Commercial How We Do It
The entire process to own and interconnect a commercial solar system here in Massachusetts is even more in depth and complicated than a residential installation. Fortunately, we have experience with every step on the commercial side as well, and have dedicated this page to showing a typical project workflow, and everything we go through to eliminate your commercial electric bill.
Step 1: Initial Phone Call
The very first step is to give us a call and spend 20 – 40 minutes discussing your commercial real estate and where you are interested in putting a solar array. Once connected with one of our commercial sales specialists, we will use google maps for an overhead view, and bing maps for a “birds eye” perspective view. We will discuss which roof surfaces have the best orientation for solar, and inquire about your current electric bill and annual electrical consumption (in kWh).
Step 2: Generate Design and Proposal
After the initial phone call, Alex will design your system remotely from our office. We model each home in 3D for a very realistic rendering of your solar system. See below for an example of a few initial 3D models done for some various commercial properties.
Figure 1: 123.64 kW DC (427) Panel Commercial Model in Chelmsford, MA
Figure 2: 145.92 kW DC (456) Panel Commercial Model in Lowell, MA
Figure 3: 609.28 kW DC (1904) Panel Commercial Model in CONFIDENTIAL, MA
Step 3: Meet to Discuss Proposal
For all commercial proposals, Alex and Anthony will personally meet on site to go over all the numbers, and address any and all questions about your proposal. Additionally, we will also present the different types of solar systems can install, and the price variance between them. Some examples are microinverters, string inverters, central inverters
Step 4: Make Solar Panel and Inverter Choice
Currently most of our residential clients use 60 cell LG solar panels, and they will always be our preferable solar panel. However, commercial clients can drive down their cost per watt ($ / Watt) by electing to choose a less bankable solar panel manufacturer, and / or 72 cell solar panels.
Some types of solar panels have to be used with certain types of inverters. For example, a 72 cell solar panel like Canadian Solar CS6X-320P cannot be used with an Enphase microinverter because the 72 cell panels have too high an input voltage compared to a 60 cell panel.
However, if we are using a Yaskawa SGI central inverter (manufactured here in at the mills in Lawrence off 495), we can use 72 cell panels and benefit from a much cheaper installation than the same wattage 60 cell LG panel.
Phew. We do not mean to overwhelm you, but we also want you to have some options with your commercial building. Not every commercial project is the same, and we want you to have all the options when it comes to the equipment going on your roof.
Step 5: Sign Contract / Utility Applications / SREC Trade Applications
Congratulations! You are now very close to owning your solar system. This step marks the true beginning of your project. We will meet in person again to sign the following documents:
- Turnkey Solar Contract
- Utility Interconnection Application
- Utility Net Metering Credit Document (Schedule Z)
- SREC Trade Registration Consent Form
Step 6: Roof Audit for Dimensions and Final Design
Step 7: Mass Solar Loan Financing
Visit our Mass Solar Loan tab to learn about this amazing financing opportunity. For a couple weeks after signing our contract we will begin processing your application for the Mass Solar Loan. Once it is ready, you will receive an email e-signature request and we will receive back your completed applications.
If you elect to not finance your project, or finance by another means (home equity line, etc), our project will move along a little bit faster.
Step 8: Structural Engineering
In order to pull a building permit and begin installation, we have to have a professional engineer analyze your home or business and confirm that it is strong enough for the snow and wind loads, in addition to the solar panels.
For larger residential projects and commercial jobs, the professional engineers we subcontract will come on site to audit the building along with Alex. For more simple residential jobs, Alex will spend a few hours performing the audit himself, and provide the necessary pictures and information to the engineer.
The initial structural analysis is fully covered in your original proposal quote, as there are no hidden fees or adders we ask for. The only exception is if your home or business needs structural reinforcement. In this situation, we quote individually for the reinforcement. We do not want to make extra profit off your reinforcement, but also do not want to take a loss to get your building up to code.
For structural reinforcing, clients will communicate directly with Alex to come up with the most accurate quote for your reinforcement.
Step 9: Permitting and Install
After we are financed and you have finalized your loan with one of the certified lenders, we will pull the building and electrical permits and begin your installation!
Step 10: Inspections and Final Utility Applications
During this time we will schedule and attend the electrical and building inspections, and then submit all necessary documents with your utility to obtain the net meter. The larger solar companies tend to drag their feet with this step, while we are able to obtain net meters much faster. We know you want to be turned on ASAP!
Step 11: Turn System On and Commission
We’re done! All that is left is to turn the system on and give you a little training on the disconnects and what everything does. We also will go over your project binder, which has every document you need for your solar system.
Step 12: Refer friends and family!
Check out our “commissions” tab for how you can receive 5% of every project you pass along!