No matter how much experience you have with DIY projects, installing your own solar panels is not nearly as simple as laying tile or repainting your guest bedroom. There are a lot of important factors to properly installing a solar energy system, which is why it is so important to select a company you can trust.
Choosing a trusted solar installer and company is the most important part of the process. It can be the most time consuming, but you will be thankful you took the time to consider all the options when having a solar energy system installed. And the good news is that there are plenty of solar companies with experienced, friendly teams just waiting to install your solar energy system for you.
Steps to Finding the Best
The process of selecting a solar energy company can feel overwhelming at times; with so many options it can be hard to know if you are making the right decision. But don’t lose hope, we’ve broken down the process into 4 easy steps to help you feel confident in knowing you’ve made the right decision for your home.
- Get in the right frame of mind: Decide that you want to continue forward with the process of installing a solar energy system. Educate yourself on what this entails and form a list of what you expect from your installer as well as questions you may have for them moving forward.
- Form a list of potential providers: Compile a list of all of the applicable candidates for the job. You can start this list with recommendations from other solar owners and a simple Google search of all potential candidates and then slowly narrow down your list based on which ones best meet your expectations.
- Check credentials and reviews: Research each of the companies that remain on your list. Don’t be fazed by surface-level aspects like the size of the company, most of the time things like experience and credentials can play a much bigger role.
- Look into financing options and get quotes: Once you feel like you have a good idea of each company’s mission and experience-level, you can begin reaching out to them in regard to learning more about their financing options and move forward with receiving quotes.
What to Look for in a Solar Company and Contractor
Solar panels are a long-term investment, which is why each step of the process is so important to find a provider who is right for you. As you go through each step, look for qualities that make the company or contractor stand out from the others.
Things you’ll want them to incorporate and possess may include;
- Expertise: Installers should have all of the proper certifications and necessary business licenses. While this may seem obvious, it is important to confirm because many installers and crew members come from other lines of work in roofing and electricity and may not be trained specifically for solar panel installation. Inquire about the experience of everyone on the crew to ensure they’re properly trained for the job.
- Good reputation: Look at what past customers have to say. A pattern of bad reviews and complaints is not an indication that they will meet your expectations. They should have an established track record of completed solar energy systems and be able to easily discuss past projects and provide pictures from previous client’s installations.
- Trust: You should have a strong, trusting relationship with your contractor so you feel like you can reach out to them with any questions or concerns. The best solar energy companies will strive to work with you to give you a better understanding of how your solar energy system works with your home or business. Your company should have a team of people who are not only professional and competent but that you actually want to do business with.
- History: The company you select should have a long history of happy clients. While the solar energy industry is one that has been recently growing in popularity, you’ll want to ensure that your company isn’t just getting started. Ensuring this history helps provide a fuller picture of their future, and you want to know for a fact that your contractor is around for the long-haul so that your warranty and services like maintenance and cleaning carry over.
What to Avoid
No company is going to advertise the things that hold their company back from measuring up to other solar energy contractors. This is why it is important to dig deep and be on the look-out for red flags.
A big red flag for a lot of companies is not meeting in person or over the phone. A lot of companies like to keep the process impersonal by interacting only online. This can be dangerous, because each home is unique, making it important for the company to have a good understanding of your solar panel needs.
The right contractor will customize a solar panel system specifically for you to meet all of your electrical needs. During the process they should review your history of energy usage. Be sure that they are making the effort to personalize the process and gain a better understanding of your concerns and needs.
Another thing you will want to avoid is selecting a company purely based on which company is cheaper. Although this is a good thing to keep in mind and vital for your budget, there are a lot of other factors.
While it may appear to be the cheaper option, in the long run, if your solar panel system is not properly installed or the quality of the system does not last you will wind up paying more money than you bargained for. This is why it is vital to also keep in mind what level of quality and customer service you will be receiving. Ensure that your solar panels are high quality and from reputable manufactures because some solar panels can hold up much better compared to others.
Finding the Best Warranty, Certifications and Financing
Delving into the contracting, paperwork and financial aspects of solar energy can be confusing. There are a lot of different acronyms and certifications, that can make it hard to keep it all straight.
In regard to finding the best warranty, you will want to find a warranty that covers the whole system. A lot of companies will try to trick you by only covering the panels under a warranty, so make sure it is all-inclusive. A good warranty will also cover the system for 25 years. This is the longest warranty you will typically find and it works great because that is about the amount of time that can pass until it is time to replace your roof anyways.
There are also lots of different kinds of certifications that are mentioned in regard to solar panels companies. The most important to be mindful of is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners’ (NABCEP’s) Solar PV Installation Professional Certification.
This certification shows that the company has undergone extensive training and met high quality, specific qualifications. The only instance where a company may not have received this if they have undergone proper training is if they were formed before 2002 before the NABCEP formed appropriate guidelines.
A good solar energy company will also provide you with financing options including types of purchases, loans or leasing to help you get the most favorable terms. You should receive a detailed outline of how much money you will save over the life of the solar system to help aid you in this decision.
Making the Final Decision
Once you are ready to come to a final decision, it may come down to a gut decision. You have to feel like you can trust the company and its dedicated crew of employees. If they have shown you how important customer satisfaction is to them and how far they are willing to go to ensure that you are happy with your solar energy system, you’ll know they are the right choice for you. To find out how much you could save with Sun Solar or schedule an estimate, please our Solar Energy Savings Calculator.
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