Solar Buying Guide
Solar is Easy! Let’s not make it difficult to understand. Going solar is a smart investment and can be extremely rewarding when you make the right choices and choose to switch to solar with the right company. In this quick buying guide, you will learn the three main principles you need to make the right choice.
Rule #1 Production Guarantee
This will be the most important guideline. However, if you skip this step or fail to ensure your agreement has a production guarantee, then you will kick yourself later.
A production guarantee is how you know a solar company has your best interest in mind. You generally will calculate your solar system from the last twelve months of electricity usage. That usage will determine the size of your system and what the target goal is for it to produce on an annual basis.
Let’s say you use 15,000 kWh’s per year and you determine you will need a 10KW system, then your contract should have a production guarantee of 15,000 kWh’s to protect you. If you build a 10KW system and have no production guarantee in writing on your contract, what happens if it fails to produce what your expectation is? A production guarantee must be on your contract and match what the anticipated production should be based on the size that was determined.
An average rule of thumb for anyone new to solar is 1,500 kWhs of production for every 1KW. There are many exclusions in most companies’ warranties bringing us to the next step in rule number one, what will the company do for you if your solar system does not produce what the guarantee is? Make 100% sure this part is in writing.
You are looking for the company to reimburse you a predetermined amount per kWh not produced according to the guarantee, and then figure out the flaw in the system to ensure your system overproduces in the future. If the solar company you are negotiating with does not abide by rule number one, DO NOT BUY from them. It’s that simple. Any solar company that stands behind their work will give you this guarantee and will take care of you in the event it underproduces.
Rule #2 Install and Licensing
Just as simple as the first rule if the company does not have the proper electrical contractor license, do not buy from them. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation states, to market or sell or install solar you must have an ECL. No exceptions.
Look for a company that is Turn-key or if subcontract work is the way they do it, have all parties and license numbers on your agreement. This will serve you and your investment well in the future. Remember if unlicensed, if they tell you they work under another companies license, or they subcontract the work to someone else without all parties clearly listed on your agreement DO NOT BUY from them.
Rule #3 Price
On average to save money and net-zero out most electric bills as much as possible, you must purchase within the right price range. Numerous case studies have been done on this and the most satisfied customers with the best ROI’s on average paid between $3.00 and $3.30 per watt.
This range has been proven successful for customers and the solar business. Everyone is looking to get the best bang for their buck and that is a two-way street. You need to see a positive return on your investment and your solar company needs to make a positive profit margin.
When you dip below the $3.00 mark generally you will be sacrificing something you probably will want. Most warranties will be less effective, or you have bought from an underqualified dealer network that won’t last long.
If you go above the $3.30 mark you simply are paying more than necessary and most likely will not see any return until you make it to at least the ten-year point. Find a solar expert that cares for your needs as well as their own. It’s ok for your solar company to make money ethically as long as you can make your solar investment and it provides you with the right ROI for you.
Follow these simple guidelines to make the right choice and start loving your solar today!