How to Choose a Solar Contractor


You can choose a suitable solar contractor by familiarizing the fundamentals of solar installation. The fundamentals are specific guidelines, questions, and research areas you can follow to find the right solar contractor. Nevertheless, here are some tips to help you make the best choice.

Be prepared

Hiring a solar contractor is complex compared to calling a plumber because of the number of things you need to consider. Before you start the process, make sure you do your research and understand the product you’re buying. Also, prepare yourself for some tough conversations about contract negotiations.

Simplicity isn’t always better

Be careful with contractors who offer an oversimplified approach. It can indicate a company that puts price above everything else. Focusing on the price instead of the equipment’s details could result in a substandard system. Fortunately, not all companies make the home solar buying process like booking a hotel or flight. 

Going for the cheapest setup may be ideal when renting a car, but it’s a different story for a home solar array. Why? Because solar installation is never easy—integrating with your utility, getting permits from local authorities, and paperwork are just a few things needed. 

A good solar contractor can take on any necessary details, no matter how complex. If you’re considering a cheaper option, ensure they’re not cutting corners. Choosing the costliest alternative, on the other hand, will not promise higher quality. So, research the quality of different contractors—instead of focusing solely on price—before choosing. 

Financial agreements

Some solar contractors won’t sell solar setups; instead, they will push you to rent one using financial products such as solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Many contractors offer limited financing options, so it’s wise to take advantage of these offered programs if they’re available. It could mean lesser monthly payments than a traditional loan.

However, some financial products tend to be more lucrative to the installer than you. Other financial products often have escalator clauses that can automatically increase electric bills. Others might even recommend solar installation even if your place isn’t suitable to have one. 

That is why asking your contractors for detailed answers about their financing options is a great way to know a good contractor from a shady one. Quotes can also help you make better decisions about purchasing equipment and installation. By obtaining quotes from several companies, you can get an idea of what is reasonably priced and which companies have good track records. 

Check the business’ legitimacy and credentials

Asking for a license to operate or checking the company online will help determine if you are dealing with a legitimate business. Some places need specific solar installation licenses, while others may allow a contractor with an electrician’s permit to install solar panels. 

Also, ask them for references from previous customers. A reputable company will be able to provide you with the names of previous clients who can vouch for the quality of their work. The website for IREC (the Independent Renewable Energy Consultants) offers information on solar PV installations. You can also read reviews from solar enthusiasts on online message boards or consult the Canadian Solar Industries Directory before scheduling an appointment.

It is crucial to read other company reviews before making a decision. Still, understand that some reviews may be wrong and that the severity of infractions can vary. A violation on file does not automatically exclude a company from your list. If you have questions about a reported violation, ask for clarification.

Customer service and warranty

Get a copy of the warranty that covers your solar equipment. Make sure it has the parts you expect it to cover, and look for an escalation procedure in case things go wrong. You want the installer to pay for any damages if something goes wrong with the work they did. Check to verify if the installer is insured and how much coverage you have as a client. If there is no mention of product or service underwriters, you should ask why.

Consider who the in-home sales team and salespersons are, and look for someone who can effectively represent your interests during the negotiation process. If you have any questions or concerns before, during, or after the installation, you can contact someone who can help you.

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