Selecting the proper solar company can prove to be a challenging task given that there are so many solar companies available at present. It is imperative to evaluate a solar company comprehensively so as to find the appropriate one for your personal requirements. In the subsequent paragraphs, we have mentioned some essential guidelines on how to choose the right solar company out there.
- Get in the appropriate mindset
It is a fact that lots of individuals end up hiring an electrician or plumber for taking care of small projects around their homes. However, the majority of them do not have experience when it comes to solar energy and panels. How do you get started?
It takes much more than simply hiring a plumber for fixing a leaky faucet when you are hiring a solar panel installer. Nevertheless, the task is somewhat less tedious than remodeling the kitchen. Therefore, you need to be prepared for some legwork although it is not actually that bad.
The overall procedure of hiring a solar company will be similar to that of employing any other contractor. You need to perform adequate research on the company and also go through the contract meticulously. It will be imperative to come in touch with the company personally so as to get a proper idea regarding their competence.
- Get several quotations
Make sure to get several quotes similar to any other project in your residence. This is essential for getting a fair price and also comparing the different credentials and proposals of the company you are looking for.
For instance, you need to watch out for companies which assert that your residence is appropriate for solar while it is actually not. That is where Google Project Sunroof comes into play. An authentic company will let you know that it will be essential to fix your roof initially, or that your residence does not get adequate sunlight for the installation of solar panels. They will be walking away instead of selling you a system which will not work appropriately in the long run.
However, an incompetent company will try to make the sale. Consequently, in case you receive as many as three quotes and a couple of companies inform you that your house is not appropriate for installing solar panels while the other one urges you to go for it, it will be sensible to ignore the third company. In this case, you should take into consideration other alternatives such as community solar.
Having several quotes will enable you to make a comparison between different installation methods and equipment choices. For instance, you need to consider how the racking is going to be secured to your roof. Solar panel installers come with different experience levels, particularly in terms of more challenging materials for roofing like clay tile. A solar installation which is botched will be compromising your roof’s waterproof integrity resulting in a considerable amount of money in damage eventually.
For this reason, it will be imperative to ask the solar installer regarding what techniques will be used by them to ensure that you need not suffer from any problem after the completion of the installation. In case one company provides you with vague replies while the other listens to all of your questions patiently and promptly answers them, it will be prudent to go for the second company.
- Verify their experience
Solar power is an industry which is developing rapidly while drawing quite a few professionals from various backgrounds. Although it can be somewhat tricky to come across a solar panel company with adequate experience, it definitely comes with some benefits. It is important to make certain that the project will not be dropped by the company before completion. Moreover, you should expect your solar panel installer to showcase systems which they have installed for past clients.
- Do not select a solar company on price only
Although every individual likes to save cash, it will be unjustified on your part to always go with the most expensive quote. There are lots of differences in equipment as well as installation quality. Although it is feasible for your installer to be the most inexpensive one in your locality, you will not be able to know unless you have compared the proposals and performed your research. On the other hand, you will not be assured of getting higher quality by simply opting for the cheapest solar installer.
- Prefer companies which are local
Make sure not to go for any solar company which has not been in business for more than a couple of years. Instead, try to choose a company with adequate experience. This can be found out by checking the Better Business Bureau, inquiring the company itself, or even visiting the company’s website.
It will be sensible to choose experienced companies since apart from being technically competent they will also remain in business for quite some time after the completion of your project in case you need warranty services afterward. In case you are residing in states like California, you will find it simpler to come across solar companies with more than ten years of experience. However, if you live in some other areas such as the Midwest, you might be forced to go for companies with much less experience since the solar industry is comparatively new in those areas.
- Verify whether the company is properly licensed
A webpage is maintained by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council which will allow you to search for solar licensing requisites for your particular state. While some states will need specialized licenses, the others will allow any contractor to install panels with the license of an electrician. Moreover, the license of a general contractor might get the job done in some other states. As a matter of fact, you will also come across some states which do not need any license whatsoever. Check out the IREC website and read it meticulously since the solar photovoltaic installation will require different licensing terms as compared to solar thermal.
In case a license is needed, ask any California solar company for the license number since states such as California will enable you to check licenses online.
You might get only minimal info from the online license databases, like whether a license is a valid one. Nevertheless, others, such as California, provide more comprehensive information which even includes license violations made by companies. It is important to bear in mind that violations are going to be different when it comes to severity, and it will be unjustified to ignore a company simply because it has a violation on record. In case you are concerned about any reported violation, do not hesitate to ask the solar company regarding it.
