Questions to Ask a Solar Installer

Making an investment in solar is no small task, so it’s important to be fully informed on all aspects of the process before taking the plunge. To help you get started, here are some crucial questions to consider asking a potential solar company when comparing options.

1. What type of system do you recommend for my home?

Typically, companies will most likely recommend a grid-tied solar panel system, grid-tied with energy storage, or off grid. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each.

Homeowners often opt for grid-tied solar panel systems since it allows them to take advantage of the sun’s energy when available, as well as draw from their electricity grid whenever needed. With this setup, you can also earn credits on your utility bill by selling excess power that adds up meaningfully in savings over time.

If a reliable backup is desired during outages or interruptions in service however, investing in a system with battery storage may be most suitable – though more expensive than just going off-grid alone.

Those seeking a reliable, renewable energy source for essential health or safety needs might consider going off-grid. While it’s the most expensive option with fewer incentives available than other systems, an off-grid solar system provides peace of mind and independence from power grids.

2. How long will my solar panels last?

On average, you can expect your solar panels to have a lifespan of 25-30 years. Most installers would claim the system is less practical once it reaches 80% of its original production quality. You’ll want to get a clear answer on this for committing to make sure the company’s average is aligned with your expectations.

3. What will be the inverter type?

With solar power, your appliances won’t be able to use the same electricity that comes directly from the panels. That’s because home devices typically operate on AC while a panel produces DC energy – which means you’ll need an inverter for conversion purposes! You have two main options when it comes to selecting this important component of any solar system: micro-inverters and central or string inverters. Educate yourself about each one with your installer so you can make an informed decision.

4. How much will it cost to install the equipment?

Investing in solar power for your home can be a wise decision, but it’s important to understand the costs associated with installation. Prices range from $17k – 32k depending on factors such as your house size, energy consumption and panel type. To get the best deal possible you should always compare quotes between three different companies before making any decisions.

5. What factors contribute to overall cost?

In line with the total cost, it’s important to understand exactly where these numbers are coming from. Ask for an itemized breakdown including equipment and the cost of labor to compare with other options in the space.

6. How long have they been in business?

Unfortunately, not all companies are reputable and experienced. To make sure the job is done right, dig into their years in business and number of successful installations to help determine if they can provide a quality set up.

7. How long will the installation process take?

To ensure a successful installation, it’s important to ask questions about the project timeline and process. A reliable installer should be able to detail each step in advance so you can stay informed during any potential delays or challenges that may arise along the way.

8. Can you provide references?

One way to determine credibility of a company is to ask for references or referrals. If they take pride in their previous work, there should be no problem getting access to these. Ask around your family and friends as well for any trusted recommendations, and online resources they can provide of their work are a good starting point as well.

9. What problems have other homeowners had with their solar equipment, if any?

It’s crucial to have the full picture of specific issues you could potentially run into with solar, and the process for solving them. Along with testimonials from customers on the positives of their solar system, it’s worth asking about any roadblocks to be aware of before fully committing.

10. Is my roof right for solar?

It’s beneficial to consider your roof before installing a solar system. A qualified contractor will need to inspect the condition of your roof and determine whether it can adequately support the panels. For example, if there are any repairs that must be made then these should take place prior to installation in order for you not risk leaks when it rains due to drilling holes from putting up racks! Asking what materials and equipment is being used will help guarantee an optimal result so don’t forget about this important step!

11. Can you calculate my projected savings?

Understand the financial benefits of going solar: potential installers can provide estimates to help you compare a cash purchase versus loan financing. This information will give insight into your future energy bill savings, as well as expected monthly payments should you decide on making this investment.

12. What financing options are available?

Shopping for a new product is exciting, but selecting the right financing options can be just as important. Make sure to investigate any incentives and rebates offered by your chosen company so that you can find an option that best fits into your budget!

13. What kinds of maintenance packages or warranties are available?

Understanding maintenance packages, warranty coverage, and post-installation support from your solar installer is crucial for ensuring long-term performance and cost management of your solar system. Solar panels typically last 25 years or more, while inverters last around 10-15 years.
Different maintenance packages, ranging from basic monitoring to comprehensive service plans, help you anticipate future upkeep costs. Additionally, clarifying warranty details for panels, inverters, and installation work ensures coverage against defects and performance issues, providing peace of mind. Finally, knowing the extent of post-installation support indicates the installer’s commitment to resolving issues and maintaining system efficiency, enhancing overall customer satisfaction.

14. When will my system pay for itself?

When you buy or finance a solar energy system through a trusted installer, they can project when your system will reach a break-even point. This milestone signifies when the amount you’ve saved on utility bills by generating your own solar power equals the initial cost of the system. At this stage, your solar system has effectively “paid for itself” through avoided utility energy expenses.

15. How can I track my solar panel performance?

Tracking solar panel performance allows homeowners to ensure their system is operating efficiently, identify any potential issues early on, and maximize the return on their solar investment by optimizing energy production. Many solar installations come with built-in monitoring systems that provide real-time data on energy production. These systems can often be accessed via a web portal or a smartphone app.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, asking the right questions when selecting a solar installer can make a significant difference in your solar experience. By understanding the installer’s qualifications, warranties, financing options, and installation timelines, you ensure a smooth transition to solar energy. Ready to harness the power of the sun? Get connected with local solar installers today to start your journey towards clean, renewable energy and significant savings on your electricity bills.

Additional Solar Resources