Making the switch to solar is a big decision! Purchasing from the right installer is equally as important as the investment you are making. It is important to find an installer that is transparent and informative. If you are new to the world of solar energy, you may not know what questions to ask. We have prepared this list of eight questions that you should ask a solar installation company before hiring. If you are satisfied with your installer’s answers, then get ready to soak up the sun!
- How long have you been in business?
Solar is still a considerably new industry, so it can be difficult to find companies that have been around as long as Exact Solar. However it’s important to ensure that your installer has been in business for at least 4-5 years. That is usually sufficient time for them to have demonstrated a track record of successful installations and happy customers.
- Are you licensed and insured?
Any solar installer should be able to share their Home Improvement Contractor license in your state, as well as their electrical license. They also need to be fully insured. Don’t be afraid to ask for a Certificate of Insurance for proof of their coverage, it’s important! Additionally, don’t forget to ask for a copy of their licenses. That’s the first sign that they might be actually subcontracting out your installation. There are many deceptive sales organizations who position as though they will be your installer, but actually are subcontracting out all of their installation work. This is a red flag!
- Can you provide me with customer reviews, testimonials, references, and examples of your work?
Always take the time to ask your installer for objective references and examples of real projects! Their projects should include solar production and original estimates. Also, check out your installer’s profiles on websites such as Yelp, Angi, Solar Reviews, EnergySage, Facebook, and Google. These websites often provide a variety of useful information, such as project photos and real customer testimonials.
- Who designs your systems and forecasts estimated annual output?
For residential projects, all the design work should be done in-house by the sales and engineering teams working together. If the salesperson seems uninvolved in any of the technical discussions, and the engineering work is done by third-party firms, you are much less likely to get what you want out of the project. It is important to choose an installer that has an experienced team in-house. This will allow you to be directly involved in your scoping and design to ensure an optimal project outcome.
- Are the installers your employees, and do you use subcontractors for any part of the installation?
As previously mentioned, it is crucial to find installers that handle the entire process in-house. This includes sales, installation, and service. Subcontracted work can often be inconsistent, and you may be faced with lack of ownership in the long-term warranty and service support for your installation. Companies that install in-house have the greatest sense of pride in the work and ownership in its long-term performance.
- Can you confirm that my roof is right for home solar power?
A site-survey should always be conducted by an experienced technician prior to signing your solar contract. If the roof is not in acceptable condition, your installer should inform you so that you can address this before adding solar panels. Roof angles, orientation, and shading can significantly impact the actual energy you get from your solar PV system, so the measurements and assumptions characterizing your roof are absolutely critical to producing accurate estimates of annual solar energy production. Quality installers send out experienced technicians with the tools needed to get these measurements accurately. Companies like Exact Solar use a drone with special high-resolution cameras and solar design software so that it’s impossible to get wrong measurements or shade readings, helping to make the production estimates as accurate as possible.
- Who takes care of solar building permits and inspections? Are any associated fees included in the price of the system?
Your installer should handle every aspect of going solar for you, including the interconnection and permitting applications, structural roof evaluations, and all the costs associated. This also includes getting registered for SREC or other performance-based-incentives (depending on your state or region and the types of eligible solar incentives). If your installer doesn’t include these costs and this scope, you’ll be at risk of the project not going the way you expect.
- How much will I save by going solar? Am I eligible for any rebates or incentives?
Any solar proposal should articulate very clearly all the costs associated with adding solar to your home as well as all the different incentives and savings. If your installer hasn’t asked for your utility bill, it means they are showing you an energy savings estimate that might not be accurate or using the right utility tariffs for your region.
The team at Exact Solar is ready to answer these questions for you! We were established in 2005, and are a leading installer of solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar battery systems in PA and NJ. We are a locally-owned and operated business that installs high quality systems using only top-tier solar panels and components, while providing award-winning customer service. Serving all of Southeast PA and most of NJ, Exact Solar is your one-stop shop for all things solar. Let us help you make the switch to solar today!