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Process & Timelines
  • Creating a Lead and Energy Recommendation


    Once an HIA is signed, a Sales Representative is ready to get all the relevant information into QuickBase. For a step-by-step tutorial, please watch the videos below to learn how to create a lead and energy recommendation.

    Please note, If the job is sold through the 3rd party integration system, the lead will be automatically created in QuickBase and you can bypass this step. 

    For the best viewing experience, please expand the video and change the playback quality to the best available. 


    How to Calculate Loans and Adders

  • EPC Process Overview

    At ESP, we take pride in our seamless process, specifically designed to handle every aspect of a project's journey. At each step of the way, our dedicated teams are highly committed to providing an efficient and smooth experience for our homeowners and sales representatives.

    We encourage you to visit the respective pages to learn more about each step in the process. 


    Lead & Energy Recommendation

    Project Intake 

    Site Survey


    Design and Engineering


    Meter Spot





    System Activation



    Process Flow Chart

    EXTERNAL ESP Project Flow.png

  • Qualified Projects

    Building Types

    Accepted Building Types

      • Single Family Homes
      • Duplexes
      • Triplexes

    Rejected Building Types

      • Carports

      • Condos
      • Manufactures homes (ok for Ground Mounted systems)

    Main Service Panel Types

    Automatic MPU Types

      • Hot Busses or Split Busses
        • Unless we get confirmation that the AHJ will grandfather an existing
      • If there is damage to the Main Panel
      • Backfeed Capacity is reached
      • If the Main Panel is one of the following panel types
        • Federal Pacific
        • Bulldog
        • Pushmatic
        • Stabloc
        • Zinsco
        • Challenger

    Rejected MPU Types

      • Underground Panels in one of the following utilities
        • PGE
        • SDGE
      • Financed SDGE MPUs 
        • Customer Payment Deals and Sunrun deals are okay


    Roof Types

    Accepted Roof Types

      • Comp Shingle
        • With solid sheathing and no more than 2 layers
        • Must be in good condition with no balding, fiberglass showing, or cracked or missing shingles
        • mceclip1.png 
      • Flat Roof (BUR)
        • a.k.a. “torch down”, “hot tar” or “mod bit” rolled comp
        • Must be in good condition, with no balding or fiberglass showing, or buckling/wavy areas,
        • No open seams or separating along the edges or flashings.
        • mceclip0.png
      • TPO or Membrane
        • TPO or any other single-ply membrane roof
      • Tar and Gravel
        • Must be in good condition
        • No balding, cracking, or separating along the edges from the metal flashing
      • Spray Polyurethane (SPF)
        • Must be in good condition
        • No bubbles or areas where the coating is delaminating showing the yellow foam beneath
      • Concrete Tile
        • All profiles, S tile, flat tile, and M/W tile must be standard weight (over 9 lbs. per tile for
          normal-sized tiles that have 88 tiles per square) – underlayment must pass the stress test – cannot be dried out and brittle
      • Standing Seam Metal
        • Seam must be tall enough and strong enough for the mounting clamp to grip the seam.
        • Hexagonal/trapezoidal must be able to clamp to raised corrugation.
        • Not an option in high-wind areas.


    Re-roof Required Roof Types

      • Clay Tile
        • Any type of clay tile must have a PV area (full roof plane) reroofed with “clay tile –comp out”
      • Lightweight concrete
        • Under 9 lbs per tile, any type of clay tile must have a PV area (full roof plane)reroofed with “clay tile – comp out”
      • Metal Tile
        • a.k.a. “Decra” or “Calpac”
        • Must reroof to a supported roof type – minimum PV area only (most economical option would be comp shingle)
      • Wood Shake / Shingle
        • Must reroof to a supported roof type – min PV area only (most economical option would be comp shingle)
      • Corrugated Metal
          • Any other profile besides those listed above in Qualified roof types must reroof with standing seam or hexagonal metal
      • Custom Special-Order Tile
        • Must reroof to a supported roof type – min PV area only (most economical option would be comp shingle)
      • Cal-shake Cement Fiber
        • Must reroof to a supported roof type – minimum PV area only (most
          economical option would be comp shingle)

