Top 5 Things To Look For In A Solar Project
2017-08-09
There are, what seem to be, countless solar companies. We are talking at least hundreds and that is just in Southern California. With all these companies you typically dealing with most of the same equipment but the written agreement is what tends to separate the top tier service from the bottom of the bucket. This article dives into the key elements to look for when making the switch. First and foremost is to always read and understand the agreement before signing. You want to make sure that, while they talk the talk, you can be sure they will walk the walk and back up what they say short term and long term.

 

     These tips stem from many years of experience working with multiple industries and companies. I have seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to written agreements. I won’t represent a company that is poorly represented on paper. I wouldn’t feel right offering a product or service to someone that I am not passionate about myslef. I am a huge advocate of clarity and transparency. I wouldn’t expect a customer to sign anything I wouldn't myslef.

 

1. Roof, Home and System Warranty

     Your property is an asset. You want to protect it the same as any other asset that you have. The best way to protect that is by warranties and guarantees offered by the company. If they want to put equipment on your roof or anywhere else on your property, you need some guarantees that protect you.

First, is your roof. Solar panels require mounts which means holes will be drilled into your roof. You need to make sure that the solar company or construction company installing the panels gives you at least a 5 year roof warranty. That will provide ample time to ensure their installation has not caused any issues.

     Second, is the system warranty. Most manufactures will give you a 25 year manufacture warranty. Some inverter companies will also give you a 10 year warranty. Make sure you are getting both a company warranty and a manufacturer warranty.

 

2. Production vs Consumption

     It is very importnt to look at how much electricty you are currently using on an annual basis.  This is the foundation of calculating that you are getting the appropriate amount of electricity from your solar installation.  Take into consideration any future home improvements like roofing, windows, HVAC, or additions to your usage like electric vehicles, pool, spa, etc.  All of these factors affect what your electric needs will be in the future.  This must be assessed and factored in to the size of your solar array in order to ensure your needs will be met both short and long term.  

 

3. Moving Options

     What happens if you move? That is an important question for any property owner. This should be outlined as a simple process. You should be able to easily transfer your solar to the next home owner. That’s the most popular option. There are usually other options like the new owners buying the system outright if not already paid for. Some companies will let you take the system with you, however that is typically not in your best interest. If you paid cash for the system, studies show that, on average, you should get 90% or more of your investment back. Unlike kitchen remodels, for example, you only get roughly 60% of your investment back. That is huge!

 

4. Understanding Your Project Details

     Make sure you know what you are buying. That means all of the above as well as knowing the type and quantity of equipment your are getting, as well as how much the system will be producing. If you know that you use 12,000 kWh a year and are being sold a system that will only produce 9,000 kWh, that will not cover your need and will still leave you owing money to the power company. If they tell you that you won’t have a utility bill, kick them out. You will owe the utility company for that 3,000 kWh. Make sure the numbers add up. Make sure you’re getting the most value. Also, is it a purchase, lease, or PPA? Each program has it's own pros and cons. So make sure you know what you’re paying for and how. 

 

5. If it’s not on paper, it’s not part of the deal

If the consultant says one thing but can’t prove it in the contract, don’t sign it. Verbal agreements don’t hold up. If they tell you all about their warranties and guarantees but can’t show you where it is in the paperwork, don’t sign it. 

My main goal here is to prevent you from doing business that will not serve your priorities and bring you the most long term benefit. Only commit to an agreement that provides for all of your energy conservation wants and needs at a fair price.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you found this helpful, please share with those people you care about. If you’re not looking into solar, or any other form of energy conservation services, pass it on to someone who is. If you have any questions or would like a complimentary energy assessment , message me directly.
CowinSolar Dev
oted to Provide a New Solar Energy Lifestyle.

 

There are, what seem to be, countless solar companies. We are talking at least hundreds and that is just in Southern California. With all these companies you typically dealing with most of the same equipment but the written agreement is what tends to separate the top tier service from the bottom of the bucket. This article dives into the key elements to look for when making the switch. First and foremost is to always read and understand the agreement before signing. You want to make sure that, while they talk the talk, you can be sure they will walk the walk and back up what they say short term and long term.

 

     These tips stem from many years of experience working with multiple industries and companies. I have seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to written agreements. I won’t represent a company that is poorly represented on paper. I wouldn’t feel right offering a product or service to someone that I am not passionate about myslef. I am a huge advocate of clarity and transparency. I wouldn’t expect a customer to sign anything I wouldn't myslef.

 

1. Roof, Home and System Warranty

     Your property is an asset. You want to protect it the same as any other asset that you have. The best way to protect that is by warranties and guarantees offered by the company. If they want to put equipment on your roof or anywhere else on your property, you need some guarantees that protect you.

First, is your roof. Solar panels require mounts which means holes will be drilled into your roof. You need to make sure that the solar company or construction company installing the panels gives you at least a 5 year roof warranty. That will provide ample time to ensure their installation has not caused any issues.

     Second, is the system warranty. Most manufactures will give you a 25 year manufacture warranty. Some inverter companies will also give you a 10 year warranty. Make sure you are getting both a company warranty and a manufacturer warranty.

 

2. Production vs Consumption

     It is very importnt to look at how much electricty you are currently using on an annual basis.  This is the foundation of calculating that you are getting the appropriate amount of electricity from your solar installation.  Take into consideration any future home improvements like roofing, windows, HVAC, or additions to your usage like electric vehicles, pool, spa, etc.  All of these factors affect what your electric needs will be in the future.  This must be assessed and factored in to the size of your solar array in order to ensure your needs will be met both short and long term.  

 

3. Moving Options

     What happens if you move? That is an important question for any property owner. This should be outlined as a simple process. You should be able to easily transfer your solar to the next home owner. That’s the most popular option. There are usually other options like the new owners buying the system outright if not already paid for. Some companies will let you take the system with you, however that is typically not in your best interest. If you paid cash for the system, studies show that, on average, you should get 90% or more of your investment back. Unlike kitchen remodels, for example, you only get roughly 60% of your investment back. That is huge!

 

4. Understanding Your Project Details

     Make sure you know what you are buying. That means all of the above as well as knowing the type and quantity of equipment your are getting, as well as how much the system will be producing. If you know that you use 12,000 kWh a year and are being sold a system that will only produce 9,000 kWh, that will not cover your need and will still leave you owing money to the power company. If they tell you that you won’t have a utility bill, kick them out. You will owe the utility company for that 3,000 kWh. Make sure the numbers add up. Make sure you’re getting the most value. Also, is it a purchase, lease, or PPA? Each program has it's own pros and cons. So make sure you know what you’re paying for and how. 

 

5. If it’s not on paper, it’s not part of the deal

If the consultant says one thing but can’t prove it in the contract, don’t sign it. Verbal agreements don’t hold up. If they tell you all about their warranties and guarantees but can’t show you where it is in the paperwork, don’t sign it. 

My main goal here is to prevent you from doing business that will not serve your priorities and bring you the most long term benefit. Only commit to an agreement that provides for all of your energy conservation wants and needs at a fair price.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you found this helpful, please share with those people you care about. If you’re not looking into solar, or any other form of energy conservation services, pass it on to someone who is. If you have any questions or would like a complimentary energy assessment , message me directly.
CowinSolar Dev
oted to Provide a New Solar Energy Lifestyle.