If you’re one of the 39% of American homeowners seriously considering solar it is important to understand the timeline. Going solar can be a great investment for both your wallet and the planet. Enact Systems is an all-in-one digital service that helps homeowners go solar in approximately ten weeks — or a little over two months.
Every home and situation is different which means each timeline is different. The process might seem long and complicated, but Enact’s energy experts are present for every step in the installation process. We help assess your solar needs and design a system that works with your home. Once you approve a solar design, we coordinate the installation process with a local solar installer, your city or county government and your utility company.
It doesn’t stop there, Enact Systems assists homeowners even after the installation and approval process. Through our digital platform, you can monitor your solar system’s performance, see how much you’ve paid off and see other useful insights. The morale of the story: Enact provides homeowners with custom solar and storage solutions.
The Powerful Enact platform
Enact offers an all-in-one digital service that coordinates the entire process from start to finish. Homeowners have access to unbiased options for their home, including hundreds of different solar panels, inverters, racking mounts and storage batteries. Our company provides transparency to our customers through upfront costs without hidden fees.
We won’t try to design a system larger than your energy needs. Enact uses our own software platform to complete a thorough analysis that lets you know exactly what you’re buying and how it benefits you. We are not a solar installation company, but we coordinate with many installation companies in your area that already use Enact daily for their projects — so we find you the best options for your home leveraging real data and customer experience.
Now is the best time to go solar due to declining costs, increased consumer options and a variety of federal and state incentives. Another great reason to go solar: consumers have access to a wide variety of solar panel and storage battery manufacturers. Advancements in solar technology means greater efficiency and panels tailored to your home’s climate.
Like solar generation, the installation timeline can vary by location. For California homeowners trying to install a solar energy system before the April 13 deadline for NEM 3.0 can relax — your solar system does not need to be fully installed by the deadline.
Schedule a Free Conversation
You can schedule a conversation with one of our energy advisors where we learn about you, your home and energy goals. Before you schedule your free conversation, we need a little information about you so you can receive your free quote.
- We need your street address so we can use satellite technology to view your home and design a system for you. We want to see the shape of your roof and find potential sources of shade.
- We need a copy of last month’s electrical bills for your home so we can understand how much electricity you need generated — we’d also love to know if you plan on making any home improvements that will increase your energy consumption, such as a pool or electric vehicle charging station.
- We want to learn about what energy goals you have in mind. Do you want to power your entire home or just save on utility bills? Do you want a backup battery to store unused electricity?’
If you don’t have exact numbers from your electrical bill, you can give us an estimation to get started. We can get exact numbers later. You also don’t need to totally understand solar technology and have hard goals before your quote, but it is good to start thinking about these topics.
During this phone or Zoom call, homeowners can learn about the different payment methods available for solar. Homeowners have the ability to finance their home’s solar energy system, or pay in cash. The advisor will explain the different options available and ask what your preference is for payment. If you choose to finance your solar project, you can put a down payment but are not required to — zero down payment is an available option.
Remote Site Assessment & System Design
Using satellite imagery, our energy advisors will look at your roof and start to design a solar energy system. Unlike some installer companies, Enact provides multiple design options with different brands for everything from solar panels to inverters to batteries that work for your home. Most solar installation companies only carry select brands for panels, racking mounts, inverters and batteries.
When our energy advisors look at your property remotely, we create an accurate estimate of the size of your roof and find potential obstructions or sources of shade. Based on our findings we can determine how many solar panels can fit on your roof and where they can be effectively installed. After we create a design, you can review it and make changes based on your preferences or needs and our energy advisors will work with you to find a good fit.
Create a Contract
After our free consultation and we create a design proposal, we will create a purchase agreement with you. During our initial conversation, your advisor will get to know you and your energy needs. Our project operations team can determine a cost estimate for your solar energy systems, including potential additional costs in advance. The purchase agreement will also define what equipment is being added to your system and the quantity needed.
Potential new costs, detailed in the next step, could include roof repairs or an electric panel upgrade. If new costs pop up after the technical site visit, we can sign a change order — or consumers have the ability to cancel. Enact does not collect any money or deposits until you have confirmed all details after the technical site visit.
Technical Site Visit
A trusted solar installation company that we selected for your project will send a professional to your home to assess your roof, take exact measurements and look for potential shade and items to work around (chimneys, HVAC vents, satellite dishes). The site technician will visit your home or property based on your schedule. Based on their visit, Enact will finalize your design proposal and move forward with the process. The technical site assessment is in the first week of the average ten week process.
The site technician will also evaluate your roof and your home’s electrical system. Technicians evaluate your roof for its structural integrity. This is a necessary step for the safety of you, your loved ones and other people in your property. Going solar is also an investment and you don’t want to see your solar energy system destroyed. If the professional determines that your roof needs repairs or a replacement, Enact will coordinate with local roofing companies and you to find time to make necessary adjustments.
Additionally, the technician will assess your home’s electrical system to determine how your solar energy system will connect to your home. If your electrical system cannot handle additional power from your solar panels, your electrical system could shut off or even cause a fire. If you have an older home, older electrical panel or need an upgraded panel — Enact will work with your installation company to help you in the upgrade process to prepare your home for solar.
Engineering & Design
Enact will assemble the final design for your home based on the details from your site visit. Our team of advisors will work with you to finalize all details of the project to create a plan that works best for you. The final design will be based on the measurements from your home’s assessment. Finalized details will include the type and quantity of solar panels, the inverter and storage battery (if you want an energy storage solution). Enact will answer any questions you may have in both this step and throughout the process.
