The installation of your solar kit on your home is complete. The next step in the process is getting City Final Inspection. This can occur very intimidating to many do-it-yourselfers. It shouldn’t. I love inspections. Because I know there is only two outcomes. The best is that I pass and the worst is a get a correction list. The correction list is the golden key to passing next time! Just do those things and you SHOULD pass. I say should because in 10 years of installing solar I’ve had a handful of experiences where the mother hubbard keeps finding stuff. This is frustrating because you wish he would’ve just done a thorough inspection the first time.
For you the DIY’er hanging out all day waiting for your inspector isn’t so bad. You can sit inside watch TV, tend to overdue tasks, shoot you can even be having sex (with or without a partner). Not me I’m stuck outside in the elements looking up and down the street for the inspector. I’m captive. I can’t leave to pee & I have to bring food and drink. Thank goodness for podcasts!!
So that leads me to my first point of inspections. There are not scheduled like job interviews eg “See you at 10:00am” There are scheduled like the cable guy. eg “We will see you between 9:00am and 12:00 noon” When you call for inspection have your permit card in hand. You’ll need to recite your permit #, your address, name, phone number, and you might be able to request and “am” or “pm”. 90% of the time your inspection will be for the next day if you call before 3 or 4pm. It should say on the Permit Card.
Preparing for the inspection
Open up “everything” Open the deadfront of the Main Service Panel, disconnects, and sub-panels. Open the inverter. Open the roof j-box. This is an inspection. The inspector wants to see wire sizing, identification of wires in the inverter. Bonding and grounding. TIP: Do a nice job wiring like you see in my phot0 gallery and it will ease the mind of the inspector. Be sloppy and he could be concerned you don’t know what you’re doing.
Setup your ladder and secure it. Some inspectors don’t/can’t go on roof. Even if they can’t and you know this , it’s a nice gesture to show you open to their examination and you’re not trying to hide anything. I always take picture of my roof mounted j-boxes contents so they can see my bonding, connectors, and drip loop.
Have you plans out and ready. Don’t say “Oh hold on they’re inside let me go get them” This guy is generally overloaded, has many inspections, little time, and last thing he wants is to have to wait.
During the inspection
Have some donuts, coffee, and hottie in a bikini hanging out. Distract him with talk about sports or hot rods. NO! The guy knows every trick in the book. He can tell when you’re trying to divert the conversation. This inspection is a good thing. It’s not everyday you install your own power-plant. You want it to be safe. This is not about passing just to move forward, this is a good process and arguably what set us apart from 3rd world countries and Montana. It’s not a free-for-all, do whatever. Let him/her give it a good once over. Ask questions about things you may be concerned about.
If you don’t pass and you get a Correction List: Ask any question necessary so that you’re completely clear on what he wants done. You don’t want to do a bunch of extra work nor not enough. Sometime the re-inspection doesn’t have to be manned. This is great if you’re taking time off
If you do pass: Ask questions about what’s next? Does he have to contact the utility or is that up to you? Is there any other inspections? Be sure to ask him if he’d like to know how you saved a ton of money by getting a complete solar kit from That Solar Guy. lol
Blue Osyter Cult sang “Don’t Fear the Reaper” That Solar Guys says ” Don’t fear the Inspector”
Oh and definitely keep the bikini hottie inside, the last thing you want is the inspector to keep failing you so he can comeback tomorrow to ogle some more. lol
I hope this helps.