energysage marketplace tiers

Why you can trust installers on EnergySage

As solar continues to become more affordable (and more accessible), an increasing number of homeowners are choosing to add solar panels to their roofs. Nowadays, going solar is not unlike many other home improvement projects like replacing your roof, renovating your kitchen, or building a deck. So, what’s the best way to find a company you can trust to install your solar panels? Use a solar installer who’s been pre-vetted by EnergySage!


Key takeaways


  • All installers on the EnergySage Marketplace are pre-screened to ensure they’ll provide you with a high-quality experience.
  • We rate installers based on their results, reputation, and responsiveness.
  • To help you determine which installer you should choose, we developed a rating system based on four tiers: Approved, Advanced, Elite, and Elite+.
  • If you’re interested in going solar, sign up for a free account on the EnergySage Marketplace to compare quotes from high-quality installers.

What’s in this article?

Why do we rate EnergySage solar installers?

Our mission is to help more homeowners go solar, and we want you to have an excellent experience, from getting quotes to tracking your savings after your solar system is installed. We know that when you’re making a big purchase, transparency and choice are crucial, so we developed rating systems to help you review and compare important considerations like solar installers and equipment when comparing quotes. 

How do we evaluate and choose our solar installers?

The EnergySage Marketplace has approximately 450 to 500 pre-screened solar installers throughout the U.S. that provide competitive solar quotes – but what exactly does it mean to be “pre-screened”? Before we allow an installer to join our Marketplace, we evaluate them to ensure that they’ll provide you with quality service. We also regularly review their information, so you only receive quotes from installers that are up-to-date with licenses, insurance, and certifications.

We approve these high-quality solar installers based on the following criteria:

Years of experience 

Solar is a growing industry that attracts professionals from many backgrounds – this means that contractors that once focused on other types of home projects are moving into the solar industry. Before an installer can join the EnergySage Marketplace, we verify that they have at least two to three years of legitimate experience designing and installing solar panel systems and confirm that they have multiple successful installations under their belt.

Licensed and insured

The required business licenses and insurance policies for solar installers vary from state to state. Occasionally, local jurisdictions will impose additional requirements that installers need to fulfill. When a solar installer wants to join the EnergySage Marketplace, we verify that they are appropriately licensed and insured for the areas in which they operate.

Reputation

Working with a solar installer should always be a positive experience. To ensure that everyone on EnergySage receives excellent customer service and a high-quality solar installation, we examine every installer’s industry track record, including their company reviews, before allowing them to join our Marketplace.

NABCEP-certified

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) offers an industry-leading certification program. The PV Installation Professional (PVIP) Board Certification is known as the gold-standard for solar installers.

While NABCEP certification is not a firm requirement for a solar installer to join the EnergySage Marketplace, we ask every installer if they are NABCEP-certified. Some installers who started working in the solar industry before NABCEP was formed in 2002 may not be certified. If they have a long (and positive) track record, we may still allow them to join our Marketplace – but any installer without the NABCEP certification has to demonstrate that they have significant solar industry expertise.

Characteristics of the best solar installers

All solar installers on the EnergySage Marketplace meet the criteria listed above. So, when deciding between two great installers, how do you determine which is the best?

Workmanship warranties

The best solar installers stand behind their installations by offering a workmanship warranty, which is specific to the work of designing and constructing the solar energy system. Workmanship warranties are distinct from solar equipment warranties and typically range from 10 to 25 years. We also ensure that solar installers on the EnergySage Marketplace fulfill contracts and warranties under their own name.

Trusted advisor

Going solar is a significant investment in your home, and you should have a strong, trusting relationship with your installer. The best installers will work with you to understand how solar fits your needs and how to best design your system based on factors like your roof and energy usage. Ultimately, your installer should be able to provide recommendations for questions like how many solar panels you’ll need and where they should go. The best solar installers are both guides and advisors – you should feel comfortable asking them questions every step of the way.

