Don’t Get Burned By Solar This Summer

Here are 6 things to consider while shopping for your new solar system.

Beware of pushy sales tactics.

Solar is a big ticket renovation to your home, much like a new kitchen or bathroom. If you don’t hire the right team, the value and piece of mind it brings can turn into a headache overnight. Take your time when making such an important financial decision about your home. This might be one of the largest investments you make on your home, so make sure you never sign up “at the door”. Take your time and make sure you feel like you’ve had time to digest the information, ask any questions, and that you are fully comfortable with the next steps. We recommend that the best practice is to shop around – get a few quotes from reputable, local installers and move on from there. Industry standard does not require a deposit with a quote, so be wary of companies “locking you in” for a fee at the door, these are often predatory. 

Check reviews!

There will be a LOT of new solar sales and installation companies popping up in Calgary in the coming years as the industry grows. Take into account their reputation. How long have they been in the industry for? What are their customers saying about them? You can tell a lot about a company by their reviews. TIP: make sure to read through and ensure the reviews are genuine and from customers, not their staff!

Do they subcontract out the install?

There are two main ways that solar companies go about installation: through an in-house install team, or subcontracted out to a third-party installer. Although not always the case, there have been instances where the third-party installation company does a less-than-stellar job, and since the solar seller’s are not liable for the third-party installer’s practices, this leaves the home-owner high and dry with their problems. We recommend choosing a Solar Company that does both the solar sale and installation so all your warranties and customer service are in one place. 

Do they follow safety standards?

It only takes one OH&S violation to derail your entire project, or stop it completely! Feel free to ask your Solar Sales Rep about their company’s install safety practices. Great questions to ask: Do they space their panels with enough distance between to safely access the panels if maintenance is required? Do they require safety practices for the install team?  You can also tell a lot from the design: are the panels too close to or extended over the perimeter of your roof? 

Is your quote accurate?

Make sure what your solar sales rep is offering you is actually obtainable, and do your homework. Do they take into account the shade from the neighbour’s house or the large evergreen in your front yard? Cross reference quotes and ask your rep what the accuracy percentage is on their designs. If one company is offering you 103% offset with 8 panels, and another is offering you 98% with 12… the likely story is the 8-panel system is over-promising.

Do they offer a warranty?

There is always a risk with any tech install that either the tech itself needs replacing, or the workmanship may need a re-do. Make sure both  your system and the work is under warranty. At the moment the best industry warranty that companies are offering is a 25 year workmanship warranty.

Written by Taylor Holbrook, Solar YYC