LESLIE: Naomi in Florida is on the line with a question about solar panels and roof replacement. How can we help you today?
NAOMI: Well, I was wondering if I should change the shingles – get new shingles before I put the panels on? We’ve had them about 10 years now and I didn’t know whether to replace them first or just go ahead and put the solar panels up there. And will it be saving a lot of energy for electric, you know?
TOM: OK. Well, to the first question on roof replacement, I’d probably replace it before I put the solar array on there. If you think you’ve got another 10, 15 years out of that roof, based on its condition and – you might want to have it inspected by someone independent of a roofer, by the way. Because a roofer is always going to tell you you need a roof replacement. But you could have it inspected by somebody you trust. And if it seems like it’s going to be durable enough then sure, go ahead and put the solar panels on top of that.
Now, in terms of whether or not the solar panels are going to help you save money or not, there’s a lot of ends to that economic question. Depends on whether you’re buying them or you’re renting them, how long you have them. Are you leasing them from the solar company? There’s a lot of economic factors. I would just say that there’s too many for me to sort out for you on the radio but to look very carefully at what the expense is of having these installed. And look at the different options, because there’s as many ways to get solar on your home today as you can imagine. So, just proceed carefully.
Work with somebody who maybe has had a good history of doing this for your neighbors and demand that they give you references. And then do something that most people don’t do: actually call those references. And I know it can be uncomfortable to call people you don’t know but do it. Call and say, “Listen, I’m Naomi and I got your name from this solar company. They listed you as a reference. I’m just wondering what your experience has been.”
And ask questions like, “How long have you had this system? Have you noticed the savings in your energy bill? Did they do any damage to the property? What was it like working with them? Did they show up on time? Did they keep their appointments? Did you have any repairs that were necessary after it was installed?” Ask those tough questions. And I’ll tell you, if you do that carefully, the cream is going to rise to the top and you’re going to find the right company to do this project with.
NAOMI: OK. Thank you very much.