Last year my family and I decided to officially go solar. Although I’ve worked in the industry for 5 years, we weren’t in a home that we wanted to stay in. After we moved and settled into our new home, I did the math for what solar would cost us compared to what we were already paying the utility company and it was a no-brainer to go solar. Earlier this year, we received our 30% federal tax credit for our solar purchase in 2019!
This year the tax credit went down to 26%, however, the state of New Mexico added a 10% state tax credit. That means you’ll have a 36% savings on going solar, if you act now. In 2021 it will go down to 22% then in 2022, there won’t be a federal tax credit available.
So if going solar is on your list, you might want to move it to the top of your list so you can maximize your savings.
Below we explore how long it actually takes to go solar in New Mexico. Remember, to qualify for the current tax credit, your system must be installed on or before December 31, 2020.
Going Solar Takes Time
Going solar is a process. It’s an investment with a timeline, and to meet your “deadlines” you need to know how long it actually takes to go solar and what’s involved.
The quickest I’ve seen a customer go from signed to solar is 45 days. But typically the process is about 3 months. Shocked?
Well, let me share with you just what’s needed when you go solar.
Before You Sign, Find a Trusted Company to Work With
The first step to going solar is finding the right company. We suggest going solar with a company that’s established in the community and has a good reputation. In the solar industry, we have seen many “quick and ditch” solar companies that disappear overnight, along with any warranties they had.
Once you find the right company to work with, you’ll need to look at your options for financing. If you don’t have the cash, find a banker you trust. Now is a great time to lock in your loan due to the low rates because of the coronavirus. If you need help finding one, we have our preferred bankers that we work with often.
Now you have a trusted company, and a bank to lend you money. You’re ready to sign the contract you’ve approved with the solar team.
The Timeline to Getting Solar Installed
Week 1-2. Solar agreement is signed. Financing is approved. Drawings are completed. HOA application.
Now the process of going solar begins. You’ve signed your agreement, financing is approved and you’re ready to move forward. Most companies will require a deposit to start the rest of the process.
You will also need to talk with your Homeowners Association (if applicable) to find out what stipulations they may have for installing solar. Our team works with your HOA to submit any paperwork needed throughout the entire process.
Week 3-6. Site visit with sign-off of design. Electric company application completed. Permits submitted.
Now is the time that the design of your solar system is finalized and approved. The solar advisor will visit your home and show you the design for your approval. Once completed, the application will be submitted to the electric company provider to review, about 3 weeks.
Why does the electric company need to approve your application? Well, they look at the demand of energy on the grid and see if the excess energy that your system will produce can be sustained by the current transformer in your neighborhood. If there’s already solar installed on your block, there’s a chance the transformer will need an upgrade. However, 98% of applications will be approved without any issues.
Lastly, your permit will be submitted for approval with the county.
Week 5-8. Electric company application approved. Permit approved. Schedule installation date.
So your solar system got approved, and it’s time to get drawings and a permit to do the actual work. This process takes 2-4 weeks, depending on what county you live in. Bernalillo County is the fastest in the approval process, averaging 2 weeks. Rio Rancho and Santa Fe typically take 3-4 weeks. Fortunately, the timelines have not been affected by the virus.
We will set a tentative install date and confirm when permits and HOA approvals are finalized.
Week 7-11. System installed in 1-2 days. Final building and electrical inspection. Receive the green tag from the inspector.
This is where most customers get anxious! You’re so close to getting your installation done, but there’s a few more steps. The final building and electrical inspection will need to be done to receive the green tag from the inspector. Now your solar system can be installed on your rooftop in 1-2 days, or about 3 days for a ground mount.
Your system will be installed but will need to be inspected further before going live.
Week 11-14. Electric meter set. Final email. Monitoring system goes live.
Your new solar meter will be set alongside your existing electric meter. Once you receive your final email, your system will go live!
YOU’VE OFFICIALLY GONE SOLAR- Congratulations!
Be sure that your monitoring app is installed on your phone so you can easily see the energy your system is producing!
Other Factors to Consider for Your Timeline.
While you can plan ahead for your solar system to be installed by the end of the year, keep in mind that the weather could play a factor. No one can predict if we will have a huge snowstorm that could throw off the ideal timeline. So planning with a few extra weeks “just to be safe” would be wise.
Cost of Doing Nothing
If you wait to go solar, you could potentially lose thousands of dollars. You would lose 4% of the federal tax credit for 2020, as well as all the months of paying “rent” for your electricity bill to the utility company—lost money that could be going into the investment of owning your own power station!
You’ll also want to make sure your roof is “solar ready” before installing a system.
If going solar in 2020 is part of your goal, take action now! Don’t get left behind on maximizing the savings for your home.
Get started on the process with a Free Solar Consultation and see what your savings could be!