    Rejected Roof Types

      • Any roof over 45 degrees will be rejected regardless of roof type










  • Project Intake


    Once the lead is in QuickBase, the sales representative must ensure that all the essential documents are collected and uploaded to their corresponding sections in QuickBase. These requirements include:

    • Signed HIA
    • CPUC, when required
    • Secured Loan, PPA, or Customer Payment
    • Utility Bill

    Once the sales rep has secured the above documents, they can convert the lead into a job.

    If, for any reason, the sales representative encounters difficulties in converting the lead into a job, they may contact the Project Management team via phone or chat. A Project Manager will then review the lead and convert the job on their behalf.

    Once the job is successfully converted and available in QuickBase, the sales representative can proceed with the site survey process.

  • Project Acceptance


    During the acceptance stage of a project, our primary goal is to ensure the project is fully prepared to move forward. ESP's Acceptance team conducts a thorough review of all requirements, finance documents, contract information, and adders. By following this process, we can ensure smooth project execution, meeting our customers' expectations while adhering to all necessary guidelines and safety protocols.


    Below are some of the key items the ESP Acceptance Team reviews. A project will typically sit in the acceptance stage for 3 business days.


    Financing Review

    • Verify the information in the contract matches the information that was entered into QuickBase
    • Ensure there are no stipulations in the loan portal
    • Once the information has been checked, the ESP Acceptance team will submit the project for NTP

    Adders Review:

    • Review all adders and verify if they fulfill the project's requirements
    • Determine if any additional adders are needed.
      • If adders are needed, the ESP acceptance team will add them to the project. If the adder results in a negative commission, the project will be placed on hold until the contract is resigned. Please refer to our Auto-Approval Adders section for more information.

    Project Review

    • Layout and Production
      • Evaluate the layout and production to ensure it complies with homeowner requests
      • Confirm that the project meets at least 80% of the sold production targets
    • Electrical
      • Conduct an electrical assessment to check for any damages and determine integration 
    • Batteries
      • If batteries are part of the project, consider homeowner preferences
      • Ensure sufficient clearance for battery installation.
    • Roofing
      • Check the roofing situation; if the roof is not installable, create a roof quote accordingly
    • Permitting Concerns:
      • Pay special attention to structures like converted garages, ADUs, and patio covers to address any specific permitting requirements.
  • Site Surveys


    During a site survey, our Site Surveyors will spend a maximum of 90 minutes evaluating the job site, focusing on the condition of the roof, the home's structural integrity, and the electrical system. As a Sales Representative, your role is vital in initiating the site survey scheduling process. To get started, ensure you have all the necessary information by asking the homeowner specific questions listed below. It is essential to have the homeowner present during the survey whenever possible.

    • Did the customer request design specifications?
    • What specific design specifications were requested?
    • Did you design a specific layout with the homeowner?
    • Are there any areas on the roof where you refuse to have panels placed?
      • If so, do you realize these restrictions may impact your production?
      • What roof areas do you refuse to have panels placed?
    • Is the home pre-manufactured?
    • Does the homeowner prefer Phone, Text, or Email for scheduling and updates?
    • Verify the best contact phone number
    • Will the customer be present?
    • Will dogs be put away and gates unlocked
    • Is the home in a HOA?
    • Site Survey Notes
    • Any Special Requests?

    How to get a Site Survey Scheduled

    Once the Sales Rep has collected the required information from the homeowner, please use our chat feature to reach out to an ESP Project Manager to proceed with scheduling the site survey. The Project Manager will ask the series of questions listed above. They will proceed to schedule the site survey, making every effort to accommodate the preferred date and time-based on our schedule availability. ESP provides three appointment windows - AM, Afternoon, and All Day - with an all-day availability preference for the fastest accommodations. 


