There are a growing number of solar installers across the state, so it is important to know what to look for in an installer. If you are considering solar for your home or business, be sure to get two or three bids from different installers for comparison purposes. Visit the Solar Contractor List for information about solar contractors in Utah. With your bids you can take advantage of Solar Simplified's Return on Investment Calculator to determine the relative economics of each bid. Remember, however, that price is just one of many factors that should inform your decision, and that the calculator assumes all installers will be using the same equipment.
An installer will give you a more detailed assessment of your site's solar potential and help you to navigate the permitting and interconnection process. Select an experienced, reputable installer to ensure that you receive a quality, well-performing solar system with appropriate warranties. Only allow a licensed solar installer to work on your home. Certain incentives may require that your solar installer have specific certifications and qualifications.
10 Questions to Ask Your Solar Installer:
- What products and services do you offer?
- How many years have you been in business? How many installations have you done?
- What installations have you completed in my community?
- Will my roof be strong enough for the increased wind and snow loads or will I need a structural upgrade?
- Are you familiar with net metering and/or off-grid systems? (this is only applicable to solar PV for electricity)
- Can you provide a portfolio or a list of recent projects as well as 2-3 references for me to contact?
- Are you familiar with local permitting requirements?
- Are you NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) certified?
- What type of insurance do you carry?
- Will it be possible to monitor the output of my panels?
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Make sure your solar provider has experience interconnecting with your utility.
- Verify that your solar provider holds a license with the state of Utah. (You can request their license number: verify his/her license here
- Most installers offer warranties on the installation itself, in addition to the warranty for the materials.
- Certain roof layouts might require customizations that are associated with additional fees. Some examples are: an unusually steep (or flat) roof, long distances between the solar panels and your electrical box, or unusual roofing material.
- Check to see if your roof will need to be replaced in the near future. It is usually cheaper to replace the roof before installing solar than to wait until later. As a bonus, your new solar installation will protect your roof from wear and tear!
- Ask what will happen in the unfortunate case that an installer goes out of business before the system warranty is expired and your solar system needs to be repaired or replaced.
- Minimal system maintenance can help your solar installation perform at its best. Occasionally washing the panels to remove dust will help you produce more electricity.
- Solar incentives can help offset the cost of a solar system. Look into available federal, state, and local rebates.
What Should my Solar Bid Include?
- Total cost from start to finish of design and construction
- Additional cost factors resulting from unique design considerations on your property (most installations will not require these)
- City incentive (if applicable)
- State tax incentive (if applicable)
- Federal tax credit
- Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), if applicable (for commercial installations only)
- Make and model number of parts and equipment
- Warranty information
- Expected operation and maintenance costs
- Projected monthly, annual, and lifetime costs and savings
- Projected energy production
- Finance options: cash, loan, lease, or power purchase agreement (commercial installations)
Take the Time to Get Multiple Bids:
If in doubt about a bid or installer, remember that it is very common and even expected that you will get multiple bids. Sometimes, the lowest priced bid will not be the best deal when you factor in other components of the bid and the experience of the installer. Going solar is a great investment, but it is also a long term one - it is important to have the installation job done right.