Tips For Going Solar: Reading The Fine Print
The main mistake consumers make is that they do not read all the details of their solar installation agreement, and if an issue arises, they typically have no recourse. It is important that you have the time to look over each detail and understand what are your and the Solar Company’s obligations during and after installation. If a salesperson makes a promise to you, be sure you get it in writing, authorized by the Solar Company’s management.
Do not be afraid to ask the tough questions; going solar is not a decision to be taken lightly. Savings tens of thousands of dollars compared to only a few hundred makes an enormous impact on whether going solar makes sense for you. If you feel like you are caught in a contract that is wrong for you, remember, in Arizona you can cancel your agreement up to three days before any installation has begun. Solar Topps has helped many homeowners get a better value on their solar project and assist in cancelling, without penalty, their existing agreement with other solar installers.
Here are some of the key questions to consider when reviewing your solar agreement:
What brand of panels, inverters and/or storage devices will be installed?
Sometimes solar companies choose to offer systems at the lowest price possible because they think that is all the customer cares about. Unfortunately, this typically means they are using equipment Solar Topps considers inferior and will cost you more in the long term, which no customer really wants. Knowing the type of panels, inverters or battery storage devices is crucial. See if there are any clauses that will allow the installer to change (or modify) the equipment to be used on your home. This could happen because of something simple, such as inventory or supply issues, but if it can happen, be sure you have the right to know and approve the substitution beforehand.
What warranties are provided with the system?
It is always important to know what warranties you are receiving. Manufacturers’ warranties can vary between 5 years and 25 years. It is important to get the specifications on each of the products that are going to be installed and understand the warranty terms. Does the warranty just cover parts, or parts and labor? What are the reasons a warranty may not be honored? For instance, some panel manufacturers will not warranty your solar panels if they are damaged by golf balls or a hailstorm. Likewise, it is important to know what warranties the solar company is providing to you, especially regarding any roof penetrations they make and their workmanship. Make sure you know how long these are for, how to exercise your rights if something is needed, and what recourse you may have if an issue arises (more on this below).
Is there a Power Production Chart?
Any trustworthy and knowledgeable installer will stand behind their work. The best way to do this is by showing you a Power Production Chart. This chart will show you what the anticipated energy production of the system will be over the years. Each year a solar panel is in operation its power output will decrease slightly, so it’s important to know how much energy you expect your system to produce in the first year of its operation and over the course of the warranty period, which is typically 25 years. As a general check, you can determine what the right size system for your home will be with the easy to use PV Watts Calculator.
Who will repair the system if there is an issue?
Although there are no moving parts to a solar system and most system components are designed to operate without fail, problems can happen. Any system performance issues directly translate into money lost. If you choose to go with a solar installer who hires a third-party contractor to install your system, it could delay how long it takes to repair your system in the event of a malfunction. In many instances, such companies use multiple subcontractors to work on your system, so it can be difficult to guarantee a quality installation or resolution for your system concern. The solar agreement should clearly detail what to do and who to contact in case of a system issue. A trustworthy installer works to minimize or eliminate any downtime you experience.
At Solar Topps, we maintain a fully stocked warehouse with all essential components that are used by our highly trained service technicians when on your site assessing any concern. This helps resolve any issues quickly, keep your system running longer and your electric bills lower.
As solar increases in popularity, more homeowners are starting to make the switch and save on their energy bills. But what are the best ways to save the most money? While every homeowner’s journey is different, there are still some key universal ways to get the best system for your home.
Since 2009, Solar Topps has helped thousands of homeowners go solar without regrets and we are happy to share some of the key factors we have noted over the years that make for a better solar experience. See some of our additional articles from the list below.
Always remember that you are not alone in this process. Whether Solar Topps is your installer of choice or you decide to go with someone else, we want you to get the best value possible. Feel free to call, text or chat online for a free, no obligation conversation. We look forward to helping you go solar, without regrets.