Choosing the right solar energy system can sometimes be confusing. However, the process can be simplified by knowing what to look for in a bid and focusing on those aspects.

The first thing to consider is the cost of the system. No one wants to overpay, so it’s best to review the overall cost and the cost breakdown. Concurrently, the financing should be examined closely as well. Most installers offer a variety of financing options (cash, loans, or leases) that can cater to homeowners’ needs. Going into the process, the homeowner should know that the cost may be significant. However, like buying a new car, it is important to remember that solar is an investment and sometimes paying a little extra up front is beneficial in the long run.

Additionally, be sure to check out the equipment specified in the bid, which should contain the make and model number of the different panels and inverters. Compare the bids to see if the equipment is the same. Some homeowners prefer certain panel brands, others may focus on the panel efficiencies, while others desire certain inverters with specific monitoring capabilities. Regardless of preference, examining the equipment can give homeowners and idea of what they are getting and where the cost differences may lay in different bids.

Warranties are another crucial factor to consider. Most installers offer a 10-year workmanship warranty, which is good, but there are certainly other options. Some installers with offer a 20-year or 25-year workmanship warranty, others offer a workmanship and panel warranty. The cost-benefit of the warranty should be scrutinized because a good warranty will bring more peace of mind to the homeowner.

The last thing to think about are installer reviews. Several websites, including Yelp and Angie’s List provide customer ratings and opinions on different installers. If the homeowner values a quality customer experience, then these reviews should be heeded. Some companies are known for providing a hassle-free installation and take care of all of the permitting processes, which can really reduce headaches for the homeowner.

Comparing different bids from a variety of solar installers can be a tall task. However, knowing where to focus and identifying what is important can simplify the process of choosing the right solar energy system.

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