So you’re interested in making the plunge. Now what?
The better prepared you are for a solar panel professional and a solar consultation, the more efficient and helpful the visit will be. Here’s a helpful list of important questions to ask when you talk to your solar professional.
Question 1: How ideal is my house for solar energy?
This is the most important question because, if your house isn’t great for solar, you don’t want to waste your time with it. A good solar contractor will be able to tell you where and when you’ll be getting ideal sunlight on your panels. They usually won’t cover your whole roof with solar panels, but rather the most ideal spots you’ll be getting the most sunlight. Ask for a written estimate on how much you’ll be saving vs. any cost installing the solar panels.
Question 2: What kind of solar panels and inverters will be put up?
This is a good question to ask your solar panel professional in order to see which solar company is offering the latest technology. Ask them about why they use the brand and type of panel they use. If you’re buying the panels outright, ask how long it’s going to take for the panels to pay for themselves. Also, talk about which inverters are going to be best for your home. Will they control one panel at a time or the whole system overall? Usually one-panel control is more efficient than whole-system control inverters.
Question 3: What are my best financing options?
You’re in luck. There are multiple financing options for going solar now. Leasing, loans, power purchase agreements, and purchasing the panels outright. The right option for you depends on your situation and how much money you can save with each one. Leasing and PPA are great if you want no-cost solar installation and small monthly payments. Solar loans might be better if you’re going for home improvement. Purchasing solar panels offer the best saving even though they cost more upfront. Thanks to tax incentives, purchasing solar panels is more affordable than ever.
Question 4: What kind of warranty and monitoring do you offer?
Warranties and monitoring vary by financing option. With leasing and PPA you usually get lifetime warranties, free monitoring, and the solar company will come and fix anything wrong with the system at no-cost to you. Solar loans and purchasing will have different warranties and you may be the one that has to do the monitoring. Everyone’s situation is different, so ask the solar panel professional what might be the best option for your financial situation.
Question 5: Referrals?
Ask the solar panel professional about why their company is the best. What do they offer that no one else does? It’s good to see what they highlight about themselves. Do your own online research. See what everyone is saying about their customer service and trustworthiness. Solar is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Websites like Solar Visit can help connect you to the best deals and best solar company for your unique situation.
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Q: Are all solar panels black?
A: Solar panels are actually usually a very dark blue. Some are black. And researchers are finding new ways to create different colors (while maintaining efficiency) to cater to those worried about aesthetics.
Q: Are free solar panels really free?
A: Free solar panels usually means the PPA program (Power Purchase Agreement). The PPA allows homeowners to get solar panels installed for $0 down. The homeowner does not own the solar panels, the solar company does. Essentially the homeowner rents the solar panels for a reduced electricity rate.