Did you know that by the end of 2020, there were around 2.7 million residential solar systems in the United States? If you are planning on joining the millions of homes that have made the move to solar, we are here to share our top tips for finding the best residential solar installers.
Let’s face it, not all installers are created equal, and you do not want to make your final decision without evaluating each potential installer. Read on to learn more.
1. Professional Accreditation
Something most people do not realize, they should look for is professional accreditation. Professional accreditations verify that an installer can actually handle the job and do what they say they can do.
If the installer took the extra steps to receive a certification from an accredited solar institution, then the chances that they can handle your installation are high.
You also want to take a look at the warranty solar energy companies offer. Take the time to compare what is being offered and if it seems realistic. When someone does good work and they are confident, they need to stand by their job.
The warranty should be for both the solar equipment and for the labor. The average warranty that residential solar installers offer is 25 years. A good rule of thumb is that if the life span of your solar panels is between 25-30 years, then the minimum warranty you should accept is 25 years because 10 years might simply not be enough time.
Also, take a look at how long the company has been in business. They might promise a 25-year warranty, but if they are really new, there is no guarantee that they will be in business long enough to follow through on their promise. Even when a company offers an extended warranty, you want to be confident that they have a history you can verify of doing business in the solar industry, so they can honor the warranty.
Thanks to the internet and apps like Yelp and Google Reviews, you can see what others are saying about a business. Do not only go by what the business tells you, because the most honest reviews will be online from real customers.
Remember that negative reviews tend to be shared faster than positive reviews, so do not be alarmed if you do see a negative review. If you notice one, take a look to see if the company responded and how they responded.
If you notice a rude reply, or no reply at all, this is a red flag, and you should probably move on to your next potential. A company that takes the time to reply and rectify means that they care about their customers and their reputation.
You don’t only want to look for an accreditation, but you also want to ask what your potentials installers experience is. Ask them how long have they been installing in your area, how long in total throughout their career, about how many homes have they done, etc.
A confident installer will have no issues answering your questions related to their experience and expertise. Also, ask if they have taken the NABCEP test (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners).
As of the writing of this post, this is one of the best national standard certifications at the moment, and the best installers will have taken the initiative to take the exam.
5. Licenses and Insurance
Depending on where you live, there might be certain licenses and insurance policies required in order to install solar on a home. If you live in an area that does not require certain licenses, then at a minimum you want to make sure the installer has a C-10 license.
This is a general contractor’s license to ensure that they can handle the wiring correctly along with all the electrical components of your system. The last thing you need is to deal with a fire or electricity issues because your installer didn’t have this basic knowledge.
Although you don’t solely want to base your final decision on price, take the time to compare quotes from different companies and installers. The best quotes are going to be from installers that physically go to your home to give you the most accurate pricing.
You can save a few thousand dollars on your installation if you have the patience to get as many quotes as possible. The best installers will take the time to look over your current electricity usage and create the best system that fits your needs along with your budget.
7. Use a Local Company
It doesn’t matter that an installation company has a national presence because it doesn’t mean that they have expertise in your local area when it comes to regulations and permits. Working with a company that is not aware of the local rules can get you in trouble with your county.
It can also end up costing you more because of fines. Plus, you might end up having to rework your entire installation with a new installer. Avoid this headache by working with a company that works in your area and knows the local building codes.
Ready to Find the Best Residential Solar Installers?
Using our tips above for finding the best residential solar installers for your home, it is time to start your search. Remember to evaluate every potential installer and do not make your decision solely based on the cheapest installation.
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