“I’m Thinking About Getting Solar For My Home. What Do I Need To Know?”
With the explosion of affordable solar options for personal use in residential homes has come a whole new set of problems: fly-by-night companies, poor technical support, bad installations, and under-performing systems. We see these kinds of cases regularly now, but there are things that you can do to protect yourself, and there ARE good companies with good products out there.
- Investigate the reputation of the company. See if others have had a good experience with the company. This is true both for installation AND service. Find out if the company stands by their guarantees and warranties.
- Beware of companies that want to sell you a cheaper product than competitors by giving you less panels. This will often leave you with an insufficient system for your needs.
- Get any guarantees in writing. Some companies will promise you that the panels they are giving you will power your whole house. If you do not get this guarantee in writing, it is meaningless. The same goes for promises of adding panels if needed. These kinds of promises are unfortunately common, particularly as more companies enter the business and it gets more competitive.
- Ask if the company uses sub-contractors for installing the panels or their own employees.
- Do NOT allow any work to start until you have a signed contract. Many companies back-date contracts after the work has begun, at which time you have little control over what you are signing because it is too late to back out.
- A reputable company will not be afraid to put any guarantees or promises they make to you in writing. This will often separate claims and promises just to make a sale from actual guarantees.
- Keep all of your documents, from start to finish, in a file in case you need them later.
- Make sure you understand how to monitor your electricity usage and the technical side of having solar panels tied into a utility grid.
Like all contracts, solar contracts must be entered into with care. Compare prices and plans, and beware of high-pressure sales techniques. A good company is happy to stand behind its product and isn’t afraid to give you time to make comparisons or think about your decision.