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Ukraine Seeks Renewable Energy Investors to Loosen Russia’s Grip

Ukrainian officials say they’ve found a way to protect the nation from Russia: Go green.
10 Charts that Reveal the Potential ROI for Solar Blogging

I know I write a lot about how solar companies can blog effectively, but I still see few companies truly embracing blogging. Perhaps that’s because solar marketers want to show their CEOs some objective stats that show how blogging can be effective and not a waste of time and resources. And that’s where HubSpot, a popular inbound (content) marketin

How to Choose a Contractor

In consideration of the investment size you will make in a solar system for your home, it is critical to carefully evaluate any solar contractor you may consider. Remember that this is a long-term investment on a system that will deliver clean, renewable energy to your home for 25 + years. Your diligence in evaluating your contractor, the delivered energy production values (stated in the proposal), and system components will insure you have made the right decision that will meet your expectations for years to come. With explosive growth in the arena of solar contractors your due diligence will insure you have made the right choice in a proven and committed solar contractor.

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK

What is their core business?

  • Are they an electrical, general or plumbing contractor looking to find work in a down market?
  • Do they have a long term commitment to the industry to support your investment?

How long have they been in business?

How many years experience does the company have installing solar?

How many installations have they completed?

What type of organizational structure & support do they offer?

  • In-house design & engineering services?
  • Is any part of their installation work sub-contracted?
  • How many installation crews are they running?

Is the company properly licensed, bonded & insured?

What is their standing with the Registrar of Contractors (ROC) & Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

Can they provide customer references?

Has their sales process gathered the right information to understand your needs and develop a customized proposal based on the homes energy use profile, your goals and expectations, budget, and financing needs?

Does their proposal offer all of the key system details?

  • Is the quoted system based on gathered historical utility data?
    • Type of service plan you are currently on
    • Total kWh & On-Peak demand usage
    • Established the proper average cost per kWh
    • Use of a fair estimated increase on future energy costs from the utility
    • Have the utility incentives and tax credits been accurately stated
    • Has the home ‘s roof or property been evaluated for optimal location of solar panels
    • Are the estimated delivered production values (kWh AC) realistic based on system size and orientation of solar panels?
    • Expected energy savings in kWh and dollars
    • Has it been clearly explained how you are compensated for excess power sent back into the distribution system under the net metering agreement?
    • Has it been explained how the system operates in the event a power outage is experienced
  • Does the proposal take into account any and all potential additional projects costs?
    • Service panel modifications or upgrades
    • Required conduit runs
    • Charges associated with different types of roof structures
    • Required roof work to maintaining roof warranty

What are the solar panels & inverter technology offered?

  • What type of comprehensive system warranty do they offer?
    • Solar panel manufacturer’s warranty
    • Inverter manufacturer’s warranty
    • System installation & workmanship warranty

QUESTION CHECKLIST TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A SOLAR CONTRACTOR

  1. Are you a vertically integrated company?
    1. What type of Registrar of Contractor license does your company hold?
      1. Electrical, Plumbing, Roofing, and General Contractors
      2. Insures the scope of work is inclusive to the license
    2. Does your company have to sub-contract out part or all of the project?
    3. Does your company perform their own Design and Engineering?
      1. In house Design and Engineering Services insure projects are designed both to optimize production and installation efficiency
  2. How does your company handle product procurement?
    1. Does your company buy directly from the manufacture?
      1. Price
      2. Service
      3. Warranty
    2. What is your complete product line?
      1. Reputable products
      2. Warranty
      3. Bondable
      4. Production
  3. How many total projects has your company completed?
    1. How many different utility companies has your company worked with?
      1. Multiple utilities executed
      2. Understanding of the interconnection process to expedite the project
    2. How many years and number of projects has your company successfully been rewarded utility rebates, and tax credits?
  4. How many solar installations has your company performed, and what are the other types of project that have been completed by your organization?
    1. Number of projects completed
    2. ROC and BBB ratings
    3. Company history
  5. Does your company help me finance my project?
    1. Does your company offer different types of financing?
    2. How many projects has your company funded, or helped fund?
    3. Who are your accounting partners?
      1. Solar industry leading accounting firms include
        1. Reznick Group LLP.
        2. Novagradac & Company LLP.
        3. Nixon Peabody LLP.
    4. Does your company have debt financing and project equity partners?
    5. Who is your company’s legal counsel?
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