Residential How We Do It
The entire process to own and interconnect a solar system here in Massachusetts can be very overwhelming. Fortunately, we have experience with every step, and have dedicated this page to showing our project workflow, and everything we go through to eliminate your electric bill.
Step 1: Initial Phone Call
The very first step is to give us a call and spend 10 – 15 minutes discussing your property where you are interested in putting a solar array. Once connected with our sales team, 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 an initial 3D model done for our first installation.
Step 3: Meet to Discuss Proposal
Typically we like to book an in person meeting at your home or business to go over your proposal in person. We know you have many questions, and owning a solar system is a big decision. It always helps to meet face to face before making any decisions. However, we can also email the PDF proposal and discuss on the phone or through email as well.
Step 4: Make Solar Panel Choice
Currently we offer two models of Tier 1 panels made by LG Corporation. Visit our “Solar Panels and Inverters” tab to learn the differences in the models. We will go through with you the advantages of one over the other. Most clients go for the higher power 320 Watt model, but clients who are estimated to outproduce their annual electrical consumption tend to choose the more sleek looking, all black 305 Watt model.
Step 5: Sign Contract / Utility Applications / SMART 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)
- SMART Program Registration
Step 6: Roof Audit for Dimensions and Final Design
This step is usually done right before the signing of documents in the previous step. While we cannot get true dimensions of every prospective lead, we do not want to sell you a system that does not fit on your roof. The original 3D model is very accurate, but we like to fill up the best roof surfaces, and fit as many panels as possible.
By performing the final roof audit right before signing the contract and utility documents, any difference in the number of panels from initial proposal to final design is taken care of. Utility Applications can be amended after submitted, but it is easier to have these correct from the beginning.
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.
Example 1: 2″ X 4″ reinforcing in Westford
For this project, three out of the four roof surfaces passed initial structural analysis. However, the 2″X6″ rafters above the garage were not strong enough. Our PE called out reinforcing with 2″ X 4″ and 3-5/8″ LedgerLok fasteners. For this particular reinforcing, we covered the cost completely. The lumber cost $100 and the fasteners were $380. We’re not out to ask for an additional $500. We will work with you for reinforcing $1000 and more. Everything lower is typically covered in our initial profit margin.
Example 2: 2″ X 10″ rafter sistering in Dunstable with Simpson MTS-16 Twist Straps
For this project, the main roof 2″ X 6″ rafters needed to be sistered with 2″ X 10″s, and birdsmouth cuts were made to lengths of LVL to reinforce around the knee wall.
In this instance, the reinforcing adder was $1500. This was worked out between the client and Alex once the scope of reinforcing was known.
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!