Many people compare quotes when evaluating solar energy systems for their home or business. Taking the time to understand differences in quotes and asking the right questions will maximize your long-term savings and ensure long-time, reliable power production.
Don’t get burned with a solar quote “gotcha”
Solar quotes may appear to be the same, but can include “gotchas” that you should pay close attention to. For instance, to save the most money and get the best value, you often can’t go by price alone.
Think of comparing the cost of solar systems like comparing the costs of operating different types of cars.
Let’s say you’re looking at two cars that are both $36,000, have 20-gallon fuel tanks, and are red. You know that many other factors should be determined to understand how much that car will cost you in the long-run. If you don’t look at the fuel efficiency, the length and terms of the warranty, and the likelihood that out-of-warranty repairs will be required, you have not efficiently compared the cost of driving each car. You also have to use similar variables in calculations. For instance, if calculating estimated fuel costs, you have to use the same price for a gallon of gas. You can’t estimate one car’s fuel usage at $2.50/gallon and another at $3.40/gallon and get a valid comparison. Projected maintenance costs are important as well. If a car’s transmission will need to be replaced at year 5, that diminishes its overall value.
Likewise, with solar, you need to make sure all the variables are similar. Cost projections should be calculated using similar energy cost increase rates, and long-term maintenance costs should include costs of replacement equipment (if any) and service fees. Solid, long-lasting, comprehensive labor warranties can save thousands in repair work later.
Understand the numbers.
(1+3 = 2+2 = 1+1+1+1 = 4)
Many factors go into a solar design, and often similar outcomes can be accomplished in very different ways. A knowledgeable solar company may come up with several options to help you decide how to accomplish your goals. Finding the right balance and evaluating the pros and cons of different system designs will help you be satisfied with your decision.
Choosing a trustworthy installer matters.
An installer with a long-term commitment to the local community will provide you good peace-of-mind. The higher quality of in-house expertise a company has, the higher quality your installation will be, and the more reactive the company can be to trouble-shoot problems should they arise later on. And it doesn’t matter how good a labor warranty is if there is nobody around to honor it.
- Choose the best solar equipment
- Find a quality installer
- Understand pricing and uncover hidden costs
- Pick the best warranty
- Identify differences between long-term savings estimates
- Watch out for extra expenses later