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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Dave CherryCBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry works to resolve your consumer problems and protect your money. If he can't help, he'll do his best to point you in the right direction.

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Dave Cherry
CBS 5 Advocate

Dave was born and raised in Philadelphia and considers himself one of the biggest Philly sports fans. At 6-feet, 5-inches, he's probably right! Dave started on a different career path before fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news and helping consumers. Dave graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting; he later earned an MBA degree in Finance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Dave also spent ten years as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for two of America's leading real estate franchise companies. Dave started his 21-year news career at WHP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as news anchor and reporter, then moved to KOLD in Tucson, as the morning news anchor. From Tucson, he went to KRON in San Francisco as a freelance news reporter before moving east to COMCAST in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter. In the fall of 2003, Dave moved west and joined KPNX in Phoenix and spent nine years as the station Call for Action Consumer Reporter. Through his on-air advocacy work in 2011, Dave and his team were able to help consumers save more than $1 million. Dave joined CBS 5 News as our CBS 5 Advocate in December 2012. Dave is a vegan and likes to eat the amazing vegan food prepared by his lovely wife, Carmen. Dave's also a big Bruce Springsteen fan (he's seen more than 70 shows!), the man who inspired him to learn the guitar. Besides playing many of the boss' songs, Dave writes and sings his own songs and recorded a CD of original music.

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