(Read This First)
I would like nothing more than to sit for a solar consultation with every interested person who visits this website. But that would be impossible, even in the age of Zoom.
This site gets thousands of visitors a day, many hundreds of whom eventually click their way over to this page. If even a small percentage of them decided to book an appointment with me, my calendar would be so full that I wouldn’t be able to keep up.
And the fact is, many people who think they’re ready for a solar consultation really aren’t. And I could end up spending endless hours meeting with people who are still at the discovery stage (top of funnel in marketing parlance) where, frankly, my skill set as a solar consultant is not what they need.
So to maintain my sanity, I’ve established a number of small hoops I’m going to ask you to jump through before we can set up a meeting. None of them are too onerous, but they’re all important.
In this post I’ll explain what these hoops are and why they’re necessary so that you can more accurately assess where you are in your own solar journey. You’ll also get a far better understanding of what to expect from our solar consultation if and when you decide to schedule one.
Qualification for Solar
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone qualifies for solar. That’s not just a line that solar reps use to create a sense of urgency. It really is true.
As a solar consultant, I’m committed to trying everything I can to get you qualified but it’s not always possible, and some projects are just non-starters. So it’s a good idea for you to know how you qualify before you schedule a solar consultation.
There are four broad metrics that you need to hit, the first two of which are deal-breakers and second two of which we might be able to work around.
You must be the homeowner. Whether you’re buying, leasing, financing or signing a PPA, none of it matters if you’re not the owner of the property. That means you need to be on title. If you’re not on title but your spouse is, then your spouse needs to be on board with going solar and available to attend the meeting.
If you rent, then you shouldn’t set up a solar consultation unless the landlord is on board with going solar and is also available to attend the meeting.
You Need to Have a Decent Credit Score. Any solar company you work with is going to run a credit check for either a lease, a PPA or a financed purchase. Some will, even if you’re paying cash. Usually a FICO score of 650 or above is sufficient, although that varies from company to company. Some will allow a spouse or domestic partner to co-sign if they have a better credit score.
It’s usually a soft check so the act of running the credit check won’t affect your score. But if you don’t think either of your credit scores is up-to-snuff, you should hold off on setting up a solar consultation until at least one of them is.
You Need to Get Enough Sun. Obviously, solar only works on roofs that get enough sun. 700 sun hours is about the minimum I work with. Of course, most homeowners have no way of knowing exactly how many sun hours they get but you can generally tell if your home is shaded or sunny.
If your house is completely shaded by an 80-foot oak tree that you can’t bear to take down because your great grandpa planted it back in the day, let’s not waste each other’s time.
If you are willing to remove trees, sometimes the solar company can help with the cost, so shade is not necessarily a deal-breaker. But think about what you’re willing or unwilling to do about shade before you schedule a solar consultation.
Your Roof and Electrical Panel Need to be up-to-Scratch. Like shade, home upgrades are not necessarily a deal-breaker. If you need a new panel, a solar company might be able to help cover the cost of replacing it. If you need a new roof, they might even be able to help with at least a portion of that cost, too.
If you need both, and you also need a dozen trees removed, it might be tough to make the deal work unless you’re willing to cover a portion of those costs yourself. If you think your house needs a ton of home upgrades and you’re not willing to either cover some of those costs out-of-pocket or roll them into a solar loan, you’re probably not ready to set up a solar consultation.
As someone who makes a living as a solar consultant, I can be a pretty persuasive guy. And in truth, if your house qualifies for solar, the programs are so beneficial to you that it can be a pretty easy sell.
That said, if your spouse is dead set against even considering the possibility of going solar – as in no way, no how, never going to happen – then I don’t want you sleeping on the couch for a week for inviting a “damn solar rep” into your home.
Even if your spouse is on board, a condition I always set is that both are willing and able to attend the solar consultation. We have a term in the industry for meetings where only one spouse is in attendance. We call them one-leggers and they hardly ever work out well.
They usually result in one spouse trying to explain to the other what the solar consultant said, doing a half-assed job of it and the second spouse saying no without fully understanding what they’re missing out on.
A complete waste of everyone’s time.
So let’s make sure that all interested parties are willing and able to attend before scheduling a solar consultation.
I’m Going to Need A Power Bill
Sometimes I get a customer who wants me to drive several hours to meet with them but is reluctant to even give me their power bill. Maybe they think I’m going to steal their identity or something. (There’s no information on the bill that can enable anyone to do that, by the way).
Truth is, without your power bill, I can’t do my job. It’s that simple. There are three reasons I absolutely have to have it:
- It tells me how much power you use. That’s the only way I can know how many panels you’ll need, and without knowing how many panels you’ll need, how can I possibly quote you a price?
- It tells me how much you’re paying for your power. I’m not going to sell you solar unless it’s going to save you money. In fact, I’m not allowed to sell you solar unless it’s going to save you money. Your bill will tell me what your current rate is and whether going solar will even reduce that rate.
- It has info that your utility company will need. Nobody can go solar without approval from their utility company. The solar company will apply for that approval on your behalf, but the only way your utility company even knows who you are is through the account number and/or that meter number that is on your power bill.
For these reasons and others, as soon as you schedule a meeting, our system is going to send you a confirmation email, in which we’ll ask you to send us a bill either by text or email. We’ll even send you one or two reminders.
If you don’t send your bill over at least 48 hours before the scheduled time of the meeting, I’ll have to cancel the meeting.
Seems a bit harsh, I know, but if you decide to go solar with me, we’re going to be working together quite closely for several months. If you won’t even do the first thing I ask of you, those are going to be some pretty frustrating months.
Let’s Schedule a Solar Consultation
So there you have it. I told you they wouldn’t be too onerous, didn’t I? If you’ve read the above post and still think you’re ready for a solar consultation, fill out the very brief questionnaire linked below. It’ll give both you and me some preliminary information that will help us to get started.
Once you’ve filled that out, you’ll be redirected to a Calendly page where you can schedule an appointment. If you live close enough to me (I’m in Massachusetts) I’d prefer to meet in person. If not, we can do it by Zoom.
In spite of these small hurdles I’ve placed in your way, I really do want to meet with you. My promise is that I’ll give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about going solar.
I won’t mislead you and I won’t pressure you to sign up for anything you’re not ready for. I’ll just explain how all the various programs work and, if you’re comfortable doing so, I’ll offer you a chance to take the next step in what is sure to be a long drawn-out process.
I sincerely hope we’ll have a chance to work together soon.