Questions to Ask Your Solar Contractor

an array of solar panels

As with any major home improvement project, buying from the right contractor is every bit as important as the product you are buying. Due diligence is critical to ensure you get the best system for a fair price, and that it is installed correctly and on time. This lengthy list of questions may help you select the right solar contractor.

Questions About the Contractor

1. How long have you been in business?

2. Are you licensed to do business in Washington?

3. How many photovoltaic systems have you installed? Can I talk with former customers and see successful installations?

4. Who will do the installation at my site? Are they employees or subcontractors?

5. What training have you and your installers had, and what certifications do you and your installers hold? Do you have an installer with a master electrician license, and is there an installer on your team licensed to install solar?

6. Does your company carry general liability insurance for at least $1 million, professional liability insurance, workers compensation insurance plus any other types of insurance?

Questions About the Installation

1. What size and type of system do you recommend for my site? Why?

2. Are there any steps I must take before the installation, such as removing trees or replacing my roof?

3. What brand(s) of systems do you install, and what are their advantages?

4. Are the systems manufactured in the United States?

5. What warranties do you and the manufacturer offer? Do you offer a warranty on installation? How do I make a claim on defective or short-lived equipment?

6. What tax credits, rebates and other incentives are available for this installation? Who files the paperwork for these incentives?

7. How much of my current energy use does this system cover?

8. What is the payback period?

9. Can I monitor the output of my panels? What is the process for doing that?

10. How and when do you involve staff from Benton REA in the installation? Do you have experience interconnecting with utility grids?

11. Are permits needed for this installation? Who obtains them and pays any fees?

12. When will installation begin? How long will it take to complete?

13. How do we communicate if questions or problems arise? And how do I reach you after hours?

14. If my energy use changes, can I increase the number of solar panels later?

15. Is it possible the installation could cause my roof to leak? If so, does your company take responsibility for repairs?

Questions About the Bid/Contract

1. Is this bid an estimate or a fixed price?

2. Does the bid include the total cost of the project, including components, materials, permits and labor?

3. Does the bid include a breakdown of each of the components (make and model number, size or kilowatt-hour per year) as well as price of each, so I can see what each portion costs?

4. Does the bid include details about permits?

5. Does the bid include the time frame for beginning and ending the installation?

6. Does the bid include warranty information, as well as how to file a claim?

7. Does the bid include expected operation and maintenance costs; projected monthly, annual and lifetime costs and savings; and projected energy production?

8. Does the bid include details about who will file paperwork for tax credits, rebates and other incentives?

9. What documentation will I receive when the project is done? (This may include lien releases and other contract-related paperwork, as well as warranties, operating manuals and more.)

Questions About Payment

1. How much is the down payment? When is it be due?

2. What is the payment schedule?

3. Do you offer financing or have a relationship with a bank that offers financing?

Contact Benton REA at 509-786-8265 or visit for more information about current incentives and net-metering policies.

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