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Questions to Ask a Solar Installer or Contractor

Before choosing an installer or contractor, consumers should ask the right questions and verify some information so they can make an informed decision.

Questions to Ask

  1. What payment options do you offer?
  2. Do you handle paperwork for federal and state incentives?
  3. Do you offer packaged systems or any incentives to help lower my costs?
  4. What financial assumptions regarding utility costs were used when determining life-cycle benefits of the installation?
  5. What assumptions regarding tax credits and production curves were used in determining life-cycle benefits of the installation?
  6. What assumptions on continuation and terms of net energy metering were used in determining life-cycle benefits of the installation?
  7. How many years have you been in business?
  8. What experience do you have in this area?
  9. What installations have you completed in my community?
  10. How many installations have you done that are similar to the one I am planning?
  11. Can you provide a portfolio or a list of recent projects, as well as two to three references for me to contact? Do you specialize in residential or commercial installations?
  12. What products and services do you offer?
  13. With which products are you most familiar?
  14. Why do you recommend these products for my installation?
  15. How do they compare to other products/technologies?
  16. Are they UL listed (tested by Underwriters Laboratories and certified to meet stringent safety standards) with warranties?
  17. Will my roof be strong enough for the increased loads or will I need a structural upgrade?
  18. Can you provide information on any special zoning permits and/or code requirements for my neighborhood? Local zoning laws may restrict where consumers can place solar panels on their home. Check with the local city and county to find out about any restrictions. Homeowners will need to obtain any building or other local permits required before installation. Typically, the installer will assist consumers in obtaining permits and clearance from the city.
  19. Do you have the appropriate permits and licenses? Do you have any special certifications?
  20. Are you a member of any solar trade organization, such as the Solar Energy Industries AssociationCarolinas Clean Energy Business Association, or South Carolina Solar Council?
  21. What type of insurance do you carry?
  22. Do you have any pending or active judgments against you?
  23. Will the installation withstand hurricane force winds and hail?

Information to Verify