It’s not quite as easy as buying a TV, but the solar buying process is smooth and predictable.
A solar system is a long-term financial contract plus a customized solar installation on your roof. No wonder the buying process is a bit complicated! But with thousands of systems installed, solar vendors know how to manage the details to keep customers happy.
Here are the five steps to buying a solar system.
1. Initial screening. Are you and your home a good fit for solar? Typically these questions can be answered with online tools and a phone conversation. The installer will look at your roof and talk about the size of your energy bills to get a first estimate of system size. Then, the question is about payment plans; which is of interest to you? The screening is complete when the system and payment plan come together to produce savings.
2. Personalized consultation. Now that you know that solar will save you money, time to get down to the details of the actual design, panel placement, expected production rates and so on. Some of this is discussed on the phone, and via webinar. At some point, the installer will come to your home to finalize the design. You’ll be presented with a detailed contract for the installation, payment and warranties on the system.
3. Installation. With signed contracts, the installation process begins. The actual time on your roof will be fairly short (typically just a day or two.) Local rules and regulations vary, and these add time to the install cycle. Your solar installer will take care of it all, including utility connections, permits, and inspections.
4. Savings Begin. Once the solar system is connected to the grid, your savings will begin. Most installers have a web tool so you can see your daily solar production, often right on your phone. Reputable installers will also have a monitoring system in place and will make sure your system meets or exceeds expected production levels.
5. Routine Maintenance. Whether you bought your solar system (with cash or a loan) or the solar company still owns it (PPA or solar lease), the solar contracts will cover all the routine maintenance issues. You don’t need to get on your roof. See Maintaining A Solar System for the details.
Yes, getting a solar system installed is just this easy. Five simple steps and a streamlined process.