how to be smart solar shopper

Durability, degradation, expected life? Warranty; what does it really cover, such as production, product, and labor?


  • String, optimizer, or micro?
  • The truth about shade tolerance and optimization?
  • Durability (failure-prone electrolytic capacitors?), expected life, warranty and labor?


  • Roof or ground or tracker? Exposed rack ends or hidden? Layout and conduit? Monitoring
  • How much power am I making?
  • How much is my household using?
  • How do I know everything is working okay?

Which Installer Is Best For You?

  • Big national marketing/finance company, vs “Chuck-and-a-truck”, vs mid-sized local?
  • History, experience, warranty, recommendations?
  • Personalized proposal vs cookie-cutter or via phone?

What’s The Best Way To Pay For It?

  • How much will solar offset your utility bill? Electrical need vs roof (or yard) space?
  • Lease (or PPA) vs buy? Who gets the most economic benefit – you or some big company?
  • Tax appetite? Instead of paying the government, can you pay yourself?
  • Escalators for lease rates and utility rates? Facts vs hype?
  • Note that “Maintenance” is not an issue with a lease, nor with purchased products if you have a complete warranty.
  • Equity. What is your Return on Investment (ROI)?
  • How does solar affect my home resale value?

Do your own research and don’t accept marketing hype; ask for real proof! Then find a solar consultant you can trust. A good one will listen carefully to you, make some recommendations that are best for your situation, and keep it simple for you.