CONTRACT RISKS TO AVOID WHEN INSTALLING A SOLAR SYSTEM

You are smitten by solar power and want to install a photovoltaic system for your house. You have the financing in place and you have also identified the system and vendor. All that is left is for you to sign the paperwork. But wait and take a closer look. In your enthusiasm to go solar, there are many loopholes that you might have overlooked. There are many contractual obligations and clauses that if you do not adhere to, would dent the performance of your solar system and your experience with solar photovoltaic systems. It is important for anyone interested in solar to understand the potential contract risks. Being educated on potential contract risks and pitfalls before signing will help you to make better-informed decisions when choosing what company and solar system are right for you. Below is a list of what to look out for in your contract to ensure you’re getting the highest quality product and service for your money in a timely manner.

It is important for anyone interested in solar to understand the potential contract risks. Being educated on potential contract risks and pitfalls before signing will help you to make an informed decision when choosing what company and solar system are right for you. Below is a list of what to look out for in your contract to ensure you’re getting the highest quality product and service for your money in a timely manner.

EXACT DETAILS AND SPECIFICATIONS

There are a number of components that go into a properly functional photovoltaic system. They range from the commonly identified solar panels/modules and inverters to the much lesser known components like the charge controllers, mounting structures, bypass diodes and more.

Each of them varies in cost and technical ratings. A well-defined contract will have a clear outline of the specification, make and the number of units in each component. It will also unambiguously specify the quality aspects of the system, like the use of galvanized mounting structures. However, a fraudulently defined and poorly made contract will omit all these details and resort to more loosely worded clauses so that the certified components can be substituted with the inferior quality, cheap counterparts.

WELL DEFINED TIMELINES

Since it is a modular technology, a solar system can be assembled quickly. For example, a rooftop system with a capacity of 2 kW can be commissioned and installed in just 5 days. However, failure to do it will lead to your contractor incurring penalties, at the rate of 12 percent of the total price for every week they delay.

Make sure that the contract clearly specifies the time period for the commissioning and the installation of the solar system, and the damages that you are entitled to in case there is a breach in the timeline. A faulty contract will usually try to buy the contractor out of such commitments. They usually try to cite such reasons as the unavailability of components and issues on the supply side.

GUARANTEE OF ENERGY GENERATION

Since solar energy is variable by its nature, no contractor will be able to predict the exact amount of energy that the photovoltaic system will generate. But, good contractors will mention the minimum energy output that a solar system will generate over a given time period. If they do not meet that, you are entitled to your compensation.

Be very careful about the energy generation clause in your solar contract. If there is no guarantee, your contractor gets away scot-free and you end up with a non-performing or an under-performing system.

COMPLETE CLARITY ON FINANCIAL MATTERS

Contractors can hide a lot of costs in a contract – like the unloading of the equipment, a fee for statutory clearance, travel and accommodation for contractor personnel, taxation amounts of the components and a whole lot more.

Ideally, the system expenses must include all the aforementioned amounts. However, a dishonest or faulty contract will try and hide all such costs, only to fleece you when the installation of the system commences.

At Home Energy Systems (H.E.S. Solar) every team member is highly educated and qualified to provide great customer service, timely installation, and excellent solar system recommendations to meet your home or business’s needs. H.E.S Solar company can answer all your contract questions with trustworthy and transparent advice. If you or anyone you know is interested in a solar system schedule a free energy evaluation today.

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NET ENERGY METERING 3.0 INFORMATION

Net Energy Metering 3.0 (NEM 3.0) is the incoming law created by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The new tariffs and fees will impact both residential and commercial solar systems built in California. 

As this notice is posted in November of 2022, the Proposed Decision from the CPUC outlining the proposed NEM 3.0 terms is expected soon. This comes after a year’s delay. Once the new agreement is finalized and passed into law, there will exist a designation of the deadline under which new systems will continue to qualify for NEM 2.0 rates. 

The new NEM 3.0 rates will be designed to lower the value of electricity during the daytime hours, when solar is producing, and increase the value of electricity during the evening hours, when solar homes and businesses purchase electricity. In short, NEM 3.0 will create a “sell low, buy high” proposition to new solar system owners. 

To Californians looking to install a solar system on their home or commercial building, the NEM 2.0 rates will be preferred. As of this post, the solar industry does not know the details of how different the NEM 3.0 rates will be from the NEM 2.0 rates. 

Please use the HES Solar website as a resource to learn more, and please take our offer to speak with an HES Solar Energy Consultant at no obligation.

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Robert Laverty

Senior Energy Consultant, Residential

Robert Laverty joined the HES team in the summer of 2018, bringing his ten years of solar design experience and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound with him. Robert is dedicated to finding solutions to help families produce and store electricity in order to reduce their reliance on grid power as well as help reduce their household’s carbon footprint. Robert’s experience as a newspaper editor as well as his involvement with the sustainability-focused Rocky Mountain Institute drives him to constantly seek out innovative ways to meet energy needs through renewable resources as well as helps him share those ideas with Southern California homeowners. When not at work or volunteering time with his church or community, Robert spends time with his wife and two sons or pursues his passion of fly fishing.
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