As solar prices keep dropping and new financing options become available, home solar buyers have a lot of choices for installers. But how can you tell if your chosen installer is going to put on a solar PV system that’s going to last 25 years or longer?
First, realize that solar installers are not commodities like oranges and pork bellies. We don’t install the same way and don’t have the same customer service. Training, skill, and experience make a huge difference for a safe and cost effective installation.
With that in mind, here are four ways to make sure you hire a quality solar installer.
1) Ask your installer about their solar installation experience.
You’d think this would be obvious, but a lot of people may never ask how many installations the company has done. How long have they been in business? Many solar installers are electricians, roofers, plumbers, and general contractors who are dabbling in solar, or just starting out.
Experience matters because every home is different, even when they’re right next to each other. Some people have tile roofs, others have shingles, and others have flat roofs. An experienced solar installer is going to know how best to tackle each roof and get through the city‘s permitting process. More importantly, a quality installer is going to have experienced engineers who know how to design the best solar system for your home with high quality solar panels, inverters, and components.
As for REC Solar, we’ve been in business for 16 years, and we’ve installed solar on over 11,000 roofs in California, Colorado, Oregon, Hawaii, Arizona, New Jersey, and other states, as well. We’re not plumbers, and we’re not roofers. We only install solar for homes, businesses, schools, and even utilities.
2) How is their online reputation?
Besides review sites, be sure to check out the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If a solar company has a pattern of complaints, they almost always show up on the BBB.
REC Solar is proud of our A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. As of this writing, we have no complaints in our 16 year history, and that’s a great sign of our dedication to quality and to our customers.
3) Are you dealing with a solar sales company?
You may be surprised to know that many solar companies aren’t solar installers at all. They’re just lead generation companies that are in your home to sell, sell, sell you solar! Once you sign the contract, they find the cheapest installers with the cheapest products to put on your roof.
Do sales companies only hire inexperienced installers? No, they’ll also hire quality ones too, but you just never know who you’ll get. Once again, do your web homework. These solar sales companies are all over the BBB and online review sites, check them out before signing any contracts.
Solar leasing finance companies, such as our partners SunRun and Clean Power Finance, also generate solar leads, but they have a written set of high standards for their partner installers. Why? Because with a solar lease agreement, the finance company owns the system, so if anything goes wrong, it’s their expense. That’s why SunRun and Clean Power Finance partner with REC Solar. They know they’ll get a high quality solar installation from REC.
4) Ask for customer referrals. Any quality solar installer is going to have fans who will recommend their service. If an installer says they can give you local referrals, don’t be shy! Get those numbers and talk to those people on the phone, and if they’re open to it, go by their house and check out their installation.
With 11,000 solar installations and growing every day, REC Solar is more than happy to let you speak to our current customers. We stand by our workmanship, so we really have nothing to hide. If your solar installer takes more than a couple of days to refer you to another local customer, then you have to wonder if they really do have satisfied customers.
The above are all common sense ways to evaluate a solar installer for quality and reliability. Contact REC Solar to get a quote now. It’s free, so worst case, you spend an hour educating yourself about solar costs and technology.
Best case, you go solar and start saving on your electric bill with clean solar power!