1. Is my roof big enough to go solar and is my home facing the right direction?

Yes. Any sized roof facing any direction can accommodate at least some Solar panels.

The amount of open roof space and the direction in which your roof is situated are two of the most important aspects of the Solar process.

Knowing how much space you have available will allow you to play with the design, if possible, and help you determine if you will be able to have a large enough system to cover your home’s electrical consumption.  

Knowing how many panels can fit on your roof may determine which type of panels you use and it may also help design a more aesthetically pleasing layout.

2. How can I tell if my roof is in good enough shape to handle solar panels?

The most typical types of roofs are composition asphalt shingles and concrete tile.

In the case of composition shingles, often it is easy to visually assess the roof to determine its condition and whether or not it is suitable for Solar installation.

Tile is a little trickier.

With tile, it is important to not only check the condition and type of tile, it is also important to pull up a few to check the condition of the weather proofing layer below. Often, the tiles on the roof may appear to be in good condition, but the weather proofing layer may be damaged.

Something else to keep in mind is also the type of tile. In most cases concrete tile is what you will find on your roof, but you may also have lightweight, clay, metal shingle or out of production tiles.

Working on clay and lightweight is much more difficult and often several tiles are damaged. In many cases, an inlay of asphalt shingles is installed under the Solar array to insure better weather proofing.

3. What if you cannot find replacement tiles for my home?

In rare cases we come across tiles that are not easy to find because they have been out of production for awhile, but local roofing suppliers have “bone yards” where you can look through all kinds of outdated and unique tiles to find what you are looking for.

4. Is my home’s electrical equipment able to handle solar?

It depends. An upgrade or Renewable Meter Adapter might be necessary.

The National Electrical Code has certain requirements that must be followed when it comes to installing Solar panels on a given electrical system. It is important to be aware of what size service is feeding the house and how large its busing is.

Knowing these conditions will allow you to calculate the amount of Solar that can be installed by code on any certain electrical service. In some cases the existing configuration won’t allow for the amount of Solar you need and either an electrical service upgrade or a Renewable Meter Adapter may be needed.

We can help you determine if you will need this.

5. What gimmicks to companies use to try and lure people?

Starting off with an unreasonably high price.

Often, Companies will start with some outrageous quote, and then knock it down thousands of dollars and chalk it up to some seasonal sale, or because they really like you.

We have seen cases where a salesman has dropped the price $30,000 because a customer contacted the company through one of their print ads.

“Giving” you free things that are worked into the price.

Some Companies will offer you prepaid credit cards, electrical upgrades or other gifts for “free,” but in actuality, these free gifts are worked into the price. Nothing is ever free.

Using inferior equipment.

Companies may advertise one type of solar equipment and then use a cheaper, inferior product on your home. Often, the salesperson you talk to won’t be knowledgeable about the equipment used and cannot answer detailed questions.

When comparing quotes between Companies, remember that price alone shouldn’t be the most important factor. Panel pricing varies greatly and it is important to do your research and ask about the available options a Company has and the quality of the equipment used.

Several Companies will use less expensive equipment to drive down their prices or make more profit for themselves. However, this means you end up with inferior solar equipment.

It is important that your Solar rep and company are knowledgeable, experienced and honest with you.

6. What questions should I ask to ensure I am getting the best quote?

It is always a good idea to get a few quotes and to remember that the price alone is not what should be the deciding factor. The value of the quote should be what decides for you.

One Company’s quote might be higher because they use better quality equipment. You have to be informed about the solar equipment that will be installed on your home.

Along with what we have already discussed, there are several other things to keep in mind:

  • Where is the equipment going and how does it work?

Most Solar Companies design their systems with the inverter near the main panel because it is the easiest place to put it. Although this is often the most practical placement, in certain instances it isn’t.

In some cases it makes more sense to put the inverter inside the garage, behind the fence or around the corner depending on your house’s setup.

Some other questions to ask when comparing quotes:

  • How is my electrical conduit going to be run?
  • Is the conduit going to be painted to match the house or will I need to do that myself?
  • How long will the install take from start to finish?
  • Who will be doing the install?

Almost all of the bigger Companies either sub their work out to sub contractors or run a revolving door operation with in-house employees coming and going at a high turnover rate.