How your solar gets connected to the grid
Connecting your solar array to the grid is the final step before you can start saving money with solar energy. Navigating this process with your installer and your utility is sometimes not clear.
Broadly, there are three rounds of approval that you will need before your system can get up and running. Before your system is installed, your installer will submit an application to put a solar system on your home. The installer will then install your system once the utility gives its initial approval. Even though your system has been installed, it is not yet on.
Your city or county will then inspect the system for safety. Once they approve the system, your installer will then ask your utility to approve the connection to the electric grid.
Your utility will come to your home to either provide you with a new electric meter that tracks when your system is sending electricity to the grid, or re-program the meter you have to do so. Once this process has been completed, the utility will send you the final interconnection approval. Then you may then flip on the switch and begin powering your home with solar!
Here’s a detailed breakdown of how your system gets interconnected to the grid:
- Your installer submits an interconnection application to the utility.
- Your utility accepts the application and approves work to begin.
- Your installer installs your system and then the local jurisdiction inspects it.
- TIP: Get copy of inspection card/form from installer for your records.
- Your installer submits a request for interconnection authorization with the inspection information.
- TIP: Contact your installer to verify that the interconnection application has been submitted.
- Your utility visits your property and either replaces or re-programs your meter.
- NOTE: At this point your utility should be able to tell you the date your meter will be installed. It should also give you guidance on when you will have “final approval” to operate your system.
- Your utility authorizes the installation and provides permission or authorization to operate.
- TIP: The utility should email the final approval notice to you and your installer. Be sure to get a copy of the completed interconnection paperwork provided by the utility. If you live somewhere you can sell your SRECs, you will need this to complete your registration for SRECs.
- Once you have your permission or authorization to operate, you are allowed to turn on your system to generate money-saving clean energy and get credit for it on your bill.
- TIP: Are you or your installer having issues with getting your system approved by the utility? Check out our guidance here.