At solur.com, we want to make sure you understand every part of your solar quote. Whether you are getting solar panels for your commercial or residential property, you need to fully understand the financial details of your solar quote before you sign a contract.
This guide was created to help you learn about solar energy, so you can properly negotiate your solar deal and really understand your solar quotes.
First, let’s talk about some important aspects you should be aware of when trying to understand your solar quotes:
Understanding Solar Quotes By Choosing The Right Solar Company
Choosing a solar installer is the most important decision you’ll make when it comes to going solar. A good company will make you wish you had another home to install solar panels on. If you have a bad experience with a solar installer, you could end up wishing you never started in the first place.
If you have trouble understanding your solar quotes, you are probably dealing with a bad solar company.
Always use a licensed contractor that operates in good standing, with proper licensing, liability, and worker’s comp insurance. You should also confirm that the person that is selling you the solar system actually works for the company that is licensed to do the work.
Only Use Licensed Solar Contractors
Anyone selling and quoting solar panel systems must be the contractor themselves or work for the contractor under a CA state home improvement sales license (HIS). You can check both by visiting the Contractors State License Board website. You can search by Business Name or HIS Name (name of the salesperson).
You should refuse to hire any unlicensed salesperson or contractor. It is also highly recommended that you hire the contractor directly. When you work through a third-party salesperson, they subcontract the work out to another company. When it comes time to get help with your solar panels such as repair from a warranty, all they will do is pass around responsibility.
How Much Does Solar Cost?
Comparing the cost-per-watt seems like an easy way to compare prices from different companies, but there are other factors that can have a significant impact on the actual cost of the solar panel system over the course of its life.
When comparing quotes from different companies, don’t just compare prices. While it is a very important factor for your decision, it’s hard to judge each quote in an apples-to-apples type of comparison. The differences between the installation contractor, the size of the system, and the quality of the solar equipment can vary.
Solar Equipment Quality & Price
Always look at the numbers. You want the highest-performing modules and inverters you can get at a fair price. If the price is very low, be careful. Quality work and equipment are not cheap. Solar companies that give low quotes will usually not be in business long enough to honor warranties or guarantees. You also have to consider that the equipment might not be the quality you want for your home. If the price is too high, simply ask and find out why. It is easy to tell if it is justified or just price gouging.
Module and PTC ratings are very important. You want to get modules with the highest PTC ratings and inverters with the highest peak performance and efficiency ratings. You also want equipment from top-name manufacturers who will honor warranties or find ones that have insurance-backed warranties.
Solar Financing Options
When you want to go solar, a few options are available to you. When solar energy was relatively new, many people got solar panel systems with a solar lease. Over the past few years, this option has declined in popularity. It seems people want to own what they pay for!
If you want to purchase your solar system, you can either buy it outright with cold hard cash or you can get a solar loan. Solar loans are very popular because you get to own your solar PV system with no money down, and the monthly cost is usually lower than the average monthly electricity bill. Each company has its own financing options, so make sure you understand the details of each one.
Return On Solar Investment
Make sure the cost of the entire solar system has a return on investment and years to pay back that make sense for you. Of course, you’re looking for the highest return on your investment with the fastest payback. Solar systems usually pay for themselves in 5-6 years, and customers see a return of around 20%. The higher your electric bill gets, the higher your return on investment will be.
Solar is cheaper than paying an electric bill. All the money you invest in installing a solar system increases your property value and gives you an annual 10% to 30% back in annual returns! It’s a guaranteed investment.
Life With Solar
Your system should have been designed to produce at least 100% of the electricity that you use. This way you will never be affected by rate increases or tier changes from the electrical utility company. Be careful! This is an area where shady solar companies will try to cut corners to offer you a better price. Make sure the size of the solar system you are buying is big enough for your needs. If it is too small, you could end up still having an electric bill every month.