What Questions Should You Ask Solar Companies?
January 29, 2024 | Reading Time: 9 minutes
It’s essential to ask a variety of questions to solar companies before deciding to transition to solar. To ensure you’re making the most informed choices, try to touch on multiple aspects of the company, their procedures, and the solar industry in general.
Questions to Ask Solar Companies Before Deciding to Go Solar
Are you experienced in solar installation?
This is one of the most important questions to ask a potential solar installer. There are thousands of solar companies in New England alone, some are less reputable than others. It’s essential to work with a trust-worthy, high-rated company who has proven to provide top-notch service for years leading up to your installation. Working with a knowledgable and experienced installer will give you the best chance at a smooth installation and greatest return on your solar investment.
Additional Questions to Ask:
Are you licensed to install solar?
Do you file for permits before installing the system?
Are you insured to install solar?
Do you have references?
Can you provide customer testimonials?
How many installations have you done so far?
Am I good candidate for solar?
Not every home is suited for solar. Factors like roof design, integrity, geographic location, and shadiness can impact whether solar makes sense for a home.
A company who is looking to make a quick buck will have no hesitation in approving your home for solar, while a company who is truly looking to help homeowners and efficiently increase sources of renewable energy for the betterment of the planet would facilitate a site audit of your property and conduct the Total Solar Resource Fraction (TSRF) test.
The TSRF test is an efficiency rating for properties considering solar. This rating showcases how efficient a solar system would be if added to the property. It takes into account the structure and integrity of the roof, average daily sun exposure, and shading from nearby trees. Ethical solar companies will not install a solar system on a home that scores less than an 80% rating on the TSRF test.
What are your solar energy plans?
It’s best to know your payment plan options before deciding to work with a solar company. Three major payment plans (leasing, loan, and cash purchase) are common throughout the solar industry but their specifications may vary from company to company.
Additional Questions to Ask:
Do you offer a prepaid lease option?
Do you offer PPA, Flex PPA, or prepaid PPA options?
Which bank will provide my loan?
What are the terms and interest rates for solar loans?
How is the price of the solar system calculated?
Are there any discounts for full upfront payments?
How much money down does each plan require?
Do you offer financing options?
Familiarize yourself with your financing options before committing to go solar to ensure your plan is straight-forward and affordable. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a contract or hit with unexpected cancellation fees. A transparent solar company should be able to clearly state your financing specifications and answer any questions you have.
How much does solar cost?
There is certainly a wide price range for solar systems. This is mostly dependent on the system’s size and the quality of solar equipment used. Well-versed solar companies should have experience installing a variety of systems but it’s helpful to know the cost of the average system they install to give you a better idea of a potential price point.
Are there available incentives?
Incentives, tax credits, and rebates can significantly decrease the cost of a solar energy system. Be sure to ask your installer which incentives you qualify for.
Additional Questions to Ask:
How do I apply for solar incentives or do you (the solar installer) apply to them for me?
Do I qualify for the 30% federal tax credit?
What incentives are available in my area? (Massachusetts, Rhode Island)
If I install batteries do I qualify for the ConnectedSolutions incentive?
How can I track my system’s production and incentive earnings?
How long does installation take?
Getting a gage on installation day is important to adequately prepare your home (and potentially your neighbors) for your incoming solar panels.
Efficient solar installers should be able to install most systems in one or two days. Unless you system is extremely large or extreme weather delays the process, an install estimate greater than two days should raise some concern.
Are there any warranties for solar panels or equipment?
Asking about solar panel or equipment warranties before agreeing to work with a solar company is essential to ensuring your system and your wallet is protected for decades.
Most solar panels offer a 25 year warranty and other solar equipment, like inverters, offer a 10 year warranty.
How long does it take to activate the solar system?
Getting an idea of the timeline from the day you sign your contract to the day your system will be activated is the best way to manage your expectations and make sure you’re on the same page as your solar installer.
In many cases, the entire solar installation process can range from three to six months.
What kind of solar panels and other equipment do you use?
Learning about the specific solar equipment a solar company uses will allow you to conduct your own research and ensure your installer is using high quality, long-lasting materials that work at maximum efficiency.
The More You Know…
The best solar companies understand the importance of transparency and customer education. They will eagerly and thoroughly answer all your questions, leaving no stone unturned. By the end of your consultation, you should feel fully informed and comfortable with the process ahead. Remember, a solar company’s willingness to engage with your queries and concerns is not just a sign of their expertise, but also of their commitment to your satisfaction and the success of your solar journey.
At Isaksen Solar, we guarantee to guide you through every step and only move onto the next when you’re ready. We strive to provide the best customer service humanly possible and we are happy to discuss any aspect of the process until you’re 100% confident in our company. Give us a call, (508) 717-3820, or request your free quote.