Making the Right Choice When Going Solar

By Hawaii Renovation Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

Remember when you bought your first car? Think about all those questions you asked yourself and the all-too-eager car salesman. How much should I spend? Is the car safe? How is it on gas? How about a test drive?

Buying a car is a lot like purchasing your first photovoltaic (PV) system (except solar doesn’t burn hydrocarbons). With competition in Hawaii’s solar energy industry heating up, your PV contractor options have grown and will only become more confusing. And it’s not like you can take a PV system out for a test drive.

With the right questions, though, you can take the contractor out for a “test drive.” Don’t let your enthusiasm for getting rid of electricity bills get the better of you. Sunetric presents these questions so you can collect your thoughts and make the smartest investment for your home:

Does the contractor have a C-13 license and other solar-relevant certifications?

Sunetric holds a number of license classifications including a C-13 Electrical Contractors license. This means Sunetric employees are licensed to install the systems they sell. More so, Sunetric employees are NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners)-certified, which means that Sunetric specializes in photovoltaics. Also, make sure that the company is an HSEA (Hawaii Solar Energy Association)-approved contractor.

Who provides the warranty on the system?

It’s best to choose a contractor who takes full responsibility for the design, installation and warranty so issues don’t fall through the cracks. It’s also good to ask whether the company has been in the PV business for as long as the current warranty they are offering. At a minimum, the contractor must have survived at least one full warranty cycle to prove it’ll be there after the sale, should you need it. Sunetric offers a six-year warranty and has been in business for more than eight years.

How do you measure experience in the business?

Many companies tout cumulative years of experience. If Sunetric were to measure itself based on that, it would have more than 400 years. Other companies tout hours of training, but that is no substitute for years of experience. Don’t be misled by companies that talk about open permits; a real measure of success is the number of closed permits a company has. Also, ask how many megawatts (MW) it has installed in Hawaii. Sunetric has installed more than 45 MW of PV, which is more than three times as much as any other company.

What’s your history with customers?

Check with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Professional and Licensing Division. Make sure your vendor’s background always reflects the customer’s best interests. Sunetric has an A rating with the BBB and boasts a near-perfect customer satisfaction rate. Part of that stellar rating comes from customers knowing that every job begins and ends with safety as a priority and core belief.

What is the workmanship warranty?

Sunetric offers a six-year warranty on all work performed on its installations. Furthermore, a highly trained roofing crew allows it to offer five-year warranties on your roof, whereas other companies only offer one-year or none at all. And most of Sunetric’s systems come with a 25-year warranty.

Is the system sized properly?

Don’t fall victim to companies playing the bait and switch game. Many companies will say that their smaller-sized systems can produce the equivalent of another company’s larger-sized systems just to acquire your business, leaving you with a large portion of your original bill to HECO. An improperly sized system will affect its efficiency and is indicative of an inexperienced contractor. Sunetric’s proprietary design tool is the result of more than eight years of refined calculations. The company specializes in determining your needs and providing you with near-exact solutions, so you can expect to receive that zero dollar bill you are looking for.

“Going solar can seem like a complicated process,” said Alex Tiller, Sunetric’s chief executive officer. “However, if you ask the right questions and choose a company with a history of quality, relevant certifications and years of experience, solar can be the simplest decision you can make.”

contact // 262-6600
address // 905 Kalanianaole Hwy. Box 21
web // Sunetric.com