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  • Writer's pictureHaleigh Shutt

Navigating the Landscape of Notice of Completions (NOCs): Why NOCs are Critical in Solar Projects

Solar Installation

According to the Solar Energies Industry Association (SEIA), Q1 2023 marked the best first quarter in the industry’s history, installing “6.1 gigawatts-direct current (GWdc) of capacity in the first quarter of 2023, a 47% increase from Q1 2022 and a 19% decrease from Q4 2022.” This was probably partially due to federal policy such as the solar Investment Tax Credit as well as pandemic-related and supply chain-related delayed utility-scale solar projects coming online.

Despite the success of the US solar market this year, navigating the landscape of solar projects can be complex and confusing. The regulations surrounding solar come with their own set of challenges. Is solar a building project? An energy project? A land development project? This article will delve into the importance of NOCs in solar projects, explaining why they are required, how they contribute to project efficiency, the potential consequences of not recording them, and how to ensure accurate and prompt recording of NOCs, helping to keep solar projects compliant and efficient.

What is a Notice of Completion (NOC)?

A Notice of Completion (NOC) is an official certificate that signifies the completion of a solar project and serves as crucial documentation for solar engineering firms, solar installers, and utility companies. It provides a seal of approval, ensuring that all necessary requirements have been met and the project is compliant with regulations.

Why NOCs are critical in solar projects

NOCs play a vital role in ensuring proper payment, legal protection, avoiding business interruption issues, and providing proof of compliance with environmental regulations.

  1. NOCs provide financial protection

NOCs protect against unexpected costs and delays. Once recorded, these notices serve as evidence that the project has met all the necessary requirements and can be considered complete. This eliminates any ambiguity, allows for timely payment, and minimizes the risk of costly disputes or project setbacks. 

  1. NOCs provide legal protection

Legal protection is another key advantage of recording NOCs. By officially documenting the completion of the solar project, companies can protect themselves from potential liability claims. This provides peace of mind and safeguards against costly aftermath issues that could potentially arise.

  1. NOCs improve efficiency and project management and help avoid business interruption issues

By formally acknowledging project completion, all parties involved can clearly understand the current status and progress of the project. This facilitates effective communication and coordination, ultimately enhancing project efficiency. 

  1. Recording NOCs demonstrates consideration for ESG impacts

As solar projects aim to harness and promote green energy sources, it is essential to adhere to environmental regulations. NOCs serve as an official record of compliance, reinforcing a company's commitment to sustainable governance practices.

The process of recording a NOC

To record a NOC, companies must document the completion of the project and submit the required forms to authorities. A NOC includes essential information about the project, such as its location, size, and any modifications or improvements made. It also includes details about the responsible parties involved in the project. Other relevant documents may need to be submitted, such as photographs or inspection reports, to further validate that the project has been completed as intended and is in compliance with all relevant regulations. Then, the NOC must be submitted to authorities (usually done at the state level) and all stakeholders and contractors involved. 

Consequences of not recording a NOC 

Not recording a NOC upon completion of a solar project can have serious consequences for all parties involved.

  1. Financial consequences

Without a recorded NOC, the project may not be officially recognized as completed, resulting in delays in project completion. This can have a ripple effect on subsequent projects, causing a domino effect of delays and potential financial losses. Furthermore, the absence of a recorded NOC can increase costs as it may result in additional inspections, rework, or documentation requirements. This can significantly impact the financial viability of the project and strain the resources of solar engineering firms, installers, and utility companies.

  1. Legal consequences 

Failing to fulfill contractual obligations by not submitting the required NOC can lead to legal liabilities and potential disputes. Without an official acknowledgement of completion, stakeholders may face difficulties in accessing financial incentives, permits, or other regulatory approvals. A NOC can also establish a deadline for submission of potential lien claims from contractors working on the project. Lack of documentation may hinder the smooth operation and future growth of solar projects. 

How Energyscape Renewables assists in recording NOCs

It’s well established that, in the world of solar, permitting and legal requirements can create long project development timelines. EnergyScape Renewable’s broad nationwide presence and licenses in all 50 states enables us to easily  liaise with municipalities all over the U.S. and ensure you’re following regulations and submitting proper documentation. We aim to enable our solar installation partners to easily fulfill their obligations and streamline NOC recording. 

Contact us today to see how our full-service design and consulting services can help your solar project! 

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