How to Choose a Solar Installation Company
As solar energy becomes increasingly popular among residential and business consumers, about and about installation companies have also cropped up to satisfy 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 hire a good 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. 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 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 company must be able to tell you the different solar panel brands they install, and explain each one’s pros and cons. They have to be attentive as you explain to them your needs and concerns, before suggesting solutions that are most appropriate for your budget, aesthetics, lifestyle and desired electric output.
A typical power output or performance warranty for solar panels is good for 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 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). Count the relatively new and consumer-powered Pre-Screened Solar Pro and good old Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Level of Dedication
During your first meeting with the installer, try to assess their sincerity, professionalism, responsiveness, expert knowledge and ability to connect with you. 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.
Because of the high upfront cost of a solar installation, various financing options have been made available to both residential and commercial consumers. Examples are entering a solar lease agreement or power-purchase agreement (PPA), applying for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, and securing a home equity loan. In any case, you can expect a good solar installer to explain each option, depending on what are available to you.