Tips to shop smart for solar energy

May 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

-Do your homework. Go to bbb.org to find companies you can trust.

-Will you be leasing or purchasing the solar panels? Compare costs — upfront versus long-term.

-Who pays for maintenance costs of the equipment?

-How long is the contract?

-Is there a cancellation fee?

-If you move, is there a cost to move the panels? What if your new home will not accommodate the panels? Can you cancel?

-If the panels are located on your house, what happens if there is damage during installation? Who pays to repair?

-If you have to have a new roof replaced, will the company remove and replace the panels for free or a cost?

-If the business promises a percentage savings from your current utility bill, what happens if that savings don’t materialize?

Other things to keep in mind when considering solar panels:

-Savings are usually based on the prior year’s utility costs, which may not reflect the current year’s conditions.

-Ask who will pay for damage, if done by the business and make sure that’s written in the contract. Make sure the business is licensed and insured.

-Ask for a date of installation in writing.

-The new panels and electric wiring may need to be inspected by a licensing authority. If you believe your electrical system is outdated, before signing a contract, ask your licensing authority if they will approve solar panel installation.

-Before signing a contract, verify any partnerships with your utility company.

-It’s also very important to know the details on federal and state tax credits. Ask how much will be received per amount of energy generated, how long tax credits will be received, and if you will be taxed on the credits. Also make sure you know what the process is and whether there is a deadline.

For more tips, visit bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline at 903-581-8373.

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