Palmetto’s proprietary energy intelligence technology allows us to build accurate estimates based on your home address and electricity expenses alone. However, we need additional information to finalize your solar project including system size, panel placement, total cost, and financing information.
To begin, we’ll guide you through a series of steps and collect the information we need to verify the specifics of your project. Our goal is to create a complete and accurate understanding of your household’s unique energy needs and solar savings potential so you can feel confident in your decision to move forward.
Most of the requirements can be completed in your personal solar account or with the help of your solar Sales Representative. See below for detail.
Upload Electricity Bill
Your utility bills help us to determine your household energy needs, along with rates, policies, and incentives in your area. Because your home will remain connected to the electrical grid, your solar energy project must meet the design and approval requirements set forth by your utility provider.
For this requirement, you’ll be prompted to upload your most recent utility bill and provide up to 12 months of energy usage data. If you are new to your home and don’t yet have 12 months of historical energy data, we can estimate your annual energy usage based on one to two months alone.
- Make sure that the name and address on your electricity bill match those listed on your solar loan documents (if applicable) and Palmetto solar account. Any discrepancies can cause delays.
- Provide a clear and complete copy of your most recent electricity bill. Make sure that all font is legible and all pages are included.
- Get specific! While we can estimate your annual energy usage based on one bill alone (yes, we account for seasonal variations), it’s helpful to have additional data. You can upload up to one year of electricity expenses.
Complete a Virtual Site Survey
Palmetto’s virtual site survey gathers crucial information about the structure and condition of your roof, attic, electrical panel, and utility meter. It also allows us to identify any site improvements that may be either recommended or required prior to installation, such as a reroof, tree removal, or electrical panel upgrade.
For most homeowners, the site survey takes about 20 minutes and can be completed virtually using a camera phone or mobile device. In the survey, we’ll guide you through a short series of questions and ask you to take some photos of equipment and locations for your solar panel installation.
- Please read the directions for each photo carefully and make sure that the images are clear. If blurry, dark, or incorrect photos are submitted, you may be asked to redo the survey.
- Take your time to make sure that all information is complete and accurate. This will prevent delays and complications in the permitting and installation process.
Confirm HOA Information
Next, you’ll be asked whether your home is or is not part of a Homeowners Association (HOA) and, if so, to provide contact information. Many HOAs have rules or covenants that dictate the design, placement, and installation of solar panels.
If your home is part of a Homeowners Association or HOA, you are responsible for any application and approval steps required by your HOA. Our Customer Experience Team is available to answer questions throughout the process.
- Don’t skip or delay this step! If your home is not part of an HOA, just let us know. If it is, we need to know as early in the project as possible so we can make sure your design meets the requirements and support you through the approval process.
Submit a Credit Check
If you choose to finance your solar energy system, you’ll be required to submit a credit check to determine your solar loan options and eligibility. Some loan providers accept a soft credit check to initiate the process, meaning your credit score will not be impacted by the inquiry.
At Palmetto, we work with multiple loan providers and offer a range of financial products to meet the monthly and long-term savings goals of homeowners across the U.S. Currently, solar loan terms range from 10 to 30 years while annual percentage rates range from 0-7.99%.
- The name and address of the primary borrower on your solar loan must match the account holder on both your electricity bill and your solar contract. In households with more than one homeowner, the person with the highest credit score may choose to submit the credit check and apply for financing. For the loan to be approved, however, you may need to update the account holder on your electricity account and/or solar contract to match that of the borrower.
- If you choose to pay cash or secure alternative financing, you do not need to complete the credit check.
Complete Loan Application
Like the credit check, the solar loan application is required if you choose to finance your solar energy system. Your solar loan application—and any questions regarding requirements, eligibility, and approval—should be submitted directly to your loan provider.
