shelter for your vehicles, these structures are topped with solar panels to harness clean energy while providing shade for your cars. Solar carports offer several benefits, including:

  • Space Optimization: If your rooftop is limited or shaded, solar carports provide a new space for solar panels without compromising your existing roof setup.
  • Enhanced Aesthetics: Solar carports are visually appealing and can be customized to complement your property's architectural style.
  • Protected Vehicles: Your vehicles are shielded from the elements, minimizing exposure to harsh weather conditions.

At Shine Solar, we can design and install solar carports tailored to your specific requirements, ensuring that you maximize both energy generation and parking convenience.

3.3 Solar Canopies

Similar to solar carports, solar canopies are versatile structures that offer solar energy generation and added functionality. These elevated installations can be placed over outdoor living spaces, patios, or walkways, providing the following advantages:

  • Extended Usable Space: Solar canopies expand your outdoor living area while simultaneously producing clean energy.
  • Efficient Space Utilization: If your roof has limited space or is partially shaded, solar canopies offer an excellent alternative for solar panel placement.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Solar canopies add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your property, enhancing its overall visual appeal.

At Shine Solar, we believe in exploring creative solutions to make the most of your available space while leveraging solar energy to its fullest potential.

Solar panel placement isn't limited to rooftops alone. Shine Solar offers innovative alternatives such as ground-mounted systems, solar carports, and solar canopies to cater to diverse preferences and property layouts. Our team of experts will assess your unique situation and recommend the most suitable placement option for optimal energy production and aesthetics.

4.- How Long Does It Take to Install Solar Panels?

The timeline for solar panel installation can depend on several factors, including system size, complexity, and the efficiency of the installation team. Here's a general overview of the process and an estimate of the time it might take:

4.1 Solar Consultation and Design (1-2 weeks)

The process typically begins with a solar consultation, during which a solar expert assesses your energy needs, examines your property, and designs a tailored solar system. This stage can take anywhere from one to two weeks, depending on the complexity of your project and the amount of customization needed.

4.2 Permitting and Paperwork (2-4 weeks)

Once the solar system design is finalized and approved by you, comes the permitting process. Obtaining the necessary permits and approvals from local authorities can take time, as it involves completing and submitting documentation and waiting for the appropriate authorities to review and process the applications. 

The duration of the permitting phase varies depending on your location and the efficiency of the local permitting authorities. On average, the permitting and paperwork stage takes about two to four weeks.

4.3 Solar Panel Installation (1-3 days)

The actual solar panel installation is typically the shortest phase of the entire process but one of the most exciting. Once the permits are in place, the installation team will arrive at your property to begin the installation. The duration of the installation depends on the size of the solar system, the complexity of the setup, and the number of panels being installed.

For a standard residential installation, the process usually takes between one to three days. Experienced solar installers, like Shine Solar’s, work efficiently to minimize any disruptions to your daily routine.

In Shine Solar we are proud to announce that our personal average is of 1 day for a regular installation, and of one-and-a-half or two days if it is a lager and more complex system.

4.4 Final Inspections and Grid Connection (1-2 weeks)

After the installation is complete, your solar system will undergo a final inspection to ensure it complies with all safety and performance standards. This inspection is conducted by the relevant authorities to certify that your solar installation meets all the necessary requirements.

Once the system passes inspection, the solar system is connected to the grid, allowing you to start harnessing solar energy for your home and to make use of all the advantages this involves.

Want to know more about those benefits?
Check our Net Metering blog! And learn how you earn money from your solar installation!
Or check our other blog post that explains the Environmental, Social and Financial benefits!

From the initial solar consultation to the final grid connection, the solar panel installation process typically spans a few weeks. At Shine Solar, we prioritize efficiency and seamless execution to bring your solar vision to life in the shortest time possible. Our team of experts handles every aspect of the process, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of clean energy without any hassle. As a reputable solar company, we are committed to providing top-notch service and reliable solar solutions tailored to your needs.


Going solar is a rewarding decision that offers numerous benefits for both your wallet and the environment. At Shine Solar, we hope this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights into the questions you might have had about residential solar panels. If you're ready to take the next step toward clean, renewable energy, don't hesitate to reach out to our expert team. Let us help you illuminate your home with the power of the sun.

Want to learn more solar power FAQs? Clear up some misconceptions? Check out our other blog Here!


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Nick Gorden

Nick Gorden is the Co-founder and CEO of Shine Solar. Nick’s energy, enthusiasm, and leadership is contagious and has contributed to attracting a talented and successful executive team. His time is focused on strategic growth, maintaining profitability and creating the optimal customer experience. Nick has started, managed and sold companies within the communications, mortgage lending, insurance and real estate industries resulting in tens of millions of dollars of market value to investors.

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