21 Solar Installation Terms for New Home Construction You Should Know

We get it, solar can be confusing. It can be even more so if you’re not quite sure what solar terms you should know before thinking about fulfilling solar requirements for new home construction. Here is a simplified solar glossary for you to get started, in Alphabetical order:

  1. Direct Current (DC) vs Alternating Current (AC) – DC electricity is what is produced by the solar panels using the sun’s rays, while AC is the converted electricity that is used in the home and appliances.
  2. Grid-Connected Photovoltaic (PV) System – This is a solar system that is connected to the utility grid. This allows a PV system to send energy to the grid when it is producing more energy than currently being used by the home, and allows homeowners to draw energy from the grid when the PV system isn’t producing (i.e. night time), or when energy used by homeowners exceeds energy generated by the PV system.
  3. Mounting System – Photovoltaic mounting system refers to the racking and mounting equipment and process used to secure solar panels onto rooftops, building facades, or the ground.  This equipment is often made of lightweight aluminum and stainless steel.  The mounting system is one of the largest areas of innovation within the solar industry and an important element of solar arrays.
  4. Microinverters– These devices convert the generated solar energy into usable electricity for a home. Microinverters are connected individually to each and every solar panel, allowing them to work independently. Microinverters, as compared to string inverters differ in that, if one panel in the string undergoes a low output, all the other panels will drop to that low output. Microinverters, in contrast, ensure every panel perform at its maximum potential and reliability.
  5. Module – Another name for a solar panel. (See solar panel)
  6. Net Metering A billing arrangement between a utility and its customer that allows the customer to receive credit for excess renewable electricity delivered to the grid. A ‘net meter’ tracks both the electricity drawn from the grid by the customer and the electricity generated by the solar energy system and sent to the grid.
  7. Permission to Operate (PTO) – Before a solar system can be turned on to generate energy, approval is needed from the local utility company. To get the system connected to the grid, it must go through the process of interconnection standards first. PTO grants the approval from your local utility company stating that the solar system is ready to be activated and is connected to the utility grid.
  8. Photovoltaic (PV) – This refers to PV technologies’ direct conversion of sunlight into electricity through a naturally occurring process in semiconducting materials. When sunlight is absorbed by these materials, photons (energy particles) knock electrons free from their atoms, allowing them to flow through the material to produce electricity (voltage).[1]
  9. Solar Home – This is a home that has a fully-integrated rooftop photovoltaic (PV) array installed in order to generate electricity from the sun.
  10. Solar Interconnections Standards – These standards define how a distributed generation system, such as solar photovoltaic (PVs), can connect to the grid.[2] Before a solar PV system can be turned on, it must go through the proper process in order to receive Permission to Operate (see Permission to Operate) for the system to be turned on and start generating energy.
  11. Solar Job Card – This approval is issued by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) (for your local jurisdiction) that approves all final inspections of the building that need to be obtained for PTO process, including solar wiring.
  12. Solar Monitoring System – This is software that tracks the production levels (in Kilowatt-hours) of a PV System. It offers information regarding the ongoing health of the system and supplies data needed for billing, carbon offsets and more. Most monitoring systems can be set up to have cellular capabilities, allowing access via mobile apps and smart home devices.
  13. Solar Panel / Photovoltaic (PV) Panel – A device that links many solar cells together to form a circuit, then converts them into electricity which can then be used to power electrical loads. The more light collected by a cell, the more electricity produced. Because the U.S. electrical grid uses AC power, DC electricity generated from PV solar panels must be converted to AC electricity using an inverter.
  14. Solar Panel Efficiency – A measurement (expressed as a percentage) of the sun’s energy captured and converted into electricity by solar panels.
  15. Solar Permitting – Before solar can be installed on a property, the system owner must complete all necessary permitting requirements. This can vary depending on the state and local jurisdiction.
  16. Solar Production Estimates – These estimates are based on several specific characteristics of each particular solar installation that will affect electricity production, including the system size, roof azimuth/orientation, shade, types of equipment being used, and geography.
  17. Solar Ready – A “solar-ready” home is a home that is built, wired and made ready during the time of construction of the home to accommodate a solar installation.
  18. Smart Grid – An intelligent power system that regulates the two-way flow of electricity and information between power plants and consumers to manage grid activity.
  19. Voltage/watt – The amount of electromotive force (EMF), expressed in volts, that exists between two points.
  20. Interconnection agreement – A contract between the local utility and its customers that prescribes the terms under which those customers may connect their solar power system to the electric grid.
  21. Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Home – A home in which the total amount of energy consumption of the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of the renewable energy that is generated on site. To achieve this the amount of energy needed to power the home and the amount of energy generated onsite through renewable energy, such as solar power, must be balanced. The Department of Energy has a set of guidelines that can qualify builders looking to participate in the Zero Energy Ready Home Program[3] to make sure they are compliant with this standard.

