If you have decided to install solar panels on your property, you may be wondering what questions to ask a solar panel installer. The whole world has gone solar power crazy. It’s one thing that you can do for your home to reduce your carbon footprint and save yourself money on energy costs each year.But how do you choose a reputable and trustworthy solar vendor to install panels on your property? This can be a daunting task as their are hundreds of them in your area that advertise as being the best. We are here to help you and uncover the top 9 questions to ask a solar panel installer.
1) What Is The Quality Of Solar Panels You Install?
The most important thing you should be looking at when choosing an installer is the quality of their panels. Choosing something cheap and flimsy means you won’t get the best returns on energy You may have to replace them within just a few years’ time. While it could cost more in the short term to get something higher quality, it will be well worth the investment down the line.
Some solar installers offer more than one brand or style, and each will come with their own level of quality. The two main types of solar panels are poly-Si and Si, with both styles having their own pros and cons. A reliable solar panel contractor should be able to answer any questions you have about their benefits to your home and possible downfalls.
2) What Size Of Area Would You Recommend?
You might already have an idea of where you’d like your solar panels but a good installer can show you what’s recommended. The more panels you have doesn’t necessarily mean the more power they will create. This is largely a result of the quality and type of cells used but their are other considerations. Where your panels are located is also important as some parts of the roof will be in line with the desired sunlight. Consider options that solar installers recommend carefully as it is not a simple formula. They should consider:
- Your home energy usage patterns
- The pitch and orientation of your roof and a shade analysis
- The surplus energy you’ll export to the grid
- How much the utility you use will charge for electricity
3) Will You Inspect My Roof?
You might not think of this but the condition of your roof is very important prior to solar panel installation. Depending on it’s condition, you may need to replace or repair your roof. It is worthwhile to ask the solar panel installer to inspect your roof as they are providing you a quote for the job.
4) How Much Do You Charge and What Are Your Financing Options?
Make sure this is one of your questions to ask a solar panel installer. What options do you offer to finance a new solar system? After the solar installer visits your home and measures up the area, they should be able to provide you with a quote. Some might have a few options available to reach different budgets, and others will just supply the one type of panels and inverters. If you’re unable to come up with the full cost upfront, some might offer financing options such as interest-free loans or fixed payments that can allow you to get the installation done now and pay for it later.
5) What Are Your Panel And Inverter Warranties?
All quality solar panels and the inverters that come with them should be backed up by a solid warranty. A good warranty period includes a performance warranty on the power output . It can be up to 25 years, so look for this when choosing your preferred installer. Be sure to look closely at what the warranty period covers, specifically the equipment, as there should be repairs of silicon cells included. These cells can be measured to see their output and when they fall below a certain percentage they will be liable for replacement under warranty.
6) What Is Your Experience, Certifications, and Licensing?
The Northern Board of Certified Energy Practitioners covers solar installment in the United States and is responsible for certifying work done by a solar installer. When choosing a qualified installer, ensure that they have been certified by this board. By doing so, you can ensure the installer meets strict requirements. A quick check on the Better Business Bureau can also give you an idea of a company’s credibility. Be sure to run their name through this website as well.
You’ll also want to make sure they are licensed, insured and bonded to protect yourself and your property. Make sure you ask if the solar installer utilizes subcontractors to do your installation. Some companies outsource specific tasks and sometimes this can mean subpar work. You want to make sure you have experts doing your entire installation. If the solar vendor does subcontract, make sure they will stand by the work.
7) Can You Supply Referrals?
The easiest way to find out about your proposed solar installer is to do some research on their reputation and experience. The internet has opened the doors for how we give and receive reviews on businesses these days. Be cautious about believing everything you read. Weigh the positive and negative reviews.
If your neighbors have solar panels it might be best to speak to them directly about who they used. Ask if they recommend them. Otherwise, a quick search online could lead you to more information about a brand’s reputation. Any installer with multiple reviews that seem legitimate will be a good indication of their work. Make sure you ask them for referrals that you can then verify.
8) What Happens If My Situation Changes?
Keep in mind that your solar needs may change in the future. Perhaps you add an addition to your home and you need a larger solar system. You’ll want to ask how they can install something that allows for expansion.
Also, if you end up relocating and moving out of your home, you’ll want to make sure your solar panel lease is transferrable or that the system can be removed.
9) What Can I Expect During Installation and After?
It is a good idea to clearly understand how long the installation will take, who will be installing it, what equipment they will use, and more. The more details you know, the better. Ask about weather and other unforeseen events that may impact installation. Determine how to use your system after installation and customer service for future questions and issues. Use your site visit as an opportunity to ask questions to make sure you are comfortable moving forward.
A Smart Investment For Any Home
Now you know what questions to ask a solar panel installer. Solar panels are a big investment so don’t jump straight in and book the nearest solar contractor near you. Be sure that you’ve had all of your questions answered before you go ahead with the work. With all of this background information, you’ll be in the best possible position for how to choose a solar contractor. You”ll save yourself time and money on getting quality panels installed.