While requirements will vary by lender, most solar loan applications require you to verify the following:
- Credit score
- Employment status and/or income
- Occupancy, residency, and/or ownership of the property where solar panels will be installed
- Property type and foundation
- Make sure the contact name and address listed on your solar loan application match those listed on your electricity bill. In some cases, you may need to update your electricity account to match your solar loan.
- The contact name, address, system size, system price, and payment method listed on your solar loan must match those listed on your solar Home Improvement Contract. Please review the documents carefully and alert your Customer Lead if you have any questions or need to address discrepancies.
Review System Design
Once you’ve uploaded your utility bill and completed the virtual site survey, Palmetto’s solar design and engineering team will initiate your final design.
Your solar design is configured to optimize panel performance and long-term savings based on the information you provided. Some of the key factors that dictate your design include:
- Roof layout and solar potential
- Historical energy usage
- Design and offset preferences
- Local safety and permitting requirements
- Energy offset limitations
- Electricity rates and incentives
Your final design will outline system size, panel placement, and estimated energy offset. In some cases, you may be prompted to review the panel placement before we finalize your contract.
- This is a good time to make sure everything is complete and correct: your name, contact information, address, the aerial images of your roof, etc. Even simple spelling errors from your initial solar proposal can cause project delays if they aren’t addressed before your contract is signed.
Approve Site Improvements
During the design process, we’ll assess if any site improvements are either required or recommended for your solar panel installation. Generally speaking, site improvements are required when they impact safety and/or code compliance, and recommended when they impact performance. The most common site improvements required for solar installation are:
- Roof repair or replacement may be required if the age, structure, or condition of your roof cannot safely support your solar panel installation or if you’re due for a roof upgrade in the near future.
- Electrical panel or wiring upgrades may be required if the location, condition, size, or total power capacity of your electrical panel can’t accommodate the additional load generated by your solar energy system.
- Trenching allows us to safely bury wires encased in conduit and may be required if your solar installation spans multiple structures (like a home, shed, and detached garage) or if we need to update an underground connection to the grid.
- Tree removal may be required to minimize shadows and optimize system performance, or if adjacent trees are diseased and pose a risk to your home and solar energy system.
If your home requires site improvements to prepare for solar installation, our Customer Experience team will reach out to discuss pricing and options prior to signing your contract.
- If you’re unsure about the condition of your roof or electrical equipment, let us know. Site improvements are easy to manage when identified early in the process.
- We’re here to answer questions! Please reach out if you have any questions about the site improvements recommended or required for your project.
- In many cases, site improvement costs can be folded into your solar loan—allowing you to benefit from combined financing, solar incentives, and shorter permitting and construction timelines.
Sign Contract and Closing Documents
Your solar contract and closing documents outline design, pricing, and financing information (if applicable), as well as storage options, site improvements, and selected coverage through Palmetto Protect. In most cases, there are several documents to review and sign before we can finalize your project. The requirements will vary by location and project but typically include the following.
- Home Improvement Contract (HIC) - details the terms of your solar installation, including system size, cost, and warranty information
- Loan Documents (If applicable) - confirm loan eligibility and outline the terms of your solar loan
- Permit Authorization - authorizes your solar provider to apply for and secure permits on your behalf
- Homeowners Insurance (HOI) - confirms insurance coverage for your solar panel installation
- Notice of Commencement - outlines the timing and scope of your solar project, namely when it will begin and who will be involved
Palmetto will carefully review all documents for completion and accuracy before we finalize and approve your contract. Once approved, you’ll move into STEP 2 of the solar journey: From Contract to Installation.
- If you choose to finance your solar energy system, please make sure that all project details outlined in your Home Improvement Contract match those listed in your Solar Loan Documents.
- Review the documents carefully and alert your Customer Lead if you have any questions or need to address discrepancies.
- Want to learn more about Understanding Your Home Solar Contract? Click here.
Note: If your solar energy system requires any design changes after your contract has been signed, or if your home requires any services prior to installation such as a re-roof or electrical panel upgrade, Palmetto will work with you to move your project forward.