CALEXICO – Due to the high increase of homeowners installing solar panels without proper inspections, procedures and approvals from the Imperial Irrigation District, the city of Calexico has established a protocol that must be followed prior to issuing city permits for solar installations.
“I don’t know how private solar companies are installing solar panels without proper permits from the Imperial Irrigation District (IID),” said Mayor Joong S. Kim. “I don’t know how they convince the people to get the contract without those kinds of commitments.”
According to Kim, companies are installing solar panels that exceed the maximum megawatts authorized by IID resulting in the district not allowing customers to connect to the power company’s grid.
“Lots of people have installed solar panels and cannot connect to the IID,” Kim said.
Calexico resident Syliva Bernal, who is currently in the process of installing solar panels in her home, shared with the board the procedures she has taken prior to the installation.
“You must first contact the IID who will go to your house and measure, and make a complete profile and determine if your house is fit for solar panels,” said Bernal. “If you do qualify, they will then give the solar company who you have chosen the authorization for installation.”
Kim said it is his job to keep residents informed prior to homeowners making any decisions.
“Installing solar panels made sense and unfortunately a lot of people bought them from companies who came from other counties, not knowing the proper procedures,” commented Councilman Armando Real.
According to Ralph Morales, Calexico building manager, Calexico has established a procedure that must be followed to mitigate this problem.
“When private solar panel companies submit an application to install solar panels in a home, the city will issue a permit. However, that permit must be submitted to IID for their review and approval,” said Morales. “Upon the IID’s approval, a letter will be issued by the IID that must be brought back to the city. We will then inspect the home and contact the IID advising the panels have been installed and are ready to be connected on their grid.”
Calexico residents can expect to receive information on proper procedures for solar panel installations with their water bill mailings.