Problem of Plenty: How a Homeowner Can Compare Competing Solar Panel Proposals

Nearly half of all US households have indicated they want to make the switch to solar in the coming years. Because of this blossoming market, more and more companies have been offering enticing solar proposals to lure in customers.

These solar energy proposals contain unique offerings and promises. While this has allowed customers to secure good deals, it has also thrown up a challenge in figuring out how to compare solar companies.

Most solar panel proposals contain several basic selling points related to savings, expenses, and specific guarantees. Here are the most common features of a solar proposal and some tips to help you understand these points:

How to Compare Solar Company Proposals

Solar proposals should contain the following information to give customers a clear idea of their offerings:

System Size and Estimated Output

Based on your energy consumption and the number of panels you plan to install, the solar proposal should detail the size of your solar system. This will differ depending on the state you live in and the amount of sunlight your location receives in a day.

The figures will be represented in kilowatt (kW). For larger systems used in commercial settings, they may be detailed in megawatt (mW).

The system’s size will determine its output, represented in kilowatt-hour (kWh). Understanding these figures is crucial to figuring out whether the solar panel proposal will meet your household’s needs.

Some factors to consider when looking at these proposals include the amount of energy you consume per year vs. the output promised and the incentives your utility provider offers if excess energy is sent back to the grid.

While most solar proposals offer a production estimate, only a few can guarantee it. Looking out for this assurance is essential so you do not fall for false promises.

System Size and Estimated Output

Detailed List of Individual Components

A well-drafted solar proposal will also detail each element that will make up the solar system: inverters, batteries (if included), and solar panels.

Proposals that list clearly defined brands or manufacturers are ideal, as they will help you do research. Look out for companies that follow ethical practices and those known to offer high-efficiency solar panels.

Some manufacturers have better reputations for customer service compared to others. They should also have solid relationships with the representatives who will take care of the solar panel installation process.

Another factor to consider is the relevance of the items offered in a solar proposal. Because the solar industry is constantly evolving, some products are more up-to-date than others.

Costs, Savings, and Other Financial Considerations

All solar panel proposals should, of course, include the net cost of the system.

A well-drafted proposal will also include a detailed summary of all incentives provided. This consists of any rebates for solar panels, the federal tax credit, and state-specific schemes that will be deducted from the total cost.

The cost of a system will eventually depend on factors related to size, location, and the various financing options for solar panels on offer.

To be sure that these figures aren’t inflated, you could also compare the costs in the proposal with a solar panel cost calculator.

A solar panel proposal should also detail the projected return on investment that a customer can hope to gain from the system. This will include the amount of money you can save depending on local utility rates.

These figures must be considered critically. Some companies may estimate future savings based on incorrect assumptions of energy rates, leading to an unrealistically inflated savings rate.

Others may also incorrectly state in their solar proposal that the outlined system will generate the same amount of energy ten years after it was first installed, further muddling up this figure.

Familiarizing yourself with electric inflation rates—by looking at the SCE rate increase, for instance—can help you avoid falling into this trap.

Costs, Savings, and Other Financial Considerations

Terms of Agreement

Factors related to the duration of your contract, as well as various warranties and guarantees, should also be detailed in a solar proposal.

These warranties include the following:

  • A manufacturer warranty that covers each individual component in the system.
  • The solar panel company usually provides a workmanship warranty that covers the installation process.
  • A production warranty ensures that the system will generate the amount of energy that the company claims it will.

Other warranties could include those related to remote monitoring or linear power warranties, which are found on a residential solar panel.

These individual warranties should each be studied for their duration, what they cover, and how the claims can be made and resolved.

Environmental Impact

At the end of the day, a solar panel isn’t just a financial investment—it has a far-reaching impact on the environment, as well.

A solar panel company that is serious about reducing their customers’ carbon footprint will not hesitate to mention the environmental impact that their system will bring. And a homeowner who is committed to the cause should look out for such details.

The environmental impact of a system could be included in a solar proposal by mentioning exactly how much CO2 production you can eliminate by switching to their system. This is usually determined by the estimated “energy offset” of the system. Usually represented in percentage form, it measures the amount of energy that you currently consume that will be replaced with solar power.

The overall size of the system and factors such as the placement of the panels and how much sunlight they receive impact this offset. The eventual goal of each solar proposal should promise a maximum of 100% energy offset.

Environmental Impact

The Bottom Line

Nothing is more important than honesty and experience. A solar company that spells out in detail what to expect in their solar proposals and its honesty about how much power your roof system can create is more valuable than one that makes impossible claims just to make a sale.

And it is in both these areas that AMECO excels. With close to 50 years of experience as the leading solar company in California, our technology, expertise, and unparalleled customer service can help you save big on energy bills and increase the value of your home.

Contact us today for the perfect solar proposal.