Are you thinking of installing solar for your home?
Reports show that residential adoption of solar energy is skyrocketing.
Homeowners aren’t just turning to solar systems to reduce their carbon footprints—many are also going solar to slash their utility bills and control their energy costs.
As inflation continues unabated and electricity prices soar, installing solar panels is quickly becoming a smart home investment, one that will save you money for decades to come.
However, before you get solar panels installed, you have a critical decision to make. Which solar installation company should you choose?
Hiring an unprofessional solar installer to put your system up could set you up for endless stress.
If you want a seamless installation done at a competitive price, keep reading to find out our 7 top tips to keep in mind when choosing between solar installers.
1. Ask for Referrals
Have you noticed any homes in your neighborhood that have solar panels? Or maybe you have friends or family that have recently gotten solar panels installed.
If yes, find out which solar installation company they used and what their experience was like. Did they enjoy friendly, prompt customer service, what did it cost, and were there any issues with the installation?
2. Check Online Reviews for Solar Installers
Getting first-hand feedback from neighbors, friends, or family is a good starting point, but you shouldn’t rely solely on what you hear.
Besides asking for referrals, you should also look at online reviews for any potential solar installation companies.
If a solar installation company has a bevy of 4- and 5-star reviews, with great feedback, this is a good sign. On the other hand, if you see a theme of unhappy customers, complaints, and reports of bad service, you should take this as a red flag.
You should also take into account the number of reviews potential solar installers have. If a solar installation company only has a handful of reviews, they probably haven’t been in business very long.
Ideally, you want to go with an experienced, established company with a proven track record. What’s more, if a solar installer only has a few reviews to their name, it can be hard to get a clear idea of the quality of their service.
3. Look for Solar Companies That Offer Financing
Another thing to look into when comparing solar installation companies is financing options. Solar energy systems are a fair-sized outlay, and not all homeowners have the upfront cash to pay for a system all at once.
Therefore, a lot of solar companies offer their customers financing and rental options. If the cost of solar is holding you back from installing a system, financing from an installer could be an important factor to consider.
If a solar installer offers financing options, this also indicates that they’re a professionally-run, established business. Fly-by-night operations won’t have the capacity to partner with credit solutions to offer customer financing.
4. Look For Local Headquarters
If you want to enjoy great service, it can pay to choose a solar installation company that’s locally headquartered. Large, national, or regional solar installers are a better option than a backyard outfit—but they might not have the same focus on personalized customer service as a medium-sized locally-based installer.
Established local installers have a reputation to uphold in the community. They’re reliant on maintaining a good name in your area. Local installers also offer a more personal touch than large, multi-state solar installation companies.
If you like to be remembered by name, get fast, personal service, and not be shunted around departments and phone extensions every time you have a query, then local is the way to go.
5. Get Multiple Quotes
Once you’re investigated a selection of solar installation companies, the next step is to start gathering quotes. Try to get as many quotes as you can.
Once you’ve received all your quotes, sit down and compare the line items. Don’t just look at the totals.
By combing through the line items, you’ll be able to spot the reason behind any price differences. For instance, one solar installer might offer you a relatively high quote, but the line items might show that they’re quoting you on lithium batteries rather than gel batteries.
Lithium batteries have a far longer lifespan. If you spread the cost over their lifetime, lithium batteries can often work out more cost-effective than lead acid or gel options.
6. Check for Certifications
Certifications are another important thing to look for when comparing solar installation companies.
There are various accreditations available for solar installers, but the most prominent is The North American Board of Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
The NABCEP is the best national standard certification program in the US. If a solar installer is NABCEP certified, this indicates they have at least one NABCEP-certified technician on staff. Not all employees need this certification, for instance, sales reps will almost certainly not how a NABCEP certificate.
7. Ask About After-Service
Most solar installers will give you fast service when you start engaging with them. In the initial stages, nothing is too much, and they’re likely to answer sales inquiries promptly and efficiently.
However, not every installer shines when it comes to after-service. Once your installation is finished, a lot of companies might not be all that prompt to respond to complaints or come-back callouts.
Therefore, get clear from the outset on what level of after-service you can expect.
For instance, if you’re getting a grid-tied system installed, you might need your solar installer to come back after a few months and re-evaluate your energy bills. Most homeowners that opt for grid-tied systems don’t just want to generate their own power, they also want to be able to feed back enough energy into the grid so they can offset municipal tariff costs.
The recent electricity price rise of over 15% marks the sharpest increase in 41 years. Being able to bring your electricity bill as close to zero as possible is the best way to protect yourself from these price hikes.
However, you might not be able to achieve this right away. You may find your panel output isn’t enough to supply your needs and offset the cost of the electricity you draw from the grid during the night.
If so, you need to be able to rely on your installer to come out, re-assess your panel needs, and give you a competitive quote if you need additional panels.
Looking for the Best Solar Installation Company in Your Area? We Can Help
Picking a solar installation company is an important decision. Now that you’re armed with these tips, you’re all set to start comparing solar companies and gathering quotes.
Want an easy way to gather and compare solar estimates? You’ve come to the right place.
Simply fill out our contact form for a free estimate, or browse installers by state.