14 Clear-Cut Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing Your Solar Contractor

Deciding to go solar, but feel unsure about where to start? That’s why it’s important to know what questions to ask. Find out what you should be asking potential solar contractors, to make sure you choose a trustworthy company to do the job right.

Putting up solar panels doesn’t just save you money, it can also increase the property value of your home is, were you to sell it- and it helps the planet. Additionally, there are great government incentives that make it even more worthwhile to go solar these days. But getting a solar system is a big deal. It’s a hefty investment and can cost upwards of 10,000$. So, you want to make sure you’re making the right decision.
Once you’ve done your due diligence, checked out what other customers are saying by reading reviews, and maybe even asked around for advice, it’s time to find someone to install your solar panels. Asking the right questions to the solar companies where you live can save you a ton of money over the years and make sure everything goes smoothly.
Here are 14 important questions to ask your solar contractor to make sure you’re making the best choice.


Solar Solutions: 14 Must-Ask Questions To Ask Your Solar Provider in Clearwater

1. How Long Have you been a solar contractor?

Finding out how long a solar contractor has been in business is crucial for assessing their experience and reliability. If a company has been around for a while, it typically indicates a more established track record and a deeper understanding of the industry. They also will have a longer list of satisfied customers.
But if they’re newer, they might have fresh ideas, though they might not have as much experience. So, asking how long they’ve been in business helps you figure out if they know what they’re doing and if they’ll be around to help if you need them later. A good rule of thumb is a solar contractor that’s been in business at least 3 years or longer.

2. Does Your Company Have Certifications, And What Are They?

While online reviews provide helpful insights, relying solely on them may not be as trustworthy as considering industry certifications when evaluating solar contractors. A major certification you should ask about is The National American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). “NABCEP Board Certifications ensure you have the knowledge and skills to meet the demands of renewable energy projects and employers across the world.” –NABCEP.org
Having at least one person that works for the company having a NABCEP Board Certification, means they’re qualified to work in the renewable energy field worldwide. It helps you determine if they possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to install solar.
Another certification to look for is The B Corp Certification. Which stands out as the sole certification for assessing a company’s overall social and environmental impact, as well as their labor practices. Through the B Impact Assessment, it scrutinizes how a company’s operations and business model affect its employees, community, environment, and customers.

3. What are the regulations regarding solar energy in Florida?


Since regulations vary by state, it’s crucial to ensure that the individual you’re speaking with can clearly explain the specific rules applicable in your state.
For example, In Florida, net metering is permitted, enabling you to sell the excess power generated by your solar panels back to the utility company and lower your electricity expenses. Or The Florida Solar Rights Act, which bars homeowners’ associations from banning or limiting the installation of solar panels on residences, regardless of panel size, type, or placement. Additionally, it forbids homeowners associations from imposing extra fees on homeowners for solar panel installations.
It’s crucial for your solar installer to be knowledgeable about these regulations to ensure compliance and optimize the benefits of your solar system installation.


4. What Are the Solar Incentives Available To Me?

Besides the 30% federal tax credit provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, you might qualify for supplementary credits or incentives depending on various criteria. These incentives can significantly accumulate, and this is before considering any additional local or utility-specific incentives. An informed solar installer can guide you through federal, state, and local incentive programs to maximize your savings.
In Florida, there are several incentives available to encourage solar energy adoption. One notable incentive is the Florida Renewable Energy Technologies and Energy Efficiency Act, which offers rebates for solar energy installations.
Additionally, Florida offers a sales tax exemption on the purchase of solar energy systems, reducing the upfront costs for homeowners. Moreover, through the Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Equipment, solar energy systems are exempt from property taxes for 20 years, providing long-term financial benefits. Your solar provider should be able to answer any questions you may have about these incentives.

5. What type of equipment does your company use, and how is it produced?

Ask your solar contractor about the equipment they plan to use and why they’ve selected it. It’s important to ensure that the equipment is suitable for your home’s unique needs; for instance, a company that offers only one panel size might not be the best fit for homes with complex or architecturally elaborate roofs.
Additionally, be cautious of salespersons who suggest that there’s only one type of solar system or battery storage solution. Inquire about the origin of the equipment, with a preference for panels manufactured in the US to support local industries and ensure ethical production standards.

