Solar energy is a flourishing industry. Since 2010, solar has grown an average of 42% a year. It’s understandable that there are now more new home solar installation companies than ever and all are claiming to be the best.
That can make picking one for your home solar project intimidating. This is likely one of your most valuable home improvement projects so you need to be 100% sure that you’re picking the right installer.
Here are six important questions to ask during your search for the most qualified solar installer:
- What type of solar panels will be installed? There is an array of hardware used in a home solar system, including: solar panels, inverters, wiring and cables. Many companies use components made by different manufacturers without knowing how they’ll work together to generate electricity on your rooftop. A home solar system should last for 25 years or longer. The equipment needs to work seamlessly as one complete system. SunPower by Solar Technologies is a SunPower Master Dealer, so we exclusively sell SunPower solar equipment because we trust their quality. These systems have been designed and engineered by one company to ensure that all the parts operate harmoniously.
- How long has the company installed solar?
Experience matters in the solar industry. Your crew will work with heavy equipment on one of the most important areas of your home: the roof. They also will add new electrical equipment so your system can bring electricity to your home. It’s crucial that they’ve been well-trained and have an exquisite safety record. You also want to make sure they are licensed, certified and insured so check their credentials (solar, electric and general contractors licenses). Quality installers have staff that are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Subcontractors are commonly used but that can lead to issues, so ask if your installer hires subcontractors. Reviewing credentials of the lead company isn’t as helpful if it’s outsourcing the work. You can simplify the process by choosing a company that will manage your entire project.With 20 years in the business, the SunPower by Solar Technologies team of 55 solar experts has the experience you want to complete your solar project. And we’re ranked among the Top 80 solar installers in the country.
- Can the solar installer design a system and a financing package that saves you money?
If your roof is often in the shade due to trees or other obstructions, your solar installer should be able to create a system that maximizes the most amount of sun for your system. It’s never fun when an installer tells a homeowner they have to pay to have trees trimmed or cut down. Since many homeowners don’t have the time to do research about solar rebates or tax incentives, you’ll also want an installer who can handle this task. An experienced advisor will help you complete any required applications and will be familiar with the latest solar incentives, such as the 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit. (See tip No. 5 for more about solar incentives.)
- What type of solar warranty is included?
Many shoppers overlook this important question and while choosing quality solar equipment means you may never need your solar warranty, you’ll still want to protect your purchase. SunPower’s 25-year warranty covers power AND production. It’s all-inclusive, so you don’t have to hunt down multiple warranties from different manufacturers. Questions to ask include:
- What’s covered under the product warranty? What’s the time frame for it?
- What’s covered under the power warranty? How long is it for?
- Will you have to pay for shipping and labor to replace failed components?
- What’s covered for the installation?
- If the installer is out-of-business, what happens?
- What if your system doesn’t generate enough energy for your home?
- What are the financing options?
Solar financing options vary. Look into available options (cash, lease or loan) to see how competing solar quotes measure up and make sure you ask about all loan packages and terms. Avoid companies that promote one financing choice because they could be incentivized by the financier and that might not be right for you situation.Some other ways that going solar can influence your finances include local incentives. Does your city, county or utility offer any cash back for use of renewables such as solar? Can your solar installer explain how the Federal Investment Tax reduces your tax bill based on the cost of your solar system?
- How is system performance tracked?
Smartphone monitoring apps can let you track your solar panel performance 24/7. Watch your system save (or even earn) you money and learn about its positive impact on the environment based on how it reduces your carbon footprint.SunPower gives homeowners the mySunPower™ app, which lets homeowners review and manage their solar energy generation, consumption and battery storage settings. It offers features including: storage system controls, live power flow and in-app alerts about system status, connectivity and weather.
Ready to learn more? Contact us for more information by filling out this form or feel free to give us a call at (831) 200-8763.