Monday, August 24, 2009

You Do Not Need to Worry About These Documents

Late this afternoon I received this message by email: "You do not need to worry about these documents."

So they've been torturing me for six weeks about mysterious forms that aren't needed in the first place. It only ended today because I couldn't stand it anymore and was determined to be a prick until I got some answers.

Truth be told, it's a pretty good answer. We're still not out of the woods yet because the system has still not passed inspection.

Example of Bureaucratic Time Wastage

I've been working the phone and email trying to figure out what needs to be done to finish this project off. Here is the latest email from the "state", which effectively negates the hours of work done this morning. I can tell that she's getting pissed at me. That's okay because I've been confused and pissed for months.

I'm not trying to get any extra money out of the audit. I'm just trying to meet the requirements so groSolar can receive the rebate money.

I love the part that says "...there seems to be some confusion." Like the others, this email raises more questions than it answers, or maybe I'm just stupid. I'm really starting to think the latter, actually.

I don't know or care about those "kickers" but I'm hoping this isn't all about payouts of twenty and twenty-five cents (see red below). I'm guessing that's a typo.

You can't make this stuff up.


I just hung up with R from Gro Solar and there seems to be some confusion. I was responding to your email assuming you were in the REIP Program, but it seems that you were approved through the CORE Program. The requirements are completely different. The CORE Program offered a $.25 kicker if you did the audit, however you must meet the Tier 3 requirements and submit the scope of work, you must do the work and include a certificate of completion. The REIP Program offers an additional $.20 if you have the audit done, but the work does not have to be done in order to receive this additional $.

Whole Lot of Nothing

I haven't posted anything because the only things that have happened are bad.

1) The system failed the August 11 state inspection. The installer came out with a list of issues and we couldn't figure out what the inspector was talking about in his report. He claimed that the inverter wasn't labeled (the contractor says it is) and that the rails that hold the panels are improper and the wrong size (the contractor says that they are the standard installation rails for those panels, and they sure look like the right rails to a casual observer like me).

2) The "state" is asking for documents that were given to us when we did our mandatory energy audit on June 4. There's a reason I put state in quotes. The inspection process is completely handled by CSGRP, a private contractor. It just so happens that our energy audit was also handled by CSGRP -- the same contractor.

If I understood what documents are needed I wouldn't mind mailing in documents even though it seems much easier for somebody to walk down the hall to get them from somebody else in their own company. I know it probably isn't that simple but it's a lot simpler than me identifying the documents, tracking down the CSGRP person B, sending him the documents to sign, receiving signed copies and then sending them to CSGRP person A.

What really worries me is that there is so much confusion on my part, and nothing ever seems to happen unless I initiate it. Besides getting the system approved so we can generate SRECs (and start paying off the cost of the system), the contractor still hasn't received the $34k rebate money. Now, I don't feel guilty at all about that since it was clearly their responsibility to make that work, but I'm worried that at some point somebody's going to come to me and ask for that money out of my pocket. If that happens it's going to be bloody.

The system works great and has been online generating power since June 4. We've generated three SRECs worth of power now. That's between $1500 and $2000 dollars that we will never have. Yeah, we don't buy much power anymore but we really need those SRECs and there doesn't seem to be a resolution in sight in the near future.

So far I've been an enthusiastic advocate for the contractor that installed the system because they really did a fantastic job. I agreed to be a reference for them because I can tell potential customers in all honesty that I couldn't be more satisfied with their work. I'm getting pretty fed up with the red tape fiasco that's been going on in the last two months, though, and I think the contractor could be handling that in a more efficient and timely way. I'm thinking about telling them not to give my name out as a reference for the time being -- for their own good.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

State Inspection Date Set

Our state inspection is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11, 2009. At some point after that we will receive a state certification number and then be eligible to earn SRECs.