Sunlight Electric has two guiding principles when it comes to getting projects done: 1) The project should be done on time and on budget, and 2) It's 100% our responsibility to manage the project implementation.
Step 1: Project Planning
Every Sunlight Electric project starts with a plan, a day-by-day, week-by-week detailed plan. This plan takes into account our clients' operational schedule, material lead-times, engineering, permitting, construction crew scheduling, and utility interconnection requirements. Sometimes the plan is put into immediate implementation, while other times, for reasons that are disclosed to all and agreed to (like a need for variance, or a new roof), implementation begins later.
Step 2: Securing Permits
Though we have a 100% track record of always being able to secure the necessary permits, this item typically has the longest lead-time, so it's a critical path item that gets early attention. We've worked in eight Bay Area counties and countless local municipalities, and we know that starting with the proper research and outreach can pave the way for getting the ordinary done quickly and getting the extraordinary done in the face of what are usually appropriate concerns. Discussion, disclosure, negotiation, and a little creativity are usually all it takes to get the job done.
Step 3: Schedule Review
At this point, with a schedule in hand and permits on the way, it's time to sit down with our customers and their operations and facilities staff and review the schedule. Much like the initial proposal presentation, we also approach this meeting as an opportunity for feedback. It's only a workable schedule if it works for our clients, so we're looking for feedback on how we can minimize disruption of our customers operations. We plan out timing, how the construction crews stay out of the way, and how the photovoltaic system can be activated without interrupting grid power.
Step 4: Construction
Our licensed, bonded, and insured contractor partners have decades of experience and know how to run PV installation projects. Our role is managing information, providing updates to our customers on progress, upcoming work, potential conflicts, and at a minimum we communicate this weekly in an email, frequently including digital photos to gauge progress. And when the occasional issue comes up, as they sometimes do, we swarm all over the problem, coming up with solutions and options to review with our clients. Problems are impossible to completely eliminate, it's how they get handled that matter in the end.
Step 5: Municipality Sign-Off
After construction is completed, it's time for the governing municipality to inspect the system, the quality of the work, and the construction. Sometimes there might be additional work required and if it is, it's done quickly and to the inspectors' satisfaction.
Step 6: Utility Sign-Off
This is the final step of the installation process, and Sunlight Electric always paves the way with the local utility. By this point, Sunlight Electric has filed all Interconnection applications and documentation, paperwork has been reviewed, all questions have been answered, and Sunlight Electric schedules the final inspection. As the utility review process is thorough, it typically takes ten to twelve weeks but we keep it on track to get it done as soon as possible.
Step 7: Ongoing Performance Monitoring (for systems over 30 kW with performance monitoring software installed)
Now that your PV system is fully operational, Sunlight Electric begins a life-long commitment to report monthly performance versus forecast. This not only ensures accountability to regularly monitor performance, but also typically results in notification of need for cleaning. Sunlight Electric will continue to report monthly as long as 3rd-party monitoring service is in effect.
Learn more about ongoing PV system maintenance