There are many factors that can make your solar project uniquely complex, including:
the size of the solar system required to meet your electrical consumption needs; batteries or other add-ons; the type of financing (loan, lease, PPA, cash, etc); the nature of your roof; the layout of the home's electrical equipment; the local utility company; the legal jurisdiction; current state/federal incentives; not to mention any special requests from the homeowner.
Timelines can also vary quite a bit as a result of the many moving parts. Generally speaking, solar projects tend to progress through similar milestones, as detailed below.
Watch for text notifications specific to your project, and check out the corresponding descriptions and videos for more info.
Don't hesitate to contact us or your representative if you have questions along the way!
Learning about solar, reviewing a quote, getting the ball rolling
Your representative will prepare a quote specific to your home and electrical needs. Next time you meet, they'll answer any questions you have about going solar, and help you be able to make an informed choice about which option is best for you.
Your representative will walk you through everything needed to get going, including any documents to sign, providing a bill, and the verification or welcome call.
The next step is to schedule a site survey, which will help us take measurements of your roof in order to determine the exact placement of panels and how much sunlight they will receive.
It’s important to remember that you have until installation day to decide if going solar is right for you, so there's no need to feel pressured or rushed. Stay in touch with your representative and ask any questions that arise, they're here to help every step of the way!
What to expect: The surveyor may arrive at any point during the scheduled window, and will briefly collect information about your home. Usually they'll fly a drone to capture images of your home's roof and any obstructions that will cause shading, like trees. They'll check out the electrical boxes in your garage or backyard, and may occasionally need a photo of the attic or rafters.
All this information will be used to create a finalized design and avoid complications later on.
What happens after the site survey?
In the following weeks, your representative will discuss with you the results of the site survey. Some changes or additional work may be required, such as roof repair, adding a few more panels, or an upgrade to your home's existing electrical equipment. If you would like to change how much power the system is set to produce, this is an appropriate time to make adjustments to the original quote.
Meanwhile, our installation partner will be working on permitting, engineering the finalized system design and electrical layout, and other logistical details. They will contact you to schedule installation as soon as requirements allow.
What to expect: Depending on the size of the system, installation can take between half a day and a few days. An adult must be home at the beginning of the installation to ensure the crew has access to the roof and electrical equipment. The workers will notify you when your home will be disconnected from power for about 30 minutes. If you will need an uninterrupted connection to power, a generator can be provided upon previous request.
It's very common to complete only the solar portion on install day, with the remaining electrical work completed on a later date, often the same day as inspection.
What about after install? Progress from this stage depends on third parties that we don't have control over
--for example, the city or county that will need to inspect the system, and your utility provider. In some cases, additional electrical work may need be completed, such as a main panel upgrade. Depending on the requirements for your specific project, you may wait a few weeks or months. Remember to stay in touch with your representative for status updates, or an estimate on the next step. You can always contact Enlite Customer Care with questions about your project, we're happy to help!
My solar project requires an electrical upgrade, what does that mean?
If the added electrical load from the solar would cause your main electrical panel to be overloaded, or it's no longer up to code, some electrical components may need to be added or replaced. Of course, the electrical engineers will only develop an upgrade that is a safe solution for your specific home and solar project.
For example, this could mean anything from a full Main Panel Upgrade (MPU), adding a Green/Renewable Meter Adapter (GMA/RMA) or a Sub-Panel, to De-rating, or other more minor upgrades often completed on inspection day. Some upgrades require the utility to schedule a power disconnect/reconnect while the work is performed, while other upgrades require a special approval from the utility company before they can even be scheduled.
While it ultimately depends on the utility's approval times and availability, you can normally expect an added 3-6 months or more before an electrical upgrade is scheduled, particularly for MPUs. You will be contacted as soon as it's ready to be scheduled, but please feel comfortable contacting your representative or Enlite Customer Care for an update at any point.
What to expect: First, remember that it's typical for inspectors to deny approval during the first inspection. This is perfectly normal in all areas of construction, and residential solar projects are no exception. Code regulations vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another, and many cities and counties make changes at will. Re-inspections are common, and your project may likely have one--or more.
There are many reasons a re-inspection may be required, from unannounced changes in requirements, to resubmitting permits with recently updated designs, to shipping delays for specific parts, or even the interpretations of the individual inspector.
Re-inspections are common, and your project may likely have one--or more.
It's also common for authorities to require that some electrical components be left exposed and accessible to the inspector, so it's no cause for concern if your project looks a little unfinished before inspection. Everything will be buttoned up nicely afterwards, but contact your representative if anything needs immediate attention.
What about after my solar project passes inspection?
Your utility provider is responsible for the last approval before your system can be activated. The inspection certificate is the last document required in order to submit a finalized application for interconnection/PTO. Once our team reviews the entire application and submits it, the utility company has 30 business days to process your application, and then the solar can be turned on and begin powering your home.
The utility company has granted PTO, is this the end?
It sure is! Now that you have Permission To Operate the system, your solar project has a green light from all parties. Your home will be running on solar power within a few days!
You'll receive an email with any instructions specific to your solar project. Most systems can be activated remotely by our team, and only require you to confirm that the indicator lights show the correct status. Other systems may have a simple switch for activation or emergency shutoff. Regardless of the configuration, you can also request a walkthrough over the phone or in person.
Now is also a good time to double check that autopay is set up, if applicable, and to make sure you have access to tools for monitoring the system's health and production. See Other FAQs for more info.
You made it! Congratulations on officially going solar!
More questions and answers will be coming soon, stay tuned!