April 2, 2023

SMECO Offers Tips for Those Considering Solar


Increasing numbers of Southern Maryland residents have been making the decision to have solar panels installed on their homes, and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative is willing to help. There are several things to consider if you are unsure of the process of choosing the right panels and having them installed.

SMECO has several suggestions for homeowners considering this option.

First, you need to decide if solar is the right thing for your home. SMECO’s software, WattPlan, that can help. Go to smeco.wattplan.com and enter your address. WattPlan will estimate the potential for a rooftop solar array, and give you an estimate of the electricity you can generate and how much you might save each year on electric bills. These figures are estimates only and do not guarantee savings on your bill.

The application process for all types of renewable generation is the same. Interested homeowners complete the application online using SMECO’s tool, PowerClerk. Access PowerClerk online. (Applicants will need a valid email address to use this tool.)

Rather than installing their own panels, most SMECO customers use a solar installation company. That contractor will normally complete most of the paperwork and provide the utility with most of the required information.

Most SMECO customers qualify for a Level 1 or Level 2 installation.

  • Level 1—solar installation of 10.0 kilowatts (kW) or less
  • Level 2—solar installation greater than 10.0 kW

These are the next steps in the process:

1. The customer or solar installer submits an interconnection application to SMECO.

2. SMECO emails you and your solar installer when we receive the application. This email includes information regarding the status of your application and whether or not it is complete. You or the installer may need to provide more information if the application is incomplete.

3. After SMECO receives the complete application package, a SMECO engineer will review your system design to determine if it can be safely and reliably interconnected to SMECO’s electric system.

4. SMECO will email you and your solar installer telling you of conditional approval or the need for more information. No construction of a solar installation should begin until you have received the conditional approval. If you receive conditional approval, a Certificate of Completion will be available under your user profile. You and your solar installer should review it and you must sign it electronically. (For Level 2 installations, a Standard Agreement will also be available for review and signature.) If engineering related issues need to be addressed, you will be notified in the email. In some cases an electrical upgrade may be required.

5. You or your solar installer must submit the signed Certificate of Completion electronically and upload a copy of the county approved inspection. For Level 2 solar installations, you must also submit the signed standard agreement electronically.

6. Customers: Follow up with your solar installer to make sure all the required documentation has been submitted.

7. Once all of the required documentation is received, SMECO will review it and conduct a site inspection if it is determined that one is necessary.

8. SMECO will install a new smart meter. (This usually takes about a week once all documentation has been submitted and approved. If it has taken longer than a week, call SMECO to make sure all documentation has been submitted.)

SMECO will install a smart meter, which is capable of measuring the amount of energy the customer purchases from SMECO (when the system is not producing enough to meet the customer’s need) and the amount of energy the customer sells to SMECO (when the system is producing more than enough to meet the customer’s need). Customers are billed for the difference — purchases minus sales. SMECO’s meter doesn’t measure how much energy you produced and used during the month. There is no charge to change to a smart meter from a standard residential meter.

9. SMECO will notify you by email of final approval. At that time, the final approved documentation will be available under your user profile. Retain the final approved documents for your records. The Maryland Public Service Commission may require the documentation if you decide to certify the generation facility production capability with the state.

10. Customers should contact the solar installer to have the solar system activated.

If you have questions at any time, contact SMECO at 1-888-440-3311.

To learn more about SMECO, visit their Leader Member Page.

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