Who wouldn't want to save money on the power bill. If you're considering solar power for your home or farm, Mary Wrege with Cornell Cooperative Extension says here's 10 questions to ask before making a final decision.

Before you even get to the 10 questions to ask, make sure zoning and building codes allow for a solar system.  If you live in subdivision make sure there aren't any rules or covenants regarding alternative power.  And like any other sizable investment you may make, shop around and get 2 or 3 quotes.  Now on to the 10 questions"

#1: How accurate is your system design and quote?
Does it take into consideration current and future shading and roof pitch.

#2: What happens if the system doesn’t produce as much electricity as promised?
Most companies offer a guarantee on how much electricity will be produced from the system.

#3: How will you pay for the system?
There's lots of options, lease, loans and purchase power agreements.

#4: Who designed my system, and will it really work for my home?
Some companies have their salespeople design systems when you really want someone with technical expertise that understands all the options.

#5: How much electricity will my solar panels produce, and how is this forecast?
A solar system’s actual electrical output can vary and most factory ratings are made under perfect lab conditions. Forecasts should take into consideration your specific roof pitch and angle to the sun and shading.

#6: What inverter technology do you offer, and which one is best for my home?
Does each panel work together or independently of each other. Options are Single String Inverters, Microinverters and Optimizers.

#7: Has the company installed other systems in your area?
Have they experienced getting permits, do they know the local building and fire codes.

#8: Who is installing the system?
Solar systems have a lifetime of at least 20 years, it’s imperative the installers do job properly. And is there an inspection of the job once it's finished.

#9: Is your roof is ready for solar?
Your roof should have at least 10 years of life left before installing solar panels.

#10: How is the roof protected against leaks?
Is the hardware used to install have watertight seals? Make sure the installer is responsible for fixing any damage caused during construction.

With such a sizeable investment doing your homework before hand is key to getting the right system at the right price. You can more information at National Renewable Energy Labs and Energy.Gov

SOURCE:  Cornell Cooperative Extension - Mary Wrege

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