How to Compare PV Installation Quotes from Solar Contractors

Are you planning a new PV installation for your home or business? Industry experts recommend getting estimates from at least three professional solar contractors before hiring one.

PV installation quotes

Contractors may frame their price quotes differently, however. Weighing them against each other may be complicated unless you understand how to easily make apples-to-apples comparisons among the PV solar installation quotes you receive.

Ask Solar Contractors for the Full Price of Your PV Installation

Most important, you need to identify the total gross price of each PV solar power system estimate.

Most solar contractors will provide you with a bottom-line price, but some may also provide you with an itemized list of expenses. If one of your photovoltaic installation quotes doesn’t have a total, you can do the math yourself. Many solar contractors don't itemize the costs of the PV system and hardware, but may breakdown labor charges, permits and fees.

For comparison purposes, make sure that none of your solar installation quotes are for the net system price. In other words, ask for the total costs before any federal, state or local tax credits, rebates or financial incentives have been applied.

Calculate the Price Per Watt for the PV Installation

For greater accuracy in your price comparisons, instead of judging by total cost alone, you can determine and compare the price per watt (PPW) for each photovoltaic installation quote.

Yes, this involves a little bit of math — but no worries, it’s quite easy. All you need to do is take the total gross price and divide by the wattage of the solar system.

For example, consider a 5 kilowatt (kW) PV installation priced at $20,000. Each kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts, so this solar energy system would have a total of 5,000 watts. Here’s what the price-per-watt calculation looks like:

$20,000 (total gross price) ÷ 5,000 (wattage) = $4 (price per watt)

Some solar contractors may provide you with a price-per-watt as a part of their estimate. If they do, make sure they have based it on the gross PV installation price, not the net cost after incentives. Otherwise, you won’t truly be able to compare your quotes.

Price Isn’t All That Matters When it Comes to Solar Contractors

Quality is just as important as price for a home or business PV installation. After all, even with the lucrative financial incentives, installing solar is an investment. Consequently, it’s important to select a reputable professional installer who provides top-notch photovoltaic components.

To gauge the quality of an installer, you can check with the Better Business Bureau’s online solar reviews. You can also ask solar contractors for customer references.

Are you ready to get some estimates? Start with a quote from Intermountain Wind & Solar, one of the largest and most trusted solar contractors in the Intermountain West. Contact us today if you’re planning a home or business PV installation.

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