Final solar installation stage. Sticking with the theme that we make solar installations easy, we thought that explaining what goes into an installation would be helpful (even if that doesn’t make our top eight questions list).
So here is Part 1 of the Five Stages of a Solar Installation and rather than starting at the start, let’s start at the finish – #5-Closeout.
Closeout – Time To Stay Calm
If there is one part of a solar installation that we have minimal control over it is the final stage or what we call “Closeout”. That’s because by the time we get to this stage we’re pretty much done; it is the inspectors, utility, and sometimes the incentive programs we’re left waiting on. Meaning by this time we’ve been through the sales stage, the engineering stage, operations, and the actual installation. Your system is now on your roof (or in your yard) and it’s mechanically complete except for flipping the switch. Unfortunately, you can’t flip that switch until the Closeout process is pretty much done.
The secret to making the Closeout stage forgettable therefore is to get a little zen going and prepare to wait the process out. Most of the time we’ll march the process through and you’ll just need to be a bystander (albeit one that may have to be available to provide access for inspection or two). At times it goes very quickly. At others, it seems like all the world is aligned against us. Never fear, we won’t give up on making it all happen.
First, paperwork will need to go out following the completion of the installation and in most cases a major payment needs to be made (either directly from you or the financing company you selected). Then an inspector from a building and electrical inspector from your town or city will need to review our work. Once the inspector(s) sign off, that goes out to the utility who likewise will likely have to pay your home or building a visit. Luckily, in most cases, you won’t need to be present when the utility step happens.
Once the utility has finished, you’re usually close to home free. Meaning that with some luck within a day or two of the utility doing their work both of us will get an email saying you’ve got Permission To Operate (or PTO). At that point, you can finally flip the switch to turn the system on.
And as the last step, we’ll need to close the loop on any final payments, finalizing any incentive program paperwork, and handle any final issues. That said, it may be a few months before the utility and incentive program all gets rolling and operational (this is particularly true for newer programs, such as the MA SMART program). Think of it as another period that may call for some zen type thinking.
Next time, we’ll cover Engineering.
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