Once you've decided to invest in solar equipment, the next step is to find the right solar company. Figuring out how to choose solar panel installer companies can be a difficult task, however! In fact, this could be the most difficult part of the entire installation process.
You must consider every aspect of potential solar installers to find the one that will best meet your needs. But with so many choices, how can you know you're making the right decision?
Keep reading if you're wondering how to pick the best solar company. We've created this guide to help Texas homeowners, like you, through the process of solar installations, so you can begin enjoying the benefits of solar power in your home.
How to Choose a Solar Panel Installer: An Overview
It's challenging to know what companies are the best at what they do. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of opinion. There are so many choices and information surrounding the process of going solar that it can become quite overwhelming!
But we want it to be easy for you. So if you use the following factors to choose your solar contractor, you'll be certain to make the right solar energy choices for your home.
Create a List of Solar Installation Companies
The easiest way to begin choosing a solar installer is by creating a list. Use a spreadsheet or word processing document to record the details of each company in one file. Include companies of all sizes and solar brands that service your area.
You can start this list by searching for "solar providers" in your city or state. Once you have a strong list started, fill in the document with other information you collect throughout your investigation process.
Look for Certified and Trained Solar Installers
Installing solar panels involves more than placing a few squares on your roof. It's a detailed and technically challenging process. You'll want to choose a contractor that will directly oversee the installation from start to finish.
Choosing a solar company with a team of fully certified electricians and solar technicians is crucial to the project's success. They also need an established track record and understanding of current safety practices.
Get Multiple Solar Quotes
Every solar installer charges varying rates for solar projects, some being more competitive than others. Contact as many solar companies as you can to gather as much information as possible.
You can get a better sense of the baseline cost by getting multiple quotes. Then you'll be able to compare the best solar panel companies.
Most solar companies will send someone to inspect your home to accurately calculate prices for a quote. Use this time to ask any questions and take their suggestions to save energy. If a company is unwilling to evaluate your home or answer questions, their installation service will likely not be of the best quality.
Identify Subcontractor Qualifications
Some solar companies use subcontractors to complete a portion of the work. Top companies will explain the reason behind their need to use a subcontractor. But it's necessary to understand their track record and qualifications too.
Subcontractors may complete a specialized portion of the work or most of the installation process. Either way, your primary solar company should be present on the job to supervise the work and perform quality control.
Consider Strengths and Weaknesses of Local Companies
Like most industries, there are local and national solar installers. Sometimes, national installers seem to be the wiser choice because they have a more extensive reach. But a local solar installer may to be more reliable. It may easier to get in touch with a local company if you have any questions depending on who you choose.
Consider the Entire Process
Many things go into a solar panel installation, including permits, inspection, and maintenance. Find a solar installer that handles most, if not all, of the details of the project.
This will simplify things for you because they understand the state requirements to ensure a safe and efficient project. If a problem does occur, they have the experience and skills to handle it properly.
Ask About Turnaround Times
The demand for solar installers has boomed over the last few years. Because of this, solar contractors may have many jobs on the books. Discuss the timeline with each company to give you an idea of their schedule.
Ask how many days they will need to complete the work, too. The average time for a 3-kilowatt system with around 20 solar panels will take between one to three days. However, every solar energy system is unique and may have different installation times.
Recognize that Solar Panels Are Not One-Size-Fits-All Solutions
Some solar installers want you to believe that solar systems are one size fits all. But this is far from the truth. Instead, search for companies that will offer you a customized solution to meet the needs of your family and home.
Keep Maintenance in Mind
Maintenance isn't always included in your solar installation package. Unfortunately, that can leave you with a significant problem if your panel malfunctions.
To prevent yourself from ending up in an unwanted situation, hire a solar company that provides follow-up maintenance. This simplifies things by giving you a one-stop shop for all things related to your solar installation and the system's lifespan.
Consider Your Financing Options
One thing is true: solar panels are an investment. Don't settle for cheap panels because you think that's all you can afford. Numerous solar financing programs can help fund your project, and a reputable solar company can help you understand your options.
Ask for References
There's a chance you know a family that already has solar panels installed at their home. Talk to them about their experience with the contractor they worked with. They'll be able to tell you the pros and cons of the process and the company they hired.
Don't be afraid to ask the solar company for references either. They should be able to give you the names of previous clients who are willing to vouch for the quality of their work.
Don't Make Your Choice Based on Cost Alone
Many brands of solar panels are available at varying price points. But cost alone shouldn't be your only determining factor. Most top brands have similar efficiency ratings, performance, material quality, and warranties. However, different brands produce panels with varying increments of wattage.
The final cost of your solar product installation is determined by the total wattage, not the price of each panel.
Other factors you should consider about each brand are the manufacturer's reputation and maintenance track record. Talking to an experienced solar panel company should answer any questions you have about the different systems for your home.
Ask About Their Expertise
A reputable company will have its history clearly documented and available upon request. This includes quality assurance certifications and testimonials.
You can typically find testimonials from past customers on a solar company's website or independent online reviews. Verifying they have an established track record is essential to ensuring you will receive quality service.
Businesses hold licenses and insurance policies to protect you and their own company. The bare minimum any company should have is general liability insurance. However, requirements may vary from state to state and even between local jurisdictions. It's beneficial to learn how they apply to your area.
Ask About Warranties
Regardless of the industry, any reputable company will provide a warranty on its workmanship. Solar panel companies should be no different. The average warranty covers the design and construction of your solar system for one to ten years.
Operation and maintenance contracts may be sold separately, but it's easier if the solar installer company includes an in-house workmanship warranty on their solar system.
Anticipate a Strong Working Relationship
The best solar companies will offer you advice and guidance throughout the process. They'll answer any questions to ensure you choose the right solar panel system for your Texas home. Learn how they communicate with their clients to keep them updated on the project's progress.
Be on the Lookout for Sales Tactics
Companies that install quality solar panels do not need a gimmick or high-pressure tactics to convince you to buy their product. Yes, some installers run specials or limited-time discounts. But these are often designed to pressure you into making an instant decision that may cost you money down the road.
If the solar installer puts you under pressure to complete the sale, it's probably best to go another direction.
Questions to Ask Solar Companies Before Hiring Them
Never hesitate to ask potential contractors the questions you have. Having answers before the work begins will protect you from low-quality workmanship, leaks, or other mistakes that could have been avoided.
Use this list of questions as a guide when you're searching for a solar company:
How long have you been in business?
How many solar projects have you completed?
Are you licensed and insured in my state?
Do you complete all of the work or use subcontractors?
What quality control practices do you use?
Are you familiar with the electrical codes in my area?
What kind of financing options do you have?
Ask these questions and any others you may think of to ensure you have a positive solar experience.
Finding Local Solar Installers
After using a search engine, you can comb through an endless list of websites naming local solar installers. But there are other reputable resources, too. SolarReviews offers valuable tools. They also provide you with a list of credible solar companies in your state.
Make Your Solar Energy Profitable
Have you heard of Rhythm? We provide Texans with another option for their energy provider. We specialize in renewable energy and want to help you make the most of your solar investment.
After your solar panel installation, you can participate in our solar buyback plan. This program pays you for unused solar energy generated by your system! It's an incredible way to take advantage of your new investment of going solar!