If you’re one of Bill Maher’s viewers, you’ve likely already heard about his solar installation troubles. Not in the loop? Here’s what happened.

Show host Bill Maher began his journey on the solar coaster in 2018. On average, solar installations can take anywhere from 10 days to 2 months, mostly depending on the local and state laws, as well as other regulations that need to be followed. Getting through all the red tape can be frustrating, as the audience of “Real Time with Bill Maher” learned.

When a person decides to install a solar system, they begin a process that everyone must go through. The site and roof assessment is essential to lay the foundation for the project. The solar installation company will go over an important checklist that includes measurements such as if the roof can support the extra weight of solar panels, and how much sunlight their system will be able to capture. Once all the parameters have been tested and collected, the solar company will put together a design to go over with them. After it has been approved, the company can then go to the local planning and zoning commission to apply for the necessary permits.

The next step is to order the equipment itself. While the quality of the solar panels and inverters are the most important part, the homeowners can also consider such features as aesthetics and price. When the parts have arrived, it’s time for the installation, which can take one to three days to complete. Finally, all that’s left is the inspection and approval from the city, and then the residential solar panels can be connected to the grid.

For a long time, the Bill Maher show often started with his “solar clock”, which showed how many days he had been waiting for the solar system he had purchased to be ready for grid connection. After 1,131 days, there was finally a change in status: his solar installation was switched on! In celebration, as he announced it on his show, confetti rained down upon the stage as the crowd cheered. To some it may have seemed a little excessive, but after Maher had waited a ridiculously long time, it was only fair that he should have some fun with it.

He made sure to thank those responsible in the caption of his video: “Special thanks again to people at Sunrun and California Solar & Storage Association for getting involved and cutting through all the mounds of red tape. Thanks also to Altadena Energy & Solar for getting it turned on!”

Bill Maher’s experience is an extreme example, but if you aren’t with the right company, the process can still slow to a molasses-like pace. This is why you need an installer who knows what they’re doing, so you don’t have to wait 3 years like Maher did. He also acknowledges that if it was this hard for him, a person who has an audience and connections and had been publicly complaining about the situation for 6 months, then how hard would it be for someone without all those advantages?

We can’t overstate the importance of finding a trustworthy installer who is invested in the success of your solar system. As always, researching any company you are considering doing business with is a necessary step in the process. If you’d like our recommendations, fill out the form below and we’ll help you narrow down your analysis.


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