Why Do I Need Permission to Operate (PTO) from My Utility Company?

November 20, 2023 | 3min read

We know you are excited to get your residential solar system up and running. However, there’s an important milestone you must cross off your list first: PTO, or “Permission to Operate.” It’s the final approval from the utility company that allows you to switch on your solar system and begin electricity generation. Read on and we’ll walk you through what to expect.

What is Permission to Operate (PTO)?

Permission to Operate, commonly known as PTO, is a formal authorization granted by your local utility company that allows you to connect your solar power system to the grid and begin producing electricity. This approval ensures that your solar installation complies with safety, technical, and legal standards, and that it won’t disrupt the grid or pose any risks to utility workers or the public. By meeting these standards, you not only contribute to a safer energy environment but also ensure the reliable and efficient operation of your solar power system for years to come.

Why is the PTO Process Important?

Operating your solar system without the proper permits and approvals in place can lead to unwanted outcomes. Some of the most common are:

  • Being fined by your utility company for noncompliance.
  • Paying too much to your utility company.
  • Damaging your property.
  • Endangering your life or the lives of those around you.
  • Voiding your interconnect contract.

While many weekend house projects are DIY, attaining your Permission to Operate is not one of them. It’s best to trust the solar experts at Freedom Forever to handle the process on your behalf. We understand how to stay smart and stay safe while following the most up-to-date guidelines and procedures set by your utility company.

Navigating the PTO Process

With so many hoops to jump through, solar power can be intimidating. Here’s the good news – working with Freedom Forever means we deal with that headache while you sit back and relax!

  • Interconnection: The first step in the PTO process is establishing a secure grid interconnection between your solar power system and the utility grid. This connection allows excess energy generated by your solar panels to be fed back into the grid, which can be credited to your account and shared with the community.
  • Submit Applications: We work closely to prepare and submit all necessary applications and documentation.
  • Coordination: Let us coordinate with your utility company to schedule inspections and technical reviews. As tenured professionals, our team is prepared to address any questions or concerns your AHJ may have during the process.

We will guide you as you review and sign any necessary legal agreements, such as net metering agreements or interconnection contracts.

The Utility Company’s Role in the PTO Process

Your utility company will conduct a thorough technical review of your solar power system to ensure it meets all safety and performance standards. They will be comparing your original interconnection application to the finished design. If any discrepancies exist, our team will work to get things resolved.

This review may also include assessments of the electrical wiring, equipment, and compliance with relevant codes and regulations. Not to worry, we will be ready to provide the utility company with various documents, including engineering drawings, electrical diagrams, and other specifications related to your solar power system.

Remember, Patience and Persistence Pays Off

The PTO process may take some time, depending on the complexity of your solar installation and the backlog of applications at your local utility company. But always remember, Freedom is here to help! So be patient, persistent, and trust us. We are determined to guide you through the entirety of the solar process, from sale to PTO, and get you started on your twenty-five-year journey of guaranteed solar energy production.

Ready to go solar? Call us at 888-557-6431 or click the button below to get started!

Get a Quote