    Site Survey Notifications

    Both the Sales Representative and the homeowner will receive a notification when the site survey has been scheduled. A reminder notification will be sent to the homeowner the night before the survey, followed by a notification on the day of the appointment to inform them that the Site Surveyors are on their way


    Site Survey Process Video

    For more information on Site Surveys, check out this video!


  • Designs & Redraws


    The ESP design team's task is to transform the sold contract, Scope of Work, and adders into a permit-ready plan set. Once the design process is finished, the homeowner and sales representative will be provided with an email containing the solar and battery (if applicable) layout. It is crucial for the sales representative to ensure that ESP is provided with all of the customer's layout expectations.


    The average design turnaround time is 3 business days

    If the design needs to be modified, a redraw of the plan set will take an average of 3 business days to complete. 


    Design & Permitting Process Video

    For more information on Designs & Redraws, check out this video!

  • Permitting


    The ESP Permitting Team is dedicated to submitting plans to the local jurisdiction promptly, averaging a 2-business day turnaround from the time the design was completed. After submission, the permitting team follows up and retrieves the permit as soon as it becomes available.

    The processing time for permits varies depending on the Scope of Work and the jurisdiction they are submitted to. On average, most permits are expected to be ready within 2-3 weeks.


    To access the most current timelines for permit processing, we have prepared a comprehensive report that outlines the average timeframes for permit receipt, categorized by jurisdiction.



    ESP utilizes SolarAPP+, a federal initiative designed to expedite solar permits. For a list of jurisdictions that currently adopt SolarAPP+, please use this link. 


  • Meter Spot


    A meter spot refers to the utility company's inspection of a job that involves a Main Panel Upgrade (MPU). During this inspection, the utility will assess the Main Panel's location and determine if it needs to be relocated. They will also inform us if the power needs to be disconnected while we carry out the work.

    ESP will submit the plans to the utility company and request a meter spot for the inspection process.

    Due to its nature, the timeframe of a meter spot is subject to the utility company's availability. Generally, it will take at least a month, potentially longer, to get the meter spot results back.

    The utility company will typically coordinate scheduling directly with the homeowner. It is crucial for the homeowner to provide clear working access to the meter, meaning no locked gates, dogs, or foliage near the meter. If the homeowner fails to provide easy access to the meter, it can lead to a rescheduling of the meter spot

    Once the meter spot results are determined by the utility, ESP can proceed with scheduling the work required to perform the Main Panel Upgrade.


    Meter Spot Process Video

  • Main Panel Upgrade


    It is essential to ensure that the main panel can adequately support the electrical load of the entire system. If a large solar system is connected to a small meter, it may overload it, leading to potential safety hazards. If it is determined the size of the system is too large for the main panel to handle, an MPU will be added to the project. 

    In some cases, an MPU will be added to a project, whose main panel does not meet our project acceptance criteria. For the full list of types of panels that require an automatic MPU, please refer to our Qualified Projects article. 

    Scope of Work

    A Main Panel Upgrade involves removing the old meter and replacing it with a larger meter. Once the meter spot results are received, ESP can perform the work. Please note, If the utility determines a disconnect is required to upgrade the main panel, the schedule will depend on the utility company's schedule which is typically at least a week but potentially over a month out.

    An MPU will usually take 1-2 days to complete. After the new meter is installed, most utilities will require a rough inspection of the new meter. During this inspection, the utility will inspect the electrical work on the open panel. 


    Some things to note:

    • If there is a disconnect, the inspection must take place before they can turn the power back on. 
    • A rough inspection will take place before the wall is repaired for flush-meters
    • Flush meters will require an additional team to repair the stucco on the wall on a separate day from the MPU.
    • If a relocation was determined in the meter spot, the inspector must perform a line transfer to shift the power from the old panel to the new one. 

    MPU Process Video




  • Installation


    Once all required prior steps are complete, the project is ready to be scheduled for installation. The ESP Installation Scheduling team will coordinate with the homeowner to arrange the installation date. Generally, the installation will be scheduled about a week ahead, though the exact timeframe may vary depending on the location of the project. Both the homeowner and the sales representative will receive notifications once the installation date is set.



