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When Do You Need to Go Solar for the 2020 Federal Tax Credit?

Man fixing a solar panel with a professional drill

The federal solar tax credit will be reduced by 4% next year

From getting permits to procuring equipment and installation to final inspections, installing a full-fledged solar system can take a considerable amount of time. If you want to qualify for the federal solar tax credit (investment tax credit) on your solar installation during the fiscal year 2020, you need to move fast and start the process right now. 

To give you a good idea of how long it can take to have a solar system installed, we will outline an estimated timeline.

Site Assessment 

The process of solar system installation will start from the site assessment. A solar expert team will visit your location and assess it for its feasibility to generate solar power. For instance, they will determine the location’s geographical coordinates. They will inspect the roof’s direction and factor in all the shades and obstacles that can block sunlight. Between the first contact with the solar company to this complete site assessment can take anywhere between a week and two.

Design Approval 

In the light of site assessment, the team will start devising a customized solar energy plan for your property. From roof-mounts to ground mounts and conduits to battery installation, the design will be a complete blueprint of your solar setup. The making and approval of the design can take up to three weeks.

Getting Permit from the Local Administration

Getting a go-ahead from the local (city or county) administration can be the most prolonged phase of solar system installation. If bureaucratic red tape is not involved, you can get the permit within 1-2 weeks. Otherwise, it can stretch to up to 4-6 weeks. Some solar companies apply for the permit right from the start to reduce this unnecessary lag in installation.


If you are working with highly professional solar experts, you will be done with the installation within a couple of days. Their installation is swift because they are quick and efficient, and also, there are no procurement delays.


After installation, the relevant city or county officials have to inspect your system for the final approval. The time for this inspection and subsequent approval depends on your local administration’s general competency and how much solar inspection backlog they are dealing with. It can take anywhere between 1 to 3 weeks. 

Utility Interconnections

At this stage, you have your solar system installed and approved. Now, you just need to connect it to the grid. Your solar company will apply to the concerned utility company to provide a connection to the grid and install a bi-directional meter. The speed of this process depends on the outstanding applications and available workforce of the utility company. We have experienced that this can take 2 to 4 weeks.


A complete solar system installation— from site assessment to utility interconnections— can take up to 12 weeks or three months. We are already in the 9th month of the year. So, you should not delay solar installation any further if you want to leverage the tax credit. Also, keep in mind that the allowable solar cost deduction limit from taxes will be reduced to 22% from 26%next year. 

Besides tax relief, you should also install a solar power system this year because looming tariffs on imported solar panels can increase the installation’s overall price. 

If you want to install solar on your property with a quicker turnaround to benefit from the 2020 federal tax credit, get in touch with our team at New York State Solar Farm and receive your free consultation!

To know more about the updated solar federal tax credit, visit the official page of the Solar Energy Technologies Office.

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As a homeowner, one of the best investments you can make is in solar energy. With energy costs at an all time high and continuing to rise, solar panel systems can save you money from day one. Homes with solar also sell for more given their cost savings & environmental benefits. Solar just makes sense.

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