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8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Solar Company

8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Solar Company

There has been a renewable energy boom in the United States. Solar panels have become more affordable, federal government and state government incentives provide tax advantages for installing solar for both residential and commercial solar installations, and the idea that solar panels on a house are ugly is starting to disappear as solar panels on rooftops becomes more and more popular. With this big boom Utah has seen an influx of solar companies and Utah home owners have been bombarded with solar sales people at their doors. I have received a wide variety of solar sales pitches myself and many very creative solutions to fitting enough solar on my particular roof to try to solve my personal solar desires. Some of these solutions can seem quite annoying, they range from cutting down my 15 year old trees that are shading my house from the west sun to installing a ground mount solar system on my side yard which is perfect for southern exposure (despite the obvious amount of work my husband and I have put into transforming our south and west yard in order to have a more kid friendly property. So many sales pitches sound like a desperate cry to me saying “Please listen to my presentation, please buy solar from me even if my proposal is not in your best interest.” Give me a break. I am writing this post because I have a feeling so many others feel the same way. The truth is, I really do want solar on my roof. I really do want to own my power and lock in my cost of energy now and not have to deal with rising energy costs. But, for my current home and situation, right now is not the right time to go solar. Is it the right time for you?

With so many solar companies to choose from in Utah, what should you look for? Are all Utah solar companies created equal? Is what they are offering the right fit for you or are they just talking fancy to try to lock you in? Here are some things I would look for in a solar company.

1. Licensing and certification

In Utah installers of solar energy systems are required to be licensed contractors. General electrical contractors with S200 or S201 licenses can install solar photovoltaic systems, there is also a solar-specific license classification such as Solar Photovoltaic Contractor and Solar Thermal Systems Contractor. There are many different certification programs for solar installers, the most reputable being NABCEP, North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, Home Advisor, Pre-screened Solar Pro, and the BBB, Better Business Bureau.

2. How long have they been in business

With solar being a new trend there are many new solar companies. One big concern with new companies is whether they can stick around. In Utah we are already seeing some solar companies moving on as Utah reduces their tax credit incentive and Rocky Mountain Power threatens to raise net-metering rates. Some companies are looking to Idaho and Oregon as they haven’t been affected yet. Larger Utah companies that have been around for a while are proud to say they aren’t going anywhere and have a track record you can trust. There are however many new installers that have been in the electrical industry prior to installing solar.  Integrated Solar Solutions has been working in electrical construction for 14 years and started offering solar to expand our services to our customers

3. Size of the Company

A good solar company isn’t always the biggest solar company. Some smaller solar companies, such as Integrated Solar Solutions are dedicated to be more interested in continuing to offer quality solar system equipment for honest prices and by so doing maintain customer relationships even after installation and are less interested in just making the sale and more interested in offering continued customer support.

4. Financing options

There are as many various financing and sells gimmicks as there are solar companies. Some companies throw in a lot of extras for “free” to draw you in but really that freebie is going to be absorbed in your cost. Most companies offer similar financing options such as 0 down for 12 months or some have offered to pay your first 6 months of your power bills while you build up net metering credits with the power company. They offer this in early spring because they know during your summer months you will have produced enough power to have it all equal out. So really, they aren’t offering you anything you weren’t going to break even on anyway. Because everyone offers various financing options, you need to find the best option that fits your own needs and helps you have the greater return on investment.

5. Warranty

Most solar companies offer 25 year warranties. This is an easy thing to offer as most solar system equipment comes with a standard 25 year warranty, this includes solar panels, solar mounting and racking equipment, and micro inverters. With solar energy systems guaranteed to last so long it is important to be sure your roof will also last that long.

6. Customer service

It is easy to get the solar panels installed and mounted to your roof but what next? With online energy production monitoring you can track how well your system is producing energy. When something goes wrong and you aren’t seeing the results you know you should have who will be available to help you? Integrated Solar Solutions is always available 24/7. Our team responds to customers promptly to fix any issues that may arise.

7. Options offered

Some solar companies are teamed up with certain solar panel manufacturers and offer only their solar panels. This is not so much a benefit to the customer. It reduces your options. It might look good on marketing for that company to be affiliated with a branded solar panel but in the end you deserve more options. Every roof has different obstacles, with this you want a solar company that can analyze your particular situation and desired results and give you the best quality equipment for the best price to help you maximize your return on investment.

8. Reviews

There are many great places to find customer reviews for solar companies. Some of the most trusted places for reviews are Google Reviews, Yelp.com, SolarReviews.com, BBB ratings, and social media such as Facebook. Check out some of Integrated Solar Solutions reviews from our customers. Do beware however, when looking at rankings of solar contractors on websites. Solar company rankings are highly dependent on whether the company has paid to be affiliated with that website as well as how many customer reviews they were able to point toward that website.

