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How can I get solar power for my house?

Avatar for Dave Llorens
Published on 07/24/2012 in
Updated 02/26/2014
how to buy solar power

Thinking of how you can get solar power on your home?

It’s a perfect time to make the investment, with the cost of solar panels at an all-time low, electricity prices rising, and great incentives for solar energy in many states. Here’s a quick list of the steps we recommend you take to get the best deal on solar panels for your home.

1. Find the solar power incentives in your state

Take a look at the list of states on the right-hand side-bar of this page and locate your own. When you’re done reading this post, have a look at the incentives that are available to you. We’ve included everything: tax credits for solar power, tax exemptions, state rebates, renewable performance payments and renewable portfolio standards. In a few locations, we’ve also listed specific city incentives.

We’re dedicated to keeping our state-by-state incentive database updated so homeowners always have the best access to solar data. It can be hard to navigate the labyrinth of information out there, and we’ve broken it down to make it clear and easier to understand. You’ll see the latest laws related to renewable energy, and what they mean for you. We’ve also included validated cost-impact analyses so you can see how much you’re likely to spend on solar power out-of-pocket, how much you can expect to save on your utility bills, and how quickly you’ll get a return on investment.

2. Get quotes from multiple installers

Your solar installer is a critical part of getting an optimal home solar system. A good installer will help you evaluate your roof’s condition and position, correctly calculate how many solar panels you’ll need, plan the configuration, and guide you through the process of permitting and getting incentives. Of course, they’ll also do the actual installation, which takes skill and experience to do safely and effectively.

Because it’s difficult to evaluate installers on your own, we recommend using One Block off the Grid (1BOG) to get connected with solar installers in your area. 1BOG’s team of experts carefully vets the leading solar installation companies in each city where they work—meeting with them, viewing their facility and examples of their work, and evaluating their financial stability, licensing and bonding, and overall quality. Since it’s smart to get quotes from a few different installers, 1BOG will have multiple trusted companies contact you. You’ll be able to meet with each of them and get rough estimates to compare.

3. Review the bids and choose your solar power installer

After you get the bids from each solar installer, you can compare what each company offers. Cost is only one consideration. It’s a good idea to get references and hear about other homeowners’ experiences with the installer (though if you’re working with an installer that 1BOG recommended, you’ll have peace of mind that the company has done great work in the past). You should also compare the different warranties that the installers offer, and whether they offer programs like power purchase agreements. For more detail, check out a short guide that we’ve written on choosing a good installer.

4. And the solar panels go up

After you’ve made your final decision on an installer, they’ll come back to your home for a full site assessment. The installer will take a thorough look at all of the details that are unique to your home and make a plan for the installation. They’ll also let you know if there are any special issues—for example, you might need electric service upgrades or trenching, or there may be issues with shading that weren’t obvious on the first visit. The installer will make any needed revisions to the original quote, and then you’ll be ready to sign your contract and start the process of getting panels installed.

Ready to start? Sign up now to get a free quote for solar on your home.

Last modified: February 26, 2014

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