What Happens After My Solar Panels Are Installed? The Final 3 Steps


Cover Image reads in blue text: "What happens after my solar panels are installed? the final 3 steps" on a watercolor background with the empire solar group logo. The image is split screen with solar installers on the roof of a home and solar panels.

We know seeing your solar panels installed has you feeling like a kid on Christmas morning, but there’s still a bit of red tape left before we can cross the finish line.


Your new solar system needs to pass a series of safety tests with flying colors before you can start your system and kick in those solar savings.


This last leg of your journey is incredibly important, but it can also take the most time. A solid line of communication between you and your solar installer during this stage is key.


At Empire, you’ll get texts and emails with details on your project’s progress every step of the way, and our committed team of customer care specialists are always on standby to answer any questions you may have.


Now, we get that all these steps, documents, and permits might be making your head spin...


That’s why we’ve created this easy guide with everything you need to know about the final 3 steps of your solar journey, from getting permission to operate to turning on your new system.


Navy blue circle with light blue plug-in, and yellow socket.

1. Get Permission to Operate (PTO)

Blue rectangle with text reads: "how to get permission to operate (PTO)" and next to it are the three steps. Step 1 is a magnifying glass and underneath reads "pass an AHJ inspection", step 2 reads "apply for PTO" with a clipboard, step 3 reads "get your net meter" with a clock.

Before you can turn on your shiny new solar system for good, you need to get permission to operate, or PTO for short.


But don’t worry! You’re in great hands with our dedicated team of permitting specialists whose sole job is to push your permits through—a level of support that's unparalleled in the industry.


Here’s what the next few steps in the PTO process look like:

  • Pass an inspection by your local building department

  • Digitally sign your application for PTO that’ll be submitted to your utility company

  • Get your Net Meter installed by your utility company

In order to get PTO, your solar system must pass an inspection by your local building department to make sure it’s up to code. If your inspector finds any issues with your installation, we’ll quickly correct them and apply for another assessment.


Next, we’ll submit an application for PTO complete with your digital signature to your utility company. Then, they’ll send out their own representative to review different parts of your system, like your inverter and electrical panel connection.


If everything looks great, this is when your utility company will connect you to their grid and install your Net Meter, which tracks the ups and downs of your day-to-day energy production and use.


This last step is dependent on your utility company’s schedule, so it may take a number of weeks, but it’s absolutely essential for ensuring you have a safe and effective system.


While you may spend several weeks waiting at this stage, we promise all of your patience will pay off when you’re enjoying your new solar system for decades to come!


Depending on where you live, you may even be eligible for certain incentives, like credits with your utility company for the extra energy your panels produce, known as your Net Excess Generation (NEG).



A navy blue circle with a drawn graphic of yellow solar panels with a light blue magnifying glass looking at one of the solar cells. A white zig-zag can be seen in the magnifying glass.

2. Sign up for SolarEdge System Monitoring


Around the time you get permission to operate, check your inbox for an email invitation to sign up for SolarEdge, a system monitoring service paired with your panels.


Go ahead and get yourself set up and logged in so that you can get familiar with your system monitoring portal.


You can view your system data on the SolarEdge website, or directly from your phone with the convenient new smartphone app mySolarEdge.

A screen capture of the SolarEdge app on a bright red background. The app shows the location (London, UK), how many kWp are being used (4.32), the weather outside (11 degrees celcius), and a birds-eye view of the solar panel operation showing the amount of sun being captured by the panels. Below are more stats, like power captured this month, and in the lifetime of the solar panels.

Monitor your solar system’s performance with the mySolarEdge app available on Android and iPhone // image via solaredge.com


Here are just a few things you can do with the mySolarEdge app:

  • Get data about your system at a glance with your dashboard

  • Track your energy use and production in real-time

  • Control your Smart Home devices

  • View your inverter and communicator status

  • Troubleshoot common issues independently

  • Access interactive data displays on your power production and more

The mySolarEdge app makes checking your system’s status and performance quick, easy, and painless.




A navy blue circle with a white outlined hand icon taps, creating a yellow spark.

3. Turn on Your New Solar System!


Once you’ve been granted PTO, break out the champagne because it’s finally time to fire up your new solar system!


Check your email for a copy of our Owner’s Manual with everything you need to know to safely start up, operate, and care for your solar energy system.


Additionally, our System Turn On Guide goes through each step of the system start up process in detail with labeled diagrams, images, and descriptions.


Know exactly what to expect after you watch this quick video of one of our experts in action, where he walks you through 3 simple steps for activating your new system:



Quick Step Summary


After your solar panels are installed, there’s still a few boxes left to check before you can connect to the grid. Let’s recap the final details of your savvy switch to solar:

  • To get permission to operate (PTO), you need to pass a local inspection, sign and submit an application, and get your Net Meter installed—this part usually takes the longest, so stay patient!

  • SolarEdge is a system monitoring service that allows you to view information about your solar panel system’s status and performance

  • Turning on new your solar system is a breeze with our detailed System Turn On Guide and employee video tutorial

Still have questions about what happens next after your solar panel installation? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1-800-467-4562, or shoot us an email at help@empiresolargroup.com



References


Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE). (2016, July). Customer Credits for Monthly Net Excess Generation (NEG) Under Net Metering [PDF]. Washington: U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved from

http://ncsolarcen-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/NEG-1.20161.pdf


Empire Solar Group (Director). (2020,April 22). How to Activate Your New System | Empire Solar Group [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YA7mTqjYy9w


SolarEdge Technologies Inc. (n.d.). [Asample dashboard on the mySolarEdge app]. Retrieved from https://www.solaredge.com/us/products/pv-monitoring#/


SolarEdge Technologies Inc. (n.d.). mySolarEdge -MonitoringApp for System Owners: SolarEdge US. Retrieved from https://www.solaredge.com/us/pv-professionals/mysolaredge






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