If you want to take the next step in your solar construction journey, check out 3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Solar Provider and to keep yourself updated, follow the SunStreet Journal. For any questions related our installation process, visit our FAQ page.

[1] https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/solar-energy/tech/solarpv.html

[2] https://www.epa.gov/repowertoolbox/solar-interconnection-standards-policies

[3] https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/guidelines-participating-doe-zero-energy-ready-home-program

Home Builders, Meet Us at PCBC and Learn How You Can Benefit by Building with SunStreet

It’s that time of year again and we’re headed to San Francisco as proud exhibitors at PCBC, self-proclaimed as the largest homebuilding tradeshow in the west. With the California solar mandate quickly approaching, we’re excited to meet with quality home builders like you, answer any questions, and show you just how easy it is to build with us at no upfront cost.

As a solar company that was created by a home builder, for home builders, we understand the value of staying on schedule. That’s why, over the years, we’ve simplified, streamlined, and perfected our entire process.

Join us at PCBC booth #1757 to learn more. Our new home solar team will be on-site to show you our state-of-the-art technology and real-time monitoring capabilities. Additionally, we’ll walk you through our highly rated Signature Service™. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity and come see us first.

To kick off the big event, we’ll be sponsoring a pre-show party at the Swig Bar on Wednesday, May 29. We’d love to see you there! Then, stop by our booth on May 30-31, 2019 at the San Francisco Moscone Center to learn more about the benefits of building with SunStreet, The Builder’s Solar Company™.

More info: BuildWithSunStreet.com

Power to the Planet: Celebrating the Powerful Benefits of New Home Solar

Power to the Planet is an annual, family-friendly event that celebrates the power of renewable solar energy. It is an opportunity for us to educate prospective homeowners about the benefits of purchasing and living in a new home with solar. Owning a solar home is a great way to live more sustainably AND make a difference in the role we play in our environment – both at home and in our communities.

This year, our 2nd annual Power to the Planet event brings us to the beautiful Crescent Hills new home community in Las Vegas, NV! We wanted to share our expert knowledge of solar technology to help homeowners find comfort in choosing a home in a community where sustainable and green living is a high priority in their home buying decision.

On April 27th, we will be greeting happy home buyers for a day of new home solar discovery. Our Sales & Training Manager, Dennis Helblig says, “I love events like these! It helps us to get to know more about our home buyers and educate them on how solar can improve their lifestyle.”

At SunStreet, we aim to provide green, affordable living for our eco-conscious home buyers with state-of-the-art solar technology. Since we specialize in solar implementation for new home construction, we’re uniquely positioned to work hand-in-hand with home builders looking to bring solar technology to their new home communities. Greener homes are not only valuable to us and our home builders, but also to our customers.

With green home building trends on the rise, more home builders are beginning to shift their current home building practices with more sustainable, green home building practices . A survey conducted in 2017, by the National Association of Home Builders and the National Multifamily Housing Council found that over one third of single-family developers are building a majority of their homes with green home building practices in mind. As of 2017, 23-27% of single-family and multi-family home builders are currently building with solar, and the other 57% of them expect to implement solar by 2019.

