Why Solar Permitting Issues Aren’t a ‘Bait & Switch’

Solar Installation
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Solar Permitting Complications

In the world of solar permitting, bait and switch is a dishonest advertising practice where permitting scenarios are not fulfilled as advertised.

There is a difference, however, between bait and switch and unforeseen issues. Make sure the solar installer is not guilty of the prior before assuming negligence in the latter. 

A False Advertising Example

Bait and switch is a tactic used to get customers in the door. They get lured in by a good deal only to find that the deal doesn’t exist.

One example of bait and switch is when a customer is told about a good car deal, but when they go to look at it the car is not there. After telling the customer that they don’t have it anymore, the salesman shows cars on the lot with a higher price tag.

While increasing prices and leading customers to something they didn’t initially want is a bait and switch, not every change is. Sometimes unforeseen complications arise, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Common Unforeseen Solar Permitting Issues

One process that may require unforeseen changes in the solar process is permitting. After homeowners get approved for solar, they need to get a building permit. This allows the solar installer to legally put the solar array on the homeowner’s property.

The Permitting Process

Although each jurisdiction has different permitting requirements, the process is generally the same. First, the solar company’s design team puts together a code-compliant solar plan. These plans are sent in and either the solar company is asked to make corrections or it gets approved and the permit is issued.

This process can take anywhere from two to three weeks. The wait time hinges on the permitting office and solar company’s timeliness.

Unfortunately, this process doesn’t always run smoothly.  Sometimes issues arise.

Issues that Arise in the Solar Permitting Process

Homes often don’t pass permitting because existing electrical systems aren’t up to code. This is something that isn’t realized until after the homeowner has already received an initial quote.

The initial quote gives homeowners a close estimate of how much a solar array for their home would cost. While these quotes are a close estimate they don’t take into account every possible issue the home might have. Solar companies would lose money if they did in-depth home inspections for each initial quote.

After the homeowner has decided to use a solar installer, the company does in-depth inspections to make sure the proposed layout will work for the home. Electrical and structural issues in the home are often found at this point. 

Solar installations are not possible until the home’s problems are corrected. This means the homeowner may have to pay for a professional to come and fix the issues. This is not something that can be foreseen by the solar installer during an initial bid and, therefore, is not a bait and switch.

How to Make the Most of Your Solar Situation

Even though it costs more to update the electrical system, it may be a blessing in disguise. Electric codes are in place for your safety and solar system efficiency, not to make an extra buck.

If you have a home that isn’t code-compliant, you are taking a dangerous risk. Electrical systems that aren’t up to code may cause severe damage to the system and/or an electrical fire. If your power is faulty, it may be because your electrical system either needs to be fixed or replaced.

Despite these circumstances, the trouble of solar is more easily handled when the customer uses a full-service solar company, like Go Solar Group. Get your free, customized solar quote for your residence today. 


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