12 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Solar Company


solar energy

As solar energy becomes increasingly popular among homeowners, the market is flooded with solar providers offering various services. Selecting the right solar company ensures a smooth transition to solar power. We’ve outlined 12 essential questions to ask solar companies to help you confidently navigate the selection process.

Table of Contents

    • What Types of Solar Products Do You Offer?
    • Will the Panels Operate On-Grid or Off-Grid?
    • What Inverter Options Are Available?
    • Where Will the Solar Panels Be Placed?
    • How Many Panels Will I Need Based on My Power Usage?
    • What Is the Estimated Cost to Install Solar Equipment?
    • Who Will Be Installing the Solar Panels?
    • What Is Your Experience and Qualifications?
    • What Is the Expected Timeline for Installation?
    • Can You Provide Customer Testimonials?
    • What Does the Solar Panel Contract Include?
    • Who Handles the Necessary Paperwork and Permits?

FAQ Section


Key Takeaways

    • Choose a solar company offering various products, like solar shingles, to meet your needs.
    • For an informed decision, understand the differences between monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels.
    • Decide on on-grid, off-grid, or battery backup systems based on your preferences and requirements.
    • Know the impact of choosing string inverters, power optimizers, or microinverters on your system’s efficiency.
    • Collaborate with the solar company to find the best location for your panels.
    • Calculate your home’s energy usage to determine the number of panels needed.
    • Get multiple quotes to understand installation costs, which vary by panel type and energy needs.
    • Check whether installers are company employees or subcontractors, affecting installation quality.
    • Prioritize companies with local expertise and knowledge of state-specific solar regulations.
    • Discuss the expected timeline from contract to activation to set realistic expectations.
    • Seek genuine customer testimonials and conduct independent research on the company’s performance.
    • Review the solar panel contract carefully, focusing on maintenance, warranties, and financing options.


What Types of Solar Products Do You Offer?

1. What Types of Solar Products Do You Offer?

A reputable solar company offers various solutions to meet diverse needs and preferences. For instance, some companies, like Lyndsey Roofing, LLC, specialize in solar shingles, an innovative alternative integrating solar technology into roofing materials. Understanding the different types of solar panels and their materials is crucial to making an informed decision that aligns with your energy goals and budget.

Types of Solar Panel Systems

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels offer the highest efficiency rates among solar products. Made from a single, pure silicon crystal, these panels are efficient and aesthetically pleasing with their uniform look. The premium performance of monocrystalline panels comes with a higher price tag, making them a suitable option for homeowners prioritizing efficiency and space utilization.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels, recognizable by their blue tint and speckled appearance, are made from multiple silicon crystals melted together. These panels offer a more cost-effective solution compared to their monocrystalline counterparts. While they have slightly lower efficiency rates, polycrystalline panels provide a balanced option for those seeking a more affordable entry into solar energy.

Thin-Film Solar Panels

Thin-film solar panels stand out for their flexibility and lightweight design, making them adaptable to various surfaces and applications. Although they are generally less efficient than crystalline solar panels, their versatility and lower cost make them an attractive option for large-scale installations. Thin-film technology is particularly suited for commercial buildings or areas with ample space.


2. Will the Panels Operate On-Grid or Off-Grid?

Solar panels can integrate with the electrical grid in distinct manners, known as on-grid (or grid-tied) systems, or operate independently, as off-grid systems. It is crucial to decide your preference before discussing options with a solar company. 

On-Grid vs. Off-Grid Solar Energy

Below are the various grid configurations available for solar panels:

On-Grid Systems

An on-grid system, connected to the electrical grid, allows for the possibility of receiving compensation for surplus electricity generated by your panels that is fed back into the grid. However, this system does not permit electricity from your panels during a power outage.

Off-Grid Systems

Off-grid systems are not connected to the electrical grid. If you opt for an off-grid setup, you are entirely responsible for generating all necessary electricity for your home.

Grid Systems with Battery Backup

These are on-grid systems equipped with a battery backup. The solar company may recommend this option if you’re looking for a grid-tied system that continues to provide power during outages, thanks to the battery backup feature.

What Inverter Options Are Available

3. What Inverter Options Are Available?

The inverter type is another critical aspect of solar panel systems that could influence your decision. Solar panels generate direct (DC) electricity, while most household appliances require alternating (AC) electricity. Understanding the options for converting the electrical current is essential before choosing. 

String Inverters

String inverters connect multiple panels into strings, with all panels in a string connected to a single inverter. This inverter converts the DC electricity the panels produce into AC electricity suitable for home use.

