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Process and Timelines
  • ESP 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. 

    Point of Sale

    Site Survey


    Design & Permitting

    Meter Spot & MPU



    PTO & System Activation


    ESP Project Flowchart

    Homeowner facing project flow.png

  • Project Delays

    In any project, it's crucial to anticipate and address potential challenges before they arise. This proactive approach not only minimizes disruptions but also ensures a smoother workflow from start to finish. From site surveys to system activation and beyond, there are many factors that can potentially lead to delays or complications. In this article, we have outlined the various stages of a project and highlighted potential complications.

    • Site Survey

      • Property access
      • Homeowner unavailable
      • Weather conditions
    • Acceptance

      • Document discrepancies
      • Missing required documents (roof resigns/ MPU)
      • Unpermitted structures
    • Design and Engineering

      • Permitting adjustments
      • Compliance with jurisdictional requirements
      • Homeowner change requests
    • Permitting

      • City-related delays
      • Holiday closures
      • Open permit complications
    • Meter Spot

      • Utility scheduling delays
      • Clearance requirements
      • Property access challenges
      • Homeowner communication with utility
      • Homeowner communication with ESP
      • Homeowner change requests regarding meter location
    • MPU

      • Unaccepted schedule dates
      • Weather-related issues
      • Homeowner obligations and property access
      • Permitting problems
    • Inspections

      • Rough inspection
      • Lath inspection
      • Jurisdictional considerations
    • Installation

      • Unaccepted schedule dates
      • Weather-related challenges
      • Homeowner obligations and property access
      • Permitting issues
      • Homeowner-required layout changes
    • Inspection

      • Availability of jurisdictional inspectors
      • City closures affecting inspections
      • Corrections and open permit issues
      • Homeowner obligations
      • Unaccepted schedule dates
      • Weather-related disruptions
    • PTO (Permission to Operate)

      • Utility delays
      • Homeowner access and communication with the utility
      • Homeowner signatures
      • City permit releases
    • System Activation

      • Access issues
      • Completion of system commissioning
      • Missing serial number
      • Faulty inverter or cell kit
      • Installation issues
    • Warranty

      • Installation-related issues
      • Faulty equipment
      • Internal ESP process errors
      • Post-system activation homeowner requests
  • Point of Sale


    It is important to understand that ESP is not a sales organization. ESP partners with licensed solar sales companies. They sell solar while ESP installs solar. 

    Once the contract is finalized between the homeowner and the licensed sales representative, the sales rep will input all the customer information and contract documents into ESP's project management system.

    The sales representative will be responsible for initiating the site survey process. After the site survey is scheduled, ESP will assume responsibility for managing the remaining aspects of the project.


    ESP Intro Video

  • Site Survey


    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.

    Homeowner Responsibilities

    To ensure a smooth site survey process, it is recommended to have someone home during the site survey whenever possible. The homeowner also must ensure there is unobstructed access to the property, with no locked gates and dogs put away.

    Site Survey Notifications

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

    Site Survey Process Video

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

  • 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, contact 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.

    Timeline: 3 Business Days


  • Design & Permitting


    The ESP design team's task is to transform the sold contract and Scope of Work into a permit-ready plan set. Once the design process is finished, the homeowner will be provided with an email containing the solar and battery (if applicable) layout and asked to confirm the layout.  The ESP design team aims to maximize the production of the system, so it is possible the layout of the panels might slightly differ from what was shown at the point of sale. 

    Timelines: The average design and redraw turnaround time is 3 business days


    Once the design is complete, the plans will be submitted to the local jurisdiction for approval and permits. 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. 


    If a layout does not meet the homeowner's expectations, please note the plans will need to go back to our design team for the redraw and resubmit to the local building department for plan review.

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

  • Meter Spot & MPU


    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 or if the current panel does not meet our acceptance criteria, an MPU will be added to the project.  If it is determined that your project needs an MPU, there will be a meter spot to ensure the location of the new main panel is sufficient with current safety and code regulations.

    Meter Spot

    A meter spot refers to the utility company's inspection of a job that involves an 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.

    Main Panel Upgrade 

    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. 
  • 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. While it is not required the homeowner is home on installation day, it is highly recommended. Generally, the installation will be scheduled about a week ahead, though the exact timeframe may vary depending on the location of the project. The homeowner will receive a notification once the installation date is set.

    If the homeowner has any questions prior to the installation date, they can reach out to the ESP project Management team via call or chat.

    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. 

  • 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 & System Activation

    What is NEM? NEM or Net Energy Metering is the agreement with your utility company that grants the homeowners system permission to produce energy to be exported back to the grid.

    What is PTO? PTO or Permission to Operate is the utility company's permission for ESP to turn on the system so the panels can start producing. 


    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 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.

    Once we have received PTO, ESP 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 and look out for any unusual changes in production.