Andrea Cahill, a regional sales manager at ADT Solar, went from salesperson to customer in 2021.

“I’ve been in the solar industry for over 11 years, so I know what to look for: a high quality product and install, along with treating customers well. These qualities are what drew me to ADT Solar,” she says.

As someone who’s “on the inside,” Andrea shares her unique and insightful perspective on the realities and benefits of going solar.

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Leveraging her solar energy savvy

It was the ability to help people that made working in the solar industry appealing to Andrea.

“I have to feel passionate and feel good about what I’m selling. When I first heard about solar, I thought it sounded very beneficial. Plus, solar is unique in that it can potentially reduce electric bills and it’s helping the environment while helping people save money. In fact, solar even plays a part in helping the electric companies, by easing the burden on the power grid,” she says.

Andrea had also already used solar energy herself, at her previous home in Kansas. Equipment with solid warranties was top priority to Andrea, along with a solar company that had been in business for years. In fact, these were two of the qualities that drew her to ADT Solar.

Since Andrea’s former home had natural gas instead of electricity, the solar system on her previous home was smaller. When the time came to sell the house, Andrea chose to sell it with the solar panel system installed. Back in 2016, she had to coach her real estate agent on how to market the added value of the system, but it did indeed increase the value of her home. Transferring the equipment of the Kansas home solar system to the new homeowner was easy.

Now, most realtors are well versed on how to market rooftop solar arrays. Solar has become such a popular added value in recent years, real estate website Zillow added a Sun Number Score to its listings. This score gives prospective home buyers an idea of the property’s solar potential. It’s a calculation of how efficiently the house for sale can harness solar power.

When she moved to a new house in Florida a few years ago, it was time for Andrea to find her next solar installer. It was only a matter of time before her new house had solar, because it was a priority for her.

Andrea’s move coincided with the start of her time overseeing South Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi for ADT Solar, a little more than three years ago. And because she understood what qualities differentiated a great solar company from an average one, Andrea was able to recognize excellence in her company.

solar panel

Using targeted tech to choose her solar array

Everyone, even a solar energy expert like Andrea, can use help deciding on the size of their solar panel system. Fortunately, ADT Solar provides sophisticated software for Solar Specialists to use. This technology empowers them to advise customers on how many panels each home needs.

The highly accurate ADT Solar software calculates how many solar panels it’ll take to generate enough solar power to meet your needs. Factors considered in the calculations include:

  • The amount of sun versus shade your roof receives
  • The orientation of the panels
  • Where on the Earth your home is located
  • The type of offset you’ll get based on your utility company

Looking specifically at your utility company is important because each area has its own utility and each utility has its own net metering program. At this point you might be wondering, what’s net metering?

It’s an option offered by most states that gives you the opportunity to get a credit on your electric bill. If eligible, when your solar panel system produces more energy than you use in a month, your utility company will credit the excess energy back to you. At the end of each billing cycle, the utility company will bill you the difference of the energy you provided to the power grid and the electricity you took from the grid.

“Seeing how with solar energy I could power three houses is a great feeling. One little solar system can give so much back to the environment and benefit the people around me,” Andrea says.

A properly sized solar array will improve your chances of benefitting from net metering. It should be large enough to offset the amount of energy your home uses, or a portion of it, depending on your home energy goals. This is where the ADT Solar software comes in. It uses the factors above to determine exactly what size system will meet your home’s energy needs. The Solar Specialist can then give the customer informed guidance on how many panels they need in their solar array.

“The calculations and final determination made by the software are dead-on for your home energy goals. It determines what the output will be for the size of the system and the return on investment you can expect to get from it,” Andrea says.

In fact, Andrea believes so strongly in the aptitude of the software, she used it to choose the size of her own solar array.

solar installer on a roof installing a solar panel

A smooth installation makes for one very happy homeowner

Andrea had a lot of prior knowledge about solar system installations. After all, she works for a solar company and had one solar panel system previously. That said, like anyone else, Andrea still had some questions about her installation, as well as the lingo and jargon used by the inspectors.

“Whenever I did have questions, I was easily able to get a hold of my ADT Solar Territory Operations Manager. He quickly addressed and resolved them,” Andrea says.

Scheduling the installation was hassle-free, as well. Once all of the equipment was ready to go, Andrea received a call asking which days in the next week worked for her. Installations aren’t scheduled until everything is ready, to avoid possibly having to reschedule. This practice helps keep the process convenient and smooth for customers.

It’s all part of the many ways that ADT Solar makes customer service a top priority. From sales to installation, the entire team is highly responsive and promptly addresses customer concerns. Customers don’t have to worry about being left in the dark ― pun intended!

One of the most helpful tools available to customers is the ADT Solar Customer Portal. Customers can use this dedicated resource to get help and information about their account.