Power Optimizers

Power optimizers are used together with a string inverter. They adjust the DC electricity at each panel to optimize the power output before sending it to the central inverter for conversion to AC electricity. This setup can enhance efficiency and is often discussed with your solar company as a potential option.


Microinverters represent a more individualized approach, with each solar panel equipped with its inverter. These inverters convert DC to AC directly at the panel, eliminating the need for a centralized string inverter. This option can offer advantages in efficiency and panel performance monitoring.


4. Where Will the Solar Panels Be Placed?

The best place to install solar panels is key to maximizing their energy output. Solar companies often recommend the south side of your roof to ensure the panels receive sunlight throughout the year.


Optimal Tilt Angle

The panels are typically tilted between 30 and 40 degrees to capture as much sunlight as possible. However, the ideal angle may vary depending on your home’s location relative to the equator.


Roof Considerations

Not every roof is suitable for straightforward solar panel installation. Differences in steepness or flatness can complicate things. It’s important to discuss your specific roof type with your solar company. They can advise on the best installation method to ensure maximum energy generation.


Planning for a Solar Farm

If you’re considering setting up a solar farm, the process involves more space and planning. It’s essential to work with a solar company experienced in large-scale installations. They can help select the best location and ensure the efficient setup of numerous panels.

How Many Panels Will I Need Based on My Power Usage

5. How Many Panels Will I Need Based on My Power Usage?

Knowing how much electricity your home uses is important for planning and budgeting solar panel installation. This information helps you understand the cost estimate a solar company might provide for the setup.


Average Household Electricity Consumption

A typical household uses about 29 kilowatt-hours (kWh) daily, up to roughly 900 kWh monthly or 10,000 kWh annually.


Solar Panel Output

A solar panel can produce around 300 watts per hour on a sunny day. But to ensure your home has enough power during cloudy days, rainy periods, and nighttime, you may need between 12 and 20 solar panels.


Factors Affecting the Number of Solar Panels Needed

The actual number of panels your home will need can vary greatly. It depends on how much electricity you use and how much sunlight your area gets. This is why it is important to talk to a solar company for an accurate estimate. They can assess your home’s energy needs and suggest how many panels you’ll need to meet those needs effectively.


6. What Is the Estimated Cost to Install Solar Equipment?

The total cost for powering a home with solar panels, including installation, can range from  $18,476 – $36,024. The price of the panels varies significantly, from $4,000 to $16,000, depending on various factors.


Factors Influencing Cost

The cost depends on the type of solar panels you choose, the size of your home, and your household’s energy consumption. The variability and complexity of costs make it difficult to give an exact figure without professional advice.


Getting Quotes from Solar Companies

Getting quotes from multiple solar companies to compare costs and services is advised. Seeking estimates from at least three different providers ensures you have enough information to make a well-informed decision.

Who Will Be Installing the Solar Panels?

7.  Who Will Be Installing the Solar Panels?

Knowing if the solar panel installers are full-time employees or if the work is outsourced to subcontractors is crucial. Solar companies with headquarters in another state often use local subcontractors for installations. Local solar companies might do the same for various reasons.


Quality Control and Installer Relationship

The relationship between the installers and the solar company is crucial for quality control during the installation process. To get the best installation quality, consider choosing a local installer in Poughkeepsie, NY, like Lyndsey Roofing, LLC, which uses trained, full-time professionals.


Inquiring About Installation Teams

When you talk to a solar company, ask about their installation teams. A good company will be open about whether it has in-house teams or uses subcontractors. It should also reassure you about the quality and reliability of its installation work.


8. What Is Your Experience and Qualifications?

Understanding the duration of the solar company’s operation in your state, their certifications, and the volume of local installations they’ve completed is crucial. This information can provide insight into their expertise and dependability.

Local Knowledge

Each state has unique incentives, tax laws, and procedures for solar energy installations. Choosing a solar company that knows the specific solar laws and processes in your location is vital. Their familiarity ensures efficient navigation through local requirements and maximization of benefits for you.


Broad Local Experience

Ask the solar company about its history in your state, its certifications, and the number of projects it’s done locally. This will help you understand whether it has the necessary local experience to manage your installation effectively and take advantage of state-specific benefits.


Strong Local Track Record

A solar company with a solid history and in-depth knowledge of local regulations can simplify the installation process for you and bring more benefits. Selecting such a company increases the likelihood of a smooth and advantageous solar energy transition.

What Is the Expected Timeline for Installation?

9. What Is the Expected Timeline for Installation?

When you decide to get solar panels, it’s important to know how long the process takes. Although putting the panels up usually takes only 1 to 3 days, getting everything up and running can take much longer, sometimes up to two months or more.


