How to Choose a Solar Installation Company
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:
Personal Referrals and Reviews
A good way to start searching is by asking relatives, friends, and colleagues about any experience they may have with local installers. Online reviews are also good to read, but make sure your sources are credible. There are now so many reviews that are fake and meant to deceive readers, especially those that are published in marketing websites. Reviews posted by actual clients (references provided by the installer) are another good way of determining which installers are worth considering or not.
Don’t request for a free quote only from one company in your area; instead, call several. These quotes will typically depend on your local electricity rates and current electricity use, which will be vital as you decide how much energy you need to 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 installer must tell you what brands of solar panels they work with, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each one. 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.
The usual solar panel power output or performance warranty is around 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 can be good for 25 years for microinverters and 5-10 years for central inverters.
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). Throw in Pre-Screened Solar Pro, a new consumer-powered certification program, and of course, our old trusty Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Level of Commitment
The consultation process is your best chance to assess the installer’s expertise, sincerity, professionalism, responsiveness and ability to communicate with you in terms you understand. These are all potential indicators of the quality of the business relationship you will likely have with them once you have signed the contract.
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. A reputable solar company will be glad to explain all financing options you have in any case.