Choosing the right solar energy company for the installation of solar panels on your Texas home can be a confusing process. Consider these key factors when researching different options for your home.
Consultation and Design
When researching solar installers, it’s vital to find out about any company’s consultation and design process. Most companies will offer free consultations, but keep in mind that once they have your information, some companies use sales strategies involving bombarding you with pitches. Many companies feature software allowing you to design your solar set-up and estimate your potential energy production. You should consider the styles of products and methods of installation used by each company. For instance, the Tesla solar panels are sleek and nearly invisible while other companies use low-cost but more obtrusive products. View photographs of the company’s solar installations to determine the quality of the local installers and ask friends, family or colleagues about their experiences.
Financing, Leases and PPAs
Almost all solar companies offer financing, leasing and power purchasing agreements or PPA options so any homeowner can afford to go solar. Most people cannot afford to pay for a solar system upfront because it can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000. As an alternative, companies will offer no-down-payment loans, leases and/or PPAs.
Companies often finance systems with a loan company, which requires regular monthly payments for the system. Some companies also offer solar leases, which require a similar monthly payment. When you take out a loan, your panels are yours from the beginning, and you pay off the cost over time. By contrast, when you lease a solar panel, you are renting it from the company. Since loans are usually repaid in five to 15 years and many don’t have early payment penalties, they save homeowners more cash in the long run. Conversely, most solar leases require longer term agreements and cannot be terminated early.
PPAs or power purchasing agreements are also offered by some companies. PPAs are similar to solar leases in that you do not own the solar panels on your home, but instead of paying a fixed lease amount for the panels you agree to buy the power produced by the system instead. Most solar systems will average out to roughly the same cost between leases and PPAs, but depending on how much sunlight your area gets a year, a lease payment may be more affordable.
Brokers vs. Solar Installers
When searching for solar companies, it can sometimes be difficult to tell which ones are actually solar installers. While some solar panel companies manufacture, sell and install their own panels, others act only as middlemen, brokering deals between manufacturers and installers.
Those companies manufacturing, selling and installing their own products will likely be more knowledgeable and consistent throughout the entire process since they know the products they’re working with and remain responsible for the entire process. In comparison, solar brokers can offer you a wide range of products from multiple suppliers and connect you with the most affordable, yet professional installers in your area. A solar installer may be the best option if a one-stop-shop is important to you, but bear in mind you may pay higher costs than through a solar broker.
Other important factors to consider when choosing the best solar installation company for your Texas home are the warranty offerings each company provides. Many companies offer extremely limited warranties for a short period of time, while others offer extensive and comprehensive warranties to cover products for decades. Considering solar panels will be permanently fixed to your home and providing valuable utility, it’s likely desirable to make sure whichever company you choose has strong warranty coverage.
Get multiple proposals
Researching solar installation companies and determining the best fit for your home should involve quotes and proposals from several companies. The proposals should specify what solar products will be used, including detail regarding the panels, inverters and battery storage, as well as an estimation of how much energy will be produced. This amount should eliminate your monthly power bill and the proposal should also include any terms of any loans, leases or power purchase agreements you are receiving. In addition, the proposal should provide a detailed description of warranties and any tax credits applied on a federal, state or local level.
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