The 10 Most Unanswered Questions about Installation


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, as expected solar installers do not provide the same level of expertise, and quality of workmanship and customer service.

Here are suggestions to help you choose a reputable 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.

Several Quotes

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. 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 must listen closely to you as you talk about your particular needs and concerns, before suggesting the most suitable solution based on your preferences, lifestyle, budget and intended electric output.

Warranties

Solar panels’ power output or performance warranty generally lasts from 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.

U.S.Certifications

In the U.S., the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is among the most esteemed certification programs for solar PV and solar heating companies. Count the relatively new and consumer-powered Pre-Screened Solar Pro and good old Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Level of Commitment

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.

Financing Schemes

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. A reputable solar company will be glad to explain all financing options you have in any case.