A quick guide to helping you choose the right installation partner for your solar system (sorry, if you thought we meant something else)
Deciding to go solar was the easy part, finding the right retailer or service to install your system is where it gets tricky. There are so many companies to choose from it can be a little bewildering as you find yourself asking ‘Which is the best one?’. Truth is only you can decide which solar installer is the best fit for you, and for that you need to do a little research. However, we can give you a list of things to keep in mind as you kick-start your solar journey.
What does a solar installer do?
Before we get into how to pick an installer let’s clear the air on what a solar installation company can do for you. They are the ones you will interact with most as you make the switch to solar. They conduct an evaluation and based on your energy consumption and site specifications they will recommend an ideal solar system. They then procure the essential components from manufacturers or wholesalers and their team of specialized experts install the system for your home or business. Some solar installation companies offer a full-service package and outside of manufacturing components they take care of every aspect of the solar process, from assessment to installation and after-sales services, they even provide financing solutions to make the process as hassle-free as possible.
Picking your solar installer
- Certifications and training
It is crucial to ensure that your solar installation company has a fully certified and professionally trained team. Ideally, they should be a self-performing company that has a thorough in-house knowledge of best practices and up to date safety practices as well as direct control and oversight of the installation. However, if a company employs sub-contractors then it is advisable to have a good sense of their track record and qualifications as well.
- Licenses and insurance
Solar installation companies should have necessary business licenses and insurance policies. Be certain that they are licensed to handle wiring and electrical components required for a solar system. They should also at least have general liability insurance.
- Workmanship warranties
Ideally, solar installers offer warranties that cover design and construction of a solar system for up to 10 years. Some contractors even offer a 25-year warranty. Though the option to purchase separate operation and maintenance contracts is available, a reliable installation company is one that is willing to back its projects with their own workmanship warranties. This warranty should cover all issues that may arise because of problems with the installation.
- Experience, track record and bankability
A long warranty period may be enticing but there is no guarantee that a company will be around for 25-30 years to follow through on their promises. If that’s what you are looking for then an established solar installation company with several years of experience under their belt is your best bet. Check their work history to ensure that not only will your project be completed but you have continued support post installation too.
- Reputation and credibility
You need to know who and what you are dealing with so don’t shy away from talking to people who have already installed a solar system. You can also check testimonials and independent reviews for a glimpse at how past customers describe their experience. These can be a good window into the good and bad. If you notice a pattern of customer complaints it might be wise to scratch that company off your list of possible choices.
- Quotes and financing options
Different solar installation companies charge different rates. The most straightforward billing approach is cost-per-watt, though it is not necessarily the same for everyone. Most solar installers will assess your energy requirements and the site before recommending a system and offering a flat rate based on capacity. By getting multiple quotes, you can get a clear picture of the baseline and compare prices to figure out the best fit. But remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best one. Some companies also offer financing solutions and can advise you on different plans that you can take advantage of.
- Customized solutions
When it comes to solar systems there is no one size fits all solution. The best solar installation companies offer customized solar solutions based on the individual needs of your home or business. They understand your requirements and budge, and advise you on the best way to proceed so that you make the best decisions.
Take your pick
With the solar industry growing there are several companies you can choose from to partner with on your journey to switching to solar. However, a solar system is a big investment so it is essential to find a solar installation company that you can trust, will answer your questions and above all work with you to understand how solar fits within the solar energy requirements of your home or business. But don’t stress out, just do your research and you’re sure to find a solar installer that’s just right for you.