Considering solar or battery storage? There’s a lot to know. Also there is a lot of information to gather. Here at Synergy we are going to ask you a lot of questions, and sometimes you might think we are being nosy, but the more we know about your electrical consumption habits, the better job we can do at designing a system that will serve you best. Sure, we could cookie-cutter it over the phone and guess your roofline off the internet and use averages to suggest a system, but this is not our way.

Yup, I’m a lefty.

Here at Synergy it all starts with a series of questions about what your goals are, the physical setting of your property and, especially for batteries, what kinds of consumption (or loads) you have that might be significant. (A well pump is a common one. When a well kicks in it can draw LOTS of power to get going. Kinda like that first pedal to get a bicycle going.)

We are also going to ask you to download some data from PG&E. There are data files of not just how much power you use, but when you use it. Using power midday when your solar is running hot and heavy is different than if you are using most of your power at sundown and the solar is not producing. This also might vary in different seasons. In the most common cases, a battery system to store your excess production for use after sundown is going to be the most important addition to reduce your bill and thus your return on investment in the system. So gathering that data helps us design the best system.

We are also going to need to know things like who the actual property owner is and who is listed on the PG&E bill to make sure we get the right names on the right documents and things move along smoothly. During the installation process we will be applying to the county (or city) for permission to safely install, and to the utility for permission to operate your solar system. These steps often feel like irritating hoops to jump through, but they are designed to maintain the safety of the community.

Each application requires particular documents showing that the property owner is clear on the costs (thanks to some nefarious folks out there) and agrees to the installation, how the install will affect the power grid, and that the system is electrically installed safely (no fires, please). One example of safety requirements are fire regulations to leave room for fire fighters to move around on a rooftop. On rare occasions, PG&E will require other safety changes before the installation is approved. In my case, it was necessary to install a new power pole to properly support lines (no fires please).

Once Synergy has completed the installation, the county (or city) will check our work and approve the permit. (I have to throw out that our team is stellar and usually sail through these inspections with no issues. They do an awesome job.) With the approved or “finaled” permit, we can then complete the application to the utility for the permission to operate or “PTO”.

When we get the PTO, we commission the system and turn it on. Finally, we let you know that you can view the system in action on the Enlighten app and assist you to set that up if needed. Yup, it’s a lot of steps and requires lots of information and documentation beyond the physical installation, but we carefully follow the process from beginning to end and will provide you with copies of all the essential papers. This is the way.

We want to make our information gathering process as easy as possible, and suitable to your needs. In return we strive to openly provide you with information and answer all your questions!