If your best friend was in the solar business, what would they tell you?
Over time I’ve been a solar consultant, I’ve noticed that most prospective customers are guarded, hesitant, and wary—and for good reason. Too often, there are “sales tactics” and “sales objectives” at play that get in the way of providing the customer with the value and personalized package that is right for them and in their best interest. A good solar consultant will put your needs and objectives first. Period.
To address some of these concerns, I’ve created a checklist for some of the more common things to consider before you even tie up a few hours of your time with an in-home or virtual consultation.
Your roof is less than 10 years old
Why? Because if your roof needs to be replaced out-of-pocket (no insurance claim) you will have to pay for the panels to be removed and reinstalled. DO NOT pre-pay for this service. If the solar company goes out of business before you need a new roof, you spent that money for nothing. If the roof is replaced due to an insurance claim, they would pay for it anyway.
You are not planning on moving for 7 or more years
Why? Generally speaking, the break-even point on your long-term solar investment falls in that time frame (many other factors can shorten it)
Consider your age
Why? As per the above, it’s a long-term investment. If my parents, who are in the early ’70s, told me they were thinking about solar, I would vigorously advise against it. Conversely, if you are 55 or younger, it can be one heck of a retirement plan!
Are you considering other energy-related home upgrades?
Why? Appliances like air conditioners, water heaters, and pool pumps are energy hogs. Their age and efficiency can dramatically alter the scope/expense of a solar project. These are things that need to be analyzed by the solar consultant. In many cases, it is best to complete these upgrades as part of the solar project. A good consultant will break down the cost/benefit and pros/cons of each item. In the majority of energy analyses that I’ve completed, it is more cost-effective to replace those items as part of the project than to buy solar to cover their increased energy consumption. Also, when those appliances are eventually replaced, with much more efficient ones, now your solar array is producing MORE power than you need, which by the way, is a BAD thing.
Again, these are the most common discussion points during most consultations and are also (unfortunately) things that a “used car salesman” will try to distract you from/not divulge, etc. My intent here is that this advice puts you in a better position than most homeowners who are in the first steps of considering a project.
As there is much, much more to cover, I will be posting additional information that will help you make the best choices FOR YOU!
Always here to help,
Joe Nash – Founder
Joe Does Solar – Solar Energy Consultants