One of the most critical components to a successful solar panel system installation is, of course, choosing the right solar installer. No matter if you are in Massachusetts, New York or California, a knowledgeable and competent installer is key to achieving your financial goals. This is true not just in terms of what you will pay to install your system, but also in terms of maximizing your system’s economic benefits by installing an appropriately sized system, maximizing production levels, taking advantage of incentive and rebate programs, etc. So what should a property owner look for in an installer? Here are some of the criteria that EnergySage uses when choosing installers for our own network of pre-screened high-quality installers:
How to find the best solar installers
Experience: Designing and installing a solar power system requires a certain level of skill. You want to choose an installer who has not only installed solar power systems, but has solid experience designing and installing a system like the one that you intend to install. Good questions to ask include: “How long have you been in business?”, “How long have you been installing solar power systems?”, and “How many systems like the one I am considering have you installed?” It’s also a good idea to check the EnergySage case study database to learn about the performance of systems they’ve installed and to review feedback from customers regarding their experience with a particular installer.
Qualifications: You’ll want to be sure that your installer is well qualified to install you solar system. NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) Certification is a must as this indicates that the installer has been specifically trained on solar installation and has passed rigorous tests to achieve this certification. Ask about insurance coverage. Finally, make sure that your installer has approval to process state rebates. For most of the installers listed on EnergySage.com, this information is included in their company profile so it’s readily available to you.
Commitment to Quality and Service: There are a lot of dimensions related to quality and service levels. Certainly, you’ll want to have a handle on the quality of the technologies and equipment your solar installer will use as these choices dramatically impact system production levels—a key component to generating optimal financial returns. You can research this information online or gather it directly from the ratings and reviews of brands on EnergySage. Similarly, you can do a web search or check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaint history related to a particular installer or gather that information directly from the installer ratings and reviews on EnergySage. The information on EnergySage has the benefit of being consumer-generated, so it’s the product of the experience of people in your area who have worked with these installers. Reviews can tell you a lot about the company’s customer service and quality performance. Case studies can also give you information about quality and service levels as they often include information about an installer’s attention to detail, reliability and responsiveness.
The best pre-screened solar installers you can trust
Assurances: You’ll want to have some indication of how your installer will deal with any problems that might arise once your system is installed. Ask each installer if any workmanship warranties are offered. This is an important component to minimizing the risk of additional expenses in the years following your installation date.
EnergySage conducts a thorough screening process of each installer we invite to participate in our installer network. When a consumer requests quotes through the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, he or she can rest easy that all of this work has been done upfront.
Customer Service: You can tell a lot about the customer service that an installer will provide by how he or she manages the sales process. Does the sales person answer your questions completely and accurately? Does the sales person provide timely responses to your questions? Does the sales person look and act professional? Does the sales person show up on time? Is the sales person flexible regarding scheduling of various site visits? All of these factors and more may provide insight into the importance the company places on customer service. High levels of customer service are often associated with high levels of customer satisfaction. The service you receive during the sales process is an excellent indicator of what kind of service you can expect to receive during the installation, so you’ll want to keep this factor in mind when selecting an installation company. Service can make or break your experience with an installer, so choose wisely!