Going Solar? Ask Your Installer These 5 Questions

Sabrina Lopez
October 1, 2018
4 min read

Going solar is a sizable investment that will deliver countless positive financial and environmental benefits for many decades to come. As with any big financial decision, a solar investment comes with much consideration, research, and questions. Along with doing your due diligence to fully research and vet a qualified local installer, we recommend taking it one step further to get the most bang for your solar buck.

Although every home and family is different, resulting in a wide variety of unique energy profiles, there are some universal questions everyone should ask. To ensure your solar journey starts on the right foot with a qualified solar installer who will be there for you, even after installation is complete, we recommend asking the following questions.

1. What is your reputation like?

A reputable solar installer should have a strong track record of positive customer sentiment. Since solar panels last for decades, it’s also important to choose a company that will be around for the lifetime of your investment. Along with asking this question, this is also an important part of your preliminary research. You can use resources like Angie’s List, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau to help you identify a reputable installer and avoid the bad ones.

2. What payment options do you offer?

Like buying a car, there are many ways to pay for a solar energy system. A reputable installer should take the time to explore all options, from cash to traditional loans and leases. If they're pushing one option over the other, they're likely getting a kickback.  If you’re not sure how you want to pay for your system, a reputable installer should take the time to detail all the options, including current local and federal tax incentives, so that you can make an informed decision. Please don't feel rushed; ask lots of questions, and have them take the time to detail the ROI for each alternative. 

3. How does the permitting process work?

Not all solar energy projects require the same permits, and many cities and HOAs have unique requirements. Your solar installer should know all your area's specific requirements. They should inspire confidence that they will handle this part of the process for you easily and promptly. This step is crucial because your solar energy system will not be able to be turned on and commissioned by your utility if it’s not up to code.

4. How does my roof affect my solar energy output?

Your roof can affect your solar energy production in several ways. Your solar installer should discuss your roof in detail and have the skill to design your solar energy system to work for your roof specifically. What direction does your roof face? What kind of shading does it have? Does it have enough room for the recommended number of panels? Is it structurally sound, or does it need repairs to support a solar array safely? A reputable solar installer will schedule a site visit and perform a shade analysis in person, which greatly helps optimize the design and avoid complications.

5. Will my roof’s integrity be compromised?

After installing your system, your solar installer should confirm that your roof wasn’t damaged during the process. The hardware used to install the system should have watertight seals to protect your home from leaks. Ensure your installer backs their work with a reputable warranty and in-house service team that you can call upon if questions or concerns arise. 

If you’ve been thinking about switching to solar, now is a great time to make the switch! We invite you to contact one of our solar experts for a custom solar quote below. If you aren't ready for a quote,  download our complimentary whitepaper: Is Solar Right for You?