in-home-pres-rep-taking-pic-of-docs

What’s Involved?

Well, to use an old saying, you’d think it’d be a fairly cut-and-dried answer. But, sometimes it’s not quite so simple. What you can do is break up the “what’s involved” into two separate processes; a pre-sales process and a post-sales process. But, before we start, let’s stop to consider something first.

You might already have a plan, if your home qualifies for going solar, you’d prefer to own the system, as opposed to leasing it or entering into a Power Purchase Agreement [PPA] … and … you might not.

Whether you do or not, many homeowners don’t know which is better; and rely on the solar rep they talk with to let them know what’s best. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing either. There’s something to be said for that.

The expectation is the solar rep is a professional in the solar field; and after they have all the details needed, they should be able to help you determine whether or not going solar makes sense for you, your home and your family; and be able to figure out between leasing and owning, which is the best option for you.

In an ideal world, it would make good business sense, and every solar company would have agreements in place too, with the necessary vendors, in order to be able to provide their reps with the ability to offer homeowners the option to buy a system outright, finance it, lease it, or enter into a PPA.

The real world model though, is that some solar companies are focused on leasing systems, or entering into PPAs with homeowners. Other solar companies may not offer leases or PPAs at all; and only provide cash or finance options. Then there’s a subset of solar companies which offer all the solutions; however, some of the offered solutions may not be available in all areas. So, why is this important?

The reason this is important is because even though solar reps work for solar companies who are doing a lot to help our environment and our civilization; the sales processes and management in the solar industry are, in many ways, very much like other types of companies across corporate America. Here’s one of those issues that face every vertical of the  home improvement industry, as well as most any large, regional or national sales organization.

All too often some companies will push their reps and sales people to sell products or services to people or companies, regardless if it’s a wrong or inappropriate solution for the customer. You want a solar rep that’s going to work for YOU First and Foremost!

You could always ask them at the onset if they represent more than one company or have the ability to offer you a comprehensive set of options, including different purchase options? If you were to ask that you’d probably want to also clarify why you’re asking, so they know the reason you’re asking is because if, in the event you were to decide to go solar, you want to know if they offer more than one type of purchase option, or what are the options? That’s a good way to get first indicator to see if the solar rep is going to be working For You during the process, or trying to qualify you for the purpose of selling you whichever products and services his/her company offers. You’ll want to listen to how they respond, and evaluate what they tell you. 

All that said, let’s go through the process should you end up choosing to invest in a solar energy system for your home. So, despite increasing numbers of homeowners adopting to go solar, most are not initiating contact with a solar company. Usually the process begins in response to a flyer on the front doorknob, or a call on the phone, or a knock at the door, or a referral from a friend, neighbor or family member.

If your first contact is in person, such as someone at your front door, it depends on the rep and company, how they will plan to proceed. Some companies policy is to have the person at the door get your basic contact information, a copy of your current electric bill and they might take a few pictures of your house, showing the main electric panel, the electric meter, the roof and any shade or obstructions; and they’ll set a time with you then to come back with a proposal to show you. What would be next is that they would come back and go through the proposal and a presentation of some sort. Other companies might plan to knock at the door, come in and go through a presentation all at the same time, as their primary objective.

Book a Phone Call

If your first contact is via phone, text or email contact then you’ll most likely get a call from the rep who will get any additional information they need and request a copy of your current electric bill, as well as a few pictures of your house, showing the main electric panel, the electric meter, the roof and any shade or obstructions. They might not need all of those photos, or they might need some different ones as well. However, they will need the pictures and a copy of the electric bill in order to be able to design and mock up a proposed solar energy system to present to you.

If that first contact was at the front door, and they scheduled an appointment with you to go over their report, or proposal then one option is that they will return to your home for that appointment. However, they might conduct that appointment with you over a Zoom call; which has grown in popularity lately, for reasons everyone is becoming more aware of.

