For homeowners considering the move to clean, renewable energy, a lot of questions about solar may come up. From panels to transformers, the amount of information about solar you could learn is mind-boggling.
Knowing which questions to ask through the process is crucial to making the right decision. But just like purchasing your home, solar is an investment, and one that you’ll want to do some proper research for.
To help you make the right decision in your move to solar, we’ve compiled a few key questions you should always ask when considering a solar installation company and ensure you’ll be working with someone reputable, reliable, and knowledgeable:
1. Is my roof right for solar?
A reputable and knowledgeable solar company will be able to walk you through the different ways your specific roof, surrounding trees, and other features on your property will impact installing a solar system and future power generation.
For instance, Purelight Power provides a free consultation and personalized design based on your roof, surrounding shade trees, and power usage to help you understand why and how a solar system is set up. Before any work begins, your solar installer should be able and willing to talk through the aspects of your system, and answer any questions you have about the design, installation process, and concerns about your roof.
Some specific questions to ask to touch on might be:
- if your type of roof (material, slope) works;
- how the location of your home and any shade cast by trees or other buildings will impact power generation;
- if your roof needs to be replaced;
- and whether the electrical system your home has will work with solar as is.
Asking these questions about solar early on is important, and helps you avoid an issue later on where you need an expensive update or repair even prior to finishing your solar installation.
2. How much will you pay upfront?
Solar is an investment, and despite solar now being less expensive than dirty energy like oil and coal, the cost to install solar can still be prohibitive. Being able to get a clear answer about how much you’ll be paying upfront is important to avoid any financial issues later, and allow you to plan for every stage of the project.
You’ll also want to know if the solar company works to help you qualify for any state or federal tax incentives that can lower the overall cost and help you recoup the cost of your system. If not, you’ll need to do your own research into any incentive programs available in your area, and the requirements to qualify.
With over 700 customers served in just 2021 alone, Purelight Power has seen firsthand how our Zero Down, Zero Out of Pocket program allows homeowners to go solar. Because we recognize that the upfront cost is often the main obstacle for homeowners going solar, we work to wipe out your power bill and replace it with a lower, stable monthly payment.
Not only do you save money immediately, but you go from renting your power to owning it, all while building equity in your home. Coupled with our support for qualifying for state and federal tax incentives, Purelight Power’s program is regularly the most affordable option available to homeowners in Oregon, Iowa, and Montana.
3. Does the installer have a strong and positive reputation within the local community?
With solar growing as an industry, it’s likely that there are multiple providers in your area to consider. Anytime an industry starts seeing a lot of growth, there’s an unfortunate risk of inexperienced or dishonest businesses. One way to guarantee you’ll be working with a reputable solar installer is to check out their reviews.
When reading reviews, keep in mind if the reviews are from community members in your area, positive, and from actual people (sadly fake and bought reviews are a growing problem). Checking across multiple platforms such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, SolarReviews, and of course Better Business Bureau can help you to see how consistently happy (or not) customers are with a given company’s work.
A company like Purelight Power that has solid 5 star ratings across the sites mentioned above, and actively responds to reviews and concerns, shows a consistent level of trust and commitment to quality.
4. Do they use subcontractors to install the solar system?
An important but often overlooked question to ask any possible solar installation company is whether or not they use subcontractors for the installation process, or for any future repairs. If the solar installer has amazing reviews, a great financing program, and installs a quality product but outsources the actual work done on your roof, there could be an issue.
Subcontractors can be great to work with. But because they’re not in-house employees, the solar installation company might not be willing or able to respond directly to any complaints or concerns.
In-house teams mean you only have to keep track of one company to contact with questions, scheduling, requests for any repairs, or to discuss if anything happens that you’re concerned about. As the solar installation industry grows, many companies looking to expand might do so with subcontractors instead of setting up an actual office and professional staff located in your community.
As part of Purelight Power’s guarantee of quality work, we have offices located in each community we work in, with local, expert staff available to help you.
5. What happens if my solar system doesn’t perform as discussed, there is a problem with the installation, the panel gets damaged, etc.?
For most homeowners, installing a solar system will be the second largest investment they make after the investment of buying their home. Just like you protect your home with a warranty and insurance, your solar system should come with certain guarantees and warranties, as well as local support.
At Purelight Power, we include a 25 year Performance Guarantee, 20 year Panel Warranty, and a 10 year Workmanship Guarantee standard. Given that most newer solar panels are rated to last at least 25 years, you’ll want any warranties to take that into account and provide support and protection for at least that period of time.
If something happens and you do need support and repairs, your best bet is a company with a local team so there is a person who can come help you onsite, to avoid the runaround from subcontractors.
The decision to make the change to more environmentally friendly and cost-effective power for your home doesn’t have to feel daunting. Asking a few key questions about solar and knowing what an answer from a reputable, quality company looks like can help you as you navigate the process from start to finish.
For homeowners in Oregon, Iowa, and Montana, going solar doesn’t have to be stressful. Going with a reputable and local company like Purelight Power that offers a zero down program provides savings and peace of mind.