How Long Will My Solar Project Take? What Factors Could Delay My Project?

There are a few different factors that can affect how long your project will take. At Project Solar, our process usually takes about 2-4 months from deposit through installation.

No two solar projects are exactly alike–each one has their own unique jurisdiction, power company, electrical panel, system size, etc.

This means that timelines will also vary a bit, as some projects will require more steps than others. However, projects through us normally take between 2-4 months to complete, from deposit to installation.

This article will outline our standard process time and discuss possible delays to your project:

The Onboarding Stage

The first stage of the Project Solar process is largely reliant on you: this is called Onboarding. During this stage, our Customer Experience Team will work with you to collect information and photos required to draw up a final contract.

This entire pre-contract process usually takes about 7 days--however, it's dependent on how quickly you can submit forms and other information, so it can be longer.

Possible Delays

After your contract has been signed, your project will move through the post-contract stages. To learn more about these, check out our article titled "The Post-Contract Process".

Engineering adders

When drawing up the structural and electrical plans for your system, our engineers will determine exactly how we’ll tie in your solar system to your main electrical panel. Engineering usually takes 1-2 weeks.

In some cases, however, there is additional work required to prepare your main electrical panel for solar.

Some examples include a main panel upgrade, a main panel derate, or the addition of a subpanel. We call these engineering adders, and they can add time onto your project--especially if we need to coordinate with your jurisdiction and/or power company to complete them.

Jurisdiction and power company processing times

The most common reason for delays in our process is jurisdictions or power companies taking longer than usual to approve things.

Each solar project must be permitted through the governing jurisdiction and approved through your power company. Obtaining permits can take as short as a single day or as long as 4-6 weeks, depending on the project/jurisdiction.

There’s no one reason for this--some jurisdictions or power companies are less familiar with solar, or have stricter application guidelines than others. Others simply take a while to process documents and plans.

There's also a lot of variation in the process for submitting plans--some locations will require physical plans, others will have an online portal to submit them.

Note: We expect the recent NEM 3.0 deadline to impact California utility process times for interconnection applications, which may lead to project delays. 


Scheduling & installation delays

Scheduling installations and inspections requires coordination with your calendar, installer schedules, equipment couriers, and more.

Because of this, getting an install date scheduled can take a little while, especially if your system is being installed during a time of the year with decreased installer availability.

Installer schedules can be less open during summer, when solar is busiest, while installing during the winter can require working around holidays and possibly rough weather conditions--weather can delay equipment shipments, and installing in inclement weather is generally avoided for safety reasons. 

The Bottom Line

Solar is a significant home improvement project, and it can take some time to complete. Delays can happen due to jurisdiction processing times, engineering adders, installer schedules, weather, and more. 

At Project Solar, we do our best to anticipate and combat delays before they happen to keep timelines between 2-4 months (or even shorter). Still, some projects can extend past this point, and it's a good idea to prepare for this possibility when purchasing your system. Our team can provide more resources and time estimates as they come during your project. 

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