With SunStreet, homeowners can enjoy a greener lifestyle, knowing that all of our new home communities are powered in part by solar energy as a community-wide feature. Furthermore, purchasing a new home with solar means you’re receiving expert care from our team of professional Solar Advisors as well as the reassurance of creating a more environmentally friendly lifestyle for you, and the planet.

SunStreet Introduces ‘New Home Lunar Living’ – Homes Powered by the Moon

They said it couldn’t be done. They said it would never work. They said it was just too darn weird. Well, we at SunStreet, have proved them all wrong!

What you’ve loved about living with renewable energy by day, you can now do so by night! That’s right, SunStreet now affords homeowners the power to stay powered 24/7, naturally – without the need to buy or store electricity.

Imagine your entire home powered, not only by the sun, but by the moon as well! Just think about those “astronomical” savings! Home buyers will also have peace-of-mind knowing our programs are protected by our Solar and Lunar Eclipse guarantees.

So, how’d we do it? Well, using advanced technology and a little innovation, we carefully designed and engineered a whole new way to capture light from the moon. Furthermore, with the help of our proprietary state-of-the-art, white-on-white lunar panels, we discovered how easy it was to convert moonlight into electricity.

SunStreet Lunar Panel

And now everyone who buys a new home in a SunStreet lunar community will enjoy the beaming benefits of living on 100% renewable energy – especially during a full moon!

“This is one small step for energy, one giant leap for SunStreet.” Says SVP of Operations, Mike Dufault.

To see how it all works, just tell everyone you’ve just read the best April Fool’s joke of the year! :p

20,000 New Home Solar Activations and Growing…

During the month of February, we celebrated our 20,000th new home solar activation! The 20,000th activation belongs to a family of three in Stapleton, Colorado. They will be living in a state-of-the-art home built by Thrive Home Builders that captures green living through energy efficiency, quality, and the latest home building technology. Our Associates from SunStreet and a representative from Thrive came out to congratulate these new solar homeowners and celebrate this incredible milestone with them. We are proud of the SunStreet family that played a crucial role in our most recent accomplishment.

We are proud to partner with Thrive to provide clean energy solutions to power their green homes. As Professional Builder Magazine’s 2017 Builder of the Year and six-time Grand Winner in the DOE’s annual Housing Innovation Awards, Thrive is recognized for constructing homes that meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program. In addition, Thrive homes are built with sustainability in mind for eco-conscious home buyers, with a focus on indoor air quality, energy efficiency and built with locally sourced products. Their achievements in the net-zero arena are commendable and we are excited to be working with builders like Thrive to continue our commitment to green home building.



SunStreet’s Senior VP of Operations, Mike Dufault says, “Building with Thrive Home Builders makes us feel like we are part of something much bigger. Not only do we provide clean energy solutions to their communities, but we are helping them achieve greater energy efficiency to improve the lives of homeowners and the environment. Our partnerships with our builders are mutually beneficial, as we work together during the entire home construction process from start to finish.”

SunStreet is committed to partnering with home builders to provide solar energy solutions to their new home communities. During construction, homes are wired to be solar-ready which makes solar implementation as simple as possible without causing scheduling delays for builders. With over 20,000-plus solar home activations in over 350-plus new home communities, SunStreet is building brighter futures with builders for homeowners.

Our mutual commitment for sustainability transcends the idea that a home is just a home. In helping families live better and healthier, we believe homeowners should have a choice when it comes to choosing to live more sustainably. With solar powering a new home, homeowners can rest easy and live greener.

At SunStreet, every home in our new home communities are solar-powered, including those built by Thrive Home Builders and a variety of the other builders we partner with. Want to learn more about SunStreet’s solar standard communities? Check out our “Solar Standard Since the Beginning” blog to learn how we’ve been transforming new home communities with solar energy, one community at a time.

Solar Standard Since the Beginning

With residential solar gaining momentum, especially in California, home builders are focusing on the new Title 24 solar requirements.

