A Checklist for Residential Consumers Considering Solar Energy

IREC’s #BeSolarSmart consumer checklist gives you the key information you need to know before contracting for a solar system.

“After a home, a solar system could be one of the biggest investments a consumer makes.”

Consumer Reports

IREC’s #BeSolarSmart consumer checklist puts important information in your hands that you need to know before contracting for a solar system. It will help you ask the right questions and includes considerations and protective measures to help you make informed decisions—helping to ensure you get a safe and effective solar installation that meets your expectations.

1. Get the most from your investment. Is your site suitable for solar energy? Is your roof shaded by trees or will trees grow to shade your roof later? How old is your roof? Should you lease or buy? Compare offers. And start with an energy audit to improve the efficiency of your home or building.

2. Know your local utility’s interconnection policies. What will it cost to connect to and put power back on the grid? How long will it take for your utility to hook up your solar installation? Who will have access to your power usage and generation data? How will your contributions to the grid be measured and how can you access this information? Will your utility credit you for net excess power you generate?

3. Ensuring safe installation. Is your installer licensed and bonded? Are they trained to industry standards? Do they follow safety practices? Are they credentialed?

4. Securing a fair deal. Is the contract clear? Are ownership terms clearly defined? What happens if you sell the property or refinance? What happens if the system is owned by a third party? Will it be disposed of properly at the end of its useful life? What kind of warranties are included? Is a long-term maintenance plan included? Who gets the Renewable Energy Certificates/Credits (RECs) that your system will generate?

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