“They made it easy for me. They gave me status updates and as many details as I wanted. And they were very responsive whenever I needed something,” she says.

Installing a solar panel system is actually a three-part process, from beginning to end. It isn’t all done in one day or by one party; the same is true with any solar company. Here’s how the process works:

  1. Licensed electricians wire the electrical components used by the solar array
  2. Next, the solar installer performs the physical installation of the panels and hooks them up to the electrical system
  3. Finally, the solar installer lets the utility company know that the time has come to swap out the meter, which could take several weeks for the utility provider to complete.

“Whenever I did have questions, I was easily able to get a hold of my ADT Solar Territory Operations Manager. He quickly addressed and resolved them,” Andrea says.

ADT solar electricians

Ensuring no detail gets overlooked

At one point during Andrea’s ADT Solar system installation, one of the plates that covers the combiner box, a component of the system, was missing. While the missing plate wouldn’t negatively affect the system in any way, the inspector insisted on installing it. Andrea called the Operations Manager, who quickly dispatched a team member to install the plate.

This situation reflects the dedicated team Andrea had working on her ADT Solar installation.

“They made it easy for me. They gave me status updates and as many details as I wanted. And they were very responsive whenever I needed something,” she says.

The combiner plate situation perfectly illustrates how deeply ADT Solar cares about the details of the installation process. No detail, even a seemingly minor one, gets overlooked or dismissed. It’s one way that ADT Solar provides stellar customer service and dedication to its customers.

The aesthetics of a customer’s solar panels is another example. Solar systems have come a long way in terms of looks. Many are sleek, stylish and complement the home’s exterior.

That said, if a customer doesn’t want their panels to be visible, ADT Solar will happily comply. The skilled team can design and install the panels in an area of the roof where they’re concealed. And performance won’t be an issue, either. The expert installers at ADT Solar will ensure the panels are still in the path of the sun’s rays. In Andrea’s case, her system was installed on the back of her roof.

electricity meter

Producing enough energy to power a stadium

Andrea’s solar array was turned on in October 2021. As of June 13, 2022, it had:

  • Produced over 16 megawatts of electricity, enough to power one full stadium for one day
  • Generated a carbon offset of more than 11 tons
  • Saved the equivalent of 292 trees
  • Banked kilowatt hours she can use for the remainder of 2022

Andrea is able to monitor the performance of her solar system with software that’s available to all ADT Solar customers. And using the energy produced by it is easy.

“There’s absolutely nothing you need to do but enjoy viewing the reports. The system requires no maintenance from me at all. It’s seamless. It just keeps powering our house,” she says.

Sharing tips with other homeowners

Andrea has learned valuable tips from getting solar systems installed on two homes. There are certain criteria she stresses that anyone vetting installers should prioritize.

“Check to make sure you’re going with a reputable company that’s going to be in business long enough to withstand the warranties and workmanship. Many people approach me telling me they have a system from a different company that’s now gone out of business. And for this reason, if they have issues with the system, they’re left in the dark. Going solar is an investment, so you want to make sure you choose your installer wisely,” she says.

Roofing knowledge is also important. The installer should have roofing expertise so they know how to attach the panels to your roof correctly. Doing so is critical for a successful installation and a system that’ll work correctly.

“There’s absolutely nothing you need to do but enjoy viewing the reports. The system requires no maintenance from me at all. It’s seamless. It just keeps powering our house,” Andrea says.

Singing the praises of solar

Andrea has long been a fan of solar energy. She feels that solar is unique in several ways, including its ability to empower users.

“There really is no other product out there that could have such an impact on your home’s energy costs. You can’t buy an oil refinery to produce your own gasoline. You can’t erect a cell phone tower to produce your own cellular service,” she says.

In addition to the novelty of solar, Andrea appreciates the positive effect it has on the environment.

“Seeing how with solar energy I could power three houses is a great feeling. One little solar system can give so much back to the environment and benefit the people around me,” she says.

And using solar power has helped Andrea save on gas expenses in addition to electricity costs.

“I’m able to charge my electrical vehicle with the solar panels on my home. I have little to no gas expenses as a result,” she says.

Above view of ADT solar panels installed on a home

Joining the solar club

It doesn’t take behind-the-scenes access to reap the benefits of solar like Andrea has. Every single one of these benefits is available to anyone who goes solar.

Given steadily climbing electricity rates, getting a solar system installed on your home is absolutely worth thinking about. The average electricity bill in the U.S. increased by $5 per month in 2021, to reach a staggering $122. Of course, your individual electric bill depends on details like how much energy your home consumes and the energy rate your utility company charges.

A Solar Specialist can walk you through your potential savings, as well as what to expect during the installation process and how much your system might cost. They can also let you know about any local solar incentives available to you.

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