I recently had solar installed on the roof of my house by Blue Dot Solar, and I wanted to share my excellent experience and learnings.
Initially, I used EnergySage.com to get some quotes for my solar work. Blue Dot's quote caught my eye because they were the only ones that offered the high quality Panasonic solar panels on my quote. I learned later that they offer a wide selection of models, but I wanted high quality, so I ended up choosing the Panasonic. Anyway, I reached out to Joe at Blue Dot to ask some questions and he ended up spending 45 minutes with me explaining all the details of how Solar works. The cliff notes here:
1) They work directly with a loan vendor and the process was extremely easy and streamlined. You just need to have good credit to get the loan, they don't worry about your debt to income ratio.
2) You select the system size based on your historical electrical usage and roof space. You can select panels that are all black if you want (look nicer) and you can also work with them to put the panels in a configuration on your roof that you feel is most visually pleasing.
3) Once loan is approved, you schedule an install date, they install (see pics on my google review), and there are several inspections that take place, electrical, structural, etc., your electric company comes and puts in a new "net" electric meter, and finally they turn the system on.
4) I can view my daily electric production online (see screenshot on my google review, and actually the 6.93kw installation pic on energy sage is my roof) and I can also look at the net meter outside my house. The numbers on the meter go down during the day while the solar production exceeds our usage, and up at night, but overall they are going down. For us, our solar electric production exceeds our average usage, so usually our electric bill will be zero, and any extra solar I generate will appear as a credit on my bill (they won't pay that to me in cash). We got into the Massachusetts SREC program which will pay me a small amount (few hundred dollars based on our generation estimates) four times a year for the electricity we generate above and beyond what we use.
So, back to my experience. Glenn Maltais (owner) and Joe Nelson (solar specialist) came to my house to speak with me and generally look at our particular solar situation. They look at how many trees might cause shade, look in the attic to see what type of beams hold up the roof (they usually need 2 x 6 inch beams), and generally assess the age / condition of your roof. They are up front that if your roof needs to be replaced soon, you may want to wait to install solar, or do them both together. They brought a folder with their proposal documentation and suggested configuration and they were very thorough. They also checked the basement to look at where the electric could be installed.
After that meeting, I felt comfortable I didn't need to meet with anyone else and signed the contract (which has a clause that allows you to back out if you are not approved for the loan). From there I applied for the loan, which was a very easy process, although I did need to create a DCU account (Digital Credit Union) as part of the process.
The work was scheduled for a month or so later. The crew was very professional and considerate. There were two roofers and an electrician, all of whom were very competent. The electric inspector had several compliments for the work that the electrician did.
I did take the extra time to personally match and paint the metal electric tubes that go up the side of my house and onto the roof (greenish-gray for the house color and charcoal gray for the roof). It helps to hide the tubes that go up the side and across the roof, so I recommend taking the extra time to do that. The Blue Dot team left me the unpainted tubes ahead of time so I could do that.
Joe was fantastic, getting back to me very quickly and thoroughly to answer my questions and to provide updated design options for the panels on my roof. He also helped me to choose an alternative panel that was the same price (albeit a little less wattage) so we could get the all black panels that we felt looked nicer.
The install itself took about 3 days, and then there were some other appointments with the inspections, etc. So it was helpful that I was able to work from home to be there to facilitate.
Overall I feel the Blue Dot team was fantastic and I would highly recommend them to anyone that is considering a solar project.