Choosing a Solar Energy System Supplier

Choosing a Solar Energy System Supplier

Solar energy systems provide a valuable alternative to fossil fuels. They convert solar radiation into electricity or heat using photovoltaic (PV) cells.

Homeowners who pay for their system in cash can avoid the hassle of a PPA or loan, but there are upfront costs.

Shipping and equipment represent a much smaller percentage of total project costs than labor, so small price increases are less likely to make or break a project.

Getting Started

If you have the right resources and expertise, you can start your own solar sales company. This business model allows you to focus on marketing and delivering a quality customer experience. Alternatively, you can join an existing solar energy system dealer network and outsource the back-end project management work to the other partners in the network. This approach can free up your team’s time so that you can deliver on the promises you make to customers.

Once you’re a partner in a solar dealer network, your duties include selling PV energy systems to property owners and providing a range of customer support and education. This includes answering basic questions about how to save money on their electric bills and how to monitor their solar power production. Some dealers also offer training sessions for their customers.

Before a customer signs on, your solar dealer will conduct a solar energy system supplier credit check and determine whether they qualify for incentives such as a federal investment tax credit or the California property tax exemption. The company may also estimate how much their electricity bill will be reduced by using the solar power systems at the client’s home.

Make sure your solar business has the proper accounting processes and financial management tools. A cloud-based software solution can help you stay on top of deposits, payments, invoices and estimates. Also, it’s important to get the proper insurance for your solar business.

Installation

Unless you are a DIY-er, it is generally not recommended to install solar panels yourself. Professional installers have the skills to assess your property, understand energy requirements and incentives in your area, and ensure that your solar system is properly installed. They will also provide you with a warranty on equipment and work.

Once the permit process is complete, your solar company can start installing the equipment at your home. This stage could take up to a week depending on how busy your installer is and whether they have the necessary equipment on hand or need to order it.

After the installation is complete, a local inspector will come by and make sure that your new system meets any building codes or regulations in your community. This is a good opportunity for you to ask questions about your system and how it works.

Your installer will connect your PV system to the electrical grid using an inverter (which converts sunlight into usable electricity) and wiring connections. The inverter will either be connected to the battery bank or the main electrical panel of your house. In most cases, a solar energy supplier will include an energy meter with your system so that you can monitor how much electricity you are generating and consuming. Then, you can turn on your system and begin generating your own clean energy!

Maintenance

Most solar panels come with a 25-year product warranty and a power warranty for up to 30 years. Similarly, microinverters and string inverters often have warranties for 10 to 12 years. A good solar service package also offers maintenance services to ensure that these electrical parts are keeping your home connected to the energy produced by your solar panels, so they’re not experiencing any issues that can reduce their performance.

A good maintenance plan will include ongoing inspections and cleanings. Since no two solar systems are exactly the same, a personalized maintenance schedule can be created for your particular solar system. This ensures that your solar panel installation is receiving the optimal amount of maintenance, ensuring its longevity and high-performance.

Solar panels can collect dust, pollen and other contaminants that can cause them to lose energy output. A good solar maintenance company will clean your panels to remove these substances that prevent the sun from reaching its energy production peak.

Solar operations and maintenance (O&M) services can be included with your solar system purchase, or as part of a comprehensive package provided by the solar service provider. These services will usually include a virtual or physical home monitoring system that allows the O&M team to check your solar system’s power output remotely and proactively report any potential issues.

Warranty

When choosing a solar energy system supplier, the warranty offered is one of the most important aspects to consider. Warranties protect consumers from damage and help ensure the sustainability of the solar installation. Warranties are typically a combination of product, production guarantee, and installation assurances.

While the length of a battery supplier warranty is typically one of the first considerations, it’s not always indicative of the quality of the system. Many leading solar equipment manufacturers provide warranties with a range of durations.

In addition to standard product workmanship warranties, premium panels may also come with power performance guarantees that span a number of years. These guarantees promise that the panels will maintain a minimum level of instantaneous power output throughout their expected lifespan.

Some manufacturers also offer warranties on their inverters and racking systems, which are integral components of any solar power system. These warranties usually cover hardware for up to 25 years, with some inverters even coming with a linear performance warranty that guarantees at least 92% power output over their lifetime.

Some of these warranties are transferable during a property sale, providing additional peace of mind for future homeowners. In addition, some solar warranties provide labor coverage, reducing out-of-pocket costs associated with maintenance and repairs. However, not all warranties include this, so it’s important to carefully review any coverage details before purchasing a solar energy system.