The Clean Energy Council of Australia just released a list of tips to consider when purchasing a solar power system. While not all of the guidelines apply to U.S. consumers, the comprehensive list offered several pointers that we think are applicable to anyone considering a new energy-efficient power source.
We’ve taken their list and modified it a bit for American consumers:
- Be an informed consumer.
Research your options, be clear on your needs and compare quotes.
- Know your daily electricity consumption.
Whether you are considering solar, wind or any other energy source, by understanding what you use, you can assess how much you would like your new system to generate, depending on your budget.
- Get an estimate of how much energy your system will generate.
Your contract should include an estimate of the average daily output of your system in kilowatt-hours (based on where you live and the size and position of your system).
- Check with your electric power provider.
Never purchase a system without knowing what rate you will be paid for the electricity you generate and whether this will affect any hourly rates in your electricity bill.
- Always use an Accredited Installer.
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners offers a map that lists certified professional installers all across the country.
- Avoid signing up on the spot.
You should not feel pressured to sign a contract on the spot. Take the time to understand up-front costs, warranties and pay back of your system.
- Check the conditions of product warranties and work guarantees.
Know who is providing the warranty (manufacturer or importer) and how long it lasts.
- Keep the documentation.
A copy of your contract is necessary to resolve any disputes down the track.
- Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The list may seem a little daunting, but both residential consumers and business owners who are considering energy-efficient power alternatives should understand that while there are many factors in play to getting the right solution for you, there are many resources out there to help point you in the right direction.
For business owners and building managers, we offer free energy audits that includes a comprehensive analysis (including options, cost, savings, payback, ROI, rebates, financing options, etc) to give you everything you need to decide if a whole facility energy project makes financial and operational sense for your organization.