So, regardless whether it’s in person, or it’s a Zoom call, the process during that visit should include an updated proposal based on your conversation; because, the size of your solar energy system will depend on how much electricity you use on a monthly basis, as well as the weather conditions where you live; plus, they should ask if you’ve recently bought an electric vehicle [EV] or about other changes, or about future plans to buy an EV, put in a pool, add to your family, or add A/C, etc. Because, if they don’t do that they’ll be designing a system that won’t scale with you and it won’t offset all of your electric usage; leaving you with a solar energy system payment and also an electric bill that grows; which, is not what you probably want.

You can go into the process thinking of it as how can you solar for the least amount of money; or in comparison you could look at opting for premium panels as a means to invest into solar energy plant and your home, looking at the long term savings from potentially longer life spans and the increased performance output down the road 25 – 30+ years. Certainly, I expect if you’re making this type of investment into your home, you want peak performance from your solar energy system for as long as possible, optimally.

So, go into your meeting with the solar rep with your list of questions, and after they go over your energy report and their proposal, and answered your questions, it should either make sense and feel right to go solar, or not. If not, is it because you still have some questions that weren’t answered, or answered to your satisfaction? If it makes sense to you at this point to go solar and it looks like your house qualifies, and you’re ready to see if you qualify, that’s great. But, if you don’t see the savings, or there’s unanswered questions, or it just doesn’t add up or make sense, then don’t say Yes. That’s not the right time! It needs to make sense to you and you see the value and benefits of going solar; because sometimes the numbers just don’t work out. Sometimes, there’s no savings. Sometimes, it might be a little more expensive right now to go solar. And sometimes, the savings aren’t the main reason anyway. There are so many other reasons to go solar in addition to the savings.

Your credit, if you choose to finance will be looked at; often with a soft check. Generally companies who finance solar energy systems, are looking for a 650 credit score or higher. Accordingly, some homeowners will not qualify for financing; prompting a closer look at lease or PPA options.

Solar leases and solar PPAs are similar to renting your solar panel system. You enter into an agreement with the solar leasing company that entitles you to the energy that the solar panels generate for the term of the contract, which is generally around 20 years. The shorthand version of the difference between solar leases and solar PPAs is that a Solar Lease is where a 3rd party installs a solar energy system on your roof and property and you have a rent or lease payment you pay to them; whereas, with a PPA you are also entering into a long term agreement with a 3rd party to pay an agreed rate for the energy you use from the energy, which they generate from their solar energy system they installed on your rooftop.

Solar Backup Battery Manufacturers, Enphase - LG Chem - TeslaOne other area you might want to be thinking about when you ponder solar; and that is whether or not you would use or need a battery backup for your solar energy system. If you live in California, or if you live in Florida, or now, if you live in Texas a battery backup might sound like a good idea. Battery costs are still fairly substantial, so there needs to be a balance to justify the added costs to include it to a solar energy system.

Benefits of Extended Solar WarrantiesTechnology has improved to the point that these systems should last 25 – 30+ years. Now, they’ve got peace of mind style warranties with terms up to 30 years. So, you can feel fairly safe about your investment over the long haul. But of course, these warranties are often not included with system proposals. It depends a lot on the rep. Know what questions to ask and you’ll be fine.

If everything worked out and you got your questions answered and you and your house qualified, alright; you’ve about concluded the pre-sales process. As we start to go through the post-sale process, these steps are premised on the idea you’ve financed your system rather than paid cash, signed a lease, or PPA … which is the most common way to own your own solar energy plant.

I’ll break down anticipated expectations for this part of the process in eight stages.

Stage 1
Contract Signing

This is when you signed the contract. You'll submit supporting docs as needed; often, online now. In some instances you might be manually submitting documentation; only, if and when needed.

Stage 2
Site Survey Scheduled

When your site survey is scheduled it should occur within approximately 4-7 days; depending also on geographic location. Many proposals include system designs which were created remotely, without an in-person visit to the home.**

Stage 3
Site Survey Complete

At this stage design, once the Site Survey has been completed, the engineers will draft and submit your plan to the local city government for review and for approval.

