In 2022, there has already been an increase of 2.3% in how many solar panel installation businesses are in the US. Since the year is far from being over, it’s likely that this number will continue to rise!
With so many popping up every day, it can be really difficult to narrow down your choices and determine which company you can trust with such a big job.
Are you considering getting solar for your home, but you don’t know which solar company to hire?
Keep reading below to learn about some of the key things that you’ll need to look for when you’re trying to hire a solar company.
Do Your Research on Solar First
It’s a lot different to hire a solar company than it is to hire a plumber or electrician, for example, because they usually do smaller jobs around your home. Even if you’re hiring a general contractor for a home renovation, you still have a good idea of what they will be doing when they are getting the job done.
Learning about solar before you start to look into solar companies is a wise move. You’ll have a better idea of what you’re hiring these individuals to actually do.
If you’re not familiar with solar panels at all, it’s best to start from the basics. Learn about how solar panels work, what storage options you’ll have, and more.
Once you know what you’re hiring for, you’ll have an easier time narrowing down the actual companies and understanding what they are capable of offering.
Don’t Look Solely at Solar Comparison Sites
Getting a basic set of options from a solar comparison site is a good idea, but you will want to branch out a little bit from this regardless. The main reason for this is that the solar comparison sites out there can be oversimplified at times, and they may end up emphasizing the price of the service over all other factors.
Price is important, but it’s not the only factor that needs to be considered when you’re hiring a company. You also want to look at their track record, their reputation in the community, how long they have been in business, and much more. Solar comparison sites don’t always take that information into account.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t look at comparison pages at all, but make sure that you’re not relying on them to make your entire decision.
Obtain Multiple Quotes
If you want to obtain a fair price, it’s essential to get more than just one quote. Don’t go with the first company that you’re considering because they may be extremely overpriced.
There are also companies that will have different ideas of what is “best” for your home in terms of solar power, and some of these offers may be a little shady. For instance, if a company is telling you that your home is great for solar, but it actually isn’t, they may just be trying to make a quick buck.
Other companies may want to fudge the numbers a little bit in your quote to make the offer seem as optimistic as they can.
The main point here is to be on the lookout for companies that just want to make the sale because they may end up offering you a less than appealing product and service, which will create problems for you as you use solar later.
Having more than one quote on hand will allow you to compare all options, research the companies before you choose one, and look at the various installation approaches being offered.
Don’t Get Duped by Renting
There are some major solar installers in the US that work toward asking you to rent a solar system instead of buying one. They claim that this helps you save money. However, the reality is that these solar leases or power purchase agreements lead to higher profits for the solar installers alone.
The key reason is that these agreements usually have an escalator clause that increases how much you pay for electricity each year but allows the electricity companies to hold their prices steady.
It’s crucial to look into why you should own rather than rent before you choose a solar company. A lot of people don’t understand that renting solar panels is actually going to cost more than buying them outright. You’ll pay more upfront to purchase solar panels, but over time, you’ll end up paying more for the rental costs if you go that route.
Consider Solar Company Experience
Solar companies that have only been in business for a couple of years are less likely to have the experience necessary to deal with unexpected issues or problems that are more complex in nature. For this reason, it’s always better to choose a solar company that has great customer reviews with a strong track record.
Experienced companies are more technically competent. They are also more likely to have great workmanship warranty options since they have been in service for years (and likely plan to be for years to come).
Certain states have a lot more options for solar companies because solar has been popular in those areas longer, like California, Arizona, or Colorado. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding companies that have a proven track record in states like these.
Don’t Be Pressured by Sales Tactics
Many solar installers will incentivize their sales staff with commissions so that they work to get the sale, but this is different than working with a company that puts sales above quality. Honest and respected companies shouldn’t have to resort to uncomfortable or high-pressure sales techniques to get a sale.
Some of the things to look out for include:
- Pushing leases and PPAs
- Telemarketing strategies that focus on the elderly
- Asking the customer to sign right now vs. reading over the contract carefully
- Using manipulative language
- Making outlandish claims and promises
Generally, if something sounds too good to be true, if the salesperson is trying to manipulate you, or if you feel pressured to act rather than take time to think, it’s likely best to walk away. That company might not be the best fit for your needs.
Find Out How the Work Is Done
Some solar installers will use subcontractors to perform the installation work. This is the alternative to using their own employees or crew.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s a common standard in the industry to help keep certain costs low.
However, if you are considering a company that isn’t transparent with you about whether or not subcontractors are used, that might be a red flag. There is no reason to hide this information unless there are shady business practices afoot.
If a company tells you they use subcontractors, ask about what portion of the work they will do vs. what the company’s crew will do. You should also inquire regarding what oversight your company has over the work that subcontractors perform to be sure that the installation work is still high-quality no matter what.
Check for Licenses and Insurance Documentation
Any solar company that you’re thinking about working with has to have a license to operate in your state. They need to also hold insurance policies that protect their business, their employees, and their customers in different situations.
There is no reason that a solar company shouldn’t be able to show you this information or prove to you that they are completely covered. In fact, business licenses are public records that can often be found for free on the internet.
Licenses that specific solar installers may have would be electrician, home performance, general contracting, or home improvement. These licenses mean that the crew and employees of the company have the skills and experience necessary to do the job safely.
Choose the Best Solar Company in Your Area
When it comes down to finding a solar company, it’ll be easy to see all of the options that you have locally. However, you have to use the tips mentioned above to narrow all of those companies down and find the perfect one for your home’s needs.
Remember to look out for anything that may seem too good to be true, and always ask any questions you have before you actually sign the contract.
Did you find this article helpful? If so, be sure to take a look at the rest of our blog content for more useful home-related tips.
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