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5 Tips For Comparing Solar Bids

5 Tips for Comparing Solar Bids

Whether it comes in the form of a knock on your door or an unsolicited phone call, solar companies want your business. BVI Solar offers these five tips for comparing solar bids from different companies.

Price Per Watt

When comparing quotes, the best common denominator is the price per watt. If it’s not specifically written in your proposal, you can find this number by dividing t he total system cost by the system size. For example: $24,000 total system cost divided by 6,000  watts equals $4.00 per watt.

Equipment

Not all equipment is made equally. Top panel manufacturer include LG, QCells, CertainTeed, Panasonic and SunPower. Look for products from these names in your proposal. Most contractors have access to all of these brands, so make sure to ask what’s available and how it impacts your system price. 

System Offset

The system offset is the key to savings! It’s determined by dividing the amount of energy produced by the amount of energy consumed. The best savings are realized at 85-100% offset. Exceeding 100% offset can reduce your overall savings because it may lead to a larger solar system than necessary, and will cost more to produce the energy than the utility will pay for it. 

Warranty

While the equipment warranty is important, they are mostly the same across the board. When comparing bids, you should focus on the coverage of installation workmanship and roof leaks. The majority of warranty claims are caused by improper installation or a contractor who cut corners.

Solar Financing

It costs money to borrow money. Solar is no different. It’s important to know what fees are associated with your loan and how they may impact your savings. Leases and Purchase Power Agreements do not have financing fees, but they typically increase in price each year. A loan may have fees attached, but will come in at a fixed monthly payment for the entire term.