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Solar shopping amid the coronavirus pandemic

With many or all non-essential businesses shuttering around the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at EnergySage wanted to provide an update about how the current social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines and advisories impact solar. Given that the majority–or entirety–of the solar sales process can occur virtually, and recognizing that the majority of solar installations happen outside of your home–i.e., on your roof–installing solar remains possible and safe at the moment. Here’s what you need to know about shopping for and installing solar amid the coronavirus pandemic.

You can receive custom quotes for solar online

Did you know that solar installers don’t need to visit your property to provide you with a custom quote for solar? In fact, our nationwide network of hundreds of local solar installers already does exactly this thousands of times per week – when you register for a free account on EnergySage, up to seven local installers will provide you with custom quotes for installing solar on your property.

There are a few ways that you can provide additional information to make the quotes as accurate as possible. First, by providing installers with recent electricity bills, you can help them to appropriately size a solar panel system to meet your electricity needs (note: you can upload your most recent electricity bill to your EnergySage account!) Second, find the main electrical panel in your home, and send a picture of that to installers as well, as they’ll need to know whether to include an upgraded panel in your solar quote. And, finally, you can have a video chat with installers, where you can ask them questions while also providing additional information to improve the accuracy of your quote, such as further info about the age and status of your roof.

Solar installation crews are small and mostly stay outside

For a residential solar panel system, a typical installation crew is only three to six people, and these crews generally operate almost entirely outside of your home. The majority of the work involved with installing solar takes place on your roof, where the installation crew will attach solar panels to both your roof and to electrical components that will bring the energy to your home. The only work that must be completed inside of your home typically occurs at and right next to your electrical panel: this is where the installation crew feeds the output of your solar panels into your home, and generally only requires a couple of electricians max.

Solar companies are considered essential in most of the country

As shelter-in-place advisories are put in place throughout the country, one of the biggest questions is: is this business essential? For solar, the short answer is: yes!

The first state to adopt a shelter-in-place directive was California, where the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) released guidance helping to establish that solar is, indeed, an essential business. As other states followed, the federal government provided clearer definitions for what constitutes essential businesses. And on March 28, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a memo that explicitly states that solar work and solar companies remain essential. 

These designations may change at a moment’s notice. In California, for instance, reports indicate that several Bay Area counties and municipalities are extending a stricter shelter-in-place directive that may change what types of businesses are considered essential.

You still have to pay for electricity during a pandemic

One certainty despite the COVID-19 situation is that you still have to pay monthly electricity bills. And there’s a good chance that your electricity bills are going to increase now that you’re spending more time at home than if you were commuting to an office to work.

We’ve started a video and blog series to help you navigate your electricity usage and bills, talking about ways you can save from month to month (first post here). But the best way to save money on your electricity bills is to invest in solar. And, given how low-interest rates are at the moment, now is an ideal time to purchase a solar energy system with a solar loan – you can lock in payments that are below what you would otherwise pay for electricity to produce all of your electricity needs locally from the sun!

You can start the process of shopping now to install later this year

Regardless of whether you’re interested in installing solar panels right away, or if you’d prefer to wait to have contractors come to your home until after the restrictions on social gatherings are eased, now is an ideal time to start shopping for solar. Given that both you and solar installation companies are at home and online, response times are quicker than ever and local solar companies are standing by, ready to provide you with custom quotes. See how much solar can save you by using our online Solar Calculator, and register to receive custom quotes from local installers–for free!–on EnergySage.

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