Going solar is not an easy decision, for most this can potentially be one of the most expensive investments you can make in your lifetime, after buying a house and a car.
There are many questions you need to ask yourself before going solar, but also there are some questions that you need to ask your solar installer, in this post, I am going to share with you 20 questions to ask a solar company.
1: How long have you been in business?
This is a great question to ask the company which is going to install your solar panels, it will tell you how long they have been in the business. This will show you if the company has experience in this area or if they are just getting started.
If the company is new it does not mean that it will do a bad job, it can be a new company with a lot of people who have been doing this long time.
2: How many solar systems have you installed?
Knowing how many solar systems the company has installed will give you insight into how they work if the company has been in the industry for 10 years (first question) and they installed just 100 solar systems, that means 10 systems per year and that is less than 1 system installed per month, this is not a good sign.
3: Are you certified, licensed, bonded, and insured?
You should only sign a contract with solar panels that are certified, this means they went through the training and they have the ability to handle solar projects.
Also, I will recommend asking if the company is bonded and insured, first, this shows that they are here for the long term and in case of anything going wrong there is some kind of insurance.
4. What is your business license number?
You should be dealing only with registered businesses when it comes to solar, again this might be one of the most expensive investments you can make, you need to make sure that it is with a good and reliable company. How you can trust them if they do not have a license for their business?
5. Can you share references of at least three satisfied customers?
If you’re not their first customer ( you shouldn’t), they should be able to show you at least three customers who are satisfied with their work, if they can not show this, run.
Also, you can such for reviews about that company on Youtube to find out if anyone has a problem with them, in my opinion very few people will take time in the day to make a negative video about a company if you find many videos that talking about negative experiences, run.
6. How much experience do you have working with my local utility company?
Each utility company has a different set of rules and requirements for solar panel system installation if the solar installer has experience working with your utility company it is an added bonus and it will accelerate things.
7. Do you subcontract work on your systems, and if so, how do you ensure your subcontractors do a good job?
Most solar energy companies do not install solar panels themselves, you need to make sure that in case they hire a subcontractor, at least they can guarantee the quality of the job.
8. How will I be able to monitor the solar energy my system generates?
The solar company should make sure that you can monitor the solar energy your system generates, most solar companies will give you a phone or web application that you can use to monitor solar energy produced, and some will teach you how to read a meter.
9. What happens if the solar panels don’t produce as much energy as you claim?
Due to wrong calculations or bad installation, sometimes the solar panel system will not produce the amount of energy that was promised during the signing of the contract. A good solar company should be able to give you some kind of guarantee.
10. How long will my contract with the utility company last?
If you are going to have a grid-tied system, you will have a contract with your utility company, you need to know how long that contract will be and the terms of the contract.
11. What happens if I need my solar panels removed to have work done on my roof?
If you’re installing on the roof, there is a chance that at some point that roof will need some rework, what will happen then with the solar panels? you need to ask this upfront in order to avoid future disputes if you can get that in writing even better.
12. What if a solar panel fails due to a manufacturing defect or breaks because of a storm or other natural disaster?
Most solar manufacturers will give you a warranty for their panels, the issue is with the solar installer, will they change them for free if this happens? how about in case of a natural disaster? you should ask your solar installer before signing a contract with them.
13. What if I want to add additional panels to my installation? What about a battery?
There is a chance that you might need to add more panels to your system in the future, will this void the warranty? they will do it for you? Does the same contract apply or you will need to sign a new one? you need to ask these questions.
14. What happens if I move while still paying off the panels?
In the future, you might sell your house or move away, what will happen to the solar panels? what will happen to your contract? is the contract transferable?
15. Will the system meet local building and fire codes?
Solar panels can cause fire, the question is, does the system to be installed meet local building and fire codes? if it does not, it is time to find a new installer.
16. How long will be between the time I sign the contract until installation?
How long will be between the time you sign the contract until installation? the answer will give you a time frame to prepare yourself for the transition from using your grid electricity and solar energy.
And if the answer does not match your planning, you can speak to your solar company to change it or find another company that can meet your time frame.
17. How long will the installation take?
You need to ask your solar company how long it will take them to install solar panels at your home, depending on the size of the system to be installed, they should be able to give you an estimation on how long it takes.
18. Do I need to be home during the entire installation?
Some solar companies will want someone to be home during installation, it is their policy, and some don’t, in order to be sure you should ask your solar company.
19. How much money is due upfront? When are other payments due?
This is a very important question, how much money do you need to pay upfront? and when are other payments due? what will happen if the payment is late? you need to know this in order to avoid surprises in the future.
20. What is the minimum amount of panels needed to install a solar system?
Most solar panel installers will require you to install a minimum amount of solar panels, this is because there are many costs associated to acquire permissions and other administrative costs, so if you need just to install a couple of panels probably they will say no. This is one of the questions to ask a solar company before moving forward with the project.
That is it, those are 20 questions to ask a solar company before agreeing to a contract to install your solar panels in your home. Thank you for reading.