    The scope of work will involve the installation of solar panels, inverters, and batteries, if applicable. Typically, the installation process can be completed within a day, but larger systems may require additional time. If a battery is included in the project, an extra day will be needed. 


    Installation Process Video

  • Inspection


    After everything is installed according to the plan set, an in-person inspection will be carried out by the AHJ and a representative from ESP. The inspector will be checking the panels, inverter, wiring, and disconnects to ensure they were installed correctly, and according to plan.

    Scheduling an Inspection

    ESP's Inspection Scheduling team will coordinate a date and time with the city.

    Although the homeowner's presence is not mandatory during the inspection, the ESP project manager will contact the homeowner to confirm the inspection date and emphasize the importance of providing clear access to the home.

    In certain cases, the homeowner might need to sign a Smoke Detector / Carbon Monoxide form prior to the inspection.

    Depending on the jurisdiction, the inspection appointment will typically be scheduled anywhere from the next day to a few weeks out. The appointment time also varies by jurisdiction but will typically be an AM, PM, or all-day inspection timeframe. 

    Inspection Day

    ESP will be on-site and prepared for the inspector's arrival, making sure all pre-inspection tasks, such as placing placards, painting the conduit, and commissioning the system, are completed. Additionally, ESP will set up a ladder in the event the inspector needs to get on the roof.

    Once the inspector has arrived, the inspection itself can last anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. As soon as ESP is notified that the project has passed inspection, it will be passed to the Utilities Team to begin the PTO process.


    Inspection Process Video

  • PTO


    ESP will send the NEM documents to the utility after receiving the plans. NEM approval usually takes around 2-6 weeks on average, but it might extend to 3 months in some cases. ESP will be eligible to apply for PTO only after receiving NEM approval from the utility.

    After NEM is approved and ESP has passed the inspection, ESP will initiate the PTO (Permission to Operate) process, which involves obtaining permission from the utility company to activate the newly installed system. ESP will submit the passed inspection card to the utility company and await their approval. On average, the PTO submission takes approximately 1-2 days, but approval from the utility company may take around 2-6 weeks.

    It's important to be aware that timelines for NEM & PTO may be affected by changes in California's NEM regulations.


    PTO Process Video

  • System Activations


    Once we have received PTO, ESP can turn the system on! An ESP activations specialist will set up the optimizer map in the system monitoring portal. Once this step is complete they will remotely activate the system. The activation process typically occurs within a day of receiving the PTO from the utility company.

    The homeowner will be notified of the system activation and will receive a link to the monitoring portal where they can see how their system is producing from the app or webpage. We encourage homeowners to monitor their systems regularly.


    System Activations Process Video

  • Warranty


    Having a seamless warranty process plays a crucial role in providing peace of mind to customers when they have system or installation concerns. At ESP we understand the significance of these requests and the importance of addressing them promptly and effectively.

    ESP provides a 25-year limited warranty on workmanship and a 10-year limited roof work warranty. Please refer to the signed Customer Agreement for detailed Warranty information.

    Submitting a Warranty Request

    When a problem arises with a system, the homeowners must submit their warranty requests to ESP directly using the Warranty Request Form. This process ensures that we have accurate and complete information coming directly from the source. However, we understand that some homeowners may require assistance in filling out the form. In such cases, we encourage the sales representative to offer their support in completing and submitting the form, but the submitted form must come from the homeowner. 

    Once the Warranty Request Form is submitted, the homeowner will get a call back from a Warranty Specialist within 48 hours. Given the diverse range of potential issues that may arise, certain warranty matters can be addressed immediately, while others may take longer due to factors outside of ESP's control. Please note that ESP is committed to providing the swiftest resolution to any problem. 

    Throughout the process, homeowners will be informed and updated about any developments or changes related to their warranty issues.


    If the Warranty Issue is an emergency, please call ESP at (866) 865-4559 and a Project Manager will assist you.