Ask Your Solar Installer
On the surface, many solar companies appear the same; with small variances in product and service. What sets installers apart are the underlying project aspects that can turn your solar venture into an absolute success or complete failure. We encourage our clients to ask the tough questions; knowing our answers will provide the long-term returns that client deserves for their solar project. We’ve outlined several questions and answers that all customers should follow when navigating the large field of potential solar installers.
Q: How do you design and quote your solar systems?
A: Accuracy is important when gathering solar system designs and quotes. The solar company should analyze your roof and energy requirements in order to develop a quote that meets your current and future energy needs. Sol Luna Solar utilizes the customer’s past electricity bills to determine historical usage and predict future use. In addition we analyze roof structure and shading to determine the optimal location and layout of your solar system. Customers should also account for future energy usage. We ask our clients several questions that may determine the size of system needed to handle future energy consumption such as:
- Are you considering purchasing an electric vehicle?
- Do you own or expect to purchase a hot tub?
- Are you planning on upgrading your heating/cooling systems to electric?
- Is your water heater electric or will you add one in the future?
These questions and more should all be factored in to the design and system quote. Accuracy is key and we strive to deliver the most honest and accurate system quotes in order to deliver powerful savings in the future.
Q: Is is better to lease, arrange a PPA, or finance my system?
A: Sol Luna Solar offers direct ownership financing, meaning the customer can choose to finance their system at low-interest and NO Interest terms, but in the end they will own their system outright. Leasing options and PPA’s do not allow for this and incorporate price escalators and confusing contracts; eventually devaluing your home. Our financing proposals are straight-forward and provide realistic rates/terms to the client.
Q: Who designed my system?
A: Our salespeople are supported by our project engineers and designers, who oversee the system design; ensuring your system will meet local building and fire codes and will be sized and positioned to provide the highest returns. When you seek out solar quotes, be sure to ask if your system was designed by someone with technical expertise.
Q: What Inverter technology is used?
A: There are several types of inverters: string, micro inverters, and string inverters with optimizers. SolarEdge inverters provide the best of both worlds; a string inverter paired with power optimizers. They work similarly to micro inverter systems by maximizing production of each panel and are helpful with small roof faces and residences that have shade issues. Electronics are housed in a central inverter, making the installation process simple and less complicated. They are also less expensive and more durable over a strictly micro inverter system.
Sol Luna Solar has handpicked our components to return the highest value and performance for our customers. We utilize SolarEdge inverters as they have proven themselves to be highly efficient and safe. They are also at the forefront of emerging technologies (i.e. lithium ion battery storage).
SolarEdge is compatible with the Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem battery back-up technologies. We also like that our inverter packages include FREE system monitoring and module level performance tracking. Customers should take particular focus to these beneficial components of the inverter system as it is essential that your system be monitored and maintained over the life of your solar array. SolarEdge effectively provides these technologies and we have a large capacity of monitored system that continue to be observed by our team; something you typically do not find in a solar company. Most organizations install the system but do not offer long-term monitoring packages.
Q:Are you experienced in the permitting and inspections processes for my area?
A: Permitting is an essential component of the solar process. There are many jurisdictions in New Mexico and each one requires a different set of documents, drawings, and specifications. Your installer should understand the process thoroughly and be able to coordinate with your local and state municipalities in order to get your project approved and ready for installation. The last thing customers need are delays before project installation. Sol Luna Solar takes care of everything and we have a solid working relationship with jurisdictions in New Mexico.
Q: What will my solar system produce and how is it measured?
A: Most installers sell systems based on panel production that is observed under perfect lab conditions. In addition to our evaluation of this, Sol Luna Solar also observes the real world test conditions, or PTC ratings. These ratings provide realistic output information and performance in real-world scenarios. Our production forecast take into account roof pitch, shading, and angle of the sun. We also look at your home’s location, historical data, and energy potential. Accurate forecast are important to your project. Sol Luna Solar employs many technical simulation tools as well as our real world knowledge in determining the optimized production value of your solar array.
Q: Who installs the solar system?
A: You’ll want to make sure your installer is licensed in every aspect of your solar installation. Does your project manager hold a general contractors license (GB98) in order to manage the construction aspects of your project? Are they licensed electricians? Do they hold a NABCEP Solar PV Professional certification? These are all questions you’ll want to ask in order to make sure that people working on your solar installation are qualified for every aspect of the installation, after all you want your solar system to last for the 25+ years it is rated.
Q: Do you take steps to prevent roof leaks?
A: Roof leaks are a pain, and your installer must be able to provide the appropriate hardware and sealing components to ensure roof leaks do not happen. Make sure our installer provides watertight solutions when roof penetrations need to be made. On flat roof application you’ll want to ensure that your installation company chooses appropriate locations for modules that do not impede the draining of water during the winter and rainy season. You can find expanded information on roof types and their leak protection by reading our Roof Installation Blog post.
Q: References and Testimonials
A: Lastly, we encourage customers to vet their prospective installer by inquiring about customer testimonials and references. Does your solar installer have satisfied clients and can they provide a list of references to qualify their claims. Sol Luna Solar strives for complete satisfaction. We have found the process is simple; exceed expectations, provide professionalism and service; and above all be honest and communicative throughout the process. Customers trust that their installer is going to serve their best interest. At Sol Luna Solar we do just that and hold ourselves accountable to deliver a positive outcome for our customers.