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Best Solar Quotes Blog
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Our job at Glean is to source the best solar quotes so you don’t have to. When a solar quote doesn’t meet our standards, we get you a new one. So naturally, we’ve gotten pretty good at identifying the common characteristics of the best solar quotes out there. So here’s our list of what we require all our solar installers to provide in their quotes.

#1 Fair Pricing

For most, the price is the most important factor when looking for the best solar quote. If all other things are equal between solar quotes, the lowest price usually wins. And why shouldn’t it? After all, when you buy solar panels, you are pre-purchasing your electricity over the next 30+ years. The lower the initial cost, the lower your average electricity price over the lifetime of the solar panels will be.

Regardless of what price you receive from your solar installer, it is always okay to ask, “why is your price so low” or “why is your price higher than most other installers?”

#2 Accurate Savings Estimates

Electrical Savings

Each solar array will produce a different amount of electricity based on shading, roof orientation and other factors. The more electricity a solar array produces per kW installed, the better the financial return will be.

The best solar quotes accurately estimate the amount of electricity that the solar array will produce. Some solar installers may even choose to conservatively estimate savings to under-promise and overdeliver. Just because a solar quote promises 20% more electricity production, it doesn’t mean it will actually happen.

To check if the electrical savings estimate makes sense divide the total annual electricity production estimate in kWh by the total size of the solar array in kW. This will give you the Solar potential (or photovoltaic potential)  in kWh/kW. It’s best to calculate this number for several quotes and look for an outlier. Use this Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) map to help you determine what your maximum solar potential is.

Emissions Savings

Environmental savings are based on Alberta’s grid emission factor, which currently sits at 0.57 tonnes of CO2 Equivalent per MWh (0.00057/kWh).

For example, a solar array that produces 10,000 kWh in one year saves 5.7 tonnes of CO2 Equivalent.

Annual Electricity Cost Savings

Again, the best solar quotes accurately estimate the expected utility bill savings from solar. It would be frustrating to choose an installer that simply used more favourable numbers when calculating electricity cost savings.

Overestimating the price of grid electricity will make the financial return of solar look better than it actually is. If installer A assumes your grid electricity cost is currently $0.15/kWh while installer B assumes $0.23/kWh, Installer B’s electricity cost savings from solar will be much higher since they’re assuming that the solar will displace higher cost electricity.

The Solar Club is a program created to increase the earning potential for owners of solar panels in Alberta. In some cases, the solar club can greatly improve the financial return for people with solar however, there are situations where the solar club can hurt solar financials.

#3 Technical & Warranty Information

The technical aspects of the best solar quote should first and foremost include the size (in kilo-Watts or kW) of the proposed solar array. For instance, a 4.5 kW system may include 10 solar panels each rated at 450 Watts each.

Not all solar panels, inverters and warranties are created equal. The best solar quotes will identify the brand, make, model and warranty for each piece of equipment. Ensure that the solar panel performance warranty (typically 25 years), solar panel product warranty (typically 10-12 years) and inverter warranty length are included. A solar installer’s installation warranty is unique and will cover issues caused by the work performed by the solar installer.

#4 Installer Background Information

A great solar quote will also include a brief bio on the installer’s past projects, experience and mission statement. It is important to research the installer’s background, visit their website and ensure that they regularly perform solar installations. Although electricians are qualified to perform solar installations, solar is a very specific type of electrical work that requires experience and unique knowledge. You want an experienced install team on your roof!

#5 Solar Design Images

The best solar quotes include a mockup design clearly showing how the solar panels will look on your roof. Although the design can always change, you should look for a few clues in the design to help you decide which solar installer is best. Ensure that solar panels are:

  1. Not covering roof penetrations like chimneys and vent stacks.
  2. Arranged evenly and not crooked on the roof.
  3. Placed on only one roof face.
  4. Don’t hang over the edge of your roof.
Bad Solar Design

#6 Next Steps

The last step is the next step (and maybe the most important)! The best solar quotes don’t stop at just providing you with price, savings, warranty and design information. In fact, that’s only the beginning. The best solar quotes are provided by solar installers that are:

  • Capable of answering technical questions
  • Available to chat about their installation process
  • Knowledgeable and helpful about grants and rebates
  • Able to provide you with a rough installation date
  • Eager to provide you with great service and a great customer experience!

Glean is a broker of solar quotes. We are partnered with more than 15 of the best solar installers in Alberta that we have verified and vetted. We provide you with 3 solar quotes, an easy-to-compare quote summary (that includes a detailed financial analysis) and a quote review call to answer questions. Our service is free because we collect a service fee from the installer whose quote is chosen.

The best way to get the ball rolling is to fill out your information by clicking the button below.