Questions you should ask your solar company before signing a contract

Francisco CastroJune 5, 201917140

What you should ask your solar installer before signing the contract?

If you’re in the market looking to put solar panels on your property to power your home, you have plenty of questions to ask the solar company you pick to do the installation. 

These questions should provide you with a guide for understanding the value of the products they’re offering and whether it’s right for you and also what to expect once your photovoltaic (PV) modules start generating power.

The more questions you ask, the better it will be to make an informed decision not only on whether the company you choose satisfies your needs, but also how much you can expect to save on your electric bill and when you can expect to recuperate the investment you’re making in going solar.

Here are some questions you definitely need to ask before signing anything. 

How much will it cost?

If you’re looking to purchase the home solar energy system with cash or finance it with a loan, you’d want to know what the initial investment is. Knowing the costs of solar panels and other equipment in your array will help you determine whether it’s something you can pay on your own, with a credit card or will need outside funds.

An easy way to do this - and be better prepared - is to access the Hahasmart price checker. Simply provide your address and monthly electric costs and you will get an estimated price of the panels and inverter - the most expensive parts of a solar energy system. They’ll also provide you with an estimate for the cost of installation based on thousands of completed solar projects in your area. All you have to do is provide your address and your average monthly utility bill.

They’ll even provide you with an estimated buyback period, the point where the electricity savings cover the purchase of your residential solar panels and your system becomes free.

In addition, they’ll connect you with their installer network to get your residence equipped with solar power as possible.  

What are the savings?

More than any other reason, people make the switch to solar energy to save on their ever-increasing electric bill. We live in a connected world, where we constantly need to power our electronics, so a safe, reliable and cheap source of energy is all the more necessary. 

In that regard, whether you’re purchasing the domestic solar power system or you have decided a solar lease or power purchase agreement (with no initial cost of installation) is right for you, you’d want to know the savings you can expect through the lifespan of the array or the contract you sign with the leasing/PPA company. 

Ask for detailed accounts of how much of your electricity you can expect to get from the solar array and how that will translate in how much energy you won’t be getting from the utility. 

If you’re leasing the panels, ask how much the payments will be and what is the annual escalating cost. In general, solar leases and PPAs include an interest that goes up every year, which can drastically affect your savings down the line. 

Before you sign any solar lease or PPA, review every word of the contract, seek legal advice if you are unsure of a term. Also, we recommend you ask if your monthly rate per kilowatt hour, or monthly charge to lease the panels, increases automatically every year? What will happen if you, or your heirs, want to sell your house? How can you get out of the contract and what could it cost? And f you encounter a problem, can you sue the company?

Once you have the answers to these inquiries, you’d know exactly what are the parameters of the agreement. The idea is to avoid nasty surprises down the line. 

Licenses and insurances

And in order to avoid other problems, you want to make sure the company you hire to do the job actually knows what it’s doing. To safeguard this, ask about their licenses and certifications, as well as their insurance, and check that they are active and in good standing. 

It’s also good to ask if they design and install the systems themselves or do they subcontract to local companies? If they do use subcontractors, are the subcontractors licensed and have they undergone background checks?

And also whether there will be a master electrician on-site when the system is installed? (There should be.)

A positive answer to these questions will assure you that they are a reputable company, with experience and that they will be able to complete the project on time and as specified. 

It will also help in dealing with the municipality and utility company, since they often require solar installers to be fully licensed before emitting permits and permission to turn on your solar array.

Your solar installer should also be able to explain all the warranties associated with your solar panels, inverter and other equipment in your solar power system. While the components of a solar array are very reliable and almost maintenance-free for upwards of 25+ years, you still want to know who to call and what is the process should a problem arise.

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