If you live in California and are wondering, “How can I find solar providers near me?” then you are in luck. You just happen to live in the number one solar state in the country, a state that employs over 80,000 people in the solar industry. If you live in or near a major city in California, chances are good that dozens of solar installation companies would love to have your business. The real trick, then, isn’t finding a solar installation company near you, it’s figuring out how to choose the best solar company to perform your installation.
Putting a solar panel system on your roof is a major expense and represents a big renovation to your home. Workers will need to install racking to your roof and make changes to your electrical system. The solar installer you choose will be the key to ensuring that this process goes smoothly. The quality of their team will play a big role in how well your system functions after the installation and the overall solar power system cost.
In other words, choosing a solar installer is a very important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Rather than searching on Google for “solar providers near me,” and choosing the company that paid for an ad at the top of the search engine rankings, do your homework!
Not sure how to start your search? Here are four easy steps to help you find the best solar installer in your area.
Step One: Ask Your Neighbors and Friends for Referrals
The best way to determine whether a solar installer is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and easy to work with is to ask people who have already used them. You won’t find true feedback on a company from the carefully chosen testimonials on their website. Instead, turn to your friends and family who have solar panels and ask about their experience.
They will be more than happy to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about their solar journey and will also help you understand what to expect as you start on your own solar adventure. The main purpose of this step is to eliminate solar companies that didn’t provide excellent service for your friends, family, and neighbors.
If you get a glowing recommendation about a particular solar company, resist the temptation to immediately contact them and sign a contract. Keep in mind that your friend or family member may have not done their homework and could have used the first company that came up in their Google search. You can’t know whether they truly got the best service and price.
Keep their recommendations handy and then continue with your research.
Step Two: Check Out Review Sites
Your friends and neighbors should be able to give you a list of solar installation companies they used and liked (and a list of companies to steer clear of). Of course, you shouldn’t base such a big purchase decision on a single recommendation, so your next step is to do some more research on your new list of prospects. It’s time to head online and see what other previous customers say about your potential solar installers.
(Note: If you recently moved to town or don’t have any friends or family who can make solar recommendations, just go straight to this step.)
We recommend reading up on reviews at SolarReviews, Angie’s List, and the Better Business Bureau. Use Yelp as a last resort, as the reviews on that site aren’t always of the highest quality. The beauty of large review websites is that you’ll get to learn about the experiences of a number of different people, so you can get a much better idea of how a company consistently operates.
It is important to keep in mind that many people are spurred to write reviews based on either a very good experience or a very bad experience, so what you read may not be a completely accurate reflection of a company. Don’t be afraid of one terrible review for a company if the majority of their reviews are positive. If you see a pattern of poor service, then it’s time to cross that name off your list!
As you read through reviews, here are a few general things to look for:
- Did the solar installation company provide good communication throughout the process?
- Did the company stick with their timeline?
- Did the company stay on budget?
- Was the company able to address any concerns the customer had?
- Was the company able to pull permits, schedule inspections, and order the equipment in a timely manner?
- Did the installation face any problems?
- How did the company address these problems and was the customer satisfied with their solution?
- Is the solar panel system running and working well?
- Overall, how satisfied is the customer with their experience?
It’s important to know that very few solar installations go off without a hitch. Equipment shipping from the manufacturer may be delayed. Perhaps an inspection of the roof revealed damage that required a repair. Maybe someone at the permitting office lost a permit request. These things happen. When you read reviews about a solar installation company, focus on how well they address the inevitable issues that occur.
Step Three: Request a Consultation
After reading reviews of your potential installers, it’s time to pick a few top contenders. Try to narrow your list to between two and four companies that have gotten an endorsement from a friend or family member and have generally positive reviews.
It’s time to request a consultation.
Any solar installation company worth their sunbeams should offer a free consultation. Give the company a call or fill out the form on their website, and you should be contacted shortly by a representative to schedule the consultation.
The company will send an experienced associate to your home to discuss your project, goals, and budget. Here are a few of the things to expect during your consultation. The association will:
- Calculate your home’s average monthly energy usage
- Assess your roof to understand its orientation, slope, and pitch, which all affect how much direct sunlight it receives
- Determine if you would be a good candidate for a rooftop solar system and/or discuss alternative configurations, like ground mount systems or carport solar systems
- Discuss your budget and provide you with information about different payment options, including no-money offers, leasing, and power purchase agreements
- Review and recommend different solar panel brands and inverter brands to help you decide which equipment would work best with your budget and goals
- Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of hooking your system directly to the public utility grid to versus investing in a solar storage solution, like a Tesla Powerwall
- Walk you through the full installation process, including ordering the equipment, pulling permits, scheduling inspections, and hooking your system to the grid.
- Discuss all renewable energy incentives that you may qualify for, including the Investment Tax Credit
- Provide you with a recommended solar plan, which will include a timeline and price quote for the entire project
The best associates will take the time to learn about your unique situation, answer your questions, and address your concerns. Ideally, they’ll also tell you about their company’s history and mission and help you feel comfortable with the entire solar installation process.
Not every solar installer is the right choice for your project. Often, you’ll see red flags during the consultation, such as:
- The associate tries to steer you towards a specific payment plan
- The associate recommends a certain size solar system without explaining why that size is a good fit for your family
- The associate recommends a solar system that is bigger than you need
- The associate only offers you one or two solar panel brands to choose from and doesn’t really know much about how other brands compare
- The associate doesn’t know the answers to many of your questions and doesn’t offer to research them and follow up with you
- The associate doesn’t listen to you and rushes the consultation
Once you’ve completed all the consultations, it’s time to compare your quotes and make the big decision.
Step Four: Choosing a Solar Provider Near Me
After your solar consultations are complete, you may have a clear winner in mind, or perhaps you were able to cross one or two companies off your list, leaving you with several great options to choose from. Now it’s time to compare your quotes and think carefully about how you feel about each company.
While it’s tempting to simply choose the company that offers the lowest solar power system cost, we encourage you to take a number of factors into consideration, including:
- Your comfort level with the company
- The company’s communication
- Overall customer reviews
- The company’s willingness to provide a personalized solar recommendation plan for you
One other important factor to contemplate is whether or not the company is locally established. By taking your business to a local solar company, you are keeping your dollars in your community and supporting local, high-paying solar jobs for your friends and neighbors.
There’s another important reason to “go local.” A local solar installation company will already be familiar with common roofing trends in your neighborhood which can help them avoid issues when they begin their installation. Local companies are also highly experienced pulling permits in your area. They know where to go and how to fill out the forms. Finally, they are also much more likely to know if any local renewable energy incentives – like rebates or tax deductions – are available.
At Semper Solaris, we believe in investing in local communities, which is why we have opened locations throughout California. We are a veteran owned and operated business that instills our military values of integrity, responsibility, and attention to detail into everything that we do. When it comes time to search for solar installers in your area, we encourage you to take a look at all of our reviews on SolarReviews.com, Angie’s List, and The Better Business Bureau.
We would appreciate the opportunity to compete for your business. Schedule a solar consultation today.