Construction & Commissioning
The design is set, the plans are filed, and the permits are approved. Now the fun begins—bringing your new solar panel system to life! Typically, this begins with a pre-construction meeting between the solar provider and your organization’s facility staff. Roles and responsibilities, contact information, site rules and other details vital to a smooth construction process, are clearly outlined at this meeting.
Mobilization follows where the solar developer, acting as general contractor, establishes an area of site control. This can include the actual work-site and more, depending on the type of project. A staging area is often designated to hold materials that have been delivered but aren’t yet ready to be incorporated into the construction. It’s also common to set a rally point or a meetings trailer to facilitate communication during a commercial solar installation.
Interconnection is the final step prior to commissioning your new solar operation. Interconnection refers to both the physical connection of the new facility to the local utility’s power grid as well as the regulatory application process.
Physically connecting the new power source requires existing power to be temporarily suspended. This is often scheduled to occur during non-working hours to limit disruption to daily business activities.
While your solar equipment provider can help with the application to request this physical interconnection, it would be a good idea to get your legal team involved at this point. The interconnection application provides proof of insurance and illustrates compliance with all utility requirements. It confirms to the utility that there is a legal and safe process for disconnecting the existing system as well as monitoring any future export of power onto its grid.
Once mechanical, structural and electrical construction is substantially completed, you will need to reach out to the appropriate jurisdictional authority to get permission to operate the new system. This group will review the installation to make sure it’s safe, code compliant and substantially built according to plans. This final sign-off is sent to the utility with a request for permission to operate.
Commissioning marks the home stretch to having a fully operational commercial solar installation. At this point, the solar provider confirms that the system was built in accordance with the plan and that it operates within acceptable parameters.