Stage 4
Permit Submitted

Approximately two (2) weeks after the Site Survey was completed final plans will be submitted for permitting.

Stage 5
Permit Approval

This stage is the longest one. This part of the process could take four (4) to (6) six weeks, plus or minus … that's a good question. In some areas, it could take even substantially longer. In some locations it could be shorter.

Stage 6
Installation Scheduled

Generally speaking, installation should begin within a few days after approval to start.

Stage 7
Installation Completion

Depending on the size, location and difficulty, most installs take an average of 1-3 days.

Stage 8
PTO = Permission To Operate!

This is the Big Day!
Once installation has been inspected and approved, the utility will install your net meter (in most instances).
NOTE: Please attend any post-installation orientation; and enjoy solar! Yippee!!

**     It’s definitely recommended you’re home for this onsite property survey to ensure an accurate solar design, because a site survey could determine that some change(s) need to be made to the design or there are other previously un-detected issues to resolve.

Feeling a Little Overwhelmed?

Hey, it's okay if you feel a little overwhelmed at this point! You're at the stage of the process where you're researching about solar, and if  you're like most homeowners, you don't have enough information to make an informed choice about whether or not going solar even makes sense for you, your home and your family.

So, if you have any questions about the process, let me know and I can help you with the answers or help you find the answers to your questions.

Enjoy this post? Please share!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Related Stories

Going Solar: How it Works
The Solar Educator

What’s Involved?

Usually the process begins in response to a flyer on the front doorknob, or call on the phone, knock at the door, referral from a friend, neighbor, or family…

Read More »

Leave a Comment

16 Important Questions to Ask a Solar Rep Before You Say YES to a solar energy system on your roof!

16 Important Questions to Ask a Solar Rep Before You Say YES to a Solar Energy System on Your Roof!

Download our guide to ensure you partner with a solar rep to help you save money and the planet.

does my roof get enough sun

Does My Roof Get Enough Sun for Solar

To determine if your roof gets enough sun, you need to look at which direction it faces, the azimuth and any and all obstructions which block the suns rays. Ideally, you get most solar energy production from the

Read More »

Don’t Get Pressured About Going Solar

Tired of sales people not listening, talking over you, side stepping your questions, being rude, pushy, making up facts and trying to sell some product or service that isn’t what you want, but they keep pushing anyway

Read More »
Email
Phone
Messenger
Messenger
Phone
Email

Get Our Free Guide to Ensure You Partner With a Solar Rep to Help You Save Money and the Planet

Subscribe for help and advice on going solar, starting with this free guide. Unsubscribe with 1 click anytime.

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email safe. Our privacy policy link is on the page below.

16 Important Questions to Ask a Solar Rep Before You Say YES to a solar energy system on your roof!

Terms of Use

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Please Read!

Thinking About Solar Requires Consideration For And As A Condition Of Allowing You Access.

Reading And Accepting The Terms Of Use And Reading And Accepting The Provisions Of The Privacy Policy Of Thinking About Solar Are Required Considerations For Thinking About Solar Granting You The Right To Visit, Read Or Interact With the Website.

All Persons Are Denied Access To This Site Unless They Read And Accept The Terms Of Use And The Privacy Policy.

By Viewing, Visiting, Using, Or Interacting With https://thinkingaboutsolar.com Or With Any Banner, Pop-Up, Or Advertising That Appears On It, You Are Agreeing To All The Provisions Of This Terms Of Use Policy And The Privacy Policy Of Thinking About Solar.

Thinking About Solar Reserves The Right To Deny Access To Any Person Or Viewer For Any Reason. Under The Terms Of The Privacy Policy, Which You Accept As A Condition For Viewing, https://thinkingaboutsolar.com Is Allowed To Collect And Store Data And Information For The Purpose Of Exclusion And For Many Other Uses.

