Choosing the right solar installer could be the most challenging part of your solar buying process. And it is essential to evaluate a solar installer thoroughly, to find the right one for your needs. But how would you choose from hundreds of solar providers in your country? First, let’s figure out what are the different types of solar companies that you might encounter during your “going solar” journey.
Different types of solar companies
Manufacturers are the ones that produce solar equipment that can be used to install a Solar PV system on your home or business. They are the ones who make the physical solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and other solar equipment that are essential for installers to sell to individual solar shoppers.
Solar installers are the ones you will interact with the most as you’re going solar. Solar installers purchase solar panels and other essential components required for installing your panels from solar equipment manufacturers. Their team of specialized experts will install the equipment on your home’s rooftop or business. They are also the ones who set up the photovoltaic panels created by the manufacturers.
Before installing your solar panels, installers will first conduct a site evaluation to examine your roof and take any necessary measurements. Throughout the site visits, installers will also determine if your installation requires any special considerations.
Solar financing company strictly focus on giving you the finance needed for solar equipment and installations and is usually partnered with solar dealers and solar installers.
Lead generation companies emphasize generating leads and sales for other types of companies within the solar power industry. They are the ones who put together contracts which are then sold to installers, dealers, and full-service providers.
Dealers are the ones who received permission to sell specific manufacturer’s solar products. Some of them have an in-house installation team, while others will only outsource installations to third parties.
Full-service providers are companies that do everything to get you set up with the solar outside of manufacturing the equipment. They sell panels and other necessary equipment, provide financing, and also perform the installation.
Vertically-integrated companies take care of every single aspect of your solar process– from manufacturing the panels to installing them on your roof.
Solar company reviews with standard metrics are often hard to find. But, the good news is that there are lots of solar installer companies out there with well-trained and experienced staff. If you’re feeling bewildered by your choices or aren’t sure where to start, this helpful step-by-step guide can serve as a guide to help you find the right solar provider for your needs.
Your installer should be an expert in installing your solar energy systems. The best way to know your companies standard is if they pass the test of NABCEP and at least have 2 years of hands-on experience in solar or a related field.
NABCEP is the best national standard certification program going right now, and the best solar installers are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). You can also check solar company reviews, especially for those without the certification coming from NABCEP.
Solar installers should have all the needed business licenses and insurance policies or at least hold a C-10 license, a general electrical contractor’s license. You need to be certain that they’re licensed to handle the wiring and electrical components of your system.
Standard licenses for solar installers include general contracting, electrician, home improvement, or home performance contracting licenses. Moreover, installers should also have general liability insurance.
Solar is a growing industry that draws a lot of professionals from diverse backgrounds. And finding an installer with a lot of experience and steady work history can be a little tricky but comes with a great advantage. You want to be sure that your solar company won’t drop on your project before it’s finished. Also, a solar provider should be able to give and show you systems installed from previous clients.
Solar company reviews from their past customers are an excellent way of evaluating installers. Customers that give ratings and reviews can be a representational relevant to you. Ratings and reviews can give you a heads-up about the bad behavior of your installer. If you saw a pattern of customer complaints, it is probably an indication that you should work with a different installer.
A workmanship warranty covers all the problems that will arise because of a wrong installation. If a panel comes loose because it was not screwed down well, the workmanship warranty will cover the repairs.
Contractors offer a wide range on these warranties, anywhere between 1 and 25 years of coverage.
Be careful of new unestablished companies offering you extended warranties. They may promise a 10 or 25-year warranty to close a sale, but there is no guarantee that they will stick around long enough to follow through on it.
If a company offers an extended warranty, you need first to be confident that they have a verifiable history of doing business in the solar industry. You want to be assured that they will still be around 10 years from now to honor that warranty.
Different contractors charge different rates for solar installations. Some are more competitive than others. We have seen every billing structure that you can imagine, but the most usual and most straightforward approach is cost-per-watt. Your installer should charge you a flat rate depending on the size of your system.
Most companies will schedule an appointment to see your home so they can accurately calculate prices. During this time, you can ask any questions still left unanswered, including the following.
You can contact as many installers as possible and gather quotes to make sure the rate you get is competitive. You might be surprised at the difference between their bids. By doing this could save you a few thousand dollars on your install.
Going solar is a meaningful investment in your home, and you should have a solid, strong relationship with your installer. So it’s essential to find a company that you can trust to give you a piece of accurate and thorough information to pick the best solar panel, inverter, and size of your system, The best installers will work with you to understand how solar fits within the energy system of your home or business.
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