Top Questions to Ask a Solar Contractor

If you are considering adding a solar energy system to your home or business, you’ll want to do your research when considering which installer to choose.

We’ve come up with a list of questions that can help you identify quality companies. When you’re informed, you can invest in your energy future with confidence.

We’ve created a downloadable PDF for you to print and use during your discussions. Below are the questions and our answers.

Q) How many years has your company been installing solar?
A) Ten years come March 2017. We’ve been at this awhile.

Q) What do your warranties cover and for how long?
A) Our Perfect 10 Guarantee™ includes a 10-year Workmanship Warranty, 10-year Free Equipment Replacement Program, and our 10-year Highest Production Guarantee.

Q) What is your guaranteed system production?
A) Our Highest Production Guarantee means your solar system will perform as promised, or we will pay you 110 percent of any missed energy savings and incentive payments.

Q) What is your General and Electrical Contractor License Numbers? Do you subcontract any of the work, and if so, what are their License Numbers?
A) Our sales, design, permitting, accounting, installation, electrical, and customer service are all under one roof. If your installer is subbing out work, who are you going to call if it goes wrong? Here are our license numbers:
WA Electrical: RSOLAS*903JM // WA Contractor: RSOLASC936KB
OR Electrical: C1179 // OR CCB: 207641

Q) How many projects have you installed in the Northwest?
A) By 2017 we will have installed more than 1,000 residential, commercial, community solar, and utility-grade systems in Washington and Oregon. Experience matters when it comes to your home.

Q) How much insurance do you carry?
A) We carry 4x of what’s required: $1 million/occurrence, $2 million aggregate. Ask if there are any current claims against your solar contractor’s insurance that might affect you as one of their customers.

Q) Do you have a list of references that we could speak to who have installed the specific products that you are proposing?
A) Absolutely – do you want them from one block over, or two? Joking aside, we’re pleased to provide local references who will give you an honest appraisal of our work.

Q) What are your, Yelp, BBB, Google, and Facebook review scores?
A) 4.93/5. Yelp: 4.5/5. BBB: A+. Google: 5/5. Facebook: 4.3/5. Here’s where you can get the real stuff on solar contractors. Make sure to click “other reviews” at the bottom of Yelp.

Q) Did the contractor visit the property, take measurements, and conduct a solar shading analysis, or was it done remotely over the internet?
A) We always show up before the install. Ever buy jeans on the internet that actually fit? We haven’t. Your house is as unique as your fingerprints, and someone should probably come and see what’s what.

Q) Are you a pre-certified contractor with our utility if they have this program? (PSE, SnoPUD, Seattle City Light, PGE, Pacific Power, EnergyTrust, etc.)
A) Yes, yes, and yes – and it didn’t come about just by filling out a form. Call up your utility, and ask what it’s like working with your solar contractor and if they rate them.

Q) Do you pay your workers fairly, and are you involved in the communities you serve?
A) Absolutely. A&R Solar is in it for the long haul and that starts with treating people incredibly well. We were the first employee-owned solar company in the Northwest (we currently have 11 employee-owners) and are proud to be a B-Corporation, directing us to contribute to the communities we serve.

Q) Do you have any certifications or ongoing training that hold you to a higher standard?
A) NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) is solar’s gold standard and each of our departments (design, install, project management, sales, executive) has at least one NABCEP Certified member. NABCEP Certification is the ultimate validation of experience and knowledge in the growing solar industry.