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What Does the Solar Buying Process Look Like

May 10, 2021 | Solar 101, Trending Now

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Congratulations! You have come to the realization solar is the best move for your family! You see the outstanding benefits of lowering your electricity bill costs, protection from unforeseen outages and your contribution to a greener world. But what is the next step? How can you keep your solar costs low while also getting a good price? How can you protect yourself from unforeseen costs or changes? How long will it take to get your greener system up and running? If you have searched for the answers to these common questions, you have probably noticed the answers are elusive, or nonexistent altogether. Purus has put together what the typical solar buying process looks like, as well as potential snags along the way.

What does ‘going solar’ typically look like? Here’s a roadmap of what to expect:

1. Start by quote hunting

Gauging the price ranges and brands of solar panels will help you better understand your budget for your system.

  • Understanding the configuration of your system – A great solar company will walk you through what kind of configuration you need for your home which includes size, batteries, and inverters.
  • It’s important to work with someone who understands what’s best for you and your home; configurations can change from company to company.

2. Sign your Home Improvement contract

Once you’re set on your system, the next step is to sign your Home Improvement contract! This is a contract that outlines the scope of work and the cost associated with the project.  Prior to signing, it’s a good idea to make sure the installer has a valid contractor license number.

3. Address financing needs

Are you paying cash, financing-to-own, or leasing? This piece is generally established early on. If you’re paying cash, no more than $1000 or 10% of the contract price, whichever is less, will be due at the time of signing your Home Improvement contract. If you applied for financing, you’ll need to complete all the necessary loan documents at this time. Once all documents are reviewed and verified, the lending institution will issue NTP, or a notice to proceed. This is the bank giving your project the green light to continue.

4. Site / Roof inspections

Most solar installers will conduct a site/roof inspection to ensure the system that was designed can be installed and if any additional work may be required. Necessary changes are made prior to submitting a permit application to your city.

5. City Permits

After your inspection is completed and engineering plans are drawn up for your project, installers will apply for permits which typically takes 1-2 weeks for approval.

6. Permit Approval

Upon permit approval, an application must be sent to the utility company, alerting them of the interconnection of your solar system to the grid. 

7. Post Permit Approval

After permit approval, installation can range from 2-6 weeks. Generally, if paying cash, a portion of your remaining balance is typically due at the point of the process (50%-80%). Remember, installation timelines can very depending on what needs to be installed on your home. These unknown variants are leading frustrations for customers. Here are a few determiners of time frame to consider when setting installation expectations:

  • Potential unknown roof issues
  • Adding one or more batteries to your system can increase installation to 10+ weeks; Tesla Power Walls can take 6 months.
  • Scheduling of work crews and the demand of other installation projects.
  • Procurement of equipment (Adding batteries, high-demand panels, hard-to-source equipment)

8. Final Inspection

A final inspection with the city is usually done a week after installation to ensure your system meets the city code. (If you’re paying cash, the final balance is generally due after your home passes final inspection)

9. Permission to Operate

This is your official interconnection into the grid. (Application for PTO occurred back in Step 6) Once the PTO is approved, your system will be up and running!

Working with a great Solar Broker can take much of the stress off of this process. Caring about efficiency and protecting customers from potential changes or snags in this expensive investment, can make or break the experience. A company like Purus Energy protects the consumer with project managers, acting like a buyer’s agent at every step of the way. Working with Purus Energy, we understand the value of project visibility and transparency!

Find out if solar is right for you

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