Osage Valley continues to field more and more questions about solar. Is solar right for me? Can I save money by installing a solar energy system? Are there tax credits for solar? These are all great questions and we encourage our members to call and talk to us when researching their renewable energy options.
We encourage our members to start with energy efficiency. Before installing a solar energy system, consider reducing your energy use by making your home more energy efficient. Many energy efficiency measures have a fast return on investment. Adding insulation and sealing your home can be one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs. Check out our energy audit program to help with these expenses.
Purchasing a solar array can be a big investment and we want our members to be informed so they can make the best decisions. As solar becomes more popular, fraudulent contractors prey on those who are unfamiliar with their product. Be sure to conduct thorough research on all aspects of any system before making the investment. As with any major investment get a bid from more than one installer. Below are a few questions you should ask when talking with a solar installer:
- Ask for references. An experienced installer will easily be able to provide you with references of previous customers that are willing to share their experience.
- Ask about the number of installations they have completed.
- Are they NABCEP Certified? This is the National American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Professionals who choose to become certified demonstrate their competence in the field and their commitment to upholding high standards of ethical and professional practice. (Check for www.NABCEP.org for a list of installers)
- Service. Are they local? If there are any issues, are they nearby to resolve them quickly?
- Do they carry workman’s compensation and liability insurance?
- Are they licensed electricians and do all the work in house or do they subcontract the entire job?
- Do they size the system properly? They should be able to present expected monthly output and compare that with historic monthly use. Don’t hesitate to call us for your historic monthly usage.
- Do they explain tilt, azimuth, or shade issues? These are all important factors in how your solar energy system will perform.
- Beware of some “buy now, pay later” and solar leasing offers. Research them thoroughly as they could significantly increase your overall long term investment.
Osage Valley can help in the initial planning stages. We can provide you with your historical monthly energy usage and determine if taking advantage of our energy audit and rebate program before you install solar may benefit you. Businesses, schools and agricultural applications may qualify for USDA grants and loans for certain renewable energy solutions. Our engineering department can assist you in determining necessary safety equipment required for connecting your system to the grid and provide you with the cooperative’s policies and net metering agreement. Please call us at 800-889-6832 Ext 5547 if you are considering installing a solar energy system.