Factors Influencing the Timeline

Several factors can affect the process’s length. These include the solar company’s availability, the time needed to obtain the necessary permits, and the time it takes to connect the system to the power grid. These steps can significantly extend the overall timeline.


Discussing Timelines with Your Solar Company

Asking for an estimated timeline from signing the contract to activating the system helps set your expectations. A trustworthy solar company will give you this information, including any requirements or possible delays, so you know when to expect your solar energy benefits to begin.


10. Can You Provide Customer Testimonials?

When considering a solar company for your installation, gathering as much information as possible is crucial to ensure you’re making an informed decision. This includes understanding the experiences of their previous customers and conducting independent research on the company. 


Seeking Honest Feedback from Previous Customers

A trustworthy company should allow you to contact past customers randomly for genuine, unedited opinions. If you’re only given access to speak with chosen customers, it’s a red flag. It raises questions about why they’re limiting your access to impartial feedback.


Conducting Your Research

Doing your homework is an important step. Look up the company’s rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or visit independent customer review sites. These resources can give you a better understanding of the company’s dependability and customer satisfaction. 

Solar Panel Contract

11. What Does the Solar Panel Contract Include?

Before committing to solar panels, whether you’re renting or buying, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the contract provided by the solar company. Obtaining a copy of the solar lease or purchase agreement and safely storing it for future reference is a must. 

When buying solar panels, pay special attention to the details in the quote. Don’t hesitate to ask your solar company for clarification on any parts of the contract that seem unclear or incomplete.

The contract should clearly outline critical elements such as:


    • Maintenance and Repairs: Who is responsible for the upkeep and fixing issues?
    • Warranties: What guarantees does the solar company offer regarding the performance and durability of the solar panels?
    • Manufacturer’s Stability: What happens if the solar panel manufacturer goes out of business? How does this affect your support and warranty claims?
    • Financing: Detailed information on how you will finance the solar panels, including any loans, leases, or payment plans offered by the solar company.


12. Who Handles the Necessary Paperwork and Permits?

Using a full-service solar company comes with the major benefit of not worrying about the bureaucratic side of things. They ensure your installation meets all local regulations and standards, smoothing the process. Benefits include:


    • Saves Time: A full-service solar company quickly handles permits and paperwork, speeding up the process.
    • Reduces Stress: Homeowners can relax, knowing experts are tackling the complex paperwork and regulations.
    • Ensures Compliance: These companies know local laws well, ensuring your installation meets all standards.
    • Speeds Up Installation: Experts permit handling can shorten the project timeline, getting your solar system running faster.
    • Offers Peace of Mind: Trusting professionals to manage all administrative tasks gives you confidence that everything is done correctly and lawfully.




FAQ Section

How long do solar panels last?

Solar panels are impressively durable, with most having a 25-30-year lifespan. However, it’s not uncommon for panels installed by a reputable solar company to continue generating electricity well beyond this period. The longevity of your solar panels can be maximized through regular maintenance and choosing high-quality products from a trusted solar company.

Can I install solar panels myself?

While it’s technically possible to undertake a DIY solar panel installation, enlisting the services of a professional solar company is highly recommended. Professional installation ensures your solar system is set up for optimal performance and adheres to all local building codes and regulations. A certified solar company will also handle the necessary permits and inspections, making the process hassle-free.

Are solar panels effective in cloudy weather?

Yes, solar panels can still produce electricity on cloudy days, albeit at a reduced efficiency. The technology behind solar panels allows them to capture different light spectrums, meaning they can still generate power even when it’s not sunny. However, the overall energy output on cloudy days will be lower than on clear, sunny days. 

How does solar energy impact my property value?

Installing solar panels is a significant investment that can increase your home’s value. Many potential homebuyers view solar energy as desirable, appreciating sustainability and the promise of lower electricity bills. A solar company can provide you with a system that not only meets your energy needs but also enhances the attractiveness of your property to future buyers.

What maintenance do solar panels require?

Solar panels require minimal maintenance to keep them operating efficiently. Routine cleaning to remove dust, leaves, and other debris is generally all needed. Some solar companies offer maintenance services, conducting regular inspections to ensure your system is performing optimally. It’s a good idea to check with your solar company about the specific maintenance recommendations for your panels.


Ready to Embrace Solar Energy?

By carefully considering these 12 essential questions, you’re well on your way to finding a solar provider that aligns with your values and requirements. Companies like Lyndsey Roofing, LLC stand out for their expertise, reliability, and commitment to quality service. Partnering with the right solar company in Poughkeepsie, NY, ensures a seamless transition to solar energy. Ready to switch to solar? Contact us today to explore how we can illuminate your path to sustainable energy.