6 Tips for Choosing a Solar Provider

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    The rise of environmental degradation drove the development of renewable energy systems. Nonrenewable power, like fossil fuels, releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, causing an increase in the global temperature. To challenge the adverse effects of CO2 emissions in the environment, the market normalized residential solar panel use.

    Utilizing renewable energy systems reduces greenhouse gas emissions, supports a new industry of green jobs, and preserves the planet’s health. These benefits make solar energy a practical addition to one’s home.

    When looking to invest in solar energy for your home, ensure that you get the best performance for your money. Maximize your budget by evaluating your requirements, providers in your area, solar certifications, reliable companies, communicative suppliers, and warranty offers.

    Tip #1 – List Your Requirements

    When you are ready to start searching for a solar panel provider, it is beneficial first to list your requirements and expectations. Understanding your musts and must-not can help you choose the best supplier for your needs.

    Identify a concrete price range for your system. Know that many factors come into play when companies install solar devices on your property. Providers calculate your home’s size, energy use, light exposure, and the type of roof you have when identifying the cost. Evaluate these factors on your own before getting a quote to ensure you receive a reasonable price.

    Exploring how many panels you want to install is another aspect to consider. If your home has a low energy expenditure and you have a limited budget, you may only want to invest in a few panels. If you hope to power your whole home with solar and use large amounts of energy, you will need to invest in additional pieces.

    If you have a limited budget but hope to fuel your entire home with solar power, leasing panels is an option to consider. Before deciding whether to lease or buy panels outright, you should have your roof evaluated for stability. Some rooftops are not suitable for solar as-is, so prior repairs and construction may be necessary.

    After you evaluate your budget, the number of panels you will purchase, and the integrity of your roof, you can begin looking for providers near you.

    Tip #2 – Find Providers in Your Area

    There are various ways to locate solar companies in your area. The most effective tool for finding qualified professionals is through comparison sites. They choose the best solar installers near your ZIP code and provide you with contact information.

    Another tip for locating quality solar companies is through social media and customer forums. Most media pages and forums provide all information from past clients. This allows you to evaluate the good and bad reviews to make an educated decision about individual companies.

    Reaching out to friends, neighbors, and local businesses is a traditional yet valuable tool for locating companies. Because residential solar installation is a relatively new industry, many providers lack digital advertising. Word of mouth may still be a successful method to find some of the newer companies.

    Tip #3 – Review Certifications

    Customers should pay close attention to the title’s solar contracts present. When observing different providers in your area, there are separate certifications that signify quality and experience.

    The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification is a formal endorsement among solar companies.

    The NABCEP certification ensures practitioners meet education and experience qualifications, have passed a competency exam, and conduct ethical work. Another essential endorsement for suppliers to maintain is the PV Installer Specialist (PVIS) certification. This guarantees the specialist’s competence in PV processes and system controls.

    Ensure that the solar companies you contact have these certifications. If they do not list them on their website, call the company and ask about the certifications they hold.

    Tip #4 – Find a Reliable Provider

    To ensure a provider’s reliability in your area, assess how they showcase their skills online or in an interview. Look for listings of their previous projects as well as reviews. You can also evaluate their rating and determine if they are a dependable company.

    Exploring the values stated on their site can also guarantee they are customer-driven. Scanning for transparency on their pages helps confirm their values. If providers are open and honest about their work, they will most likely carry that honesty into their customer relationships. 

    Tip #5 – Look for Open Communication

    When choosing a solar provider, you want to find someone who respects your requirements and expectations. If you have a set budget, you do not want to feel like the supplier is upselling you on more products. You want to feel respected and heard through the transaction and installation of your energy equipment.

    Establishing open communication between yourself and your points of contact at the company allows productive work to be completed down the line. This also ensures that when issues arise, the supplier will address your concerns professionally. Many of these providers rely on word-of-mouth advertising and online reviews to market their companies, so many will be open to constructive criticism.

    Interview a solar supplier before hiring them to gauge their ability to maintain open communication. If they shut down your requests, demand specific installation techniques, or show a lack of customer care, remove them from your list of possible providers.

    Tip #6 – Explore Warranty Offers

    To ensure your purchase’s legitimacy and protection, ask your listed providers what warranties they offer.

    The company should provide security in case any equipment arrives broken or tampered with. They should also cover the full replacement and labor costs in the event of product failure. Solar panels are a worthwhile but costly investment, and you do not want to worry about paying for repairs or replacements yourself.

    All PV panels come with a warranty which ensures a certain energy production percentage each year. The standard agreement guarantees 90% production for 10 years and 80% production for 25 years. If the solar provider you evaluate neglects to discuss this warranty with you, that may be a red flag.

    The inverter is another vital piece of the energy system. It is essential to evaluate the warranties provided by suppliers on this component alone. Inverters are expensive parts to purchase and replace. Ensure that this piece, and labor costs, are covered to save you money down the line.

    Receiving a Quote

    After exploring your solar supplier options using the tips provided above, it’s time to get a few quotes. Providers will need to assess your home for roof security and to provide a price estimate. For your safety, have a third party present when the worker arrives.

    For further precaution, ask the company about their security standards during home visits. Always ask for identification before letting suppliers in your home. To verify their identity, you can always contact the business’s phone number.

    You can also ask that suppliers remain outside rather than entering your house. The worker can access all of the information they need to form a quote from outside your residence. 

    If you must use a code to let someone onto your property or into your home, make sure to hide the code. Avoid revealing hidden keys around the property as well. Letting a stranger onto your property can be threatening, but you can guarantee a productive experience with appropriate safety precautions.

    Decision Time

    With all your research complete, and your quotes compiled, you can go on to choose your solar provider. Remember to abide by your requirements and expectations to ensure your satisfaction with your energy investment. Every supplier is different, so you will have a few variables to decide between.

    Guarantee that the provider you choose respects your budget, holds adequate certifications, is transparent about their practices, listens to their customers, and offers at least industry-standard warranties on their products. With these aspects in mind, you should have the necessary information to hire your project’s best solar provider.

    To further the efficiency of your solar experience, you may have a lawyer look over their drafted contract before you sign. Renewable energy panels are significant investments that can provide a lifetime of sustainable power sourcing. You can ensure that this purchase is secured by crafting a suitable contract, which protects you, the provider, installation workers, and the planet. 

    Author
    Rose Morrison writes on home improvement topics and is the managing editor of Renovated. She is especially passionate about helping homeowners find ways to be sustainable in their daily lives. Check out her Twitter to see more of her work.

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