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What is the Process that a Customer Goes Through When Going Solar?

solar home

Going solar with Harvest Power is a surprisingly simple process. While there are a few steps involved to get you from the initial consultation to the final installation, each step is essential for ensuring that you’re installing the best solar system possible for your home. We also go in-depth to make sure that you’re getting the most out of federal and state tax credits, as well as loans and financing options, so that you can go solar without going out of pocket.

Want to know more about how going solar with Harvest Power works? Read on to find out about the process, from start to finish.

Going Solar – The Initial Consultation

The beginning of your solar journey starts with a simple consultation. It’s nothing more than a thirty-or-so-minute sit down, in which we’ll go over your current situation, give you an idea of what’s available for solar solutions, and answer any questions you might have about solar energy.

It opens with a review of your current utility bills. How much are you paying? What are your biggest expenditures? Is one time of the year worse than another? We’ll go over your current energy needs and energy uses, as well as any changes or upgrades you might be planning on in the near future.

These questions will help us to understand what your future would be if you stayed with your normal utility company, and what improvements we can make in both your energy footprint and your financial situation.

Now it’s time to talk solar. We’ll explain to you how solar works, as well as debunk some common solar myths (no power on a cloudy day? I don’t think so!) and answer any questions you might have about running your home or business on solar energy. This is also the point we get to explain to you the type of solar installations that are available, and what might be the best system for your home or business.

Harvest Power only offers the best solar installations you can buy for your home, although we emphasize the “buying” part. Harvest Power doesn’t work with leasing programs, however we are experts in making a solar system purchase incredibly affordable. Through a mixture of tax credits, financing options and energy buy-back programs such as Net Metering, we can help get your solar installation costs down to a reasonable monthly payment – sometimes, even less than your current electric bill.

Before we leave the initial consultation, our agent will take photos of the outside of the building and land so we can figure out the best way to maximize your property’s solar potential. When we come back for the next appointment, we’ll have a full helioscope ready to show you.

A Helioscope, your Custom Solar Plan

Helioscope is a solar plan for your home. It’s essentially a layout of where the solar panels will go on your property, how many panels we can fit and what sort of energy you’ll be able to produce with them. This allows you, the homeowner, to understand exactly how much energy your panels will produce throughout the year, and what effect this will all have on mitigating your energy costs.

Our next appointment consists of a presentation where we pass all of this carefully prepared information on to you. It helps you to see the difference in energy production during the different seasons, and see what percentage of your energy needs will be able to come directly from this clean energy source. We’ll also compare your new, solar-subsidized energy costs over the next 25 years with what you’re currently paying to the power company, and introduce you to our financial plan that will help get you the best return possible on your solar investment.

Financing your Solar System

Going solar isn’t cheap – that’s a fact. However, neither are New York electric bills. With all of the subsidies, tax credits and lending options available to New York residents, it is actually possible to make the switch to solar with zero out-of-pocket costs.

New York residents looking to go solar are lucky to have a number of financing options to make investing in a solar system simple. Harvest Power works with several financing companies who can help you install solar energy in your home for no more more than an easy, fixed monthly payment – a payment that’s often cheaper than your unpredictable utility bill.

At this point in the process we match you with the best financing program you’re eligible for. Access to these programs depends on your credit score and your tax appetite. First, your credit score needs to be good enough to get approved for the loan you’re looking for. Second, you’ve got to have enough tax burden to make the 2020 federal and state solar tax incentives for New York residents worthwhile, as they can add up to a hefty savings.

If all of that makes sense, and the savings are big enough to make a solar installation worth it for your home, then it’s time to move onto the next stop on your solar journey.

Home Evaluation

The next step is to schedule a home evaluation. Our engineers will come to your home to evaluate the structural security of the building for supporting the solar system we plan to install.

The evaluation comprises of a full safety check. We’ll go over everything from the state of your roof’s composite shingle, to an evaluation of the attic, rafters, and general structural integrity. We’ll also check the main panel to make sure solar can be integrated easily.

After the site survey, we’ll review our findings (along with over 100 photos) back to our office to make sure everything is good to go. If we run into any issues – such as an aging roof or an out-of-date main panel, we’ll rework our plan to try to incorporate the home upgrades as part of the solar project. In some cases, we can even help you to finance these necessary improvements.

The Final Approval

Once the final design is ready, the first approval comes from you. Once we’ve got the homeowner’s approval, it’s time to get the local government’s.

This is usually the biggest waiting period. We’ll submit the design for a permit from the town, and wait for approval. The time it takes depends greatly on your town council – both their rules, internal workings and backlog.

Luckily however, once we’ve got the permit free and clear, installation is easy.

Installing the system

Installing your new solar system usually takes only one day, although really big installations could take a day and a half.

A team of around 6-8 guys, including a master electrician, are there for the installation. They’ll set everything up, then test the system to make sure it’s working before reaching out to the utility company for what’s called a PTO, or Permission to Operate. This essentially means informing the utility company that you’ve completed a solar installation, and waiting for them to acknowledge the fact.

It usually takes one to three weeks to get an “okay” from the utility company, but as soon as we get it, we can turn the system on, and you’ll finally be running on solar.

The Follow Up

About a week after everything’s finished, we’ll come back for a visit to review everything with you – the solar agreement, tax situation, panel layout – everything. We’ll even help you set up the monitoring app on your smart device, so you can keep track of how much electricity your panels are producing at any given time. It’s pretty cool.

We’ll even tell you how you can refer your friends for their own Harvest Energy solar installation in their New York homes. You’ll make some money on the side, while you watch your solar system rack you up energy savings for years to come.

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