Head Shot Image of Tim Grenda with green background by: Tim Grenda

blog post
by: Tim Grenda

12 Questions to Ask a Solar Power Contractor Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

June 6, 2016

If you're looking for a solar power company to install a system at your home or business, you already know how challenging it can be. There are hundreds of solar power companies serving Southern California, but they're not all created equal.

It's not always easy to tell the difference between a small, inexperienced company that won't be around in a few years when you need them and an experienced, established solar power contractor that will stand the test of time.

Here are 12 questions you should ask any solar power company you are considering hiring before you sign a contract. 

1. How many years have you been in business?

For a straight answer, you may want to search for yourself. Reference the Contractors State License Board website to verify a license.

2. Who are your current clients?

If the contractor has been chosen for large commercial and government projects, it’s a good indicator that they are a quality company.

3. Is your company NABCEP accredited?

A North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) accreditation means that a company’s processes and ethics have been proven. NABCEP is the gold standard in solar accreditation and very few companies are certified.

Photo of two NABCEP accredited solar professionals discussing solar panel project

4. Who monitors your solar power system?

While most solar companies offer monitoring of their solar power systems, companies with in-house monitoring technicians get notified in the unlikely event of a system failure or performance loss. This offers an additional level of security for your system’s performance.

5. Do you have a C-10 Electrical Contractor license?

A solar power system is a mini power plant at your property and only state-licensed electricians should be working on your installation.

6. Do you use in-house employees for the installation?

Ensure that you solar power company isn’t subcontracting the installation. This is the best way to guarantee work is completed correctly and you aren’t inheriting liability.

7. Will you inspect my roof before giving me a contract?

If the company doesn’t get on your roof, they haven’t guaranteed your system will produce what it should and they have not taken into account the roof’s integrity.

8. Do you offer more than one type of financing?

Don’t get pushed into what is best for a solar company. Find a company that offers more than one type of financing and gives you tools to decide what’s best for you.

9. What tax incentives or rebates are available for me?

While the California state rebate for solar has expired for homeowners, there is still a federal tax credit that covers 30% of the system’s cost.

10. Do you offer a warranty on your products?

Solar companies should offer a 25-year solar panel warranty and a 20-year inverter warranty, so that you can avoid out-of-pocket costs down the road.

11. Who makes the parts you are using?

Ensure the manufacturer of the system’s components is financially stable, supports ethical business practices and has been in business as long as the warranty they are providing.

12. Should everyone go solar?

Solar is always worth exploring. To determine if solar makes sense for you, a solar expert should analyze roof orientation and detailed energy-use information.

What are you going to do with this information?

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