Deadline is approaching but don't forget your solar research

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Now that an APS rate increase has been approved, solar companies are turning up the heat, but don't make a bad decision as you try to beat the deadline for grandfathered lower rates.

As long as you have your solar application into APS by Aug. 31, 2017, you will be grandfathered in at the lower, current rates. Many solar companies say you can beat the deadline for sure if you sign up right away. The lower rate is a good incentive to act quickly; just don't forget to do all your other solar homework.

[RELATED: Phoenix-area homeowners rush to install solar before APS changes rates]

Kathleen Murphy is considering solar panels for her Sun City home. She says several solar company reps have been knocking on her door lately encouraging her to sign up now before an APS rate increase, which was approved Tuesday.
"I had questions I wanted answered so we let them in and talked for an hour or more with each of them," Murphy said.

Homeowners should inquire about the potential benefits of leasing. Know how much you'll owe per month over how many years on the lease. What if you later want to sell your home? Ask about the risk your potential buyer may not be able to assume the lease.

"That they wouldn't qualify and it may undo the sale," Murphy said.

[READ MORE: Talk to APS before choosing a solar contractor]

Talk to your roofer about your roof warranty. Some are voided for the portion of the roof covered by solar panels. Murphy already got that answer.

"The rest of the roof, if it were to be damaged by a storm, would still be covered but not those that are under the panels," Murphy said.

Find out upfront how much the solar installer will charge you to remove and reinstall your panels if you need a roof repair. You generally must use the same installer in order to keep your panel warranty intact.

"That issue needs to be in writing, in the contract, as to how much they would charge, maybe per panel," Murphy said.

The installer should only need to remove panels near the repair area, so a price per panel is a smart way to go. Insist on this separate price quote, in writing, in your contract.

Remember, it doesn't matter when your panels are actually installed (As long as the system is interconnected by February 28, 2018). All homeowners need is a signed solar contract, submitted to APS by Aug. 31, to be grandfathered in at the lower rate.

Existing APS solar customers do not need to take any action; they are automatically grandfathered in at the lower rate.

[RELATED: Money AZ homeowners can save on solar is going down]

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