Solar Made Simple: 9 Must-Know Tips for Homeowners Exploring NEM 3.0

Going solar can feel like an avalanche of confusion and overwhelm for homeowners. As someone who has extensively researched and collaborated with solar industry experts, I understand the challenges homeowners face when trying to navigate this complex market. In this guide, I aim to clarify some misconceptions and provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions about going solar.

Cutting through the Industry Noise:

Yes, the solar industry is complex and ever-changing. Making matters worse, homeowners often encounter intrusive and mis-leading sales tactics. From unsolicited phone calls during dinner to disruptive door-to-door visits, your right to feel overwhelmed. Online advertisements promising “No cost solar” or “Government giving away solar panels” are often just lead capture sites seeking your information to sell to solar installation companies. It’s important to be aware of these tactics and separate them from legitimate solar companies.

Setting the Record Straight:

Ever see the phrase “Click her to see if you qualify”. Understand, any homeowner who wants to purchase solar for their home can do so, just like any other home improvement project. Financing may require qualification for a loan, but there is no qualification process to spend your own money on a solar system.

NEM 3.0: The Importance of Credible Information:

With the adoption of NEM 3.0 in California, it has become more important than ever to obtain information from credible sources. Homeowners often receive varying and inconsistent solar estimates, making it challenging to discern accurate information. To ensure credibility, consider the following tips:

  1. Avoid “Click here to see if you qualify” offers, as these are often lead capture sites.
  2. Reflect how you found the solar company. If they found you, they might prioritize sales over installation expertise.
  3. Look for a company with a long-standing presence in your local area, preferably at least ten years. Local companies tend to have the community’s best interest at heart.
  4. Read reviews to gauge a company’s reputation and customer satisfaction.
  5. Avoid signing up on the same day and beware of high-pressure sales tactics.
  6. Ensure a physical site inspection is conducted before receiving a formal estimate. Estimates provided without an inspection may result in unexpected change orders during construction.
  7. Scrutinize the estimate thoroughly, paying attention to how it accurately represents energy storage utilization under NEM 3.0. A knowledgeable technician should be able to demonstrate different battery configurations and sizes, along with their impact on your utility bill and ROI.
  8. Beware of warranties offered by companies with a shorter track record.
  9. Consider whether the company has a physical location accessible to the public, as this signifies their commitment to the local market and facilitates communication in case of issues.


The goal of this guide is to provide clarity amidst the confusion surrounding the solar industry. By understanding the tactics used by some companies and following the tips provided, homeowners can make informed decisions when considering solar. Remember, reputable companies prioritize transparency, accurate information, and customer satisfaction as their guiding principles.