Select a Solar Electric Contractor – Proposals and Contracts

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 6,355
    SolarWorld Authorized Installer Keith Knowles details what a good solar installation proposal and contract should include.

    Keith Knowles: Hi! I am Keith Knowles, a licensed Solar Contractor and an authorized installer for SolarWorld, America's largest manufacturer of PV panels. We are here today to learn how to select a contractor for your installation and we are going to look at various contract components.

    You should have a detailed proposal or a contract to review and sign before any work beings or any money changes hands. The proposal and contract are often the same document and should call out the total system cost, expected utility bill reduction, the specific equipment that will be installed and finally the installation and payment schedules. The total cost should include a grand total and most for detail any incentives you can get to offset the cost as well as how much the system is expected to save on your utility bills.

    It's very important to close the review, the equipments specified in your proposal. Make sure that only the highest quality panels, racking and inverters are going on your home. So let's go, look at some equipment.

    Look for top quality brands from manufactures like SolarWorld which are manufactured in the U.

    S. and Europe. Many will carry 25 years performance warranties, so you know they'll last for a very long time. The next thing to look for is an inverter that's properly sized for your system. Look for high quality manufacturers that warranty their inverters for at least 10 to 15 years. You need to make sure that the inverter is the same size or bigger than the watt rating of the array on your roof.

    Another important piece of any solar system is the racking. A good installer will use racking in his design specifically for solar electric systems. It should be aluminum and be rated for the wind and snow load conditions in your jurisdiction. The equipment specified is also very important when comparing proposals from multiple installers. Cheaper isn't always better. You should always make sure the contractor specifies an installation date that works for you and when and how you'll be expected to pay the contractor.

    Never be afraid to ask questions if there is anything in the contract that you don't understand and now you are ready to go and evaluate bids from your solar contractors.