With so many solar companies to choose from, compare 3 to 5 companies before making your decision. Meet with each one and get a solar analysis. Remember that not all Utah solar companies are created equal and you need to choose the company that is right for you.

 

GO SOLAR TODAY!

Contact a solar solutions expert today to find out more about our financing options.

Contact an Integrated Solar Specialist today!

Financing Options for Going Solar

Financing Options for Going Solar

Once you’ve decided you want to go solar and you’re sure that solar powered renewable energy is a good fit for your home the next question is “How will I pay for my solar power system?”  There are a number of ways to pay for your renewable energy.  Some options are to lease your equipment which allows you to go green without upfront costs.  Other options that allow you to own your power and not rent or lease it are cash payment in full or financing.  Owning your power maximizes your savings and returns.

save money with solar power

Cash Payment

Homeowners maximize their investment and savings when purchasing solar panels with cash, receiving immediate returns as there is no added interest and fees that are associated with loans.  Purchasing with cash truly locks in your price for power today and in the future and exempts homeowners from future price hikes by power companies.  Depending on the size of the solar power system installed, some homeowners will never see a Power Bill again. Installing solar panels on your home increases the value of your home and paying cash for your solar power system immediately results in increased equity to your home.

Financing

There are many options for financing your solar power system in Utah. Many financial institutions offer home improvement loans and home equity loans to cover solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The benefit of each of these loans is the lower interest rate. Some key considerations when getting a solar loan are:

  • Some would suggest that your monthly loan payment should be less than the cost of your average monthly electric bill. However, it is important to keep in mind that the cost of your power will continue to go up over time but the cost of your loan will not.
  • Interest on a secured solar loan may be tax deductible.
  • Even with a loan you can save 40 to 70 percent on electricity costs over the lifetime of your solar power system.

Integrated Solar Solutions offers financing options to help you go solar today.  Some of our financing options include:

  • 6, 12, or 18 month, no interest, same as cash loan.  This allows you to get started today and either pay off your solar power system in one year or pay a portion and finance the rest.
  • No Interest for 6, 12, 18 or 24 months then payments at a higher interest rate for the rest of the term.
  • 18 month no interest with reduced rate for the life of the loan \
  • Reduced Rate APR for 5 years to 12 years
  • Equal payments, no interest for determined total payments ranging from 24 to 60 months.
  • 20 year loan
Financing Options from GreenSky
Finance Your Solar Project
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Financing for GreenSky© credit programs is provided by federally insured, federal and state chartered financial institutions without regard to race,color, religion,natinal origin, sex or familialstatus. NMLS #1416362; CT SLC-1416362; NJMT #1501607 C22

Contact a solar solutions expert today to find out more about our financing options.

Call today! 801-282-9222

GO SOLAR TODAY!

Contact a solar solutions expert today to find out more about our financing options.

Contact an Integrated Solar Specialist today!

Is My Roof Right for Solar Panels

Is My Roof Right for Solar Panels

So you’re thinking about going solar, and you’re weighing out the benefits verses cost, return on investment, and investment verses reduction in power bill.  You’ve come to the conclusion that solar power is a great fit for you, however another thing to take into consideration when making the decision to go solar is whether your home is a great fit for solar.  Do solar panels for your home make sense?

A few things that affect the efficiency of a solar power system on your roof.

Orientation

Which way is your roof facing?  While you can install solar on any face of your roof the most effective is the south facing roof.  South facing roofs will produce the most energy.  Southeast and southwest facing panels are also efficient and produce sufficient power.  The next best options when a south facing surface is not an option are east and west exposure roofs.  Solar panels that aren’t facing directly true south are still able to produce significant amounts of electricity, especially in Utah where we have a high sunlight rating.

Utah averages 5 full sun hours a day annually.  Arizona and New Mexico get 5.5.

 

west facing solar panels

Shading

Is your roof shaded or guarded by trees or other structures?  How much sun is your roof getting without obstruction?  Trees, buildings, chimneys, are all possible shade creators.  The best hours of the day for full sun are between 9:00 Am and 3:00 PM.  Do you know how much sun your roof is getting between those hours?  Because the sun is lower in winter than it is in the summer obstructions might cause more shade in the winter than they do in the summer months.

The best hours of the day for full sun are between 9 AM and 3 pm.

 

utah solar panels

Obstructions and Surface Area

Is your surface area free from obstructions and obstacles allowing for easy placement of solar panel arrays?  Skylights, vents, dormers, turrets, vent pipes, and other obstructions will limit the options for solar panel placement.  You can measure your own roof to get an idea of the total area by going to google maps and looking at your home from a birds eye view.  For each kilowatt of power your solar power system needs you will need 100 square feet of unobstructed space on your roof.  Integrated Solar Solutions will do the math for you and engineer the best layout for your particular roof.

 

Age of your roof

How old is your roof?  A solar power system installed by Integrated Solar Solutions can last for 25 to 40 years so you will want to be sure your roof is in good shape and won’t need to be replaced before your solar panels wear out.  If your shingles are cracked or in poor condition you may want to replace your roof before installing solar.

