Going solar is definitely an option many homeowners are considering today. Solar energy offers plenty of benefits to you, the major one being huge savings on energy bills. Once you have decided to go solar and determined your equipment as well as financing options, the next step is to contract a reliable installation company to do the rest. This step is very crucial considering that solar is a huge investment and if done wrong, can cause you major troubles ahead. So, when hiring a solar installation contractor, make sure to ask the following critical questions.
1. Are you licensed and insured?
Make sure to ask the contractor if he is licensed and insured to work in your state or locality. Ask for their license number and if possible run it with your local authorities to check if it’s legit. This will also help you to verify their credentials and check whether they are certified by NABCEP. Ask them if they are insured to guarantee that they are fully covered in the event of an accident or damage to your home during the installation process. If they are uninsured, you will be liable for their injuries as the homeowner.
2. Can you get the permits for solar installation in my home?
An experienced company should be able to acquire permits to have your home installed with solar power easily. Ask the contractor whether they can get these permits. Remember, your local municipality has the last say on whether you system should be connected to the electrical grid. If your installation doesn’t meet the local building code, you will be forced to undertake costly modifications to it before it is approved for connection to the electrical grid.
3. What is your installation quote?
This may look like a no-brainer, but it is really important to ask. Ask the contractor to give you all the costs likely to be incurred on the installation upfront. Is this the total? Are there any other hidden fees? How do we complete the payment? Is it half upfront? Total upfront? Or all at once? You need to be clear with the installer from start about payments to avoid breach of contract in the end.
4. How do you protect my roof against leaks?
Ask the company about the hardware they use to mount the solar panels on your roof. Is it seal watertight? Does it have a negative effect on the roof? Will it withstand wear and tear over the life of the panels? And most importantly, ask them if they are responsible for repairing any damage on your roof as a result of their installation work.
5. Do you offer services and product warranties?
Although most solar energy systems will survive well in their 25-35 year lifespan without calling for any maintenance, you should question your installer about their warranty services. Ask them if they have a warranty to cover the solar hardware if you purchased it from them. Also ask them how long their workmanship guarantee covers. Some firms will give you a year’s warranty while others will push it even up to 10 years. The longer it is the better for you. Also ask them what happens if the system does not give as much power as promised. Do you offer a performance guarantee?
With these questions in mind, you are well on your way to hiring the best solar installation professionals in your locality. Don’t gamble with your large solar investment. And remember, never sacrifice quality for cheap!