Questions to Ask Your Solar Contractor
Questions to Ask Your Solar Contractor
Not all solar contractors are created equally. So, as with any large purchase, it’s important to do your homework. Start here, by asking these key questions.
1
How long have you been in the solar business?
At the peak of solar installations, there were literarily hundreds of solar "contractors". These included companies with many years of experience and, unfortunately, those just out for an easy pay day. Today, there are far fewer solar contractors in Hawaii. The "Chuck-in-the-truck" installers are either out of business or have returned to other types of contracting, leaving their customers totally without service or support.
2
Are you licensed?
In Hawaii, the installation company needs to have a C-13 electrical contracting license (which also includes a C-60 solar license) that is issued by the state. A licensed journeyman electrician is required to be on site to perform the electrical portion of the installation.
3
Are you insured?
Your contractor should have liability insurance. That way, if any unforeseen accidents happen during your installation, you won’t be liable for the damages.
4
Do your products and installation come with a warranty?
Your installation company should offer two types of warranties: a workmanship warranty with a typical duration of 10 years, which covers the physical portions of the device, and a production warranty with a typical duration of 20- 25 years, that covers the power output of the device.
5
Who supplies your panels?
The panels your company supplies should be provided by a reputable supplier with proven longevity. That way, if one of your panels needs to be replaced, you’re more likely to get the parts you need. Look for brand-name companies such as LG, Sanyo or Panasonic that make lots of products (not just PV) and have successful histories making equipment for a wide range of industries.
6
Who does the installation?
void third-party installers. Doing so will help you avoid the “blame game” that can ensue if something goes wrong.
7
Do you install quality roof flashing?
Your contractor should professionally flash and seal all roof penetrations that occur during your install. This prevents roof leaks, and is standard practice.