The Terms Of Use Agreement May Change From Time To Time. Visitors Have An Affirmative Duty, As Part Of The Consideration For Permission To View https://thinkingaboutsolar.com, To Keep Themselves Informed Of Changes.

PARTIES TO THE TERMS OF USE AGREEMENT

Visitors, viewers, users, subscribers, members, affiliates, or customers, collectively referred to herein as “Visitors,” are parties to this agreement. The website and its owners and/or operators are parties to this agreement, herein referred to as “Website.”

USE OF INFORMATION FROM THIS WEBSITE

Unless you have entered into an express written contract with this website to the contrary, visitors, viewers, subscribers, members, affiliates, or customers have no right to use this information in a separate commercial setting. By viewing the contents of this website you agree this condition of viewing and you acknowledge that any unauthorized use is unlawful and may subject you to civil or criminal penalties. Visitor agrees to liquidated damages in the amount of U.S.$10,000 in addition to costs and actual damages for breach of this provision. Visitor warrants that he or she understands that accepting this provision is a condition of viewing and that viewing constitutes acceptance.

OWNERSHIP OF WEBSITE OR RIGHT TO USE, SELL, PUBLISH CONTENTS OF THIS WEBSITE

The website and its contents are owned or licensed by the website. Material contained on the website must be presumed to be proprietary and copyrighted. Visitors have no rights whatsoever in the site content. Use of website content for any reason is unlawful unless it is done with express contract or permission of the website.

DISCLAIMER FOR CONTENTS OF SITE

The website disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy of the content of this website. Visitors assume the all risk of viewing, reading, using, or relying upon this information. Unless you have otherwise formed an express contract to the contrary with the website, you have no right to rely on any information contained herein as accurate. The website makes no such warranty.

DISCLAIMER FOR HARM CAUSED TO YOUR COMPUTER OR SOFTWARE FROM INTERACTING WITH THIS WEBSITE OR ITS CONTENTS. VISITOR ASSUMES ALL RISK OF VIRUSES, WORMS, OR OTHER CORRUPTING FACTORS.

The website assumes no responsibility for damage to computers or software of the visitor or any person the visitor subsequently communicates with from corrupting code or data that is inadvertently passed to the visitor’s computer. Again, visitor views and interacts with this site, or banners or pop-ups or advertising displayed thereon, at his own risk.

DISCLAIMER FOR HARM CAUSED BY DOWNLOADS

Visitor downloads information from this site at his own risk. Website makes no warranty that downloads are free of corrupting computer codes, including, but not limited to, viruses and worms.

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

By viewing, using, or interacting in any manner with this site, including banners, advertising, or pop-ups, downloads, and as a condition of the website to allow his lawful viewing, Visitor forever waives all right to claims of damage of any and all description based on any causal factor resulting in any possible harm, no matter how heinous or extensive, whether physical or emotional, foreseeable or unforeseeable, whether personal or business in nature.

INDEMNIFICATION

Visitor agrees that in the event he causes damage, which the Website is required to pay for, the Visitor, as a condition of viewing, promises to reimburse the Website for all.

SUBMISSIONS

Visitor agrees as a condition of viewing, that any communication between Visitor and Website is deemed a submission. All submissions, including portions thereof, graphics contained thereon, or any of the content of the submission, shall become the exclusive property of the Website and may be used, without further permission, for commercial use without additional consideration of any kind. Visitor agrees to only communicate that information to the Website, which it wishes to forever allow the Website to use in any manner as it sees fit. “Submissions” is also a provision of the Privacy Policy.

NOTICE

No additional notice of any kind for any reason is due Visitor and Visitor expressly warrants an understanding that the right to notice is waived as a condition for permission to view or interact with the website.

