Do I have a south, east or west-facing roof? If not, do I have property with open space that might accommodate a ground-mounted solar electric system?
Do I know where there is shading on my roof (or on my property) during different times of the day and at different times of year?
Do I want to purchase and own the solar electric system, or do I want to work with a third-party company and either buy the electricity generated with a power purchase agreement or pay a monthly lease payment?
Questions to ask installer
Can you provide references from previous customers with similar systems?
How many similar systems have you installed?
When would you be able to perform the work?
How long will the project take?
What warranties are provided (including workmanship warranty and specific equipment warranties)?
Have you worked with local building officials and utility representatives when installing similar systems in the past?
Do you have a Massachusetts-licensed electrician as part of the project team?
Will you hire subcontractors to complete portions of the project? What firms will you hire and what work will they do?
What kind of training will you provide me with so that I can operate and maintain my system?
Do you offer any financing, or third-party ownership options?
Do you have any financial arrangements with any of the financing option providers you work with and do these include extra charges or fees?
Will you or a partner company be able to assist me in selling the solar energy credits generated by my system?
Purchasing and contracting
Am I comfortable with the installer’s knowledge and experience?
Have I checked how many installations they have done in the region?
Does the installer have credible references?
Is the installer adequately insured to protect me, as well as the company’s employees and subcontractors?
Does the contract include performance specifications for the system being installed, including an estimate of the power that will be produced annually or under different conditions?
Does the installation contract clearly lay out what is included?
Does the proposed payment schedule protect me by allowing payment to be withheld until the system:
- Passes local code inspections
- Receives utility interconnection approval and
- Is shown to be operating properly?
Are all warranties clearly stated with information on how to exercise them?
Does the installer have standard licenses, such as a Home Improvement Contractor or Construction Supervisor License, or any additional industry certification, such as OSHA 40 or NABCEP?
Will the installer be using subcontractors? If so, for which part of the project?
Post-installation and operation
Has the installer tested and activated the system?
Have all necessary inspections occurred?
Has the installer left descriptive materials and equipment operating manuals as reference materials?
Examples of this include a system design and electrical diagram, equipment warranty information, and installer contact information for any future operations or maintenance questions
Upon installation, has the installer given me a walk-through of all the different parts of the system, and shown me how to monitor the system, and turn it on and off?
If I plan to take advantage of state and federal tax credits, have I completed this when filing my taxes?
For more recommendations about solar installation, check out our Tips for Finding and Selecting a Solar Installer article.
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Pledge to reduce your home’s carbon footprint by replacing old systems and appliances with clean energy technologies over time.
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