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Interested in Solar: What Questions You Should Be Asking

By Rachel Oxman

As the first point of contact for most inquiries in our Connecticut office, I field a lot of different questions about solar energy systems.  One of my favorite questions is: “what questions should I be asking?”  It is a reasonable question.  There is no doubt that solar energy is still a relatively new technology and many people are completely unfamiliar with the technology as well as the logistics that go along with getting a solar system.  As a result, you may not even know what questions are appropriate to ask!  Hopefully this blog post will give you insight into some of the questions that I think you should ask in your initial phone call or email to our company.

  1. How does a solar energy system work?  The answer will vary according to whether you are inquiring about a solar electric or solar thermal system.  Regardless, it is still important for you to have a basic understanding of what a solar system will do for you.  Solar technology can be complicated and we want to make sure that we give you as thorough an understanding as possible.
  2. Is my site good for solar?  Solar is a site-specific technology and it does not perform well everywhere.  It is an important first step to assess whether or not your site will be suitable for solar.  Not to worry, this can be done pretty easily!  I just need your address and I can take a look at your home from a satellite image and assess the viability of your site for solar.
  3. What incentives are currently available?  This question is important because solar incentives change quite frequently.  We want to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.
  4. What are my financing options?  Similar to asking about the incentives, it is in your best interest to ask about what financing options are available.  Since the financing options change as well, it is good to ask about what is available to you now.
  5. What is net metering?  This concept is very important for homeowners interested in solar electric systems (it will not apply for solar thermal systems).  The answer will give you a better understanding for how your system will interact with the utility company throughout the course of the year.
  6. What happens to my solar system when it snows?  We want to make sure that you know exactly what to expect when, as is typical for New England winters, we get some snowfall.
  7. What happens to my solar system during a power outage?  This is an important question because most solar energy systems will shut off during a power outage.  Therefore, we should have a discussion about your expectations for solar during a power outage.  If you are absolutely insistent on the solar system providing your home with power during an outage, then we will need to have a discussion about batteries and the logistics of installing them.
  8. Does it matter how old my roof is?  We should have a discussion about the age of your roof and its remaining useful life before you pursue a solar system.
  9. What makes your company different from the rest of the solar companies?  It’s okay, ask us!  We’ll gladly tell you what distinguishes our company from the rest of the solar contractors in Connecticut.  We are confident that you will see the value in choosing Sunlight Solar Energy.

 

For the answers to these questions or if you have further questions of your own, please feel free to call me at (203) 878-9123 or 1-888-PV-SOLAR (787-6527), or you can email me here.


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