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Getting the Best Deal from a Solar Installer

As you meet with several different solar installer companies, you’ll probably start to wonder how you can get the best deal. After all, most systems amount to $20,000 to $30,000 before tax incentives, rebates, grants and local programs are factored in. The fact is, you can get a great deal if you know where to look and how to negotiate with your solar installer of choice. Before you sign any contracts, make sure you get several different bids and look at what you’re getting for the money. Here are some other tips for getting the best deal from a solar installer…

Ask your solar installer about different types of systems.

There are grid systems that hook up to your electric company’s infrastructure. There are solar water heaters and there are individual solar panels. These come in all different sizes, but most households need about 5 kilowatts to really make a noticeable difference in their home’s energy consumption.

Find out if your solar installer knows of any neighborhood co-ops.

Neighborhood Solar Cooperatives are being formed all across the country, enabling consumers to bargain collectively as a group for lower prices from a local solar installer. Local residents can save anywhere from 15 to 30 percent on their installation this way. Also, the company Solar City helps Americans pay for their solar installations by giving out leases and loans.

See if you qualify for an employee discount.

In addition to state and federal incentives, your employer may also offer a solar installer discount. Progressive companies like SunPower, HP and Google all give their employees special solar discounts, for example.

See if you have factors that make solar installer prices more expensive.

The following factors may result in a higher charge from your solar installer…

  • Your roof is flat. You’ll need extra scaffolding to tilt your panels toward the sun.

  • Your roofing material isn’t the typical asphalt. Some materials are harder to seal than others.

  • You live far away from your solar installer. Travel charges sometimes apply.

  • You want a monitoring system. If you want to be all high-tech, it’ll cost you.

  • You have a ground-mounted system that requires a conduit run underground near your meter.

  • Your area has expensive building permits and fees.

  • You plan on buying more solar later and you upgraded to a bigger inverter to handle upgrades.

  • You don’t have room for your inverter to be installed so you need an extra sub-panel.

 

A good solar installer will be able to tell you about all the local rebate programs.

There are many different types of discounts you can receive. In some states, you can save 55 percent on your total solar installation cost! There are tax incentives, grants, rebates and loans that can help subsidize the cost of your solar installer. You can check the DSIREUSA.org website for yourself to see what opportunities exist, but a good solar installer will help you find the best deals so it will be a win-win situation for both of you.


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