As solar energy gains popularity among residential and commercial users, the number of of installation companies has also soared in response to the demand. However, not all solar installers are the same in terms of expertise level, workmanship, and customer service.
Here are suggestions to help you choose a reputable solar installation company:
Referrals and Reviews
A smart way to begin looking is by asking for personal recommendations from relatives and friends, neighbors and colleagues who can tell you about their experiences with local installers. Online reviews are also good to read, but make sure your sources are credible. There are now a lot of reviews, specifically those found in marketing websites, which are manufactured and deceptive. Reviews written by actual customers – via references given by the company itself – are another good way of knowing which companies are worth a look or not.
Ask for a free quote not only from one company but from many in your area. Such quotes will usually be based on your present electricity usage and local electricity rates, which help you decide how much energy you should offset. Besides comparing prices, a quote request can tell you how responsive an installer is, and may give you a hint of how hiring them will likely proceed Apart from comparing prices, a quote request can show you how responsive a solar company is, and may provide indicators of how a project with them will probably turn out.
Brand and Design
The solar company must be able to tell you the different solar panel brands they install, and explain each one’s pros and cons. They should listen carefully as you tell them your solar needs and concerns, before recommending the solution that best suits your taste, budget, lifestyle, and target electric output.
Solar panels’ power output or performance warranty generally lasts from 25 to 35 years. A solar company may also offer a product or workmanship warranty for other components of the panel, such as laminate and backing. Inverter warranties may last from five and 10 to 25 years, depending on whether they are central inverters or microinverters.
One of America’s most highly esteemed certification bodies for solar PV and solar heating companies is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Count the relatively new and consumer-powered Pre-Screened Solar Pro and good old Better Business Bureau (BBB).
During the consultation process, gauge the company’s knowledge, helpfulness, ability to speak in layman’s terms, professionalism and responsiveness. All of these may be signs of how they will treat you or how your business relationship with them will progress as soon as you they have won your business.
As the upfront cost of a solar installation is usually too high for the average consumer, different financing options have been introduced. For instance, one can obtain a home equity loan or apply for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, the rules of which vary from state to state. In any case, you can expect a good solar installer to explain each option, depending on what are available to you.