Step 2: Tips for Comparing Solar Quotes

You hold the power as a solar consumer! Start with these quick by very important tips.

Get multiple itemized quotes from reputable contractors

Getting estimates from multiple contractors allows you to compare equipment and installation costs for the system that is appropriate for your house. Contractors must be home improvement contractors to offer consumers installation contracts. If you’re concerned about complaints filed against a contractor, you can call the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) at 1-800-842-2649.

Beware of high pressure sales tactics

Contractors should give you time to research and evaluate the costs and benefits of maintaining a system. A salesperson claiming “I can only make this offer today” is probably trying to rush you into making a decision that may be unwise. Make sure that any claims of time-limited state and federal incentives are backed up with facts.

Be aware of realistic savings estimates

Solar contractors will often project the energy output of your solar system to demonstrate the electricity cost savings that you will see over time. Such projections are based on estimates of future electricity costs that would be avoided. Beware of claims that future electricity costs will increase unreasonably or dramatically in future years, because those claims will overstate the value of a solar system. From 2002 to 2015, Connecticut residential utility customers saw average annual electricity cost increases of 3 percent.

Know the rules on tax credits and rebates

Rebates are often used as a selling point. But when a salesperson mentions a rebate, make sure you find out whether the homeowner or the contractor gets the benefit of the rebate, and whether the contractor or a third-party is authorized to issue the rebate. If the amount of the rebate is included in the homeowner’s installation contract, it must be deducted from the final cost. Should a rebate not be awarded for any reason and the contractor attempts to place a lien on the homeowner’s property, it would be a violation of law under the Connecticut Unfair Trades Practices Act.

Do your homework on homeowners' insurance

As your review solar quotes, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance agent to find out whether your system will be covered under your existing policy (if you will be the owner of the system). The loan originator for your solar purchase may take steps to verify you have enough personal liability coverage on your homeowners’ insurance policy. If you plan to lease, then your system’s third-party owner should provide all the insurance.  Make sure that you obtain a copy of the lessor's policy.

Use the resources set up to assist you

Consumers should be equipped with accurate, unbiased information when shopping around and speaking with solar contractors. GoSolarCT was created to serve this purpose!

Content credit: How to choose a solar installer originally appeared on EnergySage, the online solar marketplace.