What to Ask Your Solar Installer.
If you have been wondering what to ask your solar installer, here are 5 questions that you won’t want to skip. We have collected some smart questions that people shopping for solar need to know about before approaching a solar contractor.
- “What size system will save me the most money?”
Sizing your solar system is more complex than simply taking a look at your electric bills and choosing a set of panels that will produce enough electricity to match your home’s usage.
The solar company rep first needs to collect the following information:
Your average monthly energy usage and daily patterns
The tilt angle and azimuth of your roof
Any surplus amount of energy you’ll be exporting to the grid
Which utility company you use, how much they charge for electricity, and their net metering rate.
This data is necessary to accurately calculate the ideal solar system to match your needs. A solar professional must determine the ideal size array for your home before they can create a financial forecast based on those findings. At OE Solar we leverage cutting edge software and real-time imaging technology so that every array we produce is backed by accurate, data-based decisions. It’s recommended to steer clear of any installer who claims sizing your system is just a simple calculation or who tells you how much you’ll save without first doing their research on your particular needs. If you want to know more, our team can calculate your potential solar savings.
- “What is your license number, and are you insured and bonded?“
It’s critical that the solar installation company you hire has received a license from the county/city and state in which they are working. The contractor should be insured and bonded, as well.
Also, it’s a good idea to ask who will actually be working on your home. Will it be a contractor with the solar company, or do they subcontract the work? If a subcontractor will be handling your job, you’ll need to do the extra legwork to make sure that they’re licensed, insured, and experienced, too.
- “What warranty do you offer and how many years of industry experience do you have?”
One way to ensure that your solar array will stand the test of time is to know your system and the warranties behind it. Installers that are confident in their work will back your solar investment with a craftsmanship warranty. When you ask about warranties it’s a good idea to also ask about the years of experience that the company has. This helps to gauge whether or not the company has a reliable history for that warranty to fall back on.
You want your solar system install performed by professionals who are confident enough in their electrical skills to back it on paper. You also want to make sure the company will still be around years from now in case you ever need to call on that warranty. If an installer is not prepared to offer a craftsmanship warranty that should be a red flag.
- “Will you be inspecting my roof before the install?”
A trained solar contractor will need to physically inspect your roof in great detail to ensure it’s suitable for a safe solar installation. The overall condition of your roof is meticulously examined and things like age, shape, and what it’s made out of are all taken into consideration.
Different roofs require different racking, these are the supports put in place to hold your solar panels. It is important to keep in mind that holes are drilled into your roof when the contractor installs certain types of solar panel supporting racks. For homes with flat roofs, it’s important that a ballast rack is used which uses calculated counterweights instead of drilled holes. Make sure you ask what type of materials and equipment will be used to support your solar panels. A great installer sees a variety of roofs every day and will be able to tell you in great depth why and how your systems racking is best suited for your roof type.
- “What if my solar system doesn’t generate as much energy as anticipated?”
If a solar installer promises that your system will produce a specific amount of energy, be sure to ask what protocol is in place if the system efficiency falls short of expectations. Is there protection for you if the system doesn’t produce as designed? Quality solar installers that are designing systems correctly won’t have an issue with underperformance, however, if there isn’t a plan in place or you don’t get a direct answer- that’s definitely something to take note of.
We recommend asking your solar installer what to expect in this situation before you have an issue.
As a full-service solar EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) our team doesn’t subcontract any part of our installation processes. We are happy give you the details you want about any and every step in your install process. Regardless if you are hoping to install 6 solar panels or 6,000 our systems are designed, built, and maintained by an in house team of experts that are prepared and standing by to answer all of these questions and more.
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