So you’re ready to go solar, you’ve done your research, and now it’s time to talk to a solar contractor. Before jumping into signing anything, it’s important to make sure you’re asking all the right questions.
How Long Have you Been in the Business?
Your contractor needs to be licensed and insured as a business. Solar panel installation is a complicated and process requiring electrical and construction experience. A good idea would be to ask to see their installer’s certification from the National Board of Certified Energy Practitioners - before letting them install anything on your roof.
What Does Your Warranty Entail and How Long Does this Last?
Typically, warranties last anywhere between 10-25 years. Warranties should cover wiring, roof leaks, and whatever other aspects of the installation process are potentially harmful to your home. If you want more coverage than these, you’ll need to find an installer who can work with you on these needs. Make sure to ask if there is an insurance policy that comes with the system, or if you need to take out additional homeowner’s insurance.
Does the solar lease/PPA payment increase annually? If so, by how much?
Make sure you understand the specifics about the contract you are signing. Is there a fee for breaking the contract early? How will you be compensated if the system does not produce as much power as promised in the contract? Make sure you read the entire contract in full, including the fine print.
How Much Will I Have to Pay Upfront?
There are many different ways of paying the costs for your solar system. You may buy your system outright, everything up-front. You may be able to pay in increments. You may pay through a loan or lease/PPA option. While you save more in the end by paying upfront, it’s always a good idea to ask what your options are.
Other Questions to Consider
- How many warranties are there for the panel system’s parts, and what exactly do they cover?
- Who should I be in contact with if there is an issue with the system?
- Is there a lien put on your property for the system?
- When calculating projected savings over the term of the contract, which utility inflation rate is used to come up with this number?
- Does their warranty also cover roofing?
- If your roof is in need of repair in the future, what are the steps to take for removing and replacing the panels?
We hope that we’ve helped in providing you with some “food for thought” before your first solar consultation. If your company feels comfortable answering these questions, you will feel more comfortable moving forward with them. On the other hand, having a hard time answering basic questions like these are huge red-flags for any home improvement company. Make sure you’ve done your research first.