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How to Compare Solar Proposals

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Each solar company offers a unique mix of services, products, warranties, and price points, which is why we always tell homeowners to get proposals from multiple installation companies when going solar. Finding the right fit for your needs can significantly enhance both your experience and the benefits you receive from your system. We put together a guide to walk you through the essential steps and considerations when comparing solar proposals side by side. Keep reading to learn how you can make the most informed decision about your solar provider.

Energy Production

Start by comparing the estimated energy production (kWh) of the solar array, which tells you how much electricity the system is expected to produce over a given amount of time. Here, make sure you’re comparing the same time periods. It’s usually quoted annually. It is essential to look at the estimated production of the system to know if it will cover your energy needs. You can determine if the system will be efficient for you by looking at your current energy usage and seeing how many kWh you use on average across a year. To find this information, you can look at your electric bills from your utility.

One note to call out is that if your solar advisor has not come onsite to measure your roof and solar access, the estimated production on your proposal could be higher (or lower!) than what your home could realistically produce. Relying on remote satellite imagery won’t be able to give as accurate measurements, as sometimes that imagery isn’t up to date. That’s why at Green Mountain Solar, we always recommend an in-person site visit to get the most accurate measurements to build out a well-sized system.

Costs and Incentives

Comparing costs might seem straightforward but make sure you're looking at both the gross cost and the net cost after incentives. Different companies might offer different ways to capitalize on federal, state, and local incentives or rebates. Understanding these distinctions can significantly impact the financial viability of your solar investment.

Equipment Quality

Like with any home improvement project, the quality of the materials you use will have an impact on the results. The type of solar panels and inverters you choose can affect both the efficiency and the aesthetics of your solar system. Higher efficiency panels might be more costly but can offer more significant savings in the long run. Be sure to research the brands and models proposed to ensure they match your quality and performance expectations.

Warranties and Service Guarantees

Warranties can vary greatly between providers and are key to protecting your solar investment. Many companies will note on the proposals that the products come with manufacturer warranties, while others will also offer workmanship warranties for extra peace of mind. Again, here, it’s important to make sure you’re making an apples-to-apples comparison across these different warranties offered.

Financing Options

Solar companies typically offer a variety of financing options, including loans, leases, and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Each has its pros and cons, influencing both your upfront costs and long-term financial benefits. Be sure to understand the specifics of each option presented to you.

Company Reputation and Reviews

Lastly, it’s a good idea to look at the reviews of each company you’re considering. What do real customers say about their service, installation process, and post-installation support? Positive testimonials and ratings can be a good way to determine which companies will deliver the best customer service and craftsmanship.

One important note on reviews, is to not only look to make sure the rating is high, but also look at the number of total reviews. It’s important to see that your home improvement partner is consistently performing well across various customer installations and products.

Making Your Comparison

Once you have found all the above information in the proposals, create a chart or spreadsheet to compare how each company approaches these factors. Don't hesitate to reach back out to providers with any questions or for further clarification — a reputable company will be more than willing to help. By carefully comparing solar proposals side by side, you will ensure that your transition to solar energy is as simple and beneficial as possible.

Reach out to us for a proposal and see for yourself how our offerings compare to others!

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