Comparing MicroFIT Solar Panel Installation Vendors – Payment Terms

Money Comparing MicroFIT Solar Panel Installation Vendors – Payment TermsDid you know that you do not merely have to accept the payment terms included in a proposal from a solar panel installation vendor?

Challenge them; they might surprise you.

You will be paying them tens of thousands of dollars of your hard earned money.

The past few days has seen us compare some of the details of five different solar panel installation vendor proposals / quotes we have received over the past nine months.

We are doing this to help educate you on what you can expect should you be thinking of having solar panels installed whether it is as part of the Ontario MicroFIT program or otherwise.

Solar Panel Installation Vendor A – Credit Card Deposit

Yes, the first vendor would allow us (they offered before we even asked) to pay some of the cost on our credit card. This is great for those who use a credit card with a ‘cash back’ option. icon smile Comparing MicroFIT Solar Panel Installation Vendors – Payment Terms In fact, this solar panel installation vendor would allow you to pay 50% deposit by credit card.

Here were the payment terms provided by this vendor:

  • 30% deposit when the system is ordered (i.e. upon signing the contract)
  • 40% when installation crew arrives on site for the first day of installation
  • 30% remaining balance when installation crew finished the installation

Solar Panel Installation Vendor B -Full Payment Before Any Installation Work

Yes, very disappointing. This vendor’s terms were such that you have to pay them 100% of the quote before they even start to install the solar array.

Go ahead; guess why we did not choose this vendor. This might be acceptable to you; however, not to me and not with my money.

Here were the payment terms provided by this vendor:

  • 10% to secure contract and begin building permit application process (i.e. upon signing the contract)
  • 50% more to secure product
  • 40% remaining balance due at delivery of product

Solar Panel Installation Vendor C – 90%  Before Installation Starts

Here were the payment terms provided by this vendor:

  • 10% upon signing the contract
  • 80% more due at delivery of product
  • 10% remaining balance due upon commissioning (i.e. when the system is installed, connected to the electric grid and starting to generate you money)

Solar Panel Installation Vendor D – 60% Before Installation Starts

Here were the payment terms provided by this vendor:

  • %10 upon signing the contract
  • %25 Receipt of OPA Conditional Offer
  • %25 upon order of equipment
  • %40 OPA contract granted which is done I believe upon system commissioning

And, for the 5th solar panel installation vendor we didn’t get sufficiently far to discuss payment terms

Which Solar Installation Vendor Payment Terms Do You Prefer?

Personally, I prefer as large a vendor hold back as possible.

Why?

I am a few believer that the more money the vendor is owed, the better they will perform.

So, guess why ultimately did not go with Vendor B?

I do like Vendor A’s terms allowing up to 50% to be paid by credit card (that is a lot of credit card ‘points’ icon smile Comparing MicroFIT Solar Panel Installation Vendors – Payment Terms ). Yet, having to pay in full prior to commissioning bothers me.

If a vendor believes in their product and capabilities then stand by your service and wait. The ultimate validation that the installation was done accurately is when the solar panel array is commissioned.

That’s why I prefer Vendor D’s payment terms by a wide margin.

So, now you know that vendor payment terms can very widely.

Don’t just accept the terms you are offered.

And, be sure to have at least 10% … preferably 20% or 30% or even as was offered by Vendor D 40% hold back until commission of your solar PV system.

 

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Comments

  1. Imelda Ortega Suzara says:

    I’m doing research on solar energy systems and came across your amusing but informative blog. Thank you. Just wondering what your reaction would be if you were offered: a $0 Cost Company Financed solar energy system with the condition that the Government MicroFIT Contract payments are paid directly to the Company for a certain number of years until the system is paid off, then after the transfer of system ownership to you including assigning the remaining years of the contract. Would you as a Residence Owner agree to such an Agreement where you get it without spending a penny?

  2. Dan says:

    Nope.

    What is in it for me in the years prior to the transfer of system ownership? That’s a long time to wait.

    Dan

  3. Irene says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us! You have done an enormous research it seems. After reading all articles, I only have one question – did you install a solar system for yourself? Did you come across the company that is fully satisfactory in terms of prices, terms and services performed?
    Me and my husband heard about microFIT before. Maybe you could recommend some companies based on your experience?
    Thanks again!

    • Dan says:

      Hi Irene,

      You asked if I ended up having a MicroFit solar installation done for our home? The answer is………………………no.

      Why not?

      Two reasons:

      If I was in my 20′s I would have a couple of decades to wait until I received both the money of the original investment + the averaged annual return. Yet, I am not in my 20′s and really don’t want to wait 8 to 9 years simply to receive back the money on my original MicroFit investment and then to start receiving a return; for me that it just way too long a time.

      Second, no, I was not able to come across a single company of the 5 or 6 who was completely trust worthy. Heck, I was to have won $10,000 off of the cost of a MicroFit system as a ‘home show’ yet when contacted I was told it was only applicable when I had solar panels on all my applicable roof areas so my total cost would still have been around $55,000. All I wanted was a solar installation on my south facing roof!

      Dan

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