Going solar is a sizable investment, but one 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 a lot of 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 off 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?
Just 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'e pushing one option over the other, it's likely they're getting a kick-back of some sort. 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 you can make an informed decision. 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 HOA's have unique requirements of their own. Your solar installer should be knowledgeable about all the specific requirements in your area. They should inspire confidence that they will handle this part of the process for you with ease and in a timely manner. 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 a number of 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 in need of repairs in order to safely support a solar array? A reputable solar installer will schedule a site visit and perform a shade analysis in person, which greatly helps to optimize the design and avoid any complications.
5. Will my roof’s integrity be compromised?
After your system is installed, 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. Make sure your installer also 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 making the switch 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. If you aren't quite ready for a quote, you can download our complimentary whitepaper: Is Solar Right for You?