No high-pressure sales tactics

Going solar provides an excellent return on investment (ROI) in most cases. However, it’s a significant home decision with a big price tag, so it’s not something to rush. High-pressure sales tactics are much more common among the large solar leasing companies in the country, so be on the lookout and always read the fine print before signing. If you feel overly rushed by a solar installer, chances are they aren’t the right one for you.

How to compare solar installers on EnergySage

We’re often asked which EnergySage solar installers are the best – as we’ve explained, we screen all installers to ensure they are reputable companies with the experience and the track record to deliver quality work. But how can you tell them apart once they’re in our Marketplace? And how do you identify the best of the best?

Ratings and reviews can be useful tools in evaluating the quality of an installer, but sometimes they focus on the extreme ends of the customer experience – whether that’s very good or bad. This means that company reviews might not always provide a comprehensive view of the company’s quality.

To deliver additional support and guidance in choosing a solar installer, we created our tiered system for solar companies on EnergySage based on their actual performance and track record. Our Marketplace provides hundreds of thousands of quotes from solar installers across the country, meaning we have the data to help you make the best decision. To make this data effective for rating installers, we identified three core areas for evaluation: results, reputation, and responsiveness.

Results

In our Marketplace, “results” indicates success with real customers. An installer with good results provides attractive quotes to solar shoppers, follows through with their customers, and successfully completes installations in our Marketplace. We grade installers on their results based on their performance over the last several months relative to their peers while ensuring that our ratings are up-to-date and reflect recent performance. 

Reputation

We evaluate an installer’s reputation based on the ratings and reviews of their company. We assess the average 5-star rating for the company and the timing of the reviews to ensure we’re basing it on up-to-date information. We also consider supplier endorsements – solar equipment manufacturers often have partner programs that recognize their best installers, and we consider these endorsements as part of an installer’s reputation.

Responsiveness

We know that when you go solar, you want a responsive installer. We measure installer responsiveness based on how quickly they respond to questions and requests. Our data indicate that responsiveness is a key metric for customer satisfaction and a leading indicator of an installer’s overall performance in our Marketplace.

How do we rate EnergySage installers?

We evaluate each of our installer partners on their results, reputation, and responsiveness to generate a rating based on four tiers: Approved, Advanced, Elite, and Elite+.

Approved

As we’ve explained, every installer passes rigorous screening criteria before joining our Marketplace. EnergySage Approved installers have several years of experience, all necessary licenses and insurance, and have earned positive customer reviews:

approved installer badge

Advanced

Companies that distinguish themselves by their results, reputation, and responsiveness can earn the rating of “EnergySage Advanced.” Advanced installers are among the top half of installers in the areas that they serve. They demonstrate a level of service higher than most of their peers:

advanced installer badge

Elite

EnergySage Elite installers achieve top ratings from customers, endorsements from vendors, and respond quickly to inquiries.  They excel at providing great service and achieving results in our Marketplace:

elite installer badge

Elite+

We reserve Elite+ status for the top installers on EnergySage: those who have provided an Elite level of service for a high volume of customers for a year or more. These installers are the most experienced, chosen, and celebrated in our Marketplace, so we recognize them with a special distinction for consistently delivering services that delight customers:

Find high-quality solar installers on EnergySage

Choosing a solar installer can be a challenging part of your solar buying process, but our rating system can serve as a useful data point, among many others, to help you make a confident decision. If you’re considering going solar but aren’t sure how much it’ll cost you, check out our Solar Calculator. Once you’re ready to go solar, sign up for your free EnergySage account to compare competitive quotes from trusted, local installers near you.


This entry was posted in Buyer's Guide on by .

About Emily Walker

With over five years of experience in environmental science and clean energy, Emily is an expert in solar, battery, and energy management technology and policy. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and Biology from Colby College and is currently earning her Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. Emily is always looking for ways to live her life more sustainably and is currently in the process of electrifying her home.