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Solar Power Consumer Tips

                                            Understanding roles in the solar process

contractor going over solar panel details


The company will work with you to develop and plan your solar array based on your electric needs and cost specifications. Contractors/Installers will do the physical work of planning and mounting your solar array.

shaking hands


A contractor/installer may employ salespeople who call customers or visit them door-to-door to advertise solar power and arrays.

Contractor installing solar panels on roof

Electricity Providers

The utility that provides electricity to your home. Each electric utility has its own net metering/Distributed Generation rules and rates. Please see the MPSC Customer Generation and Financial Information page, as well as the MPSC Distributed Generation Issue Brief for more information.

Shaking hands


The contractor/installer that you choose may have a lender that they frequently work with for financing. You can also secure your own financing through lenders such as banks or credit unions. If the contractor/installer is a Michigan Saves Solar Contractor, you will have access to Michigan Saves financing options.

solar panels in manufacturer warehouse


Companies who make solar panels. Many manufacturers are located in Eastern Asia, however, there are many manufacturers in the US and Canada. The contractor/installer may have a specific manufacturer that they work with regularly. 


City/County Inspectors

Depending on where you live, there may be a city/county/township/etc. rules regarding solar arrays. There may be a permitting process, as well as an inspection requirement, for installations. Make sure to check for these rules and regulations before starting work on your solar array. In areas with homeowner's associations, there may be additional guidelines.

Is solar a good fit for me?

Find a qualified contractor/installer

Research the company - One of the most important aspects of having solar installed at your home is choosing which contractor to use. Each contractor may offer different options, including different designs, payment options, and warranties. It is important to ask your potential contractors questions to get a better understanding of what they can offer you. Sample questions include:

  1. How long has the company been in business?
  2. Is the company licensed and insured?
  3. What warranties do the offer?
  4. Ask for at least three customer referrals from the company.
  5. Ask for pictures of past work.

Asking questions like the above examples can help you gain a better understanding of the company and the work they have performed, giving you confidence in the work they may perform for you.

Michigan Saves is a Michigan based nonprofit organization that can help you find a contractor and explore different financing options. Visit the Michigan Saves Solar Contractor List. (To use Michigan Saves financing, you must use one of their contractors or get your contractor to join their list.)

The Better Business Bureau is also a resource for feedback on potential contractors.

Get at least three bids - Solar installations are not a one-size-fits-all job. Comparing quotes provides you with multiple options so you can find the option that best fits your needs. In addition to more choices, it also introduces competition into the process which always helps if you want to make sure you are getting a fair price and the best project possible. When reviewing your bids, it is important to compare the differences such as inverters, panels, and project design to understand which project proposal will be best for your home.

                                                      Compare Financing Options

Purchase cash or loan

You can purchase your solar array with your own funds, or a privately obtained loan.

Handing money over to another person
Michigan Saves Logo


Michigan Saves is a Michigan based nonprofit organization that can help you find a contractor and look at different financing options. They offer low-interest financing options and list available lenders and rates on their website. To explore residential financing through Michigan Saves, please click here.


A solar lease is a financing option where the homeowner leases panels from a solar company. This can be an attractive option because of decreased cost; often there is no down payment and maintenance is the responsibility of the solar company. With this option, the homeowner will not qualify for tax incentives.Solar leases are typically from 15-20 years. At the end of the lease, the homeowner may have the option to renew the lease, buy the panels at a discount, or have the panels removed from the home.

Signing a lease in front of solar panels
Tax Credits Claim Form Concept

Federal solar tax credit

Solar photovoltaics systems installed in 2020 and 2021 are eligible for a 26% tax credit. In August 2022, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, raising it to 30% for the installation of which was between 2022-2032. To find out more about the solar tax credit and if you are eligible, visit the Department of Energy's Homeowner's Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics

Carefully read all paperwork

Read all of the paperwork to know what you are signing up for and agreeing to pay. This will also include the warranty information for your project, so ensure that the paperwork matches what you and your contractor have discussed. Ensure that your paperwork includes the total price your contractor has agreed to do the work for to ensure no hidden fees are included.