Are you curious about the solar permitting and inspection process? If so, then take a look at this image from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which shows a typical timeline for a residential solar installation…
As you can see, most homeowners experience between 90 and 120 days from contract to interconnection, and installers must work cohesively with local authority-having districts (AHJ) and utilities to stay on track.
To further illustrate, let’s break down the pre-installation assessment and post-installation inspection processes so that you can know what to expect when going solar.
Pre-installation Site Assessment
After designing the optimal solar energy system based on the property’s characteristics, a full inspection of the proposed building site is necessary to ensure the installation will go as planned. Typically completed within two weeks of a contract signature, an onsite inspection is performed by the installer to prepare applications for AHJ and utility approval.
Feasibility Audit: During a feasibility audit, a solar specialist will visit your property and take exact measurements to finalize a photovoltaic (PV) system design. In this critical step, the auditor will ensure panel placement is aligned with local building and electrical codes, and that the roof is structurally sound enough (and free of obstructions) to support the proposed system.
Utility approval: Alongside a building permit, utility approval is also necessary to operate a grid-tied solar energy system. Here, the exact specifications of the system must be disclosed to the local utility so that the new electricity generation can be safely fed into the power grid. To see your utility’s policies, please see Our Guide to Colorado & Wyoming Electric Utilities and Solar Interconnection.
After both the property and utility permits are approved, your installation company will then schedule a day to deliver your solar system components and complete the installation.
Post-Installation Site Inspections
Once your solar panels are on the roof and ready to generate electricity, a final site inspection must be conducted to ensure that power can be safely produced and sent to the electrical grid.
Building & Electrical Code inspection: In the building and electrical system audit, someone from the local government will arrive on-site to inspect the installation. If all is well, the representative will approve the system. In the event that the installation does not meet local safety and building regulations, installers can modify their work to meet local standards.
Grid interconnection: As the final step of the process, grid interconnection comes with utility approval. Once a licensed electrician has determined that a system has been installed properly, the switch can then be literally flipped and your solar panels will officially begin to produce electricity.
Within many jurisdictions, a representative from the solar company must be present for a government or utility to complete an inspection and approve a system. At Apollo Energy, we have our own electrical licensing and have developed strong working relationships with our local utilities and municipalities.
Keeping it All In-House
As a local solar company in Denver, CO, we keep our entire assessment and inspection process in-house, from the initial site audit until grid interconnection. For customers all along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, Apollo Energy’s team of local experts has the knowledge, resources, and availability to ensure a smooth transition to solar energy.
By overseeing the entire process, Apollo always champions our solar customers’ installations throughout the entire installation process and will do whatever it takes to guarantee approval from local authority-having districts (AHJ) and utilities.
Although, like everything in solar energy, each installation is unique and we do run into hiccups from time to time. Typically, we can have solar projects back on track within a week, and exercise caution and preparedness in every detail along the way.
In all of our Colorado and Wyoming solar installations, we send a local who knows exactly what to look for in any specific region. While out-of-state providers may be likely to have delays in the initial or final inspection processes, Apollo remains committed to getting all of our neighbors up and running with solar energy as soon as we can.
If you’re interested in a free solar assessment for your local property, please do not hesitate to contact Apollo Energy, today.