Getting solar panels for your Utah home has several installation steps. Understanding the solar process helps a prospect like you understand what aspects you can control, and how to make the process work in your favor.
The Pre-Installation Processes
Before you embark on your residential solar journey and have the panels installed on your roof, there is a bit of paperwork involved. Don’t worry: It’s the only boring part about going solar, and is by far the worst part of communicating with most full-service solar installers.
They will, however, help you get through the process. Most solar companies will take care of this paperwork, provided you acknowledge you understand the process and make it clear to them you know what to expect.
Residential Solar Financing
Getting financing set up or opting into the cash option with your Utah solar installer of choice needs to be finalized before moving forward with the residential install. If you choose to be financed through your solar installer, then they will need to make sure you qualify for their financing programs.
Don’t be wary, though, most citizens can qualify for these programs provided they have a credit rating between at least 650 and 670, with anything above 670 surely making you eligible for financing. Your debt-to-income ratio also plays a factor in what type of financing can be made available for you.
The requirements for your permit will depend on the city in which you live. Taking a look at your city’s building permit application will help you know what to expect. Although this may sound like a lengthy endeavor, a full-service solar company will be able to help you breeze through the process.
Before your solar company can move forward with your installation, this permit must be submitted, paid for, and readily available in-hand. The wait time on your building permit approval will vary from city to city, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how long it will take. Generally speaking, however, the more rural the area, the more time it will take to have building permits submitted and cleared. Residential solar in Salt Lake City, however, tends to be slightly more quick.
The Utah Net Metering Application
Since most individuals stay connected to the grid, a new metering agreement should be submitted before your solar panels are installed. Which application you need depends on your power provider. Most individuals in Utah are serviced by Rocky Mountain power, but there are other niche power suppliers in the valley and the greater Utah area as a whole.
The company you are getting solar though will need your meter number and account number to file this for you. The easiest way for them to get this is for you to provide your latest power bill to the solar consultant when you decide to get solar. If you are a Rocky Mountain Power customer, you will need to fill out their new transitional customer application. This is their new metering system, which will not be re-evaluated until 2032.
What Does the Residential Install Entail?
Once your paperwork is processed and you have received approval, your installation can commence. The first step in getting your installation underway is confirming that your selected Utah solar panel company has not only organized the right system for your home, but also explained to you the intricacies thereof.
A pre-installation check is usually made before further inspections are conducted. This is to make sure we are installing the system that you want and need to leverage solar power under the Utah sun. This check includes verification of your system design, speaking with the install team lead about any question you have about the install, and walking through the system access points with the Team Lead.
Solar Array Installation
Once the solar array installation has been planned and drafted, your selected solar company can set up a time to come to your home and install your solar modules. Installation on a good day shouldn’t take more than a couple hours, though some systems require a daylong effort. You will, however, not be charged for the duration of the installation. If you have heavy snow or other debris to clean up, this may take longer to get the space cleared for your installation.
During your installation you should expect a 15-30 minute power outage while they install. The installers will need attic access and it should be expected that there will be some loud noises. That said, if you install with Go Solar Group, you won’t need to be home for the duration of the installation.
Post-Installation Check of Your Residential Solar System
If you go through Go Solar Group, the Installation Team Lead will go over the system with you. Together you will go over the commissioning of the inverter, the AC and DC disconnects, access points, and receive utility company expectations for the utility meter.
Utah Solar Incentive Programs: State and Federal
Although you do not need to have forms completed for the state and federal incentive programs prior to solar installation, having them underway sooner rather than later will make taxes the next year a far smoother process.
Utah Qualifying Solar Project Credit: PTC
The Utah production tax credit (PTC) is a state program for photovoltaic systems that are 660 kilowatts or greater. This tax credit can be used for photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, and biomass projects. You are given $00.35 per kilowatt hour produced in the first 48 months. If you have a large project you can decide to use either the PTC or the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to your advantage.
Investment Tax Credit
This state program will pay for $1,600 of your residential system through tax credits in the year 2018. For larger systems, it will cover 10 percent of your system costs.
This tax credit is scheduled to decrease by $400 per year until it disappears. Because of the Rocky Mountain Powers settlement of 2017, a proposed change to this tax credit may prolong the benefits for the purchase of a residential solar system.
In order to receive the Investment tax credit, you need to complete the TC-40E Form. You will need to sign up online in order to complete the form If you are getting your solar panels through a full-service solar company, they should be willing and able to help you with this paperwork.
Federal Tax Credit
The federal tax credit covers 30 percent of your system cost. This is the magnum opus of Utah’s and other states’ solar tax credits. Making sure you either have the forms for this tax credit turned in or near completion via a company that will do it for you will ensure that you get the most bang for your buck.