Ensure you have the right solar equipment

Adrienne SorensenAugust 31, 20184310

Ensure you have the right solar equipment


Now that you’re set up with the proper paperwork, the installer you have chosen is ready to place an equipment order through their primary distributor. At this point, you will have already decided on the solar panels, the inverters, and the layout of the solar system. You need to know what equipment your system will include. This is usually decided when you first go over your power needs with your installer.

Here is a little advice for equipment selection, here are some things to consider. The two primary components you’ll need to evaluate for your system are solar panels and inverters. Your installer will likely recommend a particular brand for each, and will additionally offer a few alternatives.


Durability, efficiency, and aesthetics are the primary factors most homeowners will use to compare the various brands. Price is another option, but understand that the most expensive solar panels might be that way because of their brand and not because it is a superior solar panel.


To be certain that you’ve chosen the right equipment for your system, spend some time researching microinverters vs. string inverters vs. power optimizers and look into the best-rated solar panels on the market. Evaluating your equipment options can help you feel prepared for the ordering and shipment stage of the solar panel installation process.


Hire the right installer for you

Any time you hire someone to come into your home, but solar combines the logistics of a home improvement project with the risks of electrical work. Credentials and references are vital. “You wouldn’t hire an electrician who had never done electrical work to come into your house and change things around,” says Kelly Larson, an electrical contractor in California with 20 years of experience doing solar installations. In particular, look for accreditation from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Get several different quotes before you ink a contract.

It’s best to get a vendor that will be around for the lifetime of your installation. In the event that anything does stop working during the warranty period, you don’t want to realize that your installer isn’t around to fix it.

Every household will need to run its own cost-benefit analysis on this basic trade-off. Buying your own system costs more up front but pays bigger dividends; leasing lets you access cheaper electricity with little or no money down, but the benefits are more limited. If you lease, the company you contract with owns the system, and you pay them a certain rate for the electricity; when the lease is up, they might take the system away. When you own the system, it can keep working for you long after it pays off the cost of the purchase.

Make sure your installation happens in a timely manner


Once the equipment ordering process is complete, your property is added to your installer’s queue. Your equipment (panels and inverters) will likely arrive on the day of your installation, which can happen whenever your paperwork is approved (typically within one to two months). Time until install also depends on how many projects your installer has in their queue. If possible, try to get your solar installation done in the winter when solar companies aren’t as busy.

The contract you sign states the details of financing, ownership, and performance expectations. Since these systems include web-enabled devices, you should check if anyone is collecting data on your home energy production and usage and who has access to it.

Please remember to check out our links below.

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