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Welcome to Solar Planet's Learning Center.  Our mission is to educate our users about solar power systems and promote the adoption of solar energy. We also offer a free comprehensive guide to solar energy systems, Solar Energy Made Simple, just for signing up for our newsletter.  You can receive critical news, webinar notices, and information about ongoing events.

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Its such a hassle searching for good quality solar companies to get bids from.  Using Solar Planet saved us hours of time and the companies they matched us with were top notch!

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Solar Planet offered help locating the most qualified installers in our area and ensured we knew the processes necessary to obtain financing and rebates!  Thanks so much!

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What Does a Solar Site Visit Entail?

So you’ve researched several different solar installers in your area and now you’ve made appointments for the contractors to come out to the house. You may be wondering what the process is like and what you can expect from these visits. Being prepared will ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

 

STEP ONE: Have your energy bills handy! Most solar installers will ask to see a year’s worth of electrical bills. This helps them assess your needs and determine how much energy your household requires, not to mention how much money you can save with PV panels. Plan on having copies photocopied or scanned and downloaded into a PDF file.

 

STEP TWO: Don’t mind a little bit of invasiveness! Don’t expect to sit down at the kitchen table and hash out the bid there. Solar installers will need to climb on your roof to take a look at the sun/shade ratio. A proper shading analysis also ensures that you will be able to get a rebate from your utility company if they offer one. The solar installer will also need to take a look at your electrical system’s infrastructure to see how everything will link together.

 

STEP THREE: Know what to ask! You know it’s coming. The solar installer will turn to you and say, “Do you have any questions for me?” That’s the moment where most homeowners clam up, stare off into space and wag their head. There are always good questions to ask, but it can be difficult to think up on-the-spot, so be sure you write them down ahead of time. Ask for a breakdown of costs, materials, taxes, rebates and installation expenses. Get a timeframe in writing, as well as a written warranty.

 

STEP FOUR: Get the bid! Some solar installers will draw up a bid right then and there, while others may want to go back to the office, hash things out and mail the quote back to you. When you get the quotes back, be sure to are comparing apples to apples. For example, what brands are the companies offering to install? Are these brands all within the same price and efficiency range? What are the warranties like? What are the rebate / savings calculations? What is the estimated utility savings?

 

STEP FIVE: Investigate financing! Most solar installers understand that the cost of the average 5-kilowatt system is as much as a new car and that the vast majority of homeowners don’t have that kind of cash just lying around. Some manufacturers offer 5, 10, 15 or 20 year loans with interest rates as low as 5.24 percent (on a five year loan) up to 7.99 percent (for a 20 year loan). Others have lease options that require zero down payment, low monthly payments and flexible term options that allow homeowners the ability to renew, buy or return the system.

 

STEP SIX: Pick a solar installer! Now it’s time to decide. Be sure to kindly call the installers you did not choose to let them know you did not select them. At the very least, they may wish to know your rationale so they can improve their businesses. You owe them that much for their time and effort. Once you call the solar installer of your choice, they will set up an installation date and you’ll be well on your way to becoming more energy independent!


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