Going for Solar – Waiting (Step 8)

After you have done all the hard work of planning, negotiating, selecting a contractor and signing all the papers, comes the hardest and easiest part of the process: The Waiting!  Waiting is easy because there is nothing to do, but wait.  Waiting is hard because there is very little you can do to accelerate the process and you hopefully are excited by the project our you wouldn’t be installing solar.

Below are the various periods of waiting we experienced.  I expect most projects will experience a similar set, though durations and order will vary from project to project.

Massachusetts Rebate Approval9 weeks

In Massachusetts, in order to receive the MassCEC – Commonwealth Solar II Rebate, you have to have your project approved before you start construction.  In other states, you do not get approval until after the project is complete.  I like the Massachusetts approach because if you can’t afford the project without the rebate, you can stop things before they really get started.  This was the most stressful waiting period as there was some chance (really a very small chance) that our project would be rejected or delayed.  Each quarter, the MassCEC – Commonwealth Solar II Rebate exhausts its funding and projects have to wait until the next cycle.  Our project was approved, but it took nine weeks and there was nothing we could do to accelerate the process.

Utility Interconnection Approval1 week
This approval, which is basically the Utility Company agreeing that you can put power back on the grid, went by so quickly we hardly noticed.  While we were waiting for the rebate approval, National Grid (our electric company) approved our interconnection application and installed our bi-directional electric meter.

Solar Panel Delivery3 weeks

Sanyo HIT Double PV Panels

Construction for the awning to support the solar PV array started the same day we received our CSII rebate, thanks to SunBug Solar for being ready to rock and roll.  They also ordered the solar panels that same day, however it took 3 weeks for them to be delivered.  As we choose specialized panels, Sanyo HIT Double 195, delivery could easily have taken several more weeks.  Because the project funding was dependent on the rebate approval, we did not order the panels until we had the go ahead approval.

Inverter Delivery5 weeks

The Solectria PVI 5000W Grid-Tied Inverter was ordered the same day as the panels, but took longer to arrive, which is a little ironic because it is made in Massachusetts by Solectria Renewables.

We have been really lucky to be working with SunBug Solar on this project because there has been no delay in terms of construction.  The structure for the awning went up in a few days while we waited for the panels and inverter to arrive.  The 24 panels were installed in just one day as soon as they arrived and the inverter is scheduled to be installed a few days after their arrival at their warehouse.

Still Waiting
We have two more waiting periods and will report back when we have details from those as soon as we can.

  • Electrical Inspection – TBD
  • Utility Sign Off – TBD

Even though we know patience is a virtue, it has been a struggle at times waiting for this project to go from dream to reality.

Happy Greening!
Alicia & Jon

solar PV awning
Going for Solar Series

To learn more about residential solar installations, check out our series Going for Solar, which details every step from dreaming about installing solar, through picking a contractor and the steps in construction.  We provide information and advice for every step of the way, as well as different approaches such as paying for it yourself versus leasing a system.  Don’t miss the steps on how much money we saved during our first year of usage!

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