Unless you’ve gone solar before, you’re probably like most Sunlight Solar customers: you’ve perhaps been doing a lot of online research, maybe even for years, but you haven’t yet experienced all that goes into the solar installation process. And without any experience, it’s hard to know what that process looks like, so it can be difficult to know what to look out for. You might find yourself asking more questions than you had anticipated:
“What goes along with solar?”
“How can I tell which contractor is right for me?”
“Where do I start?!?”
We understand this can be difficult and intimidating. Thankfully, to provide some guidance in a potentially unfamiliar setting, we here at Sunlight Solar Energy have pooled our expertise and come up with a list of questions we think might be important for you to ask while you explore your options. We’ve also included our own answers for you to compare as you shop around; we’re confident about how we stack up!
- How long has the company been installing solar? How long in Oregon?
Twenty-nine years! The company was founded in 1988, and opened our founding Oregon office in 1996. We’re the oldest dedicated photovoltaic (PV) installer in Oregon, and just the third Energy Trust solar trade ally (10003).
Oregon is a turbulent market, but we call it home. We’ve weathered incentive changes and market fluctuations to keep installing solar all across the state we love, and we’ll continue to do so into the future. We’ll be here to honor our warranties if you ever have issues, and we’ll be here as a consistent option if you’re looking to install on your next home or business.
- What are the installer’s General Contractor and Electrical Contractor license numbers? Do they have electricians on staff or are they subcontracted?
BCD (Electrical contractor) #C556
Metro License # 10694
Oregon has some of the strictest laws on who can touch electrical components, requiring certified electrical experts when installing a solar array. At the risk of sounding like common sense, we find from an honesty and a business standpoint that it’s better to have electrical components installed by, you know, electricians…who’d have thought? We also value when these people are dedicated in-house employees, proud of the work they do and the change made in the world with each installation.
Our installation team is highly qualified, recently obtaining a ratio of 3 licensed electrical personnel for every 2 racking installers. This means SSE solar electric systems are being installed by certified employees, without the need to subcontract this work. We like to hire great people, and we hate to outsource.
- How many projects has the company installed?
Over 2000 projects! We like to stay busy. We’re proud of and stand behind each and every installation.
- Did the consultant/estimator visit your property to take measurements and conduct a shading report?
We always send our system designers out to your property to conduct a site survey in order to make sure we have an accurate assessment of your property’s viability for solar. This also allows us to give you the most accurate quote possible.
In recent years, we’ve seen many out-of-state contractors moving into Oregon mistake the map for the territory, i.e. selling customers systems based on satellite photography instead of an honest inspection of their roof. We don’t do things that way. Rather than a mere salesperson, having a qualified estimator visit your home—as we do—can help identify potential issues and provide accurate quoting without unexpected price increases. We’re local and invested in this area, so we always send our estimators to your site, where they will work with you to make sure the system we quote you is the best for your unique building. Our expertise also helps lower costs by minimizing unforeseen expenses. We know you don’t like surprises, and we don’t either. Your estimator is a Sunlight Solar Energy employee, as are the folks who do installation and customer service.
- Did the installer offer you product options?
No one likes to be put in a box, especially with an investment like solar, and we’re the company to help educate you on your options. After all, it’s your home and you know better than us what is right for you. Many companies are able to offer pricing competitive with ours by forcing their customers into a specific solar panel or inverter, but our priority is to help you select the product(s) appropriate to your needs. Don’t be fooled; there are many great options for your home, not just one. We’d love to discuss these with you to find what will work best and leave you most satisfied.