Last year, the California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted the first standards in requiring solar systems on all new homes in California. With the newly passed mandate, it is expected that the homebuilding industry will begin seeing an influx in new home solar communities – homes built with solar as a standard, community-wide feature.

We’ve made it our goal to service home builders to implement solar into their new home communities and we take pride in being the Builder’s Solar Company. We partner with home builders to create new home communities powered by the sun, to deliver energy solutions with no upfront cost. With our solar-ready, new home communities we help to build a brighter future, not only for our environment, but homeowners alike.

With 20,000+ activated homes in over 10 states, SunStreet currently works with more than a dozen home builders (and counting!) and operates in over 350 new communities across the U.S. With our 6+ years of experience in new home solar, we’ve perfected our process of making solar implementation as simple as possible allowing us to keep construction timelines on schedule. Furthermore, SunStreet was built by home builders for home builders, so your teams can be assured that they are receiving expert knowledge and field support from our dedicated on-site field managers, solar advisors, and activation technicians.

Having a home powered by a SunStreet system allows homeowners to monitor, utilize and enjoy the benefits of clean, solar energy in their everyday lives, not only to live better, but greener. With SunStreet, homebuyers also have the peace of mind knowing that their solar program won’t impact their credit or ability to qualify for a new home.

Be sure to check out our blog, “3 Things You Should Consider When Choosing a Solar Provider” for tips on how to choose a solar provider for your next new home community project.

Satisfy the Title 24 solar requirement when you build with SunStreet – where solar, is standard.

SunStreet Gives Back: Working Together to End Hunger

In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, SunStreet partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County to deliver non-perishable foods and personal care items to those in need.

Nearly 301,000 people in Orange County are at risk from hunger, so once again we made it our mission to help our neighboring communities. SunStreet’s Irvine office team donated over 519 pounds of food and personal care items to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

Second Harvest is the largest nonprofit hunger relief organization in Orange County leading the fight to end hunger. We are happy to be part of this remarkable movement supporting over 250,000 people each month. That’s equivalent to 25.1 million meals for the hungry just this year!

Special thanks to our Associates who supported the food drive and for providing nourishment to hungry families across Orange County. For more info on how you can get involved, please visit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County or Feeding America.

SunStreet’s Team of Experts Keep Timelines on Schedule One Community at a Time

With 2020 quickly approaching, your company is probably looking into the most efficient way of integrating solar in a new home construction timeline. Even if you already work with a solar provider, now is the best time to review your options!

With a background in homebuilding, SunStreet’s team of experts have created a highly-effective streamlined operations process that easily fits into any new home construction process.

We call it our “One Community at a Time” approach.

Our Process

SunStreet ensures that each project has a dedicated team of experts that handle every aspect of the installation timeline – one community at a time.

We kick off our streamlined operations process with our in-house design experts. They   evaluate each community individually, ensuring that each home has the most effective solar design. By carefully evaluating each individual home, our design team is able to optimize the panel layout to ensure the necessary production of energy per home without over-producing.

After customizing the design, we turn things over to our Scheduling Team. Since we have a background in homebuilding, we know the importance of keeping things on schedule. Our team works closely with your company, making sure all roofing and installation scheduling goes hand-in-hand with your construction timeline.

Next, comes the sale!

Personalized Marketing  

According to research released by the California Energy Commission, 78% of California homebuyers perceive a home builder who builds homes with solar electric systems as a green builder who cares about the environment. When you build with SunStreet, we make sure your sales and marketing team is well-equipped with the necessary tools to not only effectively sell homes with solar but also position your company as a leading environmental-friendly builder.

Our Customer Commitment

After the home has been sold, our Customer Care team takes care of everything for your homeowners – it’s all part of our Signature Service. From activation scheduling to monitoring, our dedicated team is with the homeowner every step of the way, making sure they understand the program, the lifestyle benefits, and what to expect with seasonal changes.

How is solar production monitored?

