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Important Things to Know When Switching to Solar

2014-09-11_0814After a year of freedom from the rising costs imposed by our local power company and generating over 20,000 kilowatt hours of my own clean energy, there is no question I made the right decision using green building construction.  I am able to have a healthier living while saving energy and with the financing options, government incentives, and tax benefits, there is no better time to take control of your energy costs with solar.

In San Diego, there is no shortage of firms to choose from for solar.  Many of these companies are purely marketing and sales organizations or unqualified opportunistic contractors who are trying to ride the solar wave, so don’t be afraid to ask questions to find out what you are dealing with.

For solar installations, electrical contractors are the best choice because most homes need upgrades to the existing electrical system before solar can be installed.  Knowledge of wiring, electrical loads and electrical codes are a critical part of solar installation.  When you hire a professional company who specializes in solar the system will be designed specifically for your needs after an energy audit is performed.

When interviewing solar companies, important questions to ask are:

Who manufactures the equipment?  Sunpower and LG are the two best 2 companies.

How much does the solar energy cost per kilowatt?  This will help you evaluate purchase, financing and lease options.

Does the solar company have their own factory trained installers or do they use sub-contractors?  In most cases, the best performing solar systems are installed by factory trained employees.

What is the warranty on the panels and inverter?  Typically solar panels have a 20 year warranty and inverters 10 years.  With a lease, the inverter is warrantied for the entire term.

Is performance monitoring included?  In order to realize the maximum output of your solar system, it should be monitored and maintained by the company who installed it.

For quality solar equipment and professional installation, I recommend Milholland Electric Inc.

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About

Gregg Cantor, a third generation contractor and owner of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel has successfully remodeled thousands of homes in San Diego County. Gregg's is experienced in all phases of construction and home remodeling including design development, project management, best building practices, code requirements, and contract law. He also writes articles for examiner.com and is co-host of The Home Pro Show Saturday's at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on A.M.600 KOGO San Diego. Follow Gregg's posts.


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