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:
Personal 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. You can also read online reviews, but check your sources as not all 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 installer must tell you what brands of solar panels they work with, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each one. 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.
The usual solar panel power output or performance warranty is around 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 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). 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 give you a picture of the quality of treatment you will receive from them after you have signed the contract.
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.