How Do I Get Started With Solar?

Converting to solar energy doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Our certified installers can help assess your situation and advise you on how to move forward.

First, you must determine your objectives and describe them to your contractor. Determine:

    • The budget you’re comfortable with
    • The percentage of utility bill you’d like to cover
    • Which type of metering you want to use: net meter or sell all/buy all

Then you must ask:

    • For an appraisal of your site suitability
    • If the contractor will conduct a site evaluation and provide an estimate for free
    • If the estimate will be for a turnkey installation
    • If the contractor will provide a production estimate
    • If the contractor provides a service warranty

Always check for:

    • Contractor license and insurance
    • Contractor’s experience – previous jobs and success stories
    • Contractor’s knowledgeable – gives thorough answers and talks from experience
    • References – past customers and sub-contractors

Make a site evaluation checklist:

    • Is array location suitable (e.g., age of roof, position, shading)
    • Is the space sufficient for the size of the array – are measurements taken
    • Is there a good equipment location – tie in point

With all of this in mind, get quotes and research:

    • Review quotes with your original objectives in mind (price, % of your utility bill to be taken off, type of metering)
    • Make sure all of the quotes you look at are comparable (similar size, equipment, and warranty lengths)
    • Note technology differences (e.g., efficiency)
    • Compare equipment and service warranty
    • Power output estimate
    • Turnkey prices – estimated price for system that includes equipment, labor, etc.
    • Stability of installer – system life 25 years +
    • Contact your local utility for information about their practices
    • Check out the national Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy for rules, regulations, and policies for where you live


South Carolina Solar Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

P.O. Box 402 Columbia, SC 29201

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