How to Choose a Solar Installation Company
As solar energy becomes more popular among homeowners and businesses, an increasing number of installation companies have also surfaced to meet 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:
Recommendations and Reviews
A wise way to begin your search is by seeking personal referrals from people you know – family, friends, coworkers, etc.- who may have something to say about local installers they’ve hired. You can also read online reviews, but check your sources as not all are credible. There are now many reviews, especially those found in marketing websites, that are fabricated and misleading. 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 not just a single company but several companies in your area for a free quote. 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. On top of comparing prices, a quote request can give you peek into an installer’s responsiveness and how a project with them is likely to play out.
Brand and Design
The solar company should be able to tell you the various brands of solar panels they install, and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each. 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. As well, a workmanship or product warranty may be provided by the installer for laminate, glass and other panel components. Inverter warranties for central inverters can cover from five to ten years, while microinverters can have warranties lasting up to 25 years.
One of the most reputable solar PV and solar heating company certification systems in the U.S.is provided by 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 Dedication
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. 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.
For example, one can enter into a power-purchase agreement (PPA) or a solar lease agreement, get a home equity loan or apply for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. A reputable solar company will be glad to explain all financing options you have in any case.