Not all solar installers are equal, which is why their price quotes will not be equal. When you first receive solar quotes, there is more to consider than the price. It is not always the best idea to choose the lowest quote. The best solar companies are going to have higher quotes. A pricier quote may mean better installation procedures, higher quality parts, or an extended warranty coverage, and you could be getting a better deal than you would with the cheaper company. You may think to check their license number and consider if they are NABCEP certified, but there are several more things you should consider when you select solar installers for your home.
When you receive solar quotes, if the solar installer you are considering has NABCEP certification, that is a good sign. The best solar companies have staff members who are certified It is the national standard certification program, and any company with this certification is most likely going to be reliable and professional. For an individual to be considered certified, they must pass a test and also have two years experience in the alternative energy field. The entire company does not have to be certified, but if one active member of the staff does, you have selected a great solar installer.
If you are going to select solar installers that are not NABCEP certified, research their experience with the help of seia.org. They could still have comparable experience and be one of the best solar companies even without certification. Green energy is a young and growing field, and many great installers have not taken the certification test. They may be working on attaining it or see it as more trouble than it is worth. If a company has had several years of experience and installed solar panels on a few dozen homes, their experience level more than makes up for their lack of certification. Do not be surprised if the sales consultant you talk to is not NABCEP certified. They are more of pre-inspectors and cost estimators than solar energy experts.
Contractors will always have license numbers that you can look up and see the company's standing on a state website. If they do not have a license number when you receive their solar quote, that is deal breaker. Once you know the number, you can look up how much experience the installer has and if they have any black marks on their record. You should also make sure they have insurance against damages to your home during installation and injuries to their workers.
If the crew that is actually installing the panels on your roof is not directly from the contractor you are arranging the transaction with, that could be a bad sign. When you select solar installers, you want to feel like you are connected directly to the individuals who will be on your roof, installing your solar panels. If the company is outsourcing their crew, the individuals giving you prices may not know anything about the actual installation crew. They don't know how they're trained or how much experience they have. Often, when the crew is outsourced, the contractor will call them “installation partners.” The best solar companies will know their crew personally and be knowledgeable about how they are trained.
Recommendations and Referrals
When you receive solar quotes, ask your installer to refer you to previous customers that were happy with the final product. Like references on a job applications, referrals will assure you that you are not getting in over your head with someone. If the company is happy to give you names and contact information for previous customers, they have nothing to hide. It is not overboard to call previous customers or even drive by their homes to look at the finished work. Do not select solar installers until you see what others are saying about them first.
Consider Price Vs Quality
Prices vary depending on state and installer, but should be somewhere around $3,500 to $4,500 per kilowatt capacity of the system. It's best to get several quotes to better compare the companies and find a reasonable balance. Some installers will offer things that other won't, and you won't know what some companies are offering until you get a variety of offers. The extra money may provide enough extra value that you decide it is worth the cost to get the best solar companies. A pricier contractor may offer better installation procedures, higher quality parts, or a longer or extended warranty. For quality parts, you have to consider both solar panels and inverters. The panels are what collects the energy and the inverters convert the energy into usable power to run your home. Look into the makers of the materials that your company uses by researching product reviews. The inverters should be big enough to handle your system and have at least a 10 year warranty, and the warranties on panels should be at least 20 years. The warranty for installations, separate from the warranty on materials, is different for different installers. A good warranty insures the solar installers are confident of their work and will be around in the future to honor the warranty.
No one wants construction projects ongoing with no end in sight happening in their home. The turnaround time for most companies could be as little as a few weeks to as much as eight months. This could have a huge impact on your decision for solar installers if you are in a hurry to get it done quickly.
When undertaking such a large and long lasting project as installing solar panels on your roof, you want to know you are getting the best quality job for your money. It is always worth it to take time to research for yourself what you are getting into with contractors. A large installation project like this is not the time for cutting corners. Invest in something you know you are going to be happy with and will last for as long as you live in your home.