As one of LA’s top solar installers, we’ve installed some of the most challenging solar projects. From January to October 2017 LADWP activated 246 projects installed by LA Solar Group – second highest behind Solarcity. Part of our success is due to innovations that help property owners get the highest quality solar installation at the best price possible. But with LA’s popular solar market, the city’s top solar installers are competing for business making going solar a complex process.
That’s why hiring an experienced solar contractor can set the right expectations from the start. Our in-house Interconnection Department works directly with LADWP and other utilities. The department helps facilitate applications and addresses potential issues that may be a concern for LADWP. Our team also expedites solar projects through LADWP’s online processing portal, helping us to process more applications accurately and get systems activated faster. However, before a solar installation can begin generating energy, it will need to be approved by the Los Angeles Department of Water (LADWP). This means getting the permission to operate (PTO) to “turn on” and activate the solar system.
LADWP Solar Activation Process
In order for LADWP to activate a solar system for use and generation, the solar project must be “interconnected” with the utility. Interconnection include the following required steps:
Prior to beginning a solar installation, the property owner must apply for the install with LADWP. Ideally the contractor/installer will submit the application on behalf of the property owner to speed up the process. The project application can be filed online or by mail and must include details such as the system size, location, and technical specifications. Included with the application is the Solar Powered Customer Generation Interconnection Agreement (systems under 30kW AC). The agreement allows LADWP to inspect the project on site to meet their requirements.
LADWP will make an on-site visit to inspect the solar project for compliance. This ensures that each solar installation in LA meets their requirements with grid integration and solar incentives. Unfortunately, many solar projects fail to meet the requirements because those projects encounter unforeseen issues prior to the solar installation by the contractor. Issues such as incorrect labeling, service panel incompatibility, switches/wires incorrectly installed, and unsafe work space for utility technicians can either extend the solar process or at times, cancel it.
Once the solar project passes LADWP’s inspection, the utility will install a bi-directional meter to interconnect the solar system with their grid. The meter allows solar generation to be sent to LADWP to be tracked and collected for Net Energy Metering (NEM).