 

Angle of your Roof

Is your roof flat or sloped?  The best angle of roof for optimal solar panel power production is between 30 and 40 degrees.  When panels are sloped at 15 degrees or more they will keep themselves clean as snow, dust, and debris will easily slide off.  Steep roofs at more than 40 degrees will not produce energy as efficiently.

 

 

Still have questions about your roof?

Call Integrated Solar Solutions for a free analysis of your roofs ability to fit a solar power system that can efficiently produce enough power for your energy needs.

GO SOLAR TODAY!

Contact a solar solutions expert today to find out more about our financing options.

Contact an Integrated Solar Specialist today!

Solar Energy in Utah is Surging in Popularity

Solar Energy in Utah is Surging in Popularity

 

As energy costs and consumption continue to rise it is no wonder more and more Utah residents are investing in their own power and going solar.  As you drive down any Utah road you are likely to see several homes with solar panels installed on their roofs.  Utah residents are becoming more educated and aware of the benefits of solar and are becoming smarter shoppers as they compare solar installers when choosing to go solar.

 

The Average Cost of Going Solar in Utah

Over the past 5 years the cost to install solar has decreased by 60 percent.  The average cost of going solar in Utah after rebates and incentives is around $16,000.00.  When you consider the many things you can do to a home to improve it’s value, such as remodel a kitchen, update bathrooms, or turn your basement family room into a theater room, going solar should be on your list of To Do’s as well.  The best part about improving your home with solar is it will actually save you money over time.  This makes going solar a more realistic power option for the average home owner.  Having a solar power system on your roof increases your property value on average by 3 percent.

 

Is Going Solar a Wise Investment?

With the increase in interest in residential solar power comes the increase in competition to install that system for you.  Utah neighborhoods are being frequented by solar sales people and many residents are getting more educated about their options and how to determine if solar is not only an affordable option for them but also a wise investment based on the conditions of their home.  Integrated Solar Solutions helps customers determine if solar is a good investment for them and the potential return on investment for each individual solar power installation.  We help customers take advantage of federal and state incentives and tax credits for going solar.

When considering going solar in Utah be sure to get a free quote from Integrated Solar Solutions!

On or Off Grid Solar

On or Off Grid Solar


Questions? Call us: 801-282-9222


Battery Storage or Off Grid Solar Systems

In order for a solar system to be “Off the Grid” it needs to be completely independent of the power company and be able to produce the necessary power for all energy needs of the property.  To accomplish this, the excess electricity that is generated by the solar panels beyond what you use is stored to supply energy during the times that the solar panels are not able to provide energy such as at night.

There are advantages of going off the grid such as when the power goes due to a storm or power line issue you will still have power and unlike your neighbors will not be left in the dark.  Another advantage is that you own your own power.  You are not subject to price increases imposed by the power company.

The disadvantages of having an off grid solar system are the extra initial expense to install the battery and additional equipment as well as the cost to replace the batteries which have an average life span of 10 years.

Additional equipment needed to go off grid includes a battery bank and a charge controller.

Off-Grid Solar Power System

  • Solar panels
  • Charge controller
  • Battery bank
  • Inverter
  • Circuit Breaker
  • Optional generator

Grid-Tied or Net Metering Solar Systems

Currently in Utah, net metering solar systems are more common mostly because they are the least expensive to get into.  Net metering solar systems are “tied to the grid” or connected to the power company so that if your solar panels produce less than the needed power for the property then power can be used from the power company.  If there is more power produced from the solar panels than is needed than the excess power is distributed to the power company.  On a grid-tied system the property owner will have a net metering agreement with the power company which will allows the customer to receive credit for the excess power they distribute to the power company to be used when your power production is lower than needed.  In Utah this works out well as properties will produce amble power in the summer time and will typically produce less in the winter.  Net metering will allow the property owner to cover their power in the winter with the credits they built up in the summer months.

The advantages of net metering solar systems are the ability to go solar by installing less than 100% of your power needs and still be able to reduce your power bill by owning your own solar.  By installing less than 100% the initial cost to install solar panels is less.

The disadvantages of net metering are that if the power goes out due to weather or power lines being down a property with net metering will also be out of power.  Also, the owner is still subject to price increases imposed by the power company.

The good news is that a grid-tied solar system can be upgraded to include a battery backup down the road.  Many battery companies are improving the quality of battery energy storage which will make going off the grid more economical and a better investment.  Either way you go, off grid or grid-tied solar systems are a great investment and there is no better time than now to go solar and start owning your own power.

Grid-tied Solar Power System

  • Solar panels
  • Inverter
  • Circuit Breaker
  • Optional monitoring system
  • Tie to utility company

Contact a solar specialist at Integrated Solar Solutions and learn which solar power system is right for you!

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