Locating a great solar panels company to install your solar power panels can be intimidating. Follow these pointers to help make the right choice.
Choose solar power panels company
There are a great number of solar companies out there. How will you choose?
If you’ve read our SOLAR POWER PANELS Installation Manual from the start, you’ve made sure your is house energy conserving. You understand more than you ever thought you would about the electric grid and the carbon footprint of solar power panels versus fossil fuel power plants. You’ve done the math and figure that you’re going to save thousands over another 2 decades if you install solar. And you understand how you’re going to cover it all.
Period to find an installer.
People get just a little nervous about picking a solar installer because solar technology is still unfamiliar to numerous people. Almost every homeowner has had to call a plumber at some point, but solar… that’s something most people have never dealt with. How do ensure that you find the best contractor?
The first step: don’t hesitate.
In lots of ways, hiring a solar contractor is a lot the same as finding a contractor to do any home project. Don’t be intimidated by the technical nature of solar: should you some homework and have the right questions, you’ll be fine. This guide will help.
Now what? How will you pick the best solar installer? Here’s the tips that will assist show you to a good decision:
Enter the right mindset
We don’t want to scare you or anything, but you need to be aware that buying solar is more difficult than. But it’s also less work than remodeling your kitchen. So anticipate to do some work, but it’s really not that bad. Just get into it with the right mindset.
You are hiring a contractor. You’ll need to carefully review a contract and make a couple of decisions, however, not nearly as many decisions just like you were redoing your bathrooms or kitchen.
Alternatively, there are some companies out there that are looking make the house solar buying process a little bit like deciding on a flight or a hotel. We feel that this is harmful to the consumer for a number of reasons.
To begin with, this process emphasizes price over other important considerations. It’s okay to just go with cheapest option if you’re, say, renting a car for the weekend – one company’s Toyota Corolla is equivalent to a Corolla from some other. But solar panels are something that will last you 25-30 years. Workers will come to your dwelling and bolt a lot of equipment to your roof. It’s a significant purchase, so it’s important to essentially understand the facts of the product before you make such an important decision.
Second, it encourages visitors to gloss above the important information on the equipment that you will be buying. You may be susceptible to do that because solar can involve an intimidating range of technical aspects like watts, voltage, AC/DC, efficiency ratings, electric meters and monitoring systems. But, we promise, you don’t need an engineering degree to figure this stuff out.
So don’t just make your choice on price. Consider the grade of the contractor and the contract details.
Don’t rely on solar power panels price comparison sites
Imagine that you should do a huge home renovation. You’re going to make your dream kitchen! It’s going to look similar to the magazines. So you think of a wish list of things that you want to get: shiny stainless appliances, granite countertops, a huge island, wine fridge, that sort of thing. Oh, because you’ve got an older home where everything is a little bit crooked, you want the contractor to tear everything down to the studs and also use a new floor.
Then you run into a site that promises to offer a precise quote for all this, just by filling in a form. No calls. No contractor will even come to your house to take a peek around. Do you trust a quote like this?
solar panels price comparison
Sites like this are excellent if you’re booking a hotel. Lousy if you’re screening contractors.
No, obviously not. If you’re performing a kitchen remodel, a reliable contractor must make a site visit so they can identify trouble spots that may cause labor or materials costs to move up. Are there structural aspects to the area that can make the effort more difficult? Is there electrical or plumbing work that should be upgraded? Will there be a chance that your floor tiles have asbestos? Many of these things would cause your estimate to move up, but none of them can be determined with out a person coming to your house.
Problems that cause solar costs to go up
Solar power panels and racking are heavy and last for many years, so a good contractor should evaluate the condition of your roof. Is the roofing material and decking in good shape? Have you got roof drainage conditions that have to be addressed first? What’s how big is your current electric service panel, and can it handle the excess load? Do wiring or circuit breakers need to be upgraded? Have you got landscaping that may cause shading problems after a few years’ growth?
Nobody on the internet can promise an accurate quote for your solar project if indeed they don’t come to your house to examine these kinds of things. A lot of men and women don’t like sales calls. That’s understandable. But also for a project such as a solar installation, you have to make an exception. In this case, you’re going to obtain a telephone call, and somebody will come to your house. This is a very important thing.
Get more than one quote
Just like with your dream kitchen project, you will need to get multiple quotes. This isn’t and then get a good price, but also to compare different materials, warranties, and credentials of the firms that you will be evaluating.
For instance, one of the main information on a solar installation is the way the racking is secured to the roof and waterproofed. Ask the contractor exactly what methods and materials will be utilized. What’s the fastening system, and what flashing and sealants are being used to waterproof it?
Or, maybe one installer insists that microinverters will be the only way to go, while another contractor says that they might use string inverters for the project. For the reason that type of situation, you need to be ready to ask each contractor why they selected one kind of equipment over another.
solar power panels company
Never select a company only on price
Everybody likes to spend less, but don’t spend less on your solar photovoltaic system by simply going with the least expensive quote. You can find real variations in equipment and installation quality . While it’s very possible that your best installer may also be the least expensive, you can’t know until you closely evalulate the details of the contract and materials.
Conversely, going with the priciest installer doesn’t guarantee top quality either.
Avoid leases and power purchase agreements
The biggest solar power panels company installers, usually don’t want to market you a solar system. Instead, they have a tendency to push someone to rent one instead using financial loans such as solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). These financial loans lead to higher profits on their behalf, and a lower financial return for you.
There are a number of explanations why these financial products are often harmful to consumers, but one of the main element reasons is the inclusion of escalator clauses that automatically boost your cost of electricity each year, even if the utility company holds their prices flat. Furthermore, several large national installers have poor reviews and also have even faced lawsuits by state governments.
