1. Is the contractor a full-time solar installer exclusively focused on solar PV?
LightWave Solar holds an unlimited TN electrical contractors license with an additional solar panel designation. We are 100% focused on turn-key solar PV design and installation with over 30 full-time employees.
2. What is included in the contract amount?
LightWave Solar provides turn-key design and installation. This includes:
- Site evaluation to verify system design requirements
- Electrical drawings and site plans by in-house engineers
- Completion of interconnection application, TVA Green Power Providers Agreement, and all other interconnection paperwork required by local utility
- Equipment procurement (panels, inverters, disconnects, meter, conduit, wire, etc. – everything needed for fully functional system)
- Installation and inspections
- Grid-interconnection/commissioning with TVA and local utility
- One-year workmanship warranty
3. Is your solar contract a fixed-price contract or an estimate?
LightWave Solar provides an accurate, fixed contract amount that is based on years of experience and site-specific information. You will not be surprised with added costs.
4. How many years has the contractor been installing solar PV?
LightWave Solar has been installing solar PV full-time since July 2006. We helped pioneer the region’s solar industry.
5. How many solar PV projects has the contractor installed?
LightWave Solar has designed and installed over 700 solar PV systems throughout the Midsouth, primarily in Tennessee and Kentucky. Our projects include large systems (200kW-5MW), systems for small businesses ranging from 20-100kW, and over 350 residential systems ranging from 2kW to 50kW. We have installed nearly one fourth of the total number of solar systems in the TVA region. In addition, LightWave Solar is responsible for the design and installation of the first solar interconnections with over 45 electrical utilities in the TVA region. Our experience sets us apart from other contractors in the area.
6. Have you talked to any of the contractor’s customers?
LightWave Solar has hundreds of happy solar customers and many repeat customers. Please ask us for our customer references and contact them for their feedback. View our online customer reviews here.
7. When and how are payments made to the contractor? Do they get paid before commissioning?
LightWave Solar outlines the payment schedule before we ask you to sign a contract. Typically, we require a 10% down payment upon contract signing. Shortly thereafter, we require a 65% payment to order materials. Once the system has been installed and commissioned by the local utility, we invoice for the remaining 25%.
8. How did the contractor calculate production? Can it be verified by a reputable third party?
LightWave Solar understands that solar customers are buying production, not system size. Thus, we recommend high-performing solar panels and accurately estimate kilowatt-hour production over time. We use several production estimators including PV Watts, PV Syst, and PV Sol. Our production estimates account for shading if applicable (using Solar Pathfinder or Solmetric SunEye), orientation, and pitch. Our estimates can be verified on-line at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) site.
9. Does the contractor have Full NABCEP-certified Solar PV Installers on staff?
LightWave Solar has six fully-certified NABCEP Solar PV Professionals on staff. NABCEP stands for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, and it is the gold standard for solar PV certification. The full NABCEP certificate is earned after passing a rigorous exam covering design, installation and codes, as well as meeting experience and training requirements. Conversely, NABCEP’s entry-level certificate requires no installation experience.
10. Is the contractor a member of TenneSEIA?
LightWave Solar is a Charter member of the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) and serves on the Policy Board. TenneSEIA represents and advocates for the solar industry in Tennessee, and membership shows a commitment to the industry.