Choosing A Solar Hot Water Installer

Once you have got 3 quotes through how do you choose which installer should work on your home?

There are 4 main criteria you should look at which I explain below:

1. Cost

Obviously this is very important, but it may not be the most significant factor in your purchase. Remember, this is a system that you will depend on every day for up to 20 years, so it is critical that you have a system that you are happy with, has the features you need, and is suited to your individual circumstances.

2. Warranties / Maintenance

What performance warranties does the installer provide? Your installer should provide warranty of the panels, controller (if a split system) and boost system for at least 5 years.

Also ask what guarantees do they provide on the rest of the system and their workmanship (over and above the manufacturers warranties)?

Ask them how you will know if your system is performing properly.

Ask them what maintenence is needed and what it will cost.

3. Craftsmanship

A well fitted solar hot water panel can be a beautiful thing. What kind of mounting system does your contractor use and how do they look.

Ask for some referrals and go look at previous installations. Inspect the workmanship, and overall simplicity of the installation.

4. Questions to Ask:

Here’s a list of questions you may like to ask your solar hot water installer:

  • Is the price quoted my total out-of-pocket cost, fully installed after rebates and RECs?
  • How many similar systems have you installed?
  • Can you provide me with references in my area?
  • How will I know if my system is performing to it’s max potential on a day to day basis?
  • Do you handle all the rebate paperwork for me?
  • What is the lead time from my payment to getting water from the panels?
  • What performance guarantees do I get for the system as a whole?
  • Which guarantees/warranties are your responsibility and which are the manufacturer’s?
  • Have you taken my hot water usage patterns into account?
  • How do you know my roof is strong enough (if thermosiphon)?
  • How many RECs do I get? (the more RECs, the more efficient your system)
  • What maintenance does it need?
  • Why have you recommended a thermosiphon over evacuated tubes? (or vice versa)
  • How thick will the insulation on the new hot water pipes be?
  • How much can I expect my bills to drop by?

Get 3 quotes from local installers now.