When signing up for solar, homeowners often are unsure of what the next steps are in the process. Is it as simple as ‘sign here’ and you will install my panels? How long will it take for the solar switch to be completed? The process from signing solar to getting your panels up and running is known as the solar interconnection process. A standard solar interconnection process takes anywhere from 3-6 months to be completed. Unfortunately, we cannot just press a magic button to switch your home to solar. There are certain aspects that need to be handled first, and luckily, we have a trained, talented team to help guide you through this process with ease. In order to gain a little more insight on the procedure, I interviewed manager of Code Green Solar General Manager, Denise Provinzano.
Inside the Office
I began by asking Denise about the complexity of the interconnection process – is the process difficult to get through and if so, how so?
“It’s complex in the sense that we have to get approval from several different government agencies. We have to get approval from the township, utility company, and the state of New Jersey. We normally do not have a great deal of complication with this, our team is trained to handle this adequately.”
The normal flow of the interconnection is as followed: enroll in solar, site assessment, design, document submittal and approval, installation, inspection, and permission to operate approval. The site assessment consists of a member of the design department coming out to review the conditions of your home for solar panels. A tree may be casting a shadow over a roof top and will need to be removed. Other times some roofs need to be replaced all together to withstand the solar system. Both tree removal and roof replacement are services offered by Code Green Solar. Other than awkwardly placed trees, I asked Denise what some of the biggest cause of delays in the solar interconnection process are.
“It’s important that initially, our sales representatives get all of paperwork that they will need. We require a current paper electric bill. A lot of the time, if a customer pays their bills primarily online, they may not have a paper copy on hand. This can cause up to a two-week delay.”
As simple as this is, homeowners can see up to a few weeks delay from needing to request a paper copy of an electric bill. If you are thinking about switching over to solar, save that next copy you get in the mail instead of heading straight for the trash!
“The design process can also sometimes cause delay. If there is a flat roof and everything inside the house is finished, we have to find out what is underneath the roof. Our construction managers will come out to the home to handle this to avoid further delay.”
The style of a roof on a home can cause changes in the timeline of the design. This can include the direction the house is facing, the shading on the roof, and any obstructions. The engineering department primarily handles the design of a homeowner’s solar array. Once completed, the homeowner will be sent the design for reference. From here, the application for approvals begins with the utility companies, the state, and the township of which the site is located. I asked Denise how long this process typically takes.
“If we have everything we need, it should only take about 30 days for us to get the approvals from the township, the utility company, and the state.”
As long as most of the delays mentioned earlier don’t occur, a month-long approval is the wait time. From here, the solar panels are ready to be installed and the interconnection process is almost completed! What is left consists of an inspection of the solar panels once they are installed to make sure they are running smoothly and getting permission to operate the system. I asked Denise if the she feels that the solar installation process is worth the wait.
“Yes, absolutely. It’s a great feeling to know that you have independence and that you are your own power producer. You’re not relying just on the utility company to give you power. It’s a very fulfilling feeling to make the choice to go solar.”
Independence. Something that we all strive for at some point in our lives is that freedom to choose for ourselves. With signing up for solar, you are making the independent choice to control your home’s power supply and to better our planet. The Earth is dependent on us to make the right independent choice on how we power our homes. Code Green Solar is here to help you through the interconnection process to make it as seamless as possible because we appreciate your choice.