- Go through online reviews
The Better Business Bureau will be the best place for getting authentic online reviews. It is quite different from the remaining review sites on the web. After collecting customer complaints regarding any particular company, it is going to mediate that complaint between the company and the customer. It is important to go through the complaint carefully for understanding whether it actually represents a concern or not since a complaint might be a sort of misunderstanding between the company and the client or it might also identify poor practices made by that company. It will be possible to resolve any listed complaints as well. Resolved complaints will not be much of a concern, and it is likewise inevitable that a significant volume of business will be performed by a bigger company irrespective of how good it is and it might have some dissatisfied clients in the long run. Although the Better Business Bureau likewise enables the users to publish more conventional reviews, this will not be mediated by them.
It is definitely worthwhile to go through company reviews on other sites; however, you need to be careful about those reviews. While online reviews will not be able to indicate the true quality, they can be manipulated as well. Try to refrain from using websites having a background of “pay-to-play” including well-known sites like ConsumerAffairs.com and Angies’ List. As a matter of fact, Google and Yelp reviews appear to be more authentic than other similar sites on the web.
- Ask regarding warranties
It is a fact that a photovoltaic system consists of lots of different components, and each one of them is covered by a particular warranty from the manufacturer. It is vital for the installer to explain every single of those in detail. The solar panel installer must offer a warranty of the parts of the system as well as the workmanship, and they should also cover replacement and labor charges of any malfunctioning component.
Photovoltaic solar panels come with their individual warranties which are usually categorized into a couple of parts: warranty covering the workmanship and the materials, and another covering the power output. The panels are going to degrade in the course of time on most occasions generating a little less power every year. (This particular degradation ought to be less than 2% every year). A power warranty of 25 years is normal, and it is imperative for the product warranty to be a minimum of 10 years, and, on some occasions, even 25 years.
One essential component of the system is the inverter system which should have its individual warranty period of at least 20 years.
It is important for the racking system to be able to withstand any type of extreme weather for at least 20 years. Therefore, it is imperative for this component to have a strong warranty of 20 years. In case you are using batteries, make sure to know regarding the warranty since it is a costly component out there.
- Quality of the solar panels
At present, 3 types of solar panels are usually employed throughout the industry, namely, polycrystalline, monocrystalline, and amorphous. Although amorphous panels are quite inexpensive, they are not much efficient as well as durable as compared to the other 2.
In all probabilities, you have come across polycrystalline panels in your locality which are reputed for their blue shade and have become quite well-known during the past several years. They will be appropriate for individuals who have adequate space and do not want to invest a considerable amount of money in monocrystalline solar panels.
Monocrystalline panels have increased in popularity during the last few years, and they can boast of having the maximum efficiency rate without needing plenty of space as well. Therefore, they will be appropriate for individuals having a large roof. Nevertheless, they are the most costly solar panels out there.
It does not matter which solar panel you go for, it is imperative to make certain that the company selected by you will be able to provide those. You will come across some solar companies which will be able to provide 1 or 2 of these panels. You need to make sure that the panels are of top quality and also from authentic solar panel manufacturers. (On most occasions, third-party manufactures are used by the majority of the solar companies). Apart from this, you should go for durable solar panels which will be able to serve you for quite some time in the future.
- Payment options
Although it is imperative to make lots of investment in order to go solar, you will also come across a number of financing options. Several of these lucrative options include power purchase agreements, green energy loans, as well as leasing options. All these options come with their individual positive plus negative aspects which you need to take into consideration prior to making a sensible financing decision.
The first financing option mentioned here will be the green energy loans which were made particularly for individuals who like to transform to renewable green energy. The majority of these loans come with comparatively low rates of interest. You will be able to purchase the equipment using this option, and the balance can be paid off over time.
The subsequent couple of options are quite similar. The power purchase agreement will allow you to rent the equipment and you need to pay for the energy used by you. Leasing options are also virtually similar where you will be renting the equipment; however, a specific amount has to be paid every month rather than paying at a time. You will not be able to own the equipment by using these 2 options.
It is up to you to make a decision regarding which option is going to be appropriate for you. The choices can be discussed further after selecting a particular solar company. However, it is recommended for you to look for a solar company offering all these options.
Let us hope that these above-mentioned 10 tips will allow you to come across the right authentic solar company such as Semper Solaris which will provide proper service to you according to your personal requirements. Read more on solar panel facts before making your decision. Also, if you’re a college student, don’t forget to apply to our Semper Solaris Scholarship