Now that we are finally feeding the grid – yes, we are officially a solar power generation plant, providing electricity to all of Ontario! – let`s answer one of the burning questions that anyone considering solar power and MicroFIT will be asking:
How long did it take to get connected?
Here is our timeline. Yours might vary, but I must say that we were very pleased with the efficiency of our installers. (Keep in mind that when I started this process, we were not planning to generate electricity for the Grid; we were trying to determine if we could get off the grid, saving money and helping the planet together.)
Most of May, 2011: Called various solar power installation companies, left messages, discussed options, researched requirements, decided not to go off-grid after all
May 30, 2011: Set up our MicroFIT account.
June 7, 2011 : Filled in the MicroFIT application. Let the games begin!
June 8, 2011: Received “Offer to Connect” from Hydro One, our local electricity supplier.
June 24, 2011: Confirmed that we do not need a building permit.
July 25, 2011: Chose our supplier. This was probably the longest, drawn out part of it, partly because of our own vacation plans and partly because of difficulty scheduling a meeting time when both I and my wife were available to review certain items. This really is the moment that things start moving; until this point, we were still researching, considering and busy with other things in life. So if you are planning on installing solar power generating at your house or farm, this is where you can start the countdown.
July 26, 2011: Made inquiry with the bank to finance the project
August 9, 2011: The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) formally approved our application. It took just over 3 months, but there were some delays due to incorrectly filled forms.
August 30, 2011: Confirmation received that our home insurers can extend insurance to the solar installation: “Getting more of these enquiries every day… must be a good program…”
September 9, 2011: Received verbal approval for financing from the bank, including 4 different instruments. One of them was bridge financing to cover our payments on the other three instruments between the day we start earning money and the day the first cheque arrives (Very important!).
September 12, 2011: Signed the contract to begin installation! This is the point at which it actually feels like we are finally moving forward.
September 19, 2011: Set up this blog. That has absolutely nothing to do with generating electricity, but it is a fact.
October 3, 2011: This was a groundbreaking date – the day they broke ground and poured cement.
November 1, 2011: After an agonizing delay due to weather and work crew coordination (when they finally arrived, they were rained out part-way through, then when they returned they discovered they were short a few parts) all the electrical equipment was installed.
November 17, 2011: The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) Inspection takes place (All was found to be in order).
November 23, 2011: Hydro One connects us to the Grid.