Prefer local companies which have experienced business for a long period
Whenever you get a quote, we prefer local solar power panels company that have experienced business for some time and have a solid presence in the community. Quite often, they are electrical companies that have decades of experience that contain added solar installation with their portfolio.
One reason is the apparent fact that a company doesn’t stay in business for many years if indeed they do lousy work.
But the most crucial reason is the fact that for a contractor to honor their labor warrantee with you, they need to nevertheless be in business. The labor warranty, which is separate from a manufacturer’s warranty, could be 5 to a decade long, and much more with a few companies. With the explosive growth of residential solar in the united states, a lot of new companies have sprung up overnight, especially in states like California. A corporation that is in business for a couple years might do great work, but owning a company profitably for many years is some other skill than installing solar panels. Your very best chance of getting a company be around to service one’s body years from now could be to choose one with an extended track record. Be skeptical of completely new solar companies which may have been in business for a couple years.
Be skeptical about review sites
If you’re independently doing research on solar installer companies, be selective about the review sites that you utilize. You’ll find sites, including ones that focus on reviewing solar installers, that allow companies to seem as featured companies in their listings in trade for a fee. That is a controversial practice , one we feel that is misleading to the buyer.
Which sites in the event you trust? Focus on the BBB.org, which contains both reviews and a platform where consumers can file complaints with the BBB, and companies have the ability to respond. Google Local Business is another site we think is reliable and doesn’t offer paid placement. A couple of years ago, Yelp was accused of extortion , however the class action that followed was dismissed, and we think the business answered the controversy reasonably.
Fake reviews are some other issue, and the one that is more challenging to address. Because of this, we recommend you start with BBB, which uses human reviewers to check submissions.
Check that your contractor is licensed
The very first thing to do is know very well what kind of license is necessary by solar installers in a state. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council maintains a site that lists what’s required. Remember that licensing for solar photovoltaic (PV) may differ from certain requirements for solar thermal (which can be used for warm water heating), so read carefully.
Once you know what the requirements are, you can ask your contractor for their license to enable you to look it up at your state’s licensing board. California and Nevada, for example, make these databases searchable online, and also let you know just how long the license has been active and if the contractor is bonded. Check online to see what a state provides. Many companies list their license number directly on their website, so you can do that check in simply a short while. Never utilize a company that’s not properly licensed.
Ask about warranties
There are various components in a photovoltaic system, and each is included in a different warranty from their manufacturer. It’s crucial that the installer fully clarify each one.
The solar power panels company should give a guarantee of the workmanship and components of the machine, and cover the labor and replacement costs of any failing components.
Photovoltaic panels have their own warranty, and often this is specified in two parts: one warranty covering materials and workmanship, and another warrantee period covering their power output. Solar panels normally degrade over time, creating a little less power each year. (This degradation should be less than 1% per year.) The panel warranty will certify that it’ll continue to create a given percentage of the original power output after quite a few years. A 25 year power warrantee is typical, and the merchandise warrantee should be at least a decade and may also be long as 25.
The inverter system is a crucial area of the system, and can have its warranty period. 10 to 25 years is typical.
The racking system must endure to potentially extreme weather for one or two decades. You want to be sure it has a strong warrantee – at least twenty years.
Have you been getting batteries? It’s a pricey component, so make certain you really know what the warrantee is.
Meet your solar power panels company contractor personally and have a lot of questions
We mentioned already that you should have a face-to-face with your potential solar installer, right? Once you have a genuine human person in front of you, that’s the time to ask some important questions.
Sometimes, the first person you talk with won’t be technical and can’t answer all of your questions at that moment. They could need to consult with other folks on the team. That’s okay. Just make sure that all of your questions are obviously answered before you sign a contract.
Solar power panels company interview checklist
If you haven’t already checked that the installer gets the proper licensing for a state, this is the time to do so. Also ask if their installers are NABCEP certified.
What incentives can be found?
Use our calculator to determine about major incentives, but your solar installer may find out about other local rebates. Make sure to understand if the dog owner receives the credits, or if the installer does and passes them onto the customer.
Confirm if net metering is accessible to you, and make sure that you clearly know how it works. (You can read our article What is net metering? for a primer.
System cost breakdown
The estimate should list the price of individual components and labor: modules, inverters, racking, labor, electrical work, and other costs should be itemized.
The contract should indicate exactly when payment is due, and the particular payment schedule is (if any).
You will get a site plan that visually indicates the layout of the machine components on your home, which include the keeping the panels, inverters, disconnect switch, and meter.
The installer will give you an electricity production estimate for the machine in a year with average weather. Compare this with your average usage, and make sure that you are happy with the system output.
Enquire about labor and component warranties.
Discuss the facts of the solar panels, inverters, and racking system.
Systems that are tied in to the grid will require approval from the utility company, and perhaps an inspection. Enquire about certain requirements and timeline of these.
Your neighborhood code may necessitate an engineering structural inspection before work begins, and an electrical inspection after work is completed. Ask what is required and when in the project timeline they occur.
Utility meter install
Your interconnected pv system will most likely require that your utility company install the new bidirectional meter, or another meter alongside your existing one. There could be a fee charged because of this. Make sure to ask.
Learn how you will monitor the machine output. This may either be considered a display on the inverter, or a site or smartphone app.
Ask when there is recommended system maintenance. In case your roof needs repair, find out labor costs for removing and reinstalling the hardware.
Manufacturer warrantee service
For component failures that happen following the installer’s warranty, enquire about the process to make a manufacturer warrantee claim and having the component replaced.