DISPUTES

As part of the consideration that the Website requires for viewing, using or interacting with this website, Visitor agrees to use binding arbitration for any claim, dispute, or controversy (“CLAIM“) of any kind (whether in contract, tort or otherwise) arising out of or relating to this purchase, this product, including solicitation issues, privacy issues, and terms of use issues.

Arbitration shall be conducted pursuant to the rules of the American Arbitration Association which are in effect on the date a dispute is submitted to the American Arbitration Association. Information about the American Arbitration Association, its rules, and its forms are available from the American Arbitration Association, 335 Madison Avenue, Floor 10, New York, New York, 10017-4605. Hearing will take place in the city or county of the Seller.

In no case shall the viewer, visitor, member, subscriber or customer have the right to go to court or have a jury trial. Viewer, visitor, member, subscriber or customer will not have the right to engage in pre-trial discovery except as provided in the rules; you will not have the right to participate as a representative or member of any class of claimants pertaining to any claim subject to arbitration; the arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding with limited rights of appeal.

The prevailing party shall be reimbursed by the other party for any and all costs associated with the dispute arbitration, including attorney fees, collection fees, investigation fees, travel expenses.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

If any matter concerning this purchase shall be brought before a court of law, pre- or post-arbitration, Viewer, visitor, member, subscriber or customer agrees to that the sole and proper jurisdiction to be the state and city declared in the contact information of the web owner unless otherwise here specified. In the event that litigation is in a federal court, the proper court shall be the closest federal court to the Seller’s address.

APPLICABLE LAW

Viewer, visitor, member, subscriber or customer agrees that the applicable law to be applied shall, in all cases, be that of the state of the Seller.

CONTACT INFORMATION

The Mailing address for the Marketing Website is:
Thinking About Solar
2810 Raleigh Ct SE
Albany, OR, 97322
United States
Contact Email: support @ thinkingaboutsolar.com

Privacy Policy

Welcome to https://thinkingaboutsolar.com (the “Site”).We understand that privacy online is important to users of our Site, especially when conducting business.This statement governs our privacy policies with respect to those users of the Site (“Visitors”) who visit without transacting business and Visitors who register to transact business on the Site and make use of the various services offered by Thinking About Solar (collectively, “Services”) (“Authorized Customers”).

“Personally Identifiable Information”

refers to any information that identifies or can be used to identify, contact, or locate the person to whom such information pertains, including, but not limited to, name, address, phone number, fax number, email address, financial profiles, social security number, and credit card information. Personally Identifiable Information does not include information that is collected anonymously (that is, without identification of the individual user) or demographic information not connected to an identified individual. What Personally Identifiable Information is collected?

We may collect basic user profile information from all of our Visitors. We collect the following additional information from our Authorized Customers: the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of Authorized Customers, the nature and size of the business, and the nature and size of the advertising inventory that the Authorized Customer intends to purchase or sell.

What organizations are collecting the information?

In addition to our direct collection of information, our third party service vendors (such as credit card companies, clearinghouses and banks) who may provide such services as credit, insurance, and escrow services may collect this information from our Visitors and Authorized Customers. We do not control how these third parties use such information, but we do ask them to disclose how they use personal information provided to them from Visitors and Authorized Customers. Some of these third parties may be intermediaries that act solely as links in the distribution chain, and do not store, retain, or use the information given to them.

How does the Site use Personally Identifiable Information?

We use Personally Identifiable Information to customize the Site, to make appropriate service offerings, and to fulfill buying and selling requests on the Site. We may email Visitors and Authorized Customers about research or purchase and selling opportunities on the Site or information related to the subject matter of the Site. We may also use Personally Identifiable Information to contact Visitors and Authorized Customers in response to specific inquiries, or to provide requested information.

With whom may the information may be shared?

Personally Identifiable Information about Authorized Customers may be shared with other Authorized Customers who wish to evaluate potential transactions with other Authorized Customers. We may share aggregated information about our Visitors, including the demographics of our Visitors and Authorized Customers, with our affiliated agencies and third party vendors. We also offer the opportunity to “opt out” of receiving information or being contacted by us or by any agency acting on our behalf.

