Questions To Ask At Your Solar Appointment
During a solar appointment, you need to enquire about the cost, financial incentives, and warranties. Also, ask about the company’s experience, references, and product types and brands. After choosing your installer, confirm the installation process.
Solar installation is a life-long decision. You need an honest solar provider that will give you the best services and financial terms. Partnering with a solar company you trust, like us, makes the transition pain free.
This article shows you a list of questions to ask the solar provider at your solar appointment.
1. How much will the solar system cost? Are there any financial incentives to go solar?
You need to know everything about the company’s payment structure. Ask the following when it comes to cost:
- Do I need to pay the total cost upfront?
- Do you offer loan options?
- Are there any incentives that I can utilise?
Paying the total cost upfront is a great option, and is likely cheaper in the long run. On the other hand, if you get a loan option, you likely won’t have an upfront payment to install your solar system and plenty of repayment options on the current market have 0% interest.
Installing a solar system has different costs depending on factors like:
- Where you’re located
- The installation company
- Type and number of solar panels
- The size of the solar system
- The type of system components or framing equipment
- The accessibility and height of the roof (does it have tiles, metal, or concrete)
A 5kW solar system usually costs between $3,500 to $9,500 on average in Australia after applying government rebates.
You can take advantage of the Small-Scale Technology Certificate Scheme, a government incentive program for you to install solar panels, solar batteries, or inverters. It reduces total system costs and provides sale discounts.
2. How much money can I expect to save with solar energy?
You need to know how much you will save on energy bills after installing the solar system. You can ask for 20 years but keep in mind a solar system can produce power for more than 25 years. Having a specific long-term period in mind makes it easier to understand the savings.
Solar can last for over 25 years; hence it can protect your house or business from inflating electricity charges.
After buying your solar system, it will take a few years before you break even, but you will start saving money after about 3-5 years on average. On the other hand, with a financial repayment option, you can begin to see your solar energy savings from the first day of the system.
You should also ask your solar service to estimate the savings on different solar systems. Lower quality panels are less expensive and yield lower savings over time compared to high-quality panels.
Nectr allows you to calculate the estimated savings on your energy bills once you go solar. We provide residential and commercial solar systems to houses and organisations in Australia. We also help you make a smooth and seamless transition from electricity to solar.
3. Is this organisation doing the installation?
If your company is hesitant to answer this question, it might be a sign that they are taking shortcuts. There are two ways which organisations install solar systems:
- Using a team of their installers whom they work with exclusively
- Using subcontractor installers who work for various solar companies
Whether or not a company uses its installers does not mean they compromise quality work. The only thing you have to check is whether the company installing your system is Clean Energy Council accredited. A company that uses subcontractors wants to have a better geographical reach and installation capacity.
Clean Energy Council accredited companies help you have a smooth installation process. You also get a system that is safely connected per industry guidelines. Most importantly, you need to use an accredited installer to enjoy Small-scale Technology Certificates.
4. Which warranties do you offer?
You need to find out if the solar system has a warranty. You also need to know if the company will offer maintenance services when the system doesn’t work as you expected. Solar companies offer different types of warranties like:
- Performance warranty
- Product warranty
- Service or workmanship warranty
The performance warranty is a guarantee on the amount of solar energy your system will produce. It shows how much solar energy is created after a specific number of years.
As for the product warranty, it covers the replacement and repair of physical components of your system. The company should give you a warranty on your panels, inverters, and mounting system.
Confirm with the company whether they require anything when offering product replacements for each part. Some organisations need proof of purchase, and you may need to cover your shipping and packaging costs. Confirming the product warranty will come in handy to avoid unexpected payments.
Service or workmanship warranties are also crucial to determine the cost of services. Ask if the cost of labour and shipping for repairs and replacements is on you. Also, confirm if the warranty will cover service calls to assess any system issues.
You can get high-quality Nectr panels that have a warranty. We look for product brands that offer quality, efficiency and will exist for years.
We offer two warranties:
- Workmanship and manufacturer’s product warranty – covers solar products supplied by the manufacturer and installed by us. The solar products include solar panels, mounting frames, inverters, circuit breakers, junction boxes, cabling, and conduits.
- Output performance warranty– guarantees that solar panels will have an output of 90% for 12 years and 80% for 25 years.
5. Have you ever worked on a home like mine?
An experienced contractor should explain the systems they’ve installed and the homes they’ve worked on before. If they don’t have experience working for your type of home and can’t prove they can, it’s better to go with another contractor.
The longer a company has been in the solar industry, the better (ideally at least three years). A three-year experience means they have worked on different projects and homes. They likely know how to work on your home. With experience and a solid track record, you are assured that the company will be sticking around for years to resolve any issues.
Even with a three-year experience, you still need proof that the contractor has worked on a home like yours. If they have this experience, they will make better choices when choosing the perfect system size for your residential energy needs. Contractors will also know which problems to anticipate and how to work on your roof.