6. Do I Need a New Roof Before I Go Solar?

Coordinating a new roof installation with your solar panel setup offers multiple benefits. Firstly, it ensures smooth integration, minimizing the risk of leaks or other issues. Addressing any existing roofing problems or replacing an old roof provides a stable base for the solar panels and reduces the likelihood of future damage.
Plus, installing solar panels alongside a new roof extends their lifespan, eliminating the need for costly removal and reinstallation in the future. Simultaneous projects also lead to potential cost savings by streamlining labor and logistics. Ultimately, this approach maximizes the efficiency, durability, and longevity of your solar energy system.
A qualified solar installer should be able to assess your roof’s condition and offer recommendations as part of their proposal.

7. Will your company be responsible for the installation?

It’s important to verify if the salesperson you’re dealing with represents the actual installation company. Some companies solely focus on marketing and sales, subcontracting the installation to others. This arrangement can lead to complications and should be avoided.
New Solar Panels Installed by SolarMax in Florida
8. What Will the Timeline Be for My Solar Installation?

Asking about the timeline for installation is important for planning and preparing. Knowing when the solar installation will happen helps you get ready and adjust your schedule if needed. Factors like getting equipment, getting permits, and the weather can affect how long it takes. Having a clear idea of when the installation will be finished lets you plan other projects or events around it.
The installers should inquire about your desired timeline for installation, allowing you the necessary time to conduct thorough research.

9. What Are the Warranties Available? What About Future Maintenance?

Asking about maintenance packages and warranties is essential for ensuring the long-term performance and protection of your solar investment. Understanding what kinds of maintenance services are offered and the terms of available warranties can provide peace of mind and help you plan for any future needs.
Maintenance packages typically include services such as regular inspections, cleaning, and repairs to keep your solar system operating efficiently. Meanwhile, warranties offer protection against potential issues or malfunctions, covering components like panels, inverters, and racking systems. By exploring these options with your solar contractor, you can make informed decisions to safeguard your investment and maximize the lifespan of your solar energy system.

10. Are there any fees for financing my system, and who is the provider of the financing?

This question is essential to understand the financial aspects of your solar installation. Knowing if there are any associated fees and who is offering the financing allows you to assess the overall cost and terms involved in financing your solar system. Be sure to ask about any hidden fees that could be a part of the solar agreement. Read all the terms of the agreement thoroughly, and make sure you understand what the implications may be should you default.

11. How much does my solar system cost per watt?

This question helps you evaluate the pricing structure and compare quotes from different providers accurately. By knowing the cost per watt, you can assess the overall affordability of the system and determine if it aligns with your budget and financial goals.
Additionally, understanding this metric allows you to make informed decisions about the size and specifications of your solar installation, ensuring that you get the best value for your investment.

12. How much of my energy consumption will be covered by the solar energy produced?

Understanding how much of your energy consumption will be offset by the solar energy your system generates is important. It helps you see how much money you’ll save on your electricity bills and how much of your energy needs will be met by solar power.
By knowing this, you can make more informed decisions about the size and capacity of your solar system, ensuring it meets your household’s energy demands effectively.
Reputable solar installers should provide details about how much of your household’s electricity will be covered by your system in their project proposals. It’s important that installers are transparent and upfront about this information.

13. What factors determine lifetime savings?

When speaking with solar contractors, it’s essential not only to determine the estimated savings over your system’s lifespan but also to understand how these calculations are made. Installers typically use a metric known as a utility escalator to calculate lifetime savings.
This percentage represents the expected increase in the cost of electricity over time, based on historical trends. It’s important to note that this utility escalator is distinct from those used in power purchase agreements. Understanding how these calculations are derived helps you make more informed decisions about the financial benefits of going solar.

14. Can you guarantee the accuracy of the power generation estimate?

While it’s unrealistic to expect every panel in your solar system to consistently operate at maximum capacity, a reputable installer should be able to assure that your panels will perform within an acceptable range.
Experts suggest that If the overall power output falls within a reasonable margin, such as 10%, of the predicted estimate, then that should be considered a satisfactory outcome.

Contact The Experts at SolarMax

In conclusion, arming yourself with knowledge is key when selecting the right solar provider for your needs. By asking these crucial questions, you can ensure that you’re making an informed decision and partnering with a reputable and reliable solar company.
At SolarMax, Florida’s trusted solar contractor, we’re committed to providing you with the highest quality solar solutions tailored to your needs.

From installation to maintenance, we prioritize transparency, reliability, and customer satisfaction. With our expertise and dedication, we ensure that your transition to solar energy is seamless and rewarding.
Don’t wait any longer to go solar! Contact SolarMax today to take the first step!

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