Selecting the right contractor is one of the most important decisions you make when choosing solar.
There are LOTS of solar companies out there making big claims about saving you money on your energy bill. Before signing on the dotted line, do your research! Selecting the right contractor is one of the most important decisions you make when installing a solar array.
Gain access to quality solar installers with the Green Connect program from TVA.
A good contractor should:
- Help select and install the most productive generating system for your home
- Walk you through financing options for purchasing or leasing
- Work with SVEC to ensure that your system is interconnected safely to the grid
- Provide warranty information
- Create a repair and maintenance schedule
Read the fine print
Make sure you read your energy system installation contract before signing. Review all warranties and maintenance agreements. Ensure that you receive the final price quote in writing. Only sign the contract after fully understanding the terms and total costs involved.
4 Steps to Finding the Right Solar Contractor
It's important to find an experienced contractor for the job.
1. Check their qualifications
Ask the contractor about their licenses, insurance and certifications. Many reputable installers have a solar PV (photovoltaic) certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, but some longtime installers may not have that paperwork. Ask how long the company has been in business and how long its installers have worked in the solar industry.
Each state requires different business licenses and insurance policies, so be sure to check requirements in your state before meeting with a potential contractor. Only allow licensed installers to work on your home, including subcontractors the company may hire. Ask the installer if they plan to use subcontractors, what company they will be hired from, and their professional experience.
2. Ask about their products
Experienced contractors know their solar products. Ask your contractor what products they carry, how they differ, and which one they've selected for your home. If installing rooftop solar, they should also determine the age and condition of your roof and let you know if it requires repairs before the installation.
Ask why they've selected the panels and inverter for your home and what experience the installer has with those specific models. If they've successfully installed them multiple times before, there's a good chance they know what they're talking about and are prepared to take on your project.
3. Read customer reviews
The best way to gauge a company's past work is to get in touch with previous customers and read reviews. Ask the contractor for examples of other projects they've completed and references from the homeowners. Most reputable companies should be able to provide you with a few phone numbers.
After talking to other customers, search the web for company reviews on reputable websites. Doing diligent research on the company is crucial to understanding exactly what you're getting into before signing on the dotted line.
4. Get a quote
Get a free quote or bid from the contractor to compare to other companies. Typically, these proposals include the cost of installation, the name of the equipment manufacturer, the warranties provided and more. Don't be fooled by low prices; they could be indicative of poor workmanship and bad customer service.
Ask how long your system will last and what the warranty will cover. The contractor may offer maintenance services or a performance guarantee; that means they'd offer solutions to improve or fix your solar system if it's not operating as expected.
With these guidelines in mind, you'll be better prepared to choose the right contractor that offers quality service and support as they set your home up for green energy production.