01 — Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
Any good solar installer will offer to provide you with documentation answering these questions. You can also check with your local county and state office to confirm the solar installer’s current status.
02 — How long have you been in business?
Always a good question to ask so you can understand their level of experience. Solar installers typically need to be in business for a minimum of 2 years to be able to provide customers with consumer financing options.
You should also review online and with your local Better Business Bureau how long this solar installer has been in operation.
03 — How many residential solar systems have you installed?
Good solar installers are proud of how many solar systems they’ve installed and we’ll most likely mention this on their own when they meet with you.
04 — Can you provide us with your customer reviews, testimonials, and references?
A good solar installer will provide you with customer testimonials and references.
This is why it is so important to research a solar installer’s Google Reviews and other online reviews, so you can get a full picture of the quality of their work and what it will be like to work with them.
05 — What is your rating with the Better Business Bureau?
Again, this is something you should identify before you meet with a solar installer.
It is still a good question to ask to see if the installer knows this or if they tell you something different than what is listed on their profile.
06 — Who will be working on my home?
You need to ask if the solar installer will perform the actual solar installation for your home or if they will contract this out to another installer.
It is best if the solar installer you’re meeting with will also be the same company to install your solar panels. If that is not the case, then you will need to ask for information about the company who will be completing your home’s installation and research that company.
07 — Will there be a master electrician on site when the system is installed?
This will give you a good idea for the installation crew’s expertise and the expertise of the other installation crew members.
08 — Is my roof right for solar panels?
A good solar installer will conduct a site analysis for home to evaluate if it is suitable to go solar.
Ask them how they will conduct a site analysis and evaluate if solar panels can be installed on your roof.
09 — What happens if my solar system does not perform as promised?
Your solar installer should offer a production guarantee for your home’s solar system.
10 — Who will take care of obtaining building permits and inspections?
Your solar installer should have a project management team to take care of permitting and the inspection process.
11 — How will going solar impact my utility bill?
This will depend on your home’s future energy usage, your state’s net metering laws, and the design of your home solar system.
A solar installer should be able to review this with you and provide you with a variety of solar panel options that will best offset your monthly utility bill.
12 — What is the warranty for my home’s solar panels?
25-year warranties are the industry standard for solar.
You should ask a solar installer if they will also cover their workmanship with a 25-year warrant to match the solar industry standard.
13 — If my roof needs to be replaced in the future, what is the process of removing and replacing solar panels?
If this is the case for your home, you need to ask the solar installer about their professional certifications and how many roofs they have removed and replaced.
If the solar installer does not handle this, then you will need to research about the company they recommend to handle this for your home.
14 — How will I know if my system is working?
A quality solar home system and equipment will come with software solutions to monitor your home system’s performance.
You need to ask a solar installer about the monitoring options for the equipment they recommend for your home.
15 — How are rebates and incentives handled?
Your solar installer should assist you with completing any rebate applications that are available to you.
Most rebates are paid directly to customers by their utility company in accordance with their program specifications. They are normally paid out within 30 days of your solar installation’s final inspection date.
This is one more reason to speak with many solar installers and get multiple bids. Their answers to questions like this will tell you about their knowledge of your local area incentives as well as how much assistance they will provide to you during the installation and setup process.
16 — What additional costs might I have over the lifespan of my solar panels?
You need to ask solar installers about the quality of the components and equipment they recommend for your home.
A good solar installer will be happy to explain the reasons why they choose specific equipment for your home and the warranties for your components and equipment.
17 — What is the process for grid tying solar with my utility company and how long does that take?
This is a question that helps you test how much knowledge your installer has about the installation and setup process.
Typically, the process includes completion of a net metering agreement, approval of an engineered plan, installing your system, and a final inspection of your new system. The process can take 6-12 weeks.
If you ask this question and the solar installer is unsure or unclear about the process, this might be a sign that they are not the qualified solar installer that you need.
18 — What system size should I choose for the most savings?
Cost savings is the main reason most homeowners go solar and you need to know which system size is right for your home and do the best to offset your utility bill.
You need to ask solar installers about the incentives and rebates in your local area to get you the most financial benefit. This is one more reason to get multiple bids, so you can find the solar installer that will identify the biggest cost savings for your home’s system.
19 — Will a lien be placed on my home if I lease or take out a loan for solar?
Good solar installers will recommend you own your solar panels, instead of leasing. You can only take advantage of the federal solar tax credit and other tax incentives if you own your panels, either by purchasing with cash or taking out a solar loan.
Taking out a solar loan will not place a lien on your home. A lien will be placed against your solar panels which is one more reason to not lease solar panels.
If a solar installer recommends that you lease your panels, you then have to question everything else they have recommended to you.
20 — Is there an insurance policy that comes with the system or will I need to take out additional homeowner insurance?
Solar panels are covered by their manufacturer warranties, but you will still need to have homeowners insurance.
You want to make sure your home’s solar panel system is covered as being part of your property’s “total loss” of assets if anything ever happens to your home that causes your solar system to be damaged and need to be repaired or replaced.
Asking questions like these will again tell you more about a solar installer’s overall knowledge and if they know the answers to the most important questions you may have after your installation is complete.