10 Things to Ask Your Home Solar Energy Installer/Salesperson
Once you have decided to take the next step in switching to home solar power after pre-qualification you will be contacted by a local solar company representative. This representative will be either be a sales person or a solar power installer that will come to your home for accurate final assessments and estimates. Below is a list of 10 important questions to ask a solar representative that comes to your home.
1. Are you licensed, bonded and insured?
Does your company have all of the necessary licenses to install home solar power in this area? These licenses may include electrical, solar specific as well as utility company (for grid tie-in). As with any type of home improvement or construction contractor, insurance and bonding is important for your protection.
2. Is my roof right for home solar power?
Part of your pre-qualification process is an advanced satellite analysis of your home roof and its orientation to the sun. One thing that cannot be determined accurately in the online home solar qualification is the actual physical condition of your roof. Ask the solar representative about the condition of your roofing material and the structural integrity of your roof.
3. What is the right type of solar power agreement for me?
Are you choosing a Solar lease, PPA, or Outright Purchase? All options have advantages and disadvantages depending on your location and needs. Once you are to the point of having a solar representative at your home you probably have a general idea of what type of solar program is right for you. Your solar sales person or installer will be able to sort through any remaining questions you may have about the best program for you after a physical inspection of your home. They will also further analyze your current power bills and energy usage to determine the best return on investment for you.
4. What happens if my home solar system doesn’t perform as promised?
If your new home energy system does not perform as promised what recourse do you have?
5. Who takes care of solar building permits and inspections?
As with any construction type project certain permits and inspections are required. Does the solar contractor take care of all of these including fees and scheduling?
6. What is the warranty on my home solar panels?
This question seems like a no-brainer, however, in case of a problem who is responsible for costs that may be incurred in the servicing of any warranty such as labor and shipping? This may be important information when considering the type of solar power plan you ultimately decide on. Warranties can vary depending on whether you own or lease your system.
7. How will I know my system is working?
How is your system monitored and do you receive efficiency reports? This could be important information over the life of your system.
8. How are my solar rebates and incentives handled?
In many areas up to three or more tax incentives and rebates are combined to put solar power on your home for zero out-of-pocket costs. Are you responsible for securing any of these rebates or are the completely handled by your new solar power partner.
9. Do you have home solar installation references?
Always ask for references of completed jobs in your area. Detailed pictures of installations as well as contact information for past customers can really help you when making a decision on which solar power company to enter into a contract with.
10. What, if any, additional costs I may incur over the lifespan of my home solar panels?
Solar power panels carry an average warranty period of 20 years. Ask what if any maintenance costs you might expect, and who is responsible, over the lifetime of your solar power contract. Additional Costs are going to vary depending on whether you lease or purchase a home solar system.
Be An Informed Solar Consumer
This list of 10 questions is designed as a guideline to help you in the process of picking out a solar installation company. It is by no means a “be all – end all” resource. The most important thing for you is to be an informed consumer. Always get at least three estimates from reputable contractors and don’t be badgered by hard sales tactics. Home Solar power is an affordable, renewable and clean energy source that can save you literally thousands of dollars per year.