Selecting a Contractor

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. Using your bids, you can take advantage of Solar Simplified's Return on Investment Calculator to compare bill savings for different bids. Remember, however, that price is just one of many factors that should inform your decision, and you should also consider the equipment (including the solar panels and the inverter) used in your bid.

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.

Questions to Ask Your Solar Installer:

  1. Are your installers NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) certified
  2. How many years have you been in business? How many installations have you done?
  3. Based on the age and condition of my roof, do you recommend that I replace my roof before going solar?
  4. Will my roof be strong enough for the increased wind and snow loads or will I need a structural upgrade?
  5. Is the wiring in my home sufficient to accommodate a solar installation, or will I need to make upgrades?
  6. Are you familiar with local permitting and municipal utility requirements?
  7. Will it be possible to monitor the output of my panels?
  8. What warranties are included with the panels and inverters you offer? What warranties do you offer on the installation itself?
  9. What are my options if I would like to add batteries to my system in the future?

Things to Keep in Mind:

  1. Make sure your solar provider has experience interconnecting with your utility.
  2. Verify that your solar provider holds a license with the state of Utah. (You can request their license number: verify his/her license here
  3. Most installers offer warranties on the installation itself, in addition to the warranty for the materials.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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)
  • Equipment
  • Labor
  • Permits
  • Tax
  • Information about State tax incentive (if applicable)
  • Information about Federal tax credit (if applicable)
  • 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.

See a list of solar installers in Utah

 

________

Website content provided by Utah Clean Energy, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to stop energy waste, create clean energy, and build a smart energy future in Utah and the western United States.