8 Questions to Ask a Solar Installer Before Hiring
When you’re ready to go solar, the process is exciting! But it can also be overwhelming if you aren’t sure where to start.
The first step is deciding which type of solar energy system works for your home and your budget. After that, you need to find a qualified solar installer to get the ball rolling on your project.
Of course, not every solar installer will be a fit for your specific needs, budget, and goals. So, how do you narrow down your options?
Here’s our guide to some key questions to ask a solar panel installer while you’re shopping around.
1. How Long Will It Take to Install Solar Panels?
It is important to ask the installer several questions to ensure that the end result meets your expectations. One of the most important questions to ask is how long will it take to install the solar panels.
It is essential to have this information to be able to plan for the project. Your installer can provide a general timeline of the installation process, along with an estimate as to how long it will take for permits, ordering of materials, installation, testing, and final approval and inspection.
2. Will the Panels Be On-Grid or Off-Grid?
One of the most important is whether the chosen installer plans to install on-grid or off-grid panels. On-grid panels are connected to the local power grid and there is a two way exchange of power between the panels and grid. This may result in excess power being fed back onto the grid.
Off-grid panels are completely independent from the grid and are not supplied with electricity from the grid, meaning any generated power needs to be used within the location it is installed. Knowing the answer to this question is important to understand how a system will work and how much maintenance might be necessary.
It’s also worth what kind of benefits or incentives may exist for each setup, either from the government or utility companies. Make sure to ask any potential solar installers about their plans for on-grid or off-grid panels before signing a contract.
3. What Will Be the Inverter Type?
When you are ready to hire a solar installer, it is important to ask them about the type of inverter that will be used. Inverters are the most important part of any solar power system, as they convert DC electrical current produced by solar panels into AC current, which is used to power your home. Ask the installer what brands and models they will use to make sure they are highly rated and reliable.
4. Where Will Solar Panels Be Placed?
One important question to ask is where the solar panels will be placed. You need to consider both aesthetic and practical concerns when deciding on the exact location. A professional solar installer should be able to give suggestions for the most efficient placement for your specific home and climate. The ideal orientation and tilt of the panels will be dictated by the sun’s peak availability in your region.
The installer should also consider safety issues, including weighing the cost of regular roof maintenance with the potential risks of mounting panels on a roof. With the right choice of placement for the solar panels, you can maximize your energy return on investment.
5. How Much Power Will I Need for the Panels?
One of the most important questions to ask a solar installer before hiring is, “How much power will I need for the panels?” This will help you determine what type and size of solar panel system is best suited for your needs, as well as estimating the cost of the system and installation.
The installer should be able to assess your energy needs, including the size of your home, typical daily electricity use, and other factors, and provide recommendations for an appropriately sized panel system.
6. How Much Will It Cost to Install Solar Equipment?
It is important to ask the solar installer what the total cost will be to install the solar equipment. This should include all labor costs, costs associated with added equipment, parts and other items needed for the job, and any taxes, permits, etc. that will be associated with the installation. Be sure to inquire about available discounts and financing options, including any applicable incentives.
From the total cost of the project to any available discounts and warranties, understanding all the details associated with the installation is important in making the best decision and getting the most for your money.
7. What Goes Into Your Pricing Model?
Prior to hiring a solar installer, it is important to get an understanding of the pricing structure. Ask questions to find what goes into their pricing model.
Some questions you can ask include, what type of warranty do you offer? What type of materials do you use and how long is the warranty for these materials? How long does the installation process typically take? What type of customer support can I expect after the installation is complete? Will there be any added fees? Can you get references from past clients?
These are all important questions that can give you an understanding of the pricing model the solar installer uses and gain a better understanding of the customer experience you can expect.
8. Who Will Do the Installation?
Make sure to find out who will be performing the actual installation, as these individuals will be knowledgeable about the technology and process. Ask if they are certified solar installers with experience in this type of work, as well as if they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance in case of injury.
Ask if the solar installer from Blue Raven Solar has any certifications or associations that recognize their ability, such as a NABCEP certification.
Find the Best Solar Installer
It is important to ask your solar installer the right questions before making any hiring decisions. This will ensure you are getting the best value and quality. A knowledgeable solar installer can really make or break your solar experience, so take the time to find the right one.
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