Protect yourself and your solar investment by getting the right information.
Talk to a ProSolar expert before you buy a solar PV system.
MTE created the ProSolar program to give you the information you need to make smarter decisions when you decide to buy a solar PV energy system at your home or business. As with any rapidly growing and evolving industry, there is a lot of information about solar and batteries — but not all companies creating this information have your best interest in mind.
Protect Yourself and Your Solar Investment with These Buying & Installation Tips
- Look out for deals that sound too good to be true, like $0 down, no payments, cash rebates, etc. These are timeless sales tactics to entice you to sign on the spot.
- High pressure to sign the same day — if they won’t let you get other quotes, something is wrong. Remind yourself that you can take your time. The deal will always be there; they just tell you it won’t be if you don’t sign today.
- A lack of turnaround time. You need time to talk to a tax advisor, your home insurance provider, utility providers and family members. If they won’t let you talk to these people before signing a contract, that’s a problem.
- If they tell you your electric bill savings will cover your loan payment, that's highly unlikely. Can it happen? Yes, but it must be a perfect scenario. Most solar savings are not enough to cover a loan payment.
- Design time. It takes time to design systems to properly meet your loads. It isn’t something that should be rushed and usually takes a few days for the contractor to complete. In turn, this gives the member time to talk to references, tax advisors, lenders, etc. If they show up and claim to have all your electric bill problems solved just a few hours later, that’s a red flag.
Buying a solar PV installation is a big investment, and MTE wants to help protect you and your investment. Consider following these 5 steps before you sign a contract with any solar installation company:
- Review MTE’s Solar Buying Guide to ensure you’ve considered all your options.
- Contact your insurance provider to understand how solar can affect your insurance coverage or if you can get insurance on your new solar system.
- Call MTE’s solar expert for a free ProSolar audit to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision before you commit to a contract.
- Do a background and reviews check on any contractor you are considering using for your solar PV system.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Taking a break before making a big investment decision can prevent you from making a big mistake without all the information.
- Ask for a copy of the permit and make sure it has been approved. Don’t let any construction begin until you have a copy of the permit for your records.
- Most residential solar installations take 4-5 days. This is not something that should be done in a day or two. Rushing electrical and structural attachments will lead to problems.
- No wires should be touching the roof material. Shingles are like sandpaper and, over time, will wear the wire jacket down. Metal gets very hot and can melt wire jackets.
- Make sure warranties are filed and know who to contact if you need to have the system serviced. This will be critical for the long-term care of the system.
- Get a final certificate upon passing state inspection and obtain permission to operate from MTE. Keep these documents for your personal records in the event of insurance claims or the sale of the property.
MTE Solar Resources
TVA's Virtual Solar Education Platform
Interested in a solar system for your home? Or simply considering options for greener energy? The Virtual Solar Education is a one-stop, self-service platform that allows users to learn the ins and outs of solar energy and residential solar systems at their own pace and convenience. You can easily navigate the platform by visiting a series of virtual booths that cover important topics such as Being an Informed Buyer, Calculating the cost of a Solar System, and Energy Efficiency Tips. With the Virtual Solar Education platform, you can make an informed decision when choosing the renewable energy solution that fits your needs.
Talk to an expert in solar. Find the right thing for you.
We’ve got solar expertise on staff. Before joining MTE, Tim Suddoth spent over 6 years in the Solar Industry learning the ins and outs of sales, design estimating, permitting, commissioning, and installing solar systems. He holds certifications from NABCEP — the North America Board of Certified Energy Practitioners — the gold standard for solar. If you have any questions, Tim is available to talk to at no charge.