Nothing has done more to empower consumers than the internet. It’s dramatically changed the way we shop by giving us access to more information and more options. Today, consumers use websites such as Amazon and Expedia that make it easy to get the information needed to comparison shop for almost anything, ensuring that they always get the best deal for the best quality products. To effectively shop for solar panel systems, consumers should apply the same principals. To get the solar PV system, price and financing option that perfectly suits your needs, EnergySage recommends securing multiple quotes from a range of installers. Even if you’ve already gotten a quote, you still should get some additional quotes so that you will have multiple options from which to choose. Having more options will allow you to base your purchase decision on the criteria that matter most to you. Additionally, more quotes also means more competition which is always better for consumers.
As solar power systems become more and more popular, more people are exploring it as an option for powering their home or business and more installers are entering the market. Through ubiquitous ad campaigns, many companies are doing a great job of getting the word out about the benefits of $0-down solar power systems that will reduce your monthly electric bills. One or more of these installers already may have pitched you or even provided a quote. All of this activity has raised the profile of solar power and that’s a good thing. These are good companies, but their model doesn’t always provide the level of choice –for solar panels or inverters or financing options– that ensures you get the best deal on the system that’s best for you. That’s why soliciting multiple quotes is so critical.
One reason people don’t solicit multiple quotes is that it takes time and the quotes can be difficult to compare. This is where EnergySage can really help, whether you buy through us or not. Requesting quotes through EnergySage is easy, it doesn’t cost anything and you don’t have to purchase through us. It only takes about 10 minutes of your time and we provide you with quotes from 3-5 installers. We also provide valuable information and analysis that will help you to get a great deal that’s the result of a solid decision making process.
Having more than one quote allows you to focus on particular aspects of the purchase that are the most important to you—things such as price; a desire to work with local providers instead of large national ones (or vice versa); product preferences based on the country of manufacture, quality and efficiency of solar panels; the flexibility of available financing options; the amount of money required upfront or a weighted combination of any or all of these factors. In general, many leading solar installers offer only foreign made panels and some don’t include micro-inverters in their offerings. These are factors that may limit the size of the system you can get through them and may not allow you to maximize your solar PV systems’ electricity production. Additionally, some companies will emphasize leases and PPAs for financing over an outright sale. This allows them to retain the financial benefits of owning the system whereas if you were to purchase the system outright with cash or through a home equity or solar loan, you would be the one to reap those benefits. Solar leases and PPAs are a great way for home and business owners to install solar panel systems with little or no money down and they provide great savings, but they don’t allow you to maximize the financial benefits of your investment. It’s important to understand the different financing methods and how they will affect your economic outcomes, particularly as new methods such as solar loans (which also require little money down) come on the market.
When you request quotes through the EnergySage system, you receive multiple quotes from pre-screened installers that will offer you many options. The quotes are presented in an apples-to-apples format that calculates all of the key decision metrics, making adjustments for differences in the size of the system quoted or the underlying assumptions the installer used to calculate the return on investment figures. The old adage “knowledge is power” is certainly true here. Knowing the range of prices, the differences in the brands included in the quotes, or the amount of upfront cash needed helps you to make an informed decision about what the best option for you will be. You may choose to go with one of the installer quotes provided through EnergySage or you may use the information to go back and talk to your original installer about any significant differences. Multiple quotes can be a valuable source of negotiating power or they may convince you to go with a different provider. The only way to really know if you are getting the best deal is to comparison-shop.
EnergySage offers consumers true choice and full transparency. Consumers who use our site are aware of all of the installers involved in bidding for their business and all of the details of the quotes installers submit. Then, based on the analysis presented by the EnergySage system, the consumer decides what the best option is for them. It may be an option that came through our process, it may not be, but, with very little effort, the consumer ultimately will know that they have chosen the absolute best option.
If you have 10 minutes and your current electric bill, the EnergySage Solar Marketplace can get you several quotes from multiple high-quality installers. Get started getting the best deal possible now.