There are lots of blogs on the Web that list questions you should ask solar vendors, but not many about the questions they might ask you. When evaluating potential solar companies, you can gain a lot of insight into their experience and expertise by paying close attention to the questions they ask you. This blog lists essential information your solar representative should know before they can properly design and price an installation.
Do you have solar or experience with solar?
If you already have an installation, your vendor will need to take that into account. To ensure their proposal meets your needs, they’ll want to know if you’re replacing the system, and if so, why. Or perhaps you want to increase the size of your installation. It can also be handy to know if you have previous experience with solar.
Why are you considering solar?
Solar can help clients in a variety of ways, including being a good investment. To make sure that the project achieves your goals, the vendor will want to know if your priorities are to save money, change your environmental impact, attract employees, or to support the local economy.
Do you own or lease your property?
This is important for determining project stakeholders and those who will be involved in planning and approval. It may also determine which incentives are available to you. Leasing a property isn’t necessarily a showstopper as the landlord can benefit from increased property values and reduced electricity costs.
What is your timeline for the project?
To ensure you’re satisfied with the project, your solar company will need to understand your timeline for design and installation and a completion date if you have one in mind.
What is your relationship with your utility?
Your prospective vendor will want to understand how you currently buy power and what you pay. This involves reviewing your electricity bills and supplier agreements. The vendor will also want to know if you have any restrictions on your supplier contract that might prevent you from going solar.
What’s your budget?
By understanding your budget, your provider can present you with options that you can afford. The earlier in the process your provider has this information, the faster they can tailor the proposal to meet your specific needs.
How will you pay for the installation?
There are several incentive programs available to help cover the costs of an installation. By knowing whether you want to buy, lease, or enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA), your vendor can design a solution that maximizes all available incentive programs. With this information, your vendor can also help ensure that your choice of financing aligns with your overall goals. Read about funding options in our blog, “How To Go Solar With No Capex.”
Will you want to use tax credits?
If you own your solar installation, you are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, also known as an investment tax credit (ITC). You claim the ITC on your annual federal tax return, deducting a percentage of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. There is no cap on the value of the ITC. If you don’t have enough tax liability to claim the entire credit in one year, you can roll over the remaining credits into future years.
Where will you locate the installation?
The vendor will work with you to determine the best place to locate your installation. Using online tools and information, the vendor should be able to determine the amount of available space, possible obstructions that might limit exposure to sunlight, slopes, drainage, and other important considerations.
Adopting solar energy can be a substantial decision for most organizations. We can help you decide if solar is the right decision for you. We can provide a variety of options to ensure that your solar installation achieves your intended goals. If you have questions or need any assistance, contact us.