SunStreet’s Monitoring Team oversees the entire network of homes equipped with SunStreet systems, helping to ensure every system is working properly. If your homeowners would like to keep track of their production, they can download an easy to use mobile app to monitor their panels’ performance.

What if something breaks?

SunStreet offers a 20-year warranty on the solar panels and a 25-year warranty on the microinverters with the help of our partner CertainTeed, a leading building materials manufacturer. SunStreet uses CertainTeed’s Solstice™ solar system, which is backed by one of the strongest warranties in the industry – which covers not just the solar equipment, but also the workmanship on the installation of the system.  In addition, SunStreet and CertainTeed work closely together to quickly resolve warranty claims, getting the system back up and running with no out-of-pocket costs to the owner.

With our “One Community at a Time” approach, SunStreet ensures that each project is handled carefully by a personalized team of experts in both homebuilding and solar.


3 Things to Consider When Choosing A Solar Provider

As you may have already heard, California’s energy commission made history on May 9th when it unanimously adopted a measure making solar panels mandatory on all new homes starting Jan 1, 2020. This decision is historic – making the golden state the first to implement such a measure. But, this measure poses a challenge to California homebuilders, your company will need to choose a solar provider sooner than expected!

Because SunStreet’s entire business was built to serve new home builders and their customers, and has completed more than 15,000 solar installations on new homes, we’ve decided to highlight three of the most critical things to consider when choosing a solar provider for your business.

1. Their background in homebuilding

Some solar providers boast their extensive product lines, ranging from new home solar to retrofit. Unfortunately, the fact that a solar provider has vast experience in the retrofit business does not mean that solar provider is an expert in new home solar construction. Solar providers with a stronger background in retrofit could have a hard time dealing with tight new home construction timelines. And, not having a streamlined operations process dedicated just to new home solar could complicate the closing process and slow down a home’s purchase. Going with a solar provider with a stronger background in new home solar construction could make this whole process smoother.  That’s why teaming up with a solar provider with a strong background in new home solar construction could be critical to your success.

2. Their Solar Training & Education

Despite all of the benefits that come with solar, selling a home with solar without a proper understanding of it, can be a real challenge. And while your team of sales consultants is trained to sell any home, their job would be a lot easier if they had the necessary training and marketing material to aid them in their sale. Some solar providers might provide live training for your sales team while others will ensure that you have educational resources on hand. At SunStreet, we do both! Our Marketing & Training team ensures that your team is equipped with the right resources to help you sell your homes with ease.

3. Their Product Warranty

These are just three of the many things to consider when picking a solar provider. If you’d like to get more guidance on picking the right solar provider or learn more about how SunStreet can help your business, simply contact us here.

SunStreet Presents ‘Power To The Planet’ 2018

On April 22nd, SunStreet celebrated it’s first annual Earth Day event, Power to the Planet, in the Orange County Great Park. During this event, we shared our story and mission statement to the local community. We also shared the environmental benefits of new home solar living through our digital learning experience.

To go along with the learning experience, our guests received cool eco-friendly freebies to take home like SunStreet solar chargers and water bottles. One lucky winner even scored a high-tech SunStreet bike!

In case you missed out, here are some of the fun facts we shared throughout the learning experience:


  • Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth – 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.
  • Solar energy systems do not produce air pollutants or carbon dioxide.
  • Solar energy systems on buildings have minimal effects on the environment.


  • If Americans living within the 5 miles of their workplace rode a bike to work just one day a week, it would save almost five million tons of pollution every year.
  • A San Francisco Bay Area study found that increasing biking and walking from 4 to 24 minutes a day on average would reduce cardiovascular disease and diabetes by 14% and decrease GHGF by 14%. 
  • If 20% of schoolchildren living within two miles of school were to bike or walk instead, it would prevent 356,000 tons of C02 from being released.


  • It takes about 8 minutes for light from the Sun to reach our planet.
  • In the past 50 years, humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history.
  • Earth was formed somewhere around 4.54 billion years ago and is currently the only known planet to support life – and lots of it.