How is Personally Identifiable Information stored?

Personally Identifiable Information collected by ThinkingAboutSolar.com is securely stored and is not accessible to third parties or employees of Thinking About Solar except for use as indicated above.

What choices are available to Visitors regarding collection, use and distribution of the information?

Visitors and Authorized Customers may opt out of receiving unsolicited information from or being contacted by us and/or our vendors and affiliated agencies by responding to emails as instructed, or by contacting us at

Are Cookies Used on the Site?

Cookies are used for a variety of reasons. We use Cookies to obtain information about the preferences of our Visitors and the services they select. We also use Cookies for security purposes to protect our Authorized Customers. For example, if an Authorized Customer is logged on and the site is unused for more than 30 minutes, we will automatically log the Authorized Customer off.

Contact Forms

If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year.

If you visit our login page, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser.

When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select “Remember Me”, your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed.

f you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day. How does ThinkingAboutSolar.com use login information?

ThinkingAboutSolar.com uses login information, including, but not limited to, IP addresses, ISPs, and browser types, to analyze trends, administer the Site, track a user’s movement and use, and gather broad demographic information.

What partners or service providers have access to Personally Identifiable Information from Visitors and/or Authorized Customers on the Site?

Thinking About Solar has entered into and will continue to enter into partnerships and other affiliations with a number of vendors.Such vendors may have access to certain Personally Identifiable Information on a need to know basis for evaluating Authorized Customers for service eligibility. Our privacy policy does not cover their collection or use of this information. Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information to comply with law. We will disclose Personally Identifiable Information in order to comply with a court order or subpoena or a request from a law enforcement agency to release information. We will also disclose Personally Identifiable Information when reasonably necessary to protect the safety of our Visitors and Authorized Customers. How does the Site keep Personally Identifiable Information secure?

All of our employees are familiar with our security policy and practices. The Personally Identifiable Information of our Visitors and Authorized Customers is only accessible to a limited number of qualified employees who are given a password in order to gain access to the information. We audit our security systems and processes on a regular basis. Sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or social security numbers, is protected by encryption protocols, in place to protect information sent over the Internet. While we take commercially reasonable measures to maintain a secure site, electronic communications and databases are subject to errors, tampering and break-ins, and we cannot guarantee or warrant that such events will not take place and we will not be liable to Visitors or Authorized Customers for any such occurrences.

How can Visitors correct any inaccuracies in Personally Identifiable Information?

Visitors and Authorized Customers may contact us to update Personally Identifiable Information about them or to correct any inaccuracies by emailing us at support at ThinkingAboutSolar.com

Can a Visitor delete or deactivate Personally Identifiable Information collected by the Site?

We provide Visitors and Authorized Customers with a mechanism to delete/deactivate Personally Identifiable Information from the Site’s database by contacting . However, because of backups and records of deletions, it may be impossible to delete a Visitor’s entry without retaining some residual information. An individual who requests to have Personally Identifiable Information deactivated will have this information functionally deleted, and we will not sell, transfer, or use Personally Identifiable Information relating to that individual in any way moving forward. What happens if the Privacy Policy Changes?

We will let our Visitors and Authorized Customers know about changes to our privacy policy by posting such changes on the Site. However, if we are changing our privacy policy in a manner that might cause disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information that a Visitor or Authorized Customer has previously requested not be disclosed, we will contact such Visitor or Authorized Customer to allow such Visitor or Authorized Customer to prevent such disclosure.

Comments

When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.

An anonymized string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: https://automattic.com/privacy/. After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.

Media

If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website.

Embedded Content From Other Websites

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website. These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Links:

https://thinkingaboutsolar.com contains links to other web sites. Please note that when you click on one of these links, you are moving to another web site. We encourage you to read the privacy statements of these linked sites as their privacy policies may differ from ours.