Questions About Hiring a Solar Contractor?
Hiring the right contractor can be a difficult and time consuming process, but it is every bit as important as the product you are purchasing. Due diligence is critical to ensure you get the best system, for a fair price.
Whether you decide to go with a large general contractor or a small specialty contractor, be sure to hire someone with a contractor’s license, a local business license and three types of insurance: liability, personal injury and workers’ compensation. To verify the quality of work the contractor has provided on previous jobs, ask for a list of references. Use references to check for a history of cost-control, timeliness, good communication, results and – most importantly – quality of previous jobs.
Once you’ve settled on a contractor, be sure to get a written contract, including “as built” details and specifications that include energy performance ratings you researched ahead of time. Contracts should include:
- Name of individual doing the installation
- Solar panel make, model, power output and warranty
- Solar invertor make, model, safety features and warranty
- Whether contractor must pay for necessary permits
Be cautious about requests to pre-pay for work. When possible, keep up-front payment as low as possible and set benchmarks the contractor must meet to receive the next payment. Make sure a reasonable amount of payment is not due until work is complete and passes inspections.
If you are buying a home or already own your home, Colorado law does not require you to install rooftop solar. Recently passed legislation requires homebuilders to offer rooftop solar options or make-ready wiring for solar on newly constructed homes, but this does not apply to existing households.
You may have heard you will no longer receive a bill or will save on future rate increases if you install rooftop solar on your home. This is incorrect. You will still receive a bill for the electricity you consume when your usage exceeds your solar generation and your home is utilizing services from the grid. United Power is actively working to reduce electric rates for all our members, so long term financing forecasts from solar salespeople with future rate increases from United Power may be misleading.
A salesperson may have told you they were working with United Power to offer rooftop solar to members. The cooperative does not presently have any contracts to work with rooftop solar installers. If a solar sales representative is claiming to be working with or on behalf of United Power, that should be a red flag. You can learn about United Power’s investments in large-scale solar for all our members on our Innovating Energy page.