How To Find a Solar InstallerUpdated June 22, 2022 Solar
Converting your house to solar energy is an expensive purchase and there are several important decisions to make. Which system is right for you? How much