To verify the contractor’s claims of experience, ask for pictures, reviews and testimonials. It will guide you on which homes they regularly work on. Once you are sure they have worked on a home like yours in the past, you can be comfortable with them.
At Nectr, we are a veteran in the industry having done over 20,000 installations in our 7+ years of operation.
6. Do you have reviews?
A reputable company will have clients that are always willing to sing their praise. References and reviews will guide you in making the right decision. Don’t be shy to ask the company for previous clients’ contacts.
Once you contact a previous client, ask them about their experience with the solar organisation. If most give positive feedback, you can be sure you’ll get the best equipment and services.
Here are some of the things to clarify after calling previous customers:
- The customer’s experience from beginning to end – inspections and approval, selection of equipment, and installation process.
- The customer’s issues on performance and services and if the company resolved them.
- The customer’s satisfaction with the solar system until today. Ask the customer if they can use the company again in the future if they relocate.
Online reviews are also another way to clarify if the company has excellent services. If the reviews are negative and share similar concerns, you may want to choose another company. There are various product review sites and online forums that give resources on solar installers.
7. Is my home/building appropriate for solar? Do I need to repair my roof before installation?
The company needs to send someone to your home to ensure your home is suitable for solar. They will verify if your roof is ready for installation and confirm other factors like who owns the building or home.
Other factors that solar project site designers or experts look for in a home assessment include:
- Availability of roof space
- Sun and shade angle
- Grid interconnection requirements
- Building integrity
Solar panels can be heavy; attaching them to the roof adds significant weight to the rooftop. If you have an old roof, installing solar panels can make your roof deteriorate in the long run. You’ll need to carry out any repairs before installing a solar system.
Ensuring that the house and roof are in good condition prevents future costs for reinstalling the solar system. It will also help the organisation make the best solar choice and avoid making solar contracts without verifying qualifications.
8. Which panels, inverters, and equipment do you use?
Ensure that the products the installation company uses are worth your money. Ask the company for a list of brands and types of fasteners, inverters, panels, and other equipment they use. Conduct further research online and read reviews of what people say about the products.
The way the solar company answers this question will let you know if they are honest and straightforward. If you find out that their claims and online research results are not the same, look for another company.
Many solar companies open and close before your 25-year warranty ends so it can be challenging to claim a warranty for products sourced from an overseas company that goes out of business. Overseas companies require you to ship to the original supplier in case of any issues, which is costly.
If you’re still not satisfied with the company’s information, consult a third-party solar professional. They will help you compare various solar products.
First, you need to look at your priorities of getting solar such as:
- Enhancing property value
- Saving on energy costs (long-term)
- Improving the environment
After exploring your priorities, you can now choose the best solar products from a company based on:
9. Which kind of system performance should I expect? Is it possible to upgrade the system in the future?
Find out how many kWh the system you have will produce every month. Additionally, you need to know if there’s an option to upgrade your system. Maybe your family size will grow, which will add to the energy needs and you’ll need more solar panels.
Measuring how much a system will produce in kWh will help you compare how different solar power systems work. Ensure your company gives you a clear guideline of the average monthly kWh production throughout the year.
10. How long have you worked with your current product suppliers?
Knowing how long a company has been working with a product supplier will help you understand their experience. If they have worked together for a long time, it means they have installed many systems. It also shows that they have gathered knowledge on the supplier’s response to warranties.
Ensure that you enquire about your company’s experience with the supplier. Also, ask about the number of years they have worked together. Lastly, don’t forget to ask about the manufacturer warranty process.
You should avoid a company that regularly changes its suppliers. There’s a high probability that they make changes to keep up with competition and balance prices and quality.
11. What is the installation process like, and how long will it take?
After ensuring that the company is a great choice, ask about the installation process and duration. You also need to know about the guarantee they offer for their work. An excellent company will give you a specific timeline and commit to reaching it.
There are specific things in your provider’s control, like the start date. However, factors like inspection schedules and permitting timelines for them to operate are out of their hands. The installation process can take anywhere from 4 weeks to six months. The installation company should include you in the entire process and be honest with you.
The installation process includes the following:
- Site visitation from installers
- Installers give the system design to the local authority and receive a permit
- Installation scheduling and inspection of the site
- Permission to connect and operate the system to the grid
Go solar with Nectr!
Installing solar can reduce your energy bills in the long run. When looking for the best solar installers, you need to stay armed with the right questions.
Finding out their installation costs and how you can save through government financial incentives will help you save your coin.
You also need to find out about the company’s warranty, their experience, and references. All these factors will let you know if you are choosing the best company.
Do you want to transition from electricity to solar seamlessly?
Contact us now to get started with solar.
Interested in solar or the incentives? By clicking below you can use our smart solar calculator to find out just how much you could save with solar, what incentive you are eligible for, and the impact you will have on the environment.
Don’t wait until next quarter’s bloated bill, and get started today!
Join over 20,000 homeowners who have made the switch with Nectr, or the 1000+ positive reviewers who have been more than happy with their solar install.