Choosing The Right Solar Panel Contractor For You
Once you have decided to use solar for your home or business, the next question is how to get a good solar panel contractor. There has been a growing number of them as solar energy has gained popularity in recent years hence, getting a good contractor may require you to do your research well. You should not hire the first company that knocks on your door. The following are some of the things you should consider in hiring a solar panel contractor.
You need to know how long they have been installing solar. This is because solar has evolved rapidly and many companies are popping up all over. You will need one with plenty of experience. The newcomers to the game may not have had time to witness the technology progression and be able to tell where solar is heading to in the future. They will not know what is required and what materials not to use since they have been there for a short time. They also may not be aware of the state legislation regarding solar and what could hinder you from using your array to the fullest in the coming future. Since this is an expanding industry, the experience counts, it will not make sense to choose a contractor that has only a year experience against one that has been doing this job for several years. You will also need to know how many tasks they have completed and solar panels installed. They should have a lot of experience in the type of array that you intend to use. The more the jobs that they have done, the more the experience they have, and the knowledge of the challenges that may occur, and how to overcome them.
The right contractors should have a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Accreditation. Having this will show that they have the highest standards and have gone through extensive training. Any contractor that does not have this accreditation is not a good choice for you. You might run the risk of not having your home or business connected to the grid if you do not have a NABCEP contractor involved in the installation process.
When choosing a solar panel contractor, you should choose one that is reputable. They should have an established track record. The best way to know if they are reputable is getting to know what their customers have to say about them. Do your homework and ask around. Ask a number of their clients and see if they did a good job. If you cannot meet them personally, call them to get all the details that you need. You could also check them up on the Better Business Bureau and also see the reviews on their websites. Get to know what customers say about them on their social media pages. Pay attention to see if they have any negative remarks. Note that it is rare to find a company that can make all customers happy at all times. So, expect some negative reviews. However, be careful to check that they are not too many since this may show that they are not good at their job. Also, avoid those that have pages with no reviews since it may mean that they just began their business which may say that they may lack the relevant experience that you need. Ensure that they take care of their customers. You will know this through how they communicate with them online and if they take the criticisms as something to improve on since, in the end, the primary objective is to satisfy the customer.
Solar Production Guarantee.
You should ask your solar panel contractor if they can provide a production guarantee. There are many contractors in the market that over-promise and also under-deliver. This guarantee should cover the array production to around 5% of what it was said to produce. This is because your array will create more energy in some years than in others due to the amount of sunshine that is available. Ensure that you can get this guarantee since there have been many cases of contractors telling people that the array installed will offset all their electrical needs, only for them to find out that they have to still pay the utility company for half of what they are currently using.
Their Financing Options.
You should check on their financing options. There are many ways in which you could pay for your solar panel. Some of them include paying cash, taking out a loan, entering a power purchase agreement (PPA) and also leasing. Check to see what options are offered especially if you do not know what method to choose. If you know how you will finance your options, ensure that your contractor provides that option. If they do not offer the one that you want, then you should cross them off your list.
You should request for a custom quote from several contractors in your area. Most of them will schedule an appointment to see your property to make a reasonable price estimate. Avoid those that do not take the time to see the place for itself since they will not be working with the information on the ground. Ask them how many panels you will require once they visit the property and if they will be handling any state and city permits. Compare the prices and see which is affordable for you. Do not go for the one that is exceptionally cheap since it may mean that their products are substandard and it may end up costing you more to repair in the long run. Also, avoid those that are too expensive with no reason at all. Select one that is within your budget and be keen to check on any hidden fees that may be incurred.
Going solar is a huge commitment. Having a well-experienced contractor that you can trust is therefore vital to ensure that the process is a success. With the above points, you will be able to choose the right one for you.