Did you know that in the past year, American homeowners installed enough solar panels to power 22 million homes? Are you ready to join the ranks of millions of other people who’ve made the switch to solar energy?
If so, you might want to pause and assess before signing on the dotted line with a local solar panel installation company. After all, it’s helpful to know exactly what kind of services they offer and the quality of work they’re known for. Not sure what to ask when choosing a solar panel contractor?
From discussing electrical codes to asking about pricing and installation costs, keep reading for our top tips on what questions you should ask when considering hiring a solar installation company.
Benefits of Hiring a Solar Panel Installation Company
You might have seen other people installing their solar panels. And sure, you can try your hand at DIY solar panel installation, but unless you’ve done this type of work before, we recommend hiring a solar panel contractor.
Professionals who specialize in solar panel installation will have the experience and skill to complete a job correctly and safely. Reputable companies will also be up-to-date on the newest technologies and regulations. This means they’ll make sure your system is compliant and works as best as possible.
Furthermore, hiring a pro could save you money in the long run because they won’t make any costly installation errors.
6 Questions to Ask a Solar Installation Company
With the above benefits in mind, you might be thinking that you’re ready to work with the top-rated solar company in your area. But before anybody starts installing solar panels, you’ll want to vet the company. Doing so will ensure they offer quality, compliant services (that others can vouch for).
Here are six great questions to ask about solar panels and installation services as you compare local companies.
What Types of Solar Products Do You Offer?
To start, the most important question you need to ask them is about the types of solar products and services they offer. Solar companies can provide many types of solutions for homeowners. From traditional solar panels to unique solar shingles, you’ve got a lot of options.
As part of this initial consultation process, don’t hesitate to ask whether the company knows which types of products or services are best suited for your home’s specific needs. Briefly explain your needs and ask about what they’d recommend. This will give you a good idea of their level of knowledge and expertise.
Are you not sure what kinds of services these types of businesses offer? Browse through these helpful services to familiarize yourself beforehand.
Is Your Business NABCEP Certified?
Assuming they offer the services you need, you’ll then want to ask about NABCEP certification. This stands for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
Simply put, NABCEP certification is the gold standard for trained professionals in this industry. It shows that your installer has taken extra care to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge to give you the best service possible.
Overall, NABCEP certifications signify a high level of training and experience, as well as an in-depth understanding of complex industry standards. Is this mandatory? No, it’s not required for a business to operate professionally and legally. However, it’s nice to have.
Do You Understand the Electrical Codes In This State?
With the rise of solar energy, it’s more important than ever to understand the electrical codes in your state. And, any great solar installation company should understand these codes. Without knowledge of the changing rules and regulations, a standard solar installation project could turn into a bigger hassle than necessary.
Not only that, but if they don’t understand local electrical codes, you could find yourself in some trouble down the road. You need to ensure they’ll be able to complete the project properly while adhering to all local laws and requirements. This will prevent you from getting into legal or financial trouble.
Will the Panels Be On-Grid or Off-Grid?
Now that you know a little bit more about the solar panel installation company, it’s time to start talking about the panels themselves. In this case, you’ll want to ask about on-grid vs. off-grid panels. These are currently the two most common types of solar panels.
On-grid solar panels are connected to the public electrical grid, while off-grid panels are standalone and do not connect to an external power source.
On-grid panels allow homeowners to feed potentially unused solar energy back into the public system and sometimes even receive credits on their utility bills in return. Off-grid setups often provide greater cost savings. However, they lack connection to the public grid. So, they require batteries to store excess energy.
No matter what your needs are, it’s important to ask about their plans for your soal panels. This will help you budget for the installation and plan for energy costs.
How Much Power Will the Panels Provide?
Speaking of energy costs, it’s also important to ask about how much power the panels will provide. The amount of power will depend on several factors such as the average daily kWh used in a home. Currently, this is about 29 kilowatt-hours (kWh) each day, or 900 kWh per month.
Your solar provider should provide you with an estimate of how many panels you’ll need based on usage and other factors. Getting this information early on will give you an accurate picture of what to expect in costs and electricity consumption.
How Much Will Installation Cost?
Once you have all the information you need, ask about the total cost of the project. This is perhaps one of the most important questions to ask a solar installation company. Head into this conversation with a good idea of the average cost of solar panel installation, though.
Currently, the national average cost is $26,083, but it can go as low as $4,500 for smaller homes. Why is there such a big difference between those two numbers?
Installation costs vary significantly depending on the type of solar panels chosen, the size of the house, and usage needs. Since it’s difficult for most people to estimate solar installation costs accurately on their own, getting quotes from at least three companies is a must before settling on a decision.
Learn About Other Technology Trends
Whether you decide to work with a solar panel installation company or not, it’s helpful to stay up to date on technology trends and other green news.
Check out the rest of our blog to read about new technology trends for 2023.