Going solar is a big decision. Regardless of who you choose as your solar provider, it’s crucial to ask the hard and pressing questions when receiving an estimate for your home. The answers to these questions are huge factors in determining which company (or manufacturer) is the right fit for you and your family’s needs.
Here at SunPower by Hooked on Solar, we are committed to ensuring each homeowner is equipped with the information they need to make these decisions. Here are four of the most important questions you should ask when receiving an estimate for your solar system.
“Does your company use in-house installation teams, or do you outsource your installs?”
While outsourcing is appropriate in some cases, it’s more common for larger mistakes to occur when multiple hands are touching a single system. In most cases, liability is placed on the homeowner if a subcontractor is injured during an installation, and in worse cases, the subcontractor may not be insured. When talking with an Energy Consultant or solar installer, be sure to confirm who will be on your roof, and what services you will be responsible for if something goes wrong.
“What percent of my utility bill will this solar system offset, and what will my remaining monthly electricity charges be with the local utility company?”
Often called a “True-Up” bill, it’s important to ask the Energy Consultant what kind of charges and credits you should expect after your solar system is up and running. A True-Up bill is sent to your home by your utility company after you have used your solar system for a full 12-month cycle. This bill will outline your total credits and charges over the course of the year, depending on your usage and the wattage of your system.
When you are going through the estimate process with your Energy Consultant, be sure to mention any future household or lifestyle changes you may experience in the years to come. This could be an additional person moving into the home, adding a pool or hot tub, buying an electric car and more. Be sure to also outline any shading issues that may occur around the home, such as large trees or additional structures. These factors will all affect your solar system production.
“What brand of panels and equipment will you be installing, and what are the warranties for each?”
While some solar companies are dedicated to installing a single brand of solar panels, there are many solar contractors that will install multiple brands. Make sure you ask not only what brand of solar panels you will be purchasing, but also what brand of microinverter and racking they will be using. Some local companies will use multiple brands and products to try and cut costs, which could prove to be an issue if you run into any complications with your system.
Be sure you also get the complete warranty for all pieces of the system in writing before you have your solar panels installed on your roof. It’s important to find out what exactly you will be liable for cost-wise if something goes wrong, and what maintenance you are responsible for.
“How many successful solar installations has your company completed?”
You can accurately judge a company’s legitimacy by the number of successful installs it has completed. Be sure to do research and fact-check the number of total installations the company has performed, both in-house and outsourced. If the company is a Certified Dealer of a specific brand or product, you can contact the dealer directly to inquire further about the company and its legitimacy.
There’s a lot of questions and factors that go into purchasing solar, and it can feel overwhelming at times. For more information, fill out the form below and we can answer any questions you may have!