How to Find a Good Solar Installer
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 some tips to help you find a competent and reliable solar installer:
Recommendations 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 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.
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. 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.
A typical power output or performance warranty for solar panels is good for 25 to 35 years. A workmanship or product warranty may be offered as well, covering other parts of the panel, like glass 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 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).
Level of Dedication
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. A reputable solar company will be glad to explain all financing options you have in any case.