Buying Your First PV System

By Hawaii Renovation Posted in: EnergyExteriorRoofing

Now that we are well into the new year, it’s time for home improvement projects. Remember when you bought your first car? Think about all those questions you asked yourself and the all-too-eager car salesman. How much to spend? Is it safe? How is it on gas?

It’s almost like buying your first photovoltaic system (except solar doesn’t burn hydro-carbons). With competition in Hawaii’s solar energy industry heating up, your choice for PV contractors has grown and will only become more confusing. And it’s not like you can take a PV system out for a test drive.

But with the right questions, 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 for you to ask your PV system contractor 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 PV. Also, make sure that the company is an HSEA-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 does the contractor measure experience in the business?

Many companies tout cumulative years of experience. If Sunetric were to measure itself based on cumulative years, 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 they have installed in Hawaii. Sunetric has installed more than 50 MW of PV, which is more than three times more than any other company.

What’s the contractor’s history with customers? Check with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Professional and Licensing Division. With Sunetric, every job begins and ends with safety as a priority and core belief. Putting safety first — for those on the job and for the customers and their home — is standard operating procedure at Sunetric.

What is the company’s warranty on workmanship? Sunetric offers a six-year warranty on all work performed on its installations. Furthermore, Sunetric’s highly trained roofing crews allow the company to offer a five-year warranty on your roof, whereas most other companies only offer one year or none at all. Additionally, most of the systems Sunetric installs 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 indicates poor workmanship.

Sunetric’s proprietary design tool is the result of more than eight years of refined calculations. Sunetric 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.”

SUNETRIC
contact // 262-6600
address // 905 Kapaa Quarry Place
web // Sunetric.com