Key Questions to Ask Before Entering into an Agreement

For all solar systems:

  • What is the total cost of the solar system?
  • How much is the total cost of the solar system if I add storage?
  • What is your timeline for this investment?
  • How do my options differ if I want a short-term arrangement or a long-term asset?
  • How much do I pay up front, and how much over time, for how long?
  • What is the system size?
  • How much electricity will the system generate each year? Do you guarantee a minimum amount (a production guarantee)? Are there any other guarantees?
  • Will my system be net-metered? How will I be compensated for excess electricity generated by the system?
  • If there is a blackout, what will happen to my system?
  • If I need storage in case of a blackout, what size system and system attributes do I need?
  • Do system output calculations consider actual installation details of the system?
  • Can I expect to save money with this system? If so, how much? Based on what assumptions?
  • Does installing storage change how much I can save with this system? If so, how much?
  • Is the installation company licensed and insured?
  • What will the system look like once installed?
  • Will I receive a system design for my review and approval before installation?
  • Will I be required to make any changes to my home (e.g., roofing upgrades)?
  • Do you use the SEIA residential disclosure form? Can you provide a completed copy of the form?
  • Are there separate warranties for parts and labor?
  • What do the warranties cover and what are their durations?
  • What type of maintenance or cleaning is required? Are any maintenance services included? If not, who should I contact?
  • Who deals with the utility and arranges for interconnection, inspections, and permission to operate?
  • Is performance of the system monitored and, if so, by whom? How can I monitor system performance?
  • Who should I contact if I have a question about the system following the installation? Who should I contact if my system stops working?
  • Who will keep the RECs generated by the system? Will you retire the RECs on my behalf?
  • Can you explain how RECs work in my situation? If I don’t keep the RECs, is there an option to purchase the RECs? If not, what can I say about my home?
  • If I want to sell my home and don’t own the RECs, how can I describe my home to potential buyers?
  • Can my HOA stop me from installing solar?
  • What are my rights under state law?
  • Does your company follow the SEIA Solar Business Code? Do you agree to abide by SEIA’s Complaint Resolution Process?
  • Is residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing available in my state and locality?
  • If the company fails, who should I contact regarding panel and inverter warranties and replacement?


For leases and PPAs only:

  • What is the length of the lease or PPA?
  • Who receives solar tax incentives and how are they factored into the cost?
  • Will my payments increase over time? How much will they increase?
  • What happens if I wish to end the lease or PPA early?
  • Can I purchase the system, either during the agreement or once it ends?
  • What are my options when I sell my home?
  • Am I free to sell my home or do I need the system owner’s permission?
  • Do I have to pay off the lease when my home is sold?
  • Can you explain the UCC-1 filing to me? What happens if I want to refinance my mortgage?
  • Are there fees to transfer the PPA or lease agreement to the new homeowner?
  • What are the conditions for a new homeowner to take over the lease or PPA?
  • Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance on the system?


Source: Solar Energy Industries Association. SEIA. June 2018. Residential Consumer Guide to Solar

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