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The Top Questions to Ask a Solar Energy Contractor Before Starting Your Project


With news of climate change accelerating and more extreme weather, many homeowners are interested in doing their part for the climate to get away from fossil fuels. Because of that, renewable energy has gotten a lot more attention and has become a popular option for many homeowners.

Solar panels stand out as one of the best options available to do this. They cost a lot up front, but they can pay themselves off over time and leave you energy-independent.

But installing solar energy is a complex task, so it pays to have a reliable solar energy contractor to handle the job. Let's look at what to ask a solar professional before hiring them.

Will you help plan my installation?

Planning a solar installation can be a challenging task. You must determine how much wattage your system requires for your home, the correct placement on your roof, the best type of solar technology, potential battery options, and more.

Many people don't want to do that much work and feel more comfortable having an expert design their solar installation. Some situations may be more complex, like a Minnesota residential solar panel installation, where you may get less sun and need a larger installation.

Ask a contractor what the process is like with them and how much they will do to design your solar setup. They should be able to help through every part of the process and leave you with a working solar system.

What are the finances like?

Homeowners deserve to work with solar companies that are transparent about the cost of solar, the financing options available, and how much cash they will save. Unfortunately, some installers may try to sell you the most expensive option, even if there are better choices.

Ask questions about what the finances are like for different situations:

  • What is the total cost?
  • Are there financing options available?
  • What's the payoff period for different solar systems?
  • What are the pros and cons of each option?
  • What are your leasing options?

Questions like this will help you investigate the cost of solar and determine which solar installation makes financial sense for your situation.

What warranties are available?

A reputable solar company usually won't present any problems with an installation. They will come in and out quickly and have solar panels that produce everything you need.

But not all jobs go as smoothly. You can experience installer mistakes, manufacturing defects, and other issues. Because of that, you must determine what warranties are available and what they cover.

There should be coverage for both labor and equipment. Most contractors and manufacturers offer a 10-year warranty for the work. Explore the terms of the warranty and the industry standard to ensure you have coverage for those situations.

Another thing to look for is extended warranties. You may want extra coverage after the initial coverage goes away, so see if extended warranties are an option.

Do you subcontract work?

Some solar companies act as the sales team for solar work. Instead of doing the work themselves, they focus on getting customers and then send the job to other solar contractors.

This practice is common in the home improvement industry and acceptable when it happens. However, you must understand when this will happen if you want to vet the subcontractors hired for the job.

Ask your solar contractor if they do the job in-house or with subcontractors. Get the company's name subcontracted to see how well others rate them.

Are there solar incentives available?

One of the good things about renewable energy is the incentives. The government wants to encourage people to invest in more energy-efficient choices, so it offers incentives to the people who do.

A big way it does this is through tax credits. Many tax rebates are available, both federally and locally, for people who invest in solar power.

However, knowing what incentives are there isn't always easy. Ask your solar contractor which tax credits are available to you. Knowing this will help you understand your true cost of solar panels and whether paying a little more for a better solar panel installation makes sense.

What products do you offer?

An important thing to look for when talking to a solar contractor is the products they offer. There are now many types of panels and several manufacturers. Some of those options may have better ratings than others.

Ask which product lines an installer offers before you hire them. Research the brand to see what other consumers think to determine if it's a smart choice.

You also have products like battery storage. If you want to harness solar energy fully, you can install batteries to run your home after the sun goes down. Ensure your contractor has these products if you want them.

Is power-level monitoring available?

The chances are good that you want to see how your solar panel performs over time. You may not know about issues with your panels if you don't have access to how they perform.

There are monitoring tools available that provide this information. Many providers offer apps that give you insight into a solar installation's daily performance on your phone.

Ask your installer if this is available to you. Once available, you can see how your solar power equipment performs in real-time and how much you save using solar energy.

Hire a solar energy contractor today

Finding the right solar energy contractor is vital for a reliable solar system. You may find a great set of solar panels, but if you hire the wrong contractor to install them, you may get a faulty installation that doesn't meet your needs.

However, there are a few questions you can ask a solar installer before hiring them to verify their ability to do the job. Remember to ask the questions above before you go solar to find the best contractor for the job.

If you have any other home improvement projects coming up, our other articles can help. You can learn everything you need to know to renovate your house or make minor changes successfully. Continue reading to learn more.

What are solar incentives? Home improvement tips, Green living tips, Do solar companies finance installations? What are good questions to ask a solar contractor? Is there a way you can monitor your power level when you have solar panels?


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