10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Going Solar | Solar.com

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10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Going Solar

Going solar can be a challenging process for homeowners — especially when speaking with different solar companies yields conflicting and confusing information. But when done right, the economic and environmental benefits of rooftop solar are more than worthwhile.

So we asked solar industry veteran Brian Lynch a simple question: What can homeowners do to set themselves up for a successful solar installation?

Lynch broke his answer into 10 questions that homeowners should ask themselves before signing a deal and also threw in some expert advice for answering those questions that he’s picked up over his 15+ years with major solar players like REC, LG, and ADT.

Whether you’re comparing quotes on the solar.com marketplace or seeking them out on your own, ask yourself the following questions before you sign a solar agreement.

10 questions about going solar

1. Do I know who I’m dealing with and can I trust them?

Rooftop solar is a major investment in lowering your electricity costs and carbon footprint, so it’s crucial to work with a reputable company that has a proven track record of excellent workmanship and customer service. Research the installer whether or not they are performing the sale.

As a baseline, they should have:

  • Strong customer reviews and consumer ratings
  • An established presence in your community
  • A robust workmanship warranty
  • Proof of licensing and insurance available upon request

Brian Lynch’s advice:

For a truly unbiased opinion, call the local inspector’s office and ask if they believe the contractor performs quality work.

2. Is the technology selected right for my project?

Not every solar panel, inverter, and battery is created equal. For example, certain panels and inverters are better suited for roofs with occasional shading than others. And if you’re relying on your solar system to reduce your electricity costs, it’s important to invest in the right technology.

Ask yourself the following question: Did the salesperson simply propose what they stock or did they select the right technology package for your specific application? Better yet, ask the salesperson why they chose the equipment they did.

Brian Lynch’s advice:

Research the equipment companies, their ratings, and whether they have US-based customer service – it might make all the difference in the world in a few years if something goes wrong.

Related reading: Best Solar Panels and Inverters Brands of 2024

3. What are my goals for going solar?

Successful solar projects begin with setting goals. Some homeowners want to zero out their utility bill, others want to reduce their environmental impact, and a growing number are motivated by backup power and energy independence. Honing in on one or two primary goals can help you and your advisor craft a custom solution to meet them.

Brian Lynch’s advice:

It’s okay to have several motivations for going solar, but narrow it down to one or two primary goals to guide your system design.

4. Does the proposal meet my goals of going solar?

Once you have goals in place, make sure the proposals you receive actually meet them. Every homeowner and every project is unique. Did the salesperson develop a custom proposal based on your feedback, utility usage, and goals for going solar? Or did they simply propose what the roof could fit?

Ask the salesperson or advisor how the equipment, design, and financing options were selected to help meet your goals.

Brian Lynch’s advice:

Dealing with an unbiased advisor or advocate versus a commissioned salesperson can make all the difference in the world.



5.   Am I thinking about solar the wrong way?

We’ve all seen the ads promising “free” solar. Simply put, there’s no such thing — and these misleading ads set unrealistic expectations for homeowners looking to lower their essential energy costs. Companies that rely on click-bait like “free solar” likely have no issues lying to you later in the process.

Going solar is a great way to lower and flatten your essential electricity costs over time. But if the numbers sound too good to be true, they almost certainly are.

Brian Lynch’s advice:

The best way to identify and avoid solar scams is to get multiple quotes from reputable installers. This will give you a sense of fair pricing in your market and expose outliers that are too good to be true.

free solar panels home depot

6. Am I economically enabling illegal activities?

Sounds crazy, but there’s a dark side of solar. Reports have been issued by Universities that expose forced labor practices in the upstream supply chain of some solar companies and there have been many investigations into illegal trade practices.

While the US is combatting forced labor in the solar supply chain with tariffs and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in 2021, there are still panel manufacturers trying to circumvent these safeguards.

Brian Lynch’s advice:

The best way to avoid enabling unethical practices is to work with reputable companies that don’t have Chinese ownership ties.

7. Cash, loan, or lease?

Again, there’s no right or wrong answer here as everyone has different financial circumstances and goals. But there are pros and cons to all of the buying panels (with a loan or cash) and leasing them.

In general:

  • Financing with a solar loan provides more immediate savings by replacing your monthly electric bill with lower payments on your panels
  • Paying cash provides greater long-term savings since you can avoid interest charges
  • Solar leases can provide immediate energy cost savings, but are typically less lucrative than ownership in the long term and come with a unique set of complications.

Brian Lynch’s advice:

Discuss and simulate several finance options with an unbiased advisor to craft a payment plan that best meets your goals.



8. To store or not to store?

Investing in energy storage – aka solar batteries – along with your solar array is a great way to “future proof” your solar investment. Battery storage provides energy security and allows you to use your electricity when it’s best for you. But, it comes with a substantial cost, and understanding whether an energy storage system is right for you is worth exploring.

Brian Lynch’s advice:

Consider the long-term economics. Battery storage costs substantially less when it is installed at the same time as solar panels than if it’s added to a solar system retroactively.



9. Do I have trust?

Do you trust what you’ve been told? Do you trust the equipment? Do you trust the installer? Do you trust that this is the right system for you?

If the answer to these questions is yes – then solar is amazing. If the answer is no to one or more of them, find a partner that will build and earn your trust.

Brian Lynch’s advice:

With today’s solar systems expected to last 25+ years, installing solar means entering a long-term relationship with your installation company and equipment manufacturers. Trust your project to an installer you trust will be around to promptly service your system and help you file warranty claims if issues should arise.

10. Am I confident in my decision to go solar?

Solar shouldn’t be high-pressure gimmicky sales with three-card monte discounting. Solar should be thoroughly explained, researched, and priced in a fair and consultative manner. If you’re confident in your decision to go solar then congratulations – you’ve made a fantastic decision. If not, take the time to evaluate your options

Brian Lynch’s advice:

Take the time to fully understand, consider, and establish confidence in your decision to go solar. Don’t let a salesperson rush your decision.


At solar.com, we believe successful solar projects start with education. Team up with an Energy Advisor to discuss your energy goals and explore solar and battery solutions!

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