Not all solar businesses and products are alike – so how can customers make sure they are making the best investment? CCEBA staff recently interviewed Yes Solar Solutions founders Stew and Kathy Miller, who lent insight into how solar customers can get the most for their money.

Please tell us about yourselves and your business.

Co-owners Stew and Kathy Miller founded Yes Solar Solutions in 2009. Since then, the company has seen many changes, expanding from exclusively residential solar installations into commercial and nonprofit solar, energy storage, electric vehicle charging, and servicing solar systems, both in and out of warranty. Yes is also the only installer in NC that has a NABCEP accreditation.

What should potential solar and / or storage customers weigh when considering an investment?

When considering an investment in solar, a customer should consider how long they plan to own the property, how old the roof is, how much shade they have, and financial goals for the fiscal side of the investment. 

Additionally, we would also urge customers to be wary of national companies that may be unaware of local guidelines and may be incentivized by the quick money on installations. You do not want these businesses to leave you high and dry to navigate any system maintenance or troubleshooting afterwards. Companies like Yes have dedicated service departments that will continue to be there for you throughout the service and maintenance lifetime of your system, as well as provide support for part warranties.

As with any industry, some businesses are more competent and more ethical than others. What should a customer consider before committing to a solar / storage installation company? 

Yes Solar Solutions was the first company on the East Coast to be accredited by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). This shows our company’s commitment to superior training, quality, service, and customer satisfaction. We have more NABCEP-certified technicians than any solar company in North Carolina and are the only North Carolina solar company that is NABCEP-accredited.

The two most important licenses a solar installation company should have are a General Contractor License and an Electrical License. If you are comparing solar companies, ASK for those numbers and verify them with the state licensing departments. Not every solar installation company has an electrical license, which Yes does, as well as an unlimited General Contractor’s license. Yes is also a Tesla Certified Installer and Approved Electrician for the Tesla Powerwall and Tesla’s EV Charger.

It is also advantageous to verify that the company sources quality equipment and utilizes best installation practices to ensure the longevity of your system. Yes uses L-foot flashing as it provides more protection for the roof and the panels. Rather than just having a single bond method, L-foot flashing uses a chemical and mechanical bond that provides a stronger foundation for your panels. Yes also takes into account those pesky critters that can get under panels and chew at wires, so we include Critter Guards on all of our installations to keep your solar system safe. 

L-foot flashing compared to standard bonding equipment.

A customer can glean some insight into a company’s practices and customers experiences by checking online reviews and testimonials. Yes is a top-rated solar company with a reputation for quality which can be seen through our customer reviews

What are the most exciting newer developments for your business and the industry in general? 

“In my opinion, storage is the biggest and most important ‘new’ development in the solar industry. As we continue to deliver more solar energy production with higher wattage systems, well-designed and scalable battery storage systems like the Tesla Powerwall allow customers to be completely prepared for the effects of climate change and further reduce their utility bills, while moving closer to complete independence from their utility company,” said co-owner, Stew Miller. 

Additionally, Yes was selected as the sole installer for the Solarize the Triangle program. Yes was chosen based on the quality of materials and warranties as well as for being a leader in the industry for their superior customer service. Customers can sign up here to get a free quote through Solarize the Triangle. 

Will the recent Inflation Reduction Act provide opportunities for residential and commercial / industrial customers? If so, how? 

The Inflation Reduction Act increases the current solar and battery storage tax credit to 30% and extends it for 10 years. This is great news for the solar industry as the increased tax credit will release billions of investment dollars in new solar, storage, EV technologies, and projects. 

The IRA also offers $7,500 tax credits on many new electric vehicles, $4,000 on used EV’s, and additional incentives to offset the infrastructure costs associated with installing EV Charging equipment.

Before now, tax-exempt organizations, states, and municipalities have been unable to take advantage of the tax credit, making solar more inaccessible. The new provision allows for those organizations to opt for a direct pay grant from the federal government, which opens up many more opportunities. If a non-profit is in the Duke Energy utility service area, there is also another application for the surplus rebate Duke is offering.