To ensure long term quality and integrity of our solar installations, each solar project is subject for review by our certified structural engineering team. If our team has identified any issues, we will then provide you, the rep, with a quote for the specified upgrades required.
- Upgrades needed: automatically added and executed by Palmetto up to $1000 quote. For more on adders, log into your Alchemy portal and click the chat function to search Adders and Dealer Fees Article.
Important Note: While Palmetto does all we can to identify issues in an up front matter, partners should be aware that various structural/electrical issues, of which there are a wide variety, can be discovered in a number of different stages throughout the solar process.
1) Structural upgrades:
- Simple rafter sistering (reinforcement of rafters) can often be identified during the initial site survey review by Palmetto. However, some upgrades may require a certified structural engineer (reviewed later during formal engineering stages) to identify some issues and potential upgrades
2) Electrical Upgrades
- Common electrical upgrades, such as damaged MPU or wiring, can often be identified during the initial site survey review by Palmetto. However, some upgrades may require a certified electrician to review.
- Additionally, given the inherent variety in homes, and the complex nature of electrical upgrades, it is not uncommon for electrical upgrades to be called out by an electrician on installation day, or even by the permitting officer of a local AHJ.
3) Common States/Upgrades:
- MA: Structural and Electrical are common
- RI, CT, IL: Structural are common
- NJ, FLA: Electrical are common
- Note: while the above are common examples and guidelines, upgrades can be found in almost every sales territory/state depending on the home.
- Rafter sistering: Fairly simple upgrade involving reinforcement of rafters with additional wood/material.
- Can often be performed by the install team on installation day.
- Typical cost range: Dependent on number of rafters involved in solar install. A general rule of thumb to estimate is $50/Rafter.
2) Purlin upgrade: a more complex, and generally expensive, quote to reinforce attic purlins
- Can often be performed by install team on installation day, but may require a visit prior to installation
- Typical cost range: Dependent on the home, but can range between $1000-$3000.
3) MPU: This electrical upgrade can vary by definition, but generally implies some upgrade is required to the main panel box in order to accommodate the load/current of solar. The total electrical usage of the home cannot exceed the panel's capacity.
- Often performed by electrical on installation day.
- Cost dependent on exact upgrade and scope of work, but can range generally from $3,000-$4500).
4) Meter Relocation
- When solar is installed on a home, generally the utility will require 24/7 access. This means the meter must be located on the exterior of the home
- If the meter is located inside, there is a high likelihood of a relocation required.
- Partners should be on the lookout for this as it entails extensive scope and cost of work and could be cost-prohibitive in some cases.
1) Ridge Sag: In these cases, the roof is, slowly but surely, already collapsing under its own weight. Common among aged roofs or poor structural builds.
2) Vaulted ceilings: Some homes may only require small upgrades, but with homes with vaulted ceilings, there is no way to physically reinforce or upgrade. \
3) Various other factors may prevent upgrades from being possible, such as extensive damage to attic members.
- Important note: Palmetto can not offer customer's advice on roof repairs due to high liability. Additionally, in almost all cases, the cost of extensive roof work will outweigh any potential solar savings, so Palmetto discourages engaging in discussion of roof rebuild with homeowners.
Transformer upgrades pose a significant issue for customer experience and timelines. Typically, a homeowner's transformer will have a roughly 25kVa capacity. If there is too much solar on the local grid area (IE too much solar on that particular transformer) the utility will require an upgrade in order to achieve interconnection.
The transformer upgrade paperwork process, depending on the utility, can be far more intricate and invasive than a typical ICA review. This can include line and load checks, feasibility studies, as well as a physical electrical upgrade to the transformer.
Overall timelines for this can range from 4-6 months simply for a review period. Costs can often range in the thousands to tends of thousands, and will vary with each unique situation.
While Palmetto typically doesn't wish to cancel deals, it should be noted that the process length and cost are prohibitive to moving forward with operations for the protect. Therefore any deals which encounter a transformer upgrade will be disqualified and cancelled in the pipeline, unless the utility can provide a clear alternative by reducing the system size.
- Homeowners can typically engage a local abatement company to test and potentially remediate asbestos
- Asbestos may often be difficult to detect in site survey, as it may not appear visible unless the affected area is physically disturbed. Some cases, such as vermiculite insulation (pictured), may serve as more obvious red flags for asbestos
2. Illegal/Unpermitted Work around an MSP
Typically home construction requires permitted work around an MSP/electrical system. In cases where unpermitted work is done, Palmetto cannot proceed with work as it indemnifies us for code violations. In the below example, a kitchen was built unpermitted, with cabinets, a fridge, and a gas line violating AHJ code requiring 3 foot clearance around an MSP.
1) Does Palmetto offer cost assistance on any upgrades?
a) Not at this time.
2) Can I roll upgrade costs into the loan?
a) Depending on the financier, there is potential to roll cost into a loan. Search your financier article for further details.
3) Can I, or the customer, pay for the cost out of pocket?
a) Yes, sales reps can pay out of pocket, via adder, for any costs. Palmetto cannot directly invoice customers for upgrade work.