At Always Sunny Solar, we know that going solar is a big investment. It’s also an industry you might not be too familiar with, and you probably have a lot of questions. Not to mention, every solar company navigates sales, financing, and installation a little bit differently.
That’s why we want to empower you with the top 5 questions to ask any solar salesperson that comes knocking on your door. These questions will show that you’re not messing around, and the answers need to be right—or else it should be a deal breaker for you!
How long have you been in solar?
The solar industry is a booming one, and so it’s completely normal to encounter solar brokers and other solar businesses that are new to the industry. That’s not a problem by itself. What you will need to determine is how knowledgeable your solar salesperson is about the entire process.
Your salesperson needs to be able to explain how adding solar panels to their home will actually impact them over a decade. They need to be able to answer all your questions about financing. They need to have a good understanding of the tax credits available to you. Your salesperson needs to be familiar with the permitting that needs to be filed with your city and utility.
When you’re working with so many moving pieces, you want to be working with someone who can answer your questions and know how to deal with unexpected things that come up. The ideal solar salesperson will be able to do these things regardless of how long they’ve been in solar sales.
How long will I have to wait for my panels to be installed?
The answer to this question will let you know if your salesperson is a straight shooter or if they’re overpromising. The answer to this question can also vary greatly depending on your region because different municipalities are better equipped to handle the increasing volume of permits than others.
We can safely tell you that here in New Mexico, an average timeline from the signed contract to installation is 2-3 months. And, we’ve seen that, unfortunately, this time can even be longer depending on the current economy and staffing issues.
The largest portion of the average wait though, is simply waiting on the permit to be approved. So if you get a solar salesperson in New Mexico promising to have you installed in 30-50 days, that’s likely a red flag. Either they are overpromising or too inexperienced to know that it is not realistic.
As we mentioned, though, this is not the case in all regions. We have colleagues installing solar in other states where permitting is easier, and they truly are able to install within 30 days. If you’re not in New Mexico and you came across this guide, the best way to determine if a solar timeline is realistic would be to call around to a few different solar companies and compare notes.
How much should solar cost?
Any good solar sales rep should be able to show you that you will be saving money with your solar installation. While some salespeople may go into the cost of energy in kWh and lots of numbers, at the end of the day, you need to know that you’ll be saving money in the first 12 months or the install is not worth it.
One way we like to put it is if you were to put all of the money from your federal and state rebates towards your solar loan, your new loan payment should be less than your current energy bill.
Of course, many people will not actually take their rebates and put them towards their solar loan. If you have a car payment or a credit card with higher interest that you could pay off with that $15,000+ rebate, that might make more sense for you! But the point remains that IF you paid down the loan, you should save money compared to your current energy bill.
Which company will actually install the solar panel system?
It’s common in the solar industry for solar sales (solar broker, solar dealer) to be a separate entity from the solar installers. This specialization allows each company to focus on what they do best. Still, as an informed consumer, you’ll want to ask the name of the company doing the solar installation. That way, you can look them up on Google too. Check their reviews and do a little research to make sure they’re reputable.
A vital question to ask is if the company doing the install is certified to install the brand of panels/equipment they’re installing. If they are not, you’re immediately forfeiting at least part of your 25-year manufacturer warranty. Another red flag to look for is if they offer a large variety of panel brands. If they offer more than three, it’s likely they aren’t certified in all of them.
What are your financing options?
We recommend going with a solar company that offers you multiple financing options. Some solar salespeople don’t have your best interest in mind, and they’re looking to seal the deal quickly by offering a one-size-fits-all financing option.
If you end up talking with a solar sales rep that only offers you one option, ask them if there are any other loans that might better fit your needs. Some factors that might help you determine which loan to get are:
- How long do you plan to stay in your home?
- Do you plan on renting out your home?
- Are you planning to pay the loan off in a few big chunks, or just stick to your monthly payments?
You might be presented with options that include a dealer fee while others do not. There are typically two common types of solar loans. Some people opt for a higher-interest loan that has a lower principal amount, while others choose a higher principal amount (that includes a dealer fee) and a lower interest rate. The truth is the amount paid out over the life of the loan ends up being about the same. So, you need to make sure you have a loan payment that you’re comfortable with.
Get the answers to these questions for the best solar experience.
Not all solar companies are created equal, so if you ask these 5 questions and their answers line up with ours, you’re talking to a good one! If you’re in New Mexico and looking to go solar, feel free to reach out to us at (505) 560-3570 or on the web at https://alwayssunnysolar.net/contact-us/.