Last updated on October 15th, 2019
When thinking about installing solar, you are often bombarded with salespeople, installers, financiers and more to push you to a decision. That might lead to an impulse decision. We are here to help provide the right questions to ask. These are some of the most important solar energy questions to ask when thinking about installing solar.
7 Best Solar Energy Questions to Ask: Get the Answers You Need
You might be thinking to yourself should I go solar? That’s a great consideration as solar energy costs have declined rapidly in recent years. Solar is becoming the way to produce and consume energy of the future.
When installing solar, you are facing a long-term commitment or a large upfront capital expenditure. In order to make the right decision, you have to ask the right questions to a solar company.
This will lead to an optimal outcome for you or your business.
Who is Involved in the Solar Installation Process?
The whole solar installation process can be a long-one. You will end up dealing with multiple people during the full start to finish process of installing solar.
How Do I Choose a Solar Company?
You can start out by doing a rough calculation of the financial benefits of solar energy by downloading our solar ROI calculator. In order to choose the right solar company, you should vet the local service providers in your area.
Once you call and let them know that you are interested in installing solar, you should ask for references or people that you can contact about their work.
Always consider 2-5 different solar companies. Each one is a bit different and you’ll want to ensure you find someone with top reliability, performance and customer satisfaction.
Consider using interviewing some larger players in the space as well as local installers. Here are some of the most well-known solar companies in the world:
- Vivint Solar
- First Solar
- Tesla / SolarCity
Inquire about solar panels or use our list of the best solar panels to buy. You might save money by buying the solar panels on your own and then have an installer simply ensure they are properly mounted on your roof or land.
Here is an analysis of how to determine if you should lease or buy your solar panels.
Before we get into some of the most important solar energy questions, we’ve built a full guide that highlights ALL the questions you need to know.
Download the FREE PDF printable that shows all the questions to ask your solar company.
Top Questions to Ask Your Solar Company
Here are some of the most important questions to ask when considering solar energy installation.
Questions to Ask A Solar Panel Salesman
Before you purchase a solar panel, you will most probably engage with a solar panel salesperson. These are the top questions to ask a solar salesman.
1. How Does The Solar Panel System Work?
If you are new to this type of energy or don’t have much knowledge about it, this should be the first question. A solar system is made up of connected solar panels that absorb rays from the sun and convert it to electricity.
The panels are made in such a way that when the sun rays come into contact with the surface of the panels, the solar cells convert them into DC (Direct Current) electricity.
Since this form of electricity is not usable in most homes or businesses, an inverter transforms this direct current, into alternating current (AC).
The AC electricity is now ready for use in our businesses or our homes.
2. How Durable Are The Solar Panels?
The average life expectancy of most solar panels falls between 25 and 30 years. This is a long period that is great to cover the initial set up price. However, some other solar panels do have a shorter life span, while others have a longer one.
For instance, the thin-film solar panels come with a lifespan of between 14 and 17 years. Other more expensive models can have a life expectancy that can go up to 50 years. Therefore, it all depends on the type of panel.
3. What is The Cost of Installation?
Different solar panel systems will have different prices, as well as different installation costs. However, inclusive of labor, equipment, and permits, the solar panels cost something between $15,000 and $30,000.
The prices will vary depending on the type of panels, quality, size, and installing company, among many other factors.
For example, the average cost of a 2kW system ranges between $6,000 and $7,500 countywide. Therefore, you must first know what your power needs are before you purchase any system.
With durability, solar panels have a long lifespan. You need to know the exact economics of your solar system.
There are a few things that impact that, which are the cost of installation upfront, the anticipated production and the lifespan of the project. Here is how to determine how much energy a solar panel produces.
Questions to Ask the Solar Installer
The solar panel salesman might not know the technical specifics of the solar installation.
4. Can The Installation Be A DIY Process?
Although it is possible to be a DIY (do it yourself) process, it is advisable to seek the services of an expert in this sector.
A professional can easily identify where on your roof to install the panels without causing any damage to the roof. Also, the placement of the panels is crucial to ensure they are exposed to maximum sunlight. See related a DIY solar generator guide.
5. How Long Does The Installation Process Take?
The duration of this process may vary due to various factors such as your solar array’s size, the mounting as well as how your property is.
Nevertheless, it will only take around two to several hours. Not an entire day. The good thing is that the same wiring that exists in your house is the one you will use.
You don’t have to change the wiring. Do you know the proper angle of the solar panel for your location? You will likely need to have optimal angling for optimal production.
6. Is It Necessary to Have A Backup Storage?
If you want to enjoy full-time availability of solar electricity, having reliable and ample battery storage is advisable. This will help ensure that you have enough power to use, even when the sun is down.
However, you can also connect to the utility grid to ensure you have a continuous supply of power. By joining the grid, you will be selling the extra energy you produce during day time, and when the sun goes down, you can use the grid power.
Consider these best battery storage solutions for your solar system.
7. How Long Before I Notice The Change In My Power Bills?
The solar panels start creating electricity immediately after installation. Therefore, you might even see the changes in the next bill you receive.
These are only 7 questions to ask. There is a lot more. We built an easy downloadable PDF that you can print and carry with you while you discuss solar panel options with financiers, installers and salesman.
See Related: Is It Possible to Get Free Solar Panels?
Get Our Solar Energy Questions and Answers PDF (For Free)
Like what you saw here? We have a full in-depth cheat sheet that you can print from home to be prepared for your solar installation process.
Our solar energy questions and answers PDF features over 20 questions and answers to ask during your process.
Our cheat sheet will provide these following questions and answers for the various stakeholders in solar energy:
- Questions to Ask a Solar Panel Salesmen
- Questions to Ask Before You Install a Solar System
- Questions to Ask During Installation
- What to Ask After You Install Your System
- Questions to Ask When Buying a House With Solar Panels
Get the answers you need with our free guide. Don’t miss out on any decisions or answers that will cost you money in the long-run. Installing solar energy is a big commitment and financial decision. If you ask the right questions, you will get the right outcome.
You can download our free solar energy questions and answers PDF below.
It takes only 5 seconds to download.
Conclusion on Solar Energy Questions to Ask
If you are about to install a solar panel system, either at your house or business, it is important that you remove all the doubts you may have. With this article on solar energy questions to ask, I believe you will find all the questions you may need to ask, as well as some of their answers.
Through this, your transition to solar power will be smooth and stress-free. Thinking about leasing solar panels? Read our guide highlighting the differences of leasing vs buying solar panels.
Was our guide to the top solar energy questions to ask helpful? Please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
- How Solar Panels Perform in Weather Conditions
- How to Clean Your Solar Panels
- Solar Panel Roof Load Calculator
Green Coast is a renewable energy community solely focused on helping people better understand renewable energy technologies and the environment.