The best way to understand how a residential solar energy system works is to view the entire system in a graphically along with a brief explanation as to what the primary components do and what happens to the energy produced by the solar panels. Take a look at the image below.
Steps 1 – 3 are self-explanatory. However steps 4 and 5 require a little more explanation… Let’s look at NET METERING
During the day (when most of us are at work) your panels are producing the greatest amount of energy due to the available sunlight and because your house is probably not consuming much electricity (e.g. AC is off). All of that excess electricity is sent back into FPL’s grid and most likely being utilized by your neighbor. Your new FPL-provided bidirectional meter records how much energy you put back into the grid (“kilowatts-hour delivered”). During this time you can actually see your bidirectional meter flashing line move in the opposite direction. At night, your panels are producing less energy and since you are likely using more electricity you are now drawing energy from FPL’s grid (“kilowatts-hour received”). At the end of your monthly billing cycle, FPL will analyze your kilowatts-hour delivered and kilowatts-hour received and will bill you for only the balance between delivered and received. If at the end of the year your home has more kilowatts-hour delivered than received, FPL will send you a check for the for the value of the energy you put back into the grid! However, FPL will not use the same rate (kW-hour) when calculating your check (will use $.03/kw-h instead of .125/kw-h). That’s why Solimax does not recommend installing a system that is bigger than what you actually need. The process of recording the kilowatts delivered and received is called “Net Metering” and you can go to FPL’s net metering page to learn more.
What are key steps in purchasing and installing your residential solar energy system?
The process is pretty straightforward and both Solimax and Goldin Solar staff will work with you every step of the way to make both the purchase and installation process as hassle-free as possible. We have gone through this process hundreds of times and unless there are unexpected findings (e.g. roof problems, permitting delays), you can expect to have your system up and running (“commissioned”) in approximately 60 to 70 days. Follow the steps below to get a better understanding of how this would work. This process assumes that you have already contacted us for an appointment and residential rooftop solar energy system is right for you.
- Step 1
- Step 2
- Step 3
- Step 4
- Step 5
Consultation and Paperwork Signing (Financing and Installation Agreement
- We come to your house prepared with a specifically designed system that we developed after considering the size of your roof and a number of other factors – we are one of the few companies using HELIOSCOPE to design and present systems.
- We guide you through the financing options and help you choose a product and accompanying monthly payment that works best for you. In most cases you can get approval on financing immediately while we are there with you, since we use an on-line web portals hosted by our financial partners.
- We then carefully walk you through the Installation Agreement making sure you understand the key pieces. This may sound like a lot, but we can typically get all of this done at your house within 40 minutes!
Development/Refinement of Solar Design and Permit Initiation
- A Goldin Solar, LLC Project Manager assigned to your project and in consultation with Solimax staff visits you within 3 to 4 business days to perform a more thorough assessment of your roof and electrical components.
- IF the Goldin Solar finds any “surprises” (e.g., structural problems on your roof), the contractor will let you know right away and we will send you a completed Change Order Form that describes the additional costs and scope of additional services.
Permitting and Installation Scheduling
- Though we are experts in this process and can control most of the steps, we cannot control the amount of time it takes for a municipality to permit the installation. This is longest part of the process and it may take anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks to obtain approval from the municipality to proceed.
- During this time, the assigned Project Manager will be in touch with you to keep you in the loop and will eventually schedule a system installation date that works for you after plans are approved.
Installation and Permit Inspection
- On the agreed-upon day Goldin Solar installers will come to your home and begin installing the system. In most cases the installation takes no more than 2 days!
- Upon completion of the installation, a representative will inspect the system for quality, workmanship, and for code compliance and will sign-off on the system for commissioning. Though it would be nice to power on the system at this point, staff will have to wait for a municipality inspector to come by and sign-off on the permit. The permit inspection usually happens soon after the installation is completed.
FPL Service, Commissioning, and Customer Acceptance
- After the permit is closed by the municipality inspector, we contact FPL and work with you and FPL to find a time when FPL can come by and install a Bidirectional Smart Meter. This part of the process if very simple and the change out takes about 20 minutes.
- Once this is done, we turn on your system and will also take the time to explain to you how your particular systems works, answer any questions you may have, and ensure you are happy. After this just watch your electricity bill drop!
Here are copies of some of the documents referred to above
FPL Interconnection Agreement referred to in Step 1:
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