What’s in a Solar Quote?

Deciding to go solar is a big deal. Essentially, you’re entering into a process that will transform how you make, use and save energy. So it’s important to know what’s in a solar quote and to compare apples to apples.
Your Guide to

How to Compare Solar Quotes

At Central Coast Solar Brokers, we obtain quotes for our clients. And we advise them on the best installation team for their project. Here’s how we compare quotes to ensure the best deal.

Gathering Usage Information

One of the first questions a solar consultant asks is:
“What is your annual energy usage in kilowatt-hours (kWhs)?”
  • There are a few ways to find out:
    1.  Add the total of twelve months of kWhs from your utility bill.
    2.  Log in to your utility account and download your usage for the past twelve months.
    3.  Send twelve months of utility bills to the consultant, who will determine your total kWhs.

Size Matters

Your solar system will be sized based on your current yearly kWh usage plus any additional electric loads you anticipate. For example, an electric vehicle or spa may be in your future. If so, you’ll need additional panels added to the project to compensate.

Estimated Production

Next, your consultant will determine how many solar panels your project requires. And that amount depends on the panel’s wattage(W). So, if your consultant is quoting an 8kW system using a 400W panel, your project would need 20 panels.

The Math:
1kW = 1,000W
8kW = 8,000W
8,000W ÷ 400W = 20 panels


utility bill with monthly kWh usage

Comparing Quotes

It’s critical to compare quotes apples to apples on estimated production. You may receive a quote that is substantially less than others. If so, check the system size to ensure it’s the same as competing quotes.

The estimated production is usually very accurate if the system design is in direct sun with no shading. And your quotes will be similar in cost.

However, the estimated solar production can vary between quotes if you have shading from trees, hills, buildings, or other objects. The difference will depend on how much shading there is and whether or not it was even factored in.

Solar Proposal Review

After your solar consultant assesses your usage and property details, you will receive a proposal. The quote should clearly spell out the equipment and project specifications, including:

  • Proposed System Size
  • Annual Production Estimate
  • Your Projected Annual Utility Bill
  • Your Projected Annual Savings
  • Payback Period
  • Total System Cost
  • Any Federal/State Credits
  • Price per DC Watt

image of a solar proposal

Solar Simplified

At Central Coast Solar Brokers, we make the proposal process easy! Just one call to us, and we’ll thoroughly assess your solar project. Then we’ll find the right local installer who fits your budget and timeframe.

Contact us today to get started!

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