Just like most large purchases, it’s important to shop around in order to get the best deal.
Record these key stats when receiving a quote:
AC Watts: When you get a quote, it should clearly state the maximum generating capacity of the system in AC watts. Some contractors may provide you with DC watts, so make sure they convert it to AC for you.
Incentives included: Verify that the price you were given includes all the costs of getting your PV system up and running. Make sure it includes sales tax, permitting, connection to the grid, and hardware.
Also ask whether the price includes rebates and incentives. If so, make sure the contractor specifies the rebates and incentives factored into the price.
Calculate price per watt:
Divide the quoted price by the system’s expected output. This metric, cost per installed watt, can be used to compare quotes from different contractors. All things equal, select the contractor with the lowest cost per installed watt.
Secure the best financing
Solar companies will help provide you with financing options. A home mortgage loan is a great way to finance solar and will allow you to secure the best possible terms on your loan.
Record the interest rate on your loan offer. Be sure to note whether the rate is variable or fixed. All things equal, select a loan with a fixed interest rate.
Leasing & PPAs
Instead of purchasing a system, some homeowners rent their roof space to a company using a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Under this agreement, the homeowner agrees to purchases the energy produced by the system at a discounted rate.
To get the best electricity prices under a PPA, it’s important to compare multiple companies. All things equal, select the company that offers the lowest electricity prices.
Select the right contractor
Be sure the installer states both the parts and installation warranties. One warranty is from the parts manufacturer, the second warranty is offered by the installer.
Another important consideration is how much of a deposit you’re required to pay. Industry standard is around 10%.
Read online reviews and ask questions:
- How many years of experience does your company have installing PV systems?
- How many systems do you install a month in my area?
- Are your certified by the Solar Energy Industries Association?
- Do you have a solar contractor specialty license, issued by a local jurisdiction?
Compare at least three contractors to ensure you’re getting the best deal. To get a reliable benchmark quote, we encourage you to compare personalized estimates from trusted local installers near you.