How to Go Solar in Monterey County, CA

How to Go Solar in Monterey County, CA

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Jeremy Pearl
Mar 04

Are you thinking about switching to solar? The benefits of powering a home with renewable energy add up quickly.

Since 2004, our teams at Sandbar Solar & Electric have installed residential solar systems all across Monterey County, including Carmel, Salinas and Monterey.

We’ve put together this guide that covers the process from choosing the right solar provider and evaluating your options to activating your home’s solar energy system.

8 Steps to Going Solar in Monterey County

1. Choose a Local Solar Provider

Making the switch starts by choosing a solar panel installer with a proven track record.

Hiring a locally owned solar provider makes it easier to confirm important details, including industry certification, project experience and customer satisfaction.

Working with a local business comes with a number of other benefits.

For example, Sandbar Solar & Electric is one of the most established solar installers in Monterey County. Independent reviews confirm our solid reputation. We’re a self-performing installer, so you don’t have to coordinate with multiple vendors.

We answer our own phones, our quotes are free, and you enjoy the peace of mind that comes from working with an established local solar provider.

2. Evaluation and Consultation

We begin by scheduling a visit to your home at your convenience. We perform an on-site evaluation of your roof’s condition and orientation as well as your existing electrical system. Our consultation also covers:

  • Your current energy usage
  • Your expected energy needs
  • An investment and benefit analysis
  • Options specific to your solar installation

Your questions are answered and concerns addressed. Our goal is to make sure you’re satisfied with our proposal and feeling confident with your options.

3. Solar Project Financing Options

As we discuss your project’s details, we explain different financing options available for installing residential solar panels.

New solar energy systems in Monterey County can qualify for a 30% investment tax credit through the federal government. Investment in a solar battery backup system may also qualify for a cash rebate through California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program.

Our staff helps you identify plans that can result in significant savings on installation costs. We’re happy to assist you by sharing the latest financing information as well as resources you can trust.

4. Property-Specific Solar System Design

solar system design

Once we have your go-ahead, we develop our proposal into plans for building and installing your home’s solar system. Every detail is covered, including how your current electrical system will be integrated with the new system’s PV panels.

Contingencies are considered too. For example, we will factor in increases (or decreases) in your future energy use, and we may recommend addressing your roof’s current condition.

Our finalized design plans are your assurance of a code-compliant solar panel installation that will efficiently power your home for years to come.

5. Solar Panel Permitting and Approval

Next, our team submits the plans for your solar panel system to the appropriate building division.

Our designs are reviewed for approval and issuance of a permit for residential PV installation. We include engineer drawings that illustrate the project’s adherence to all municipal codes for residential solar installations.

The wait time between permit submission and approval typically takes up to 2-4 weeks. As the paperwork moves through the system, our in-house staff tracks its progress and keeps you updated.

6. Rooftop Solar Panel Installation

rooftop solar panel installation

As soon as we receive permit approval, we assemble all materials and schedule toinstall the components that complete your rooftop solar system. The work typically takes between two to three days and includes:

  • Panel support rack construction
  • Secure rooftop rack mounting
  • Solar panel placement into racks
  • Inverter connection to electric panel
  • Remote monitoring configuration

If you choose to include the security of a battery backup system, we take care of it. The installation may add two or three days to overall job completion.

7. Final Solar Permitting Inspection

Once we’ve completed the installation process, the local building department performs their final inspection. A building department representative examines all components, confirms their structural integrity and double-checks electrical connections. We will be present for the final inspection to answer any questions that may arise.

His or her approval makes it official: Your newly installed solar power system is code-compliant and ready to go. The representative forwards his or her report to the utility company for the final phase of permitting.

Within the next two to four weeks, the utility company issues its Permission to Operate letter and forwards the PTO to our offices here at Sandbar.

8. Activating Your Home’s Solar Power!

As soon as we receive the PTO, we contact you and schedule the last step in our installation process. Our solar technicians are ready to activate your home’s solar panels and finalize your transition to clean, renewable energy.

It’s our professional pleasure to flip the switch and hand off a system that gives you greater grid independence, lower electricity costs and long-term energy security.

Understanding NEM 3.0

Because of your interest in going solar, you’re probably aware of recent changes to California’s NEM Program. Net Energy Metering 3.0 affects the credits earned through generating electricity with solar panels.

NEM 3.0 lowers the amount of credits that can be earned from generating excess solar energy and sending it back to the grid. However, that credit loss can be offset with a Battery-Assisted-Solar system (BAS).

BAS operates differently from a traditional solar battery backup. It delivers a number of benefits that increase your long-term ROI. BAS is less expensive than full battery-backup – but BAS does not provide backup power when the grid is down. During our consultation, we explain the immediate and long-term value of BAS, how it offsets NEM 3.0, and if it will meet your needs.

We Make It Easy to Go Solar in Monterey County

Each week, Sandbar Solar brings the benefits of going solar to Monterey County homeowners.

For more than 20 years, our rooftop solar installations have generated clean, sustainable energy for thousands of residents across the Central Coast. We put that established expertise and proven track record to work for you.

You want a solar provider you can trust. We’re ready to answer your questions, explain your options and make it easy for you to make the switch.

Contact our team today, and schedule your complimentary consultation: 831-469-8888.

Helpful Resources

Solar System Checklist – City of Montere

Carmel Solar Permitting – City of Carmel

Renewable Energy Generation – California PUC

About the Author

Jeremy has worked in the solar industry since 2006. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies. Jeremy has spent most of his solar career in residential sales and Sales Management in both California and Hawaii. He was raised in Santa Cruz County and is passionate about helping local residents make the switch to clean and reliable renewable energy. Jeremy lives on the Westside with his wife and two boys and enjoys music, photography and hiking in his personal time.