Local Permitting & Approval
Our project operations team will work with your installer and local government to obtain the proper permits and approvals needed for installation and utility connection. Similar to most construction or improvement projects, a local permit is required before solar panels are mounted on your roof or property.
Enact’s team will coordinate the permitting process between weeks three and six, but every city and county is different. Some localities have sped up the process for solar permits. A good resource for people on the West Coast, Southwest and large portions of the East Coast is the Solar Trace tool.
While not a government body, many neighborhoods have Homeowner Associations (HOAs) that regulate external design modifications. If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, it is important to check your by-laws before this process begins. Some HOAs limit the placement of solar panels on roofs or ban rooftop installations. Some states have laws or court rulings that prevent HOAs from banning solar related projects.
The exciting part — the installation of your solar panels and equipment. Typically, solar installation occurs around week six and takes between one to three days. Of course, every home and project is different — these are just average installation lengths.
The local solar installation company you picked will bring the equipment to your home and install rooftop or ground-mounted solar panels and inverters. If you choose to install a storage battery, it will also be installed in this process. The professionals will be on your roof to install the panels and may need to be in your home or garage to install an inverter, cutoff switch and connect to your electrical panel.
After installation, Enact will coordinate with your local city or county inspector to make sure your solar energy system was correctly installed and code compliant. Inspection and potential testing typically happens between weeks seven and ten. The inspector will visit your home or property to make sure your panels are secure and can connect to your electrical system. In some parts of the country, a professional from your local utility company can perform the final inspection. It’s important to note that every city and county is different, some areas of the country have longer wait times than others.
When the inspector determines your solar energy system is safe and secure, Enact will coordinate with your local utility company to get you permission to operate — or PTO. Utility approval occurs during the same timeframe as the local government approval process, between weeks seven and ten. This process depends on your local utility company and will vary in time.
If your home will still be connected to the electrical grid, you will need an application for interconnection. Your utility company is obligated to provide your area with power, so any project that connects to the power grid needs its approval.
Utility connection is important because it allows the utility company to set up your new electric bill for net metering, if applicable. Your solar system will generate electricity for your home, its appliances and other needs. Any additional energy not used or stored can be sent to the electrical grid. Net metering policies will credit any extra electricity back to you, so if there’s a rainy day and you use power from the grid — it could be free or discounted based on the amount sent from your home to the grid.
Launch the Enact Home App
Once you receive all the proper approval from your local government and utility company, you can connect your solar panels to your home and start generating electricity. After this your solar panels will power all or most of your home’s energy needs and your lifestyle. If you have a storage battery, your solar energy system can even power your home at night or during cloudy days.
The Enact journey doesn’t end here though, solar homeowners can use our digital platform — called Enact Home — to monitor their system’s performance, see their savings and receive independent insights. Key metrics include the energy generated from your panels, the state of charge of your solar battery and how much money you’ve saved on utility bills. Homeowners can even use Enact Home to see their solar energy system pay for itself over its lifespan. Your solar energy system will pay for itself over its 25-30 year lifespan.
What factors impact the solar installation timeline?
Enact Systems’ ideal timeline for your installation process is around ten weeks, but sometimes this can take longer due to a variety of factors. Remember — everyone’s home is different and some factors are out of anyone’s control.
If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, you need to review its by-laws and see if solar panels are allowed in your area. Some HOAs regulate or ban rooftop solar panels. The good news is many states have solar access laws that prevent or limit HOAs ability to ban or restrict solar installations. Generally, states on the West Coast, East Coasts and in the Southwest have solar access laws — of course, there are always exceptions. If your HOA has solar restrictions, check if there are proper channels to get HOA approval or change the HOAs by-laws.
After you receive your solar design, your roof needs to be inspected by a local installation professional. Depending on the age and condition of your roof, you may need roof repairs or replace your entire roof. Your roof’s condition is important as solar panels are heavy and expensive. Enact Systems coordinates with local roofing companies near you to repair or replace your roof, if needed.
Supply Chain & Availability
Our world is incredibly interconnected and because of that, there are shortages, logistical challenges and political factors that impact the timeline of your solar installation. Your local installer may need to order equipment for your home’s design, which can delay the process.
Storage batteries — also called solar batteries or backup batteries — store unused solar energy from your panels. Unused solar energy goes back to the electrical grid unless you store it with a battery for a cloudy day or power outage. While not a downside, batteries do lengthen the installation time due to additional permits and approvals.
What does NEM 3.0 mean for California homeowners?
While NEM 3.0 is complicated, California residents can relax — your solar energy system does not need to be fully installed by April 13 to receive NEM 2.0 benefits. There is still plenty of time to get the process started and receive NEM 2.0 credits for excess energy sent to the electrical grid.
What is NEM 3.0?
The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a new net metering policy called NEM 3.0. The new policy affects solar consumers of PG&E, SCE and SDG&E. NEM 3.0 allows solar customers to receive an average of 8 cents per kWH for exported energy sent to the power grid. This is less than the amount of energy sent to the power grid under NEM 2.0 and NEM 1.0.
How can I receive NEM 2.0 benefits?
Just because the new California policy is not ideal for most home or property owners does not mean all hope is lost. Consumers who submit an Interconnection Application by April 13, 2023 will be grandfathered into NEM 2.0 and receive an average of 30 cents per kWh for any exported energy sent to the power grid. That’s a difference of around 75% — meaning it is in your best financial interest to go solar before this deadline.
What do I need to do?
For home or property owners who consume energy from PG&E, SCE or SDG&E — If you want to go solar, do not delay your solar installation. There is still time to be grandfathered into NEM 2.0 and receive 30 cents per kWh. If this concerns you or if you’re curious, schedule a free consultation with Enact’s energy advisors and we will give you a free quote and help you get started.