Solar Contractor Secrets

Going solar is a decision that can have huge financial benefits.

It will increase the overall value of your home’s equity, provide tremendous savings on monthly utility bills, and lower your home’s carbon footprint.

As green energy becomes more efficient, accessible, and affordable, it’s only logical to seriously consider if going solar is right for you. With a serious initial investment required it’s critical to know you have the ideal situation for solar before signing a contract. Unfortunately, many solar contractors care more about adding new customers than providing great value to them. Some of them would rather you didn’t know about the following:

Not Everyone Should Go Solar

Many solar companies will be more than happy to sell you a system, even if it isn’t a great investment for you. The prospect of saving money every month, increasing the value of your home, and using cleaner energy is incredibly enticing. Savings projections from solar contractors are based on historical energy usage, so if you start using more energy regularly those savings could be drastically reduced. And not every homeowner has the ideal residence to go solar – you need to have a structurally sound roof, room for enough panels, and practically unblocked sunlight to get the full benefits. Don’t trust contractors that claim everyone should go solar; it sounds good, but it’s just not true.

Buy, Don’t Lease

Some solar contractors have built business models around solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). But solar leases are typically not the best way to finance an installation – they don’t deliver good financial returns, they can lower your property value (instead of raising them), and you forfeit financial incentives and aid programs (such as Federal rebates) that come with system ownership. Some companies will advertise that by leasing solar you don’t have to worry about maintenance but solar panels require almost no maintenance except for the occasional light cleaning. Beware solar contractors that push and/or incentivize solar leases and PPAs; they are likely more concerned with closing a sale than providing you with the best arrangement for your system.

System Performance Will Decline Over Time

Sometimes glossed over by solar contractors, it’s key to note that solar panels lose efficiency every year at around 1%. While that is a very small drop in production, it does add up over time – two decades from now your system’s solar production will be around 80% of what it started at. Make sure you take this into account when calculating your projected energy savings over time. Look out for solar contractors that promise consistent energy output over time; it sounds too good to be true because it is.

The best way to go solar is to become an informed buyer. Do your research, meet with multiple companies, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Every solar buyer should make certain they’ve gotten the answers to the following questions:

What are the estimates?

Don’t trust a single estimate; get multiple bids from different contractors to best gauge the cost differential between each. Working with a more trusted contractor with better system components is worth the extra investment to some. Other solar buyers prefer or require more savings up front and prefer cheaper alternatives.

What components come with the solar system?

Get a clear understanding of all the parts to be included in your system, from solar inverters to batteries. If you know how each part contributes to the system you will be able to choose the ideal components, leading to a system that lasts longer and produces more energy over time.

What are the warranties?

While solar energy systems are designed to last for decades, that doesn’t mean they will always work perfectly. Not all solar contractors offer a warranty on components. And for the ones that do the warranty varies in terms of components covered and to what degree. Be certain about how your system will be protected into the future by getting a clear understanding of the system warranty.

At Sunline Energy we don’t hide anything – that’s why we’re San Diego’s premier solar and roofing company, locally owned and operated with a 5-star overall rating on Yelp! Contact us today to learn more about if going solar is right for you.