Know about the application process: Saskatoon Light & Power and Saskatoon Power

Know about the application process: Saskatoon Light & Power and Saskatoon Power

Let’s Recap!

Drifting off to the 2nd part of the series, it becomes necessary to refresh what you have gone through in the previous part. Part 1 covered the service coverage of SL&P and SaskPower, indicating the difference between both providers.

What’s in this section?

Many people might be confused about whether both the utility providers in the question offer solar installation or not. The answer to this question is probably a NO, as providers neither claim to offer any service like this nor does their website provide any information regarding this.

However, these providers do offer the Net Metering Program that we have talked about in Part 6 of this series. We recommend you check out that part for a better understanding of this blog. For solar installations, you might want to consider a specialized vendor like Pioneer Solar & Renewables.

Anyways, coming back to the topic, those who already have a solar panel system installed within their premises can opt for either of the providers to get their panels connected to the electrical grids.

This blog will shed some light on how one can apply for connection of their panels to the grids, focusing on both providers i.e. Saskatoon Light & Power and Saskatoon Power. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

How to apply for a grid connection [Net Metering] through Saskatoon Light & Power?

Saskatoon Light & Power, also known as the City of Saskatoon, provides net metering services, and here’s how you can apply for one:

Choosing the Right Application Form: The first thing to keep in mind is the selection of the suitable form. There are two forms available, one is the residential services form that is used for the settings of 15 kW or less. Another form is the Commercial services form. For the systems exceeding 15 kW, they can either choose residential or commercial services form.

Once you've selected the correct form, ensure all necessary fields are completed accurately. After filling out the form, submit it along with the required documentation to selfgenerationprogram@saskatoon.ca.

Submitting the Required Documentation: In addition to the application form, certain documentation is required to complete the application process. This includes an Electrical Single Line Diagram, Protective Device Information (including manufacturer’s name and model, settings, and protection scheme), and a Site Plan illustrating the locations of generators, inverters, and transformers.

It's also essential to include a signature from the billing account owner. Should you have any queries regarding system interconnections, refer to SL&P's Interconnection guidelines for clarification.

Initiating Inspection Reviews: After submitting your application, SL&P will initiate inspection reviews to assess the feasibility and safety of your proposed self-generation system. 

If necessary, a preliminary interconnection study will be conducted. Additionally, SL&P personnel may conduct a visual site assessment visit to ensure compliance with regulations and guidelines. 

Receiving and Accepting Quote: Upon approval of your application, SL&P will provide a quote outlining the applicable fees associated with the net metering process. Review the quote, along with its terms and conditions, and proceed to accept it.

Obtaining Permits: Before proceeding with the installation of your self-generation system, you must obtain the necessary permits. This includes obtaining a building permit from the City of Saskatoon and an electrical permit from TSASK. These permits are crucial to ensure compliance with local regulations and standards.

Installing Self-Generation System: With permits secured, proceed with the installation of your self-generation system. It's imperative to adhere to all regulations and guidelines throughout the installation process to ensure safety and compliance.

Requesting Inspections: Once the installation is complete, request electrical inspections from TSASK. Additionally, coordinate with SL&P to arrange for meter installation and witness testing to verify the functionality of your system.

Finalizing Payments: Before finalizing the net metering process, ensure all outstanding balances are settled. This may include payments for permits, fees outlined in the quote, or any additional charges incurred during the process.

Executing Interconnection Agreement: Upon completion of inspections and payments, it's time to sign and execute the Interconnection Agreement provided by SL&P. This agreement formalizes the terms of your connection to the grid and outlines responsibilities and obligations.

Energizing System: With the Interconnection Agreement executed and all necessary approvals obtained, energize your self-generation system to begin generating renewable energy.

Setting Up Billing Account: Finally, establish a billing account for the applicable self-generation program. This ensures proper tracking and billing of energy generation and consumption.

Pay Attention!

The vendor who is installing the solar panel system can perform some of these steps on behalf of the customer. For any further queries, don’t hesitate to connect with Saskatoon Light & Power at selfgenerationprogram@saskatoon.ca.

How can you apply for net metering through Saskatoon Power

Based on your location, you can apply for net metering either through Saskatoon Power or the City of Saskatoon. When choosing Saskatoon Power, here’s how you can apply it: 

1. Prepare Your Application:

  • Visit saskpower.com and complete the online Net Metering Program application form. Ensure that all information matches your SaskPower bill exactly.

  • Gather the required documents:
    • Electrical single-line diagram showing your generating system's connection to the main AC breaker and the grid.
    • Site location map indicating the position of your generating system and SaskPower meter.
    • Specification sheets for all equipment to be installed.

2. Pay Preliminary Interconnection Study Fee:

  • Once your application is submitted, SaskPower will send a confirmation number and invoice for the $315 non-refundable preliminary interconnection study fee to your provided email address.

  • Ensure payment is made within 30 days to avoid late charges. Payment details will be provided with the invoice.

3. Electrical Review and Permit:

  • Concurrently with your application, complete the Renewables Information Check Sheet on saskpower.com and send it, along with the required exhibits, to Electrical Permits.

  • The project will be reviewed to ensure compliance with Canadian Electrical Code standards, which typically takes 6-8 weeks.

4. Obtain an Electrical Permit:

  • Your contractor must secure an electrical permit before commencing any work on the system. This permit is necessary for an on-site electrical inspection and installation of a bi-directional meter.

5. Receive Quote Letter and Program Terms:

  • Upon completion of the interconnection study, you will receive a Quote Letter detailing total project costs, including installation, maintenance, and bi-directional meter expenses.

  • Review and sign the Net Metering Program Terms and Conditions Document along with the Quote Letter. Payment for identified costs is required, with a potential 25% down payment for additional interconnection costs.

6. System Installation:

  • With the electrical permit secured, finalize arrangements with your supplier and proceed with system installation. Any changes to equipment or generation size require updated exhibits.

7. Electrical Inspection:

  • After installation and testing, contact Saskatchewan Electrical Inspections to schedule an on-site inspection. This must be done in advance and requires the presence of the contractor or electrician.

8. Bi-Directional Meter Installation:

  • Upon successful inspection, SaskPower will schedule the installation of a bi-directional meter, typically within 30 business days. Do not activate your system until this meter is installed.

  • Once installed, SaskPower will leave a notice indicating completion, allowing you to start using your system.

What Documents would you require?

Saskatoon Light & Power

The City of Saskatoon updated the documentation info back in February 2019. According to that, if you're a homeowner or business owner looking to set up solar panels through Saskatoon Light & Power, you'll need to snag a Building Permit and Electric Permit beforehand.

[Extra tip!: Ever wondered about Building Permits? Well, they're these permit documents given out by your local authorities. These permits give you the green light to go ahead with specific construction or renovation work on your property. 

In Canada, the infrastructure follows the guidelines laid out in the National Building Code. This means that the roofs and walls are not able to handle the weight of solar panels, specifically in winter. If you want to enhance the strength of your roof and walls to accommodate solar panels, you'll need to renovate, which requires obtaining a Building Permit.] 

To get a Building Permit certain documents are required that are listed below:

Engineered Drawings: Make sure you get a licensed design professional in Saskatchewan to sign and seal these drawings. The sketches need to show that the roof is all set to handle the weight of the solar panels and also take into consideration factors like snow, rain, and wind loads.

Commitment Letter for Field Review: This letter is a commitment to allow field review by authorized personnel.

Letter of Assurance: Before the closure of the permit, you need a letter of assurance. This letter should confirm that all required upgrades to the roof structure have been completed.

Structural Engineer's Letter: Alternatively, you could provide a letter from a structural engineer. This letter should confirm that the existing roof can handle the added weight of the solar panels, taking into consideration factors like snow, rain, and wind loads.

Building and Development Permit Application: Here's the regular form you need to fill out to get permission for building and development.

Saskatoon Power

When you're setting up solar panels, it's imperative to make sure you've got the green light to make changes to your property. In this section, we will delve into the varieties of paperwork that prove you own the place or have permission. These documents could be things like a deed or a lease with clauses giving you the go-ahead for those adjustments.

Electrical Permit: When you're getting your building permit sorted, don't forget about the electrical permit! It's crucial to make sure that any electrical work related to setting up those solar panels meets the necessary safety standards.

Building Permit: This permit serves as the official approval from the local authorities, indicating that your planned solar panel setup complies with all the necessary zoning and structural standards.

Interconnection Agreement: When you get an intinterconnection agreement, it basically lets your solar panel setup link up with the grid. This paper lays out the details and terms you and the utility company agree upon.

Net Metering Agreement: If you're looking to make the most of net metering, you want to get on board with this agreement. It lets you earn credits for the extra energy your solar panels generate.

Inspection Reports: Once everything is set up, these inspection reports seamlessly integrate into your documentation. These inspections play a crucial role in making sure that your installation not only meets all the necessary regulations but is also carried out with precision. 

Warranty Information: Finally, let's look at the warranty details for your solar panel setup. Warranties are pivotal in protecting the value of your financial commitment and ensuring you have peace of mind.

What do we think?

In conclusion, while Saskatoon Light & Power and Saskatoon Power may not offer direct solar installation services, their Net Metering Programs provide a vital pathway for individuals to connect existing solar panel systems to the electrical grid. 

By meticulously following the application process outlined by both providers, homeowners, and businesses can seamlessly integrate renewable energy sources into their properties.

Through collaboration and adherence to regulations, applicants can contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future while reaping the benefits of cost savings and environmental stewardship.

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