Do Your Research
A critical first step is to research the different solar companies. Check out their websites. Do they have reviews? If you suspect that things don’t stack up, avoid those companies. You know when things are too good to be true like Low cost or a “quick” turnaround. Also, like with most construction contracts never give a 100% down payment. There have been several high profile examples with this in the past few years, and overall it has hurt the credibility of the solar industry in our state.
Look for signs of long wait times
More often than not we hear from folks that say they waited months and nearly years to get things installed. In some horrific stories, the company wasn’t legitimate and the customer was on the hook for thousands.
Keep it local
Our main recommendation is going with a local solar installer. Not only will they know the incentives for your electric company and understand regional permitting procedures, they are familiar with the standards of our strict building codes and practices.
Don’t pay too much too soon
If you are encouraged to pay money before anyone has inspected your property, this is another red flag. Several complications can arise due to the company not being upfront with costly upgrades and you may be faced with an expensive dilemma of halting a project that is already underway or paying more than the agreed upon cost to get things up to code.
Is your property a good solar candidate?
You should also plan and understand the best way to harvest the sun on your property. Ideally you want either a south facing roof or a flat roof that doesn’t have much shade. It may not be right for your business and if that is the case Centauri will have no problem telling you that solar isn’t right for your property. However if your building has potential then we would love to size a system that fits your needs and qualifies for as many subsidies as possible to get your money back in your pocket and make us look good for the next customer.
Talk to multiple companies
We recommend contacting at least three local solar installation companies. Before contacting these companies you may want to make photos of your previous electrical bills to understand average usage. This is typically recorded as kWh. Add up the 12 months together then divide by 12. This will give you a monthly average of usage.
Know your numbers
The number you see may be shocking but remember, until December 31st 2020 the federal rebate is 26% off as a credit to your yearly taxes. The following year these federal credits are scheduled to be reduced to 22%. Still, this is a considerable investment, that you will pay off over time. Some money upfront helps secure a better tomorrow both economically and environmentally.
Next you will need to choose the best company, again avoiding any folks that seem unreliable. When you work with Centauri we will look over all of your research and work with you on the best solar system for you. We will meet with you to discuss particulars. Any questions you may have can be answered during the conversation.
Working With Centauri Systems
After we meet we will generate a customized quote with details. Our goal is to try to get your money back in 8 years or less. Other factors play into this, mostly the limitations of your property and the availability of extra incentives from your local utility companies.
Once an installation agreement is signed we will start to pull permits and get the ball rolling. We are up front as possible and transparent with timeframes. Building plans are submitted and this process can take a bit of time depending on many factors and which utility is involved.
Once the building plans are approved by the utility and your county/city we will contact you to set a time to start the installation and also order materials. This is typically done over email or with a phone call.
Starting the project
Depending on the jobs currently scheduled we will get your project started within a week or two. We focus on one project until it is complete and we typically will work sun up to sun down. The installation time may vary, but it normally is a few days for smaller systems and a week for larger ones.
If your install is located on a commercial roof we may need to crane materials onto the roof. On residential properties this is not necessary and we will coordinate where to store the panels. Typically we will get to work once they arrive on site to ensure a smooth installation period.
There should be no interruption to your daily routine. Our installations are non invasive, and we will be as up front as possible and very communicative during installation. There may be a time that the power is turned off to your home or business but it’s in everyone’s best interest to coordinate an appropriate time to schedule a time for that.
Turning it on and making your own power
Once the system is fully installed we will schedule the final inspection for the building permit, electrical permit, and finally a grid tie in day with the utility. Reminder – your business is not running on solar yet.The grid tie in can take a bit of time anywhere from a week to six weeks. This could be the longest part of the process, and the highest level of excitement/frustration for the customer because the array is so close to being turned on.
We will provide you with all the necessary paperwork needed to file for incentives both on the federal level and with your local power company. We will get you enrolled in your energy companies program to ensure you get the maximum rebate available to you.
That’s it, now you can enjoy the fresh rays of the sun in a new light. If you are interested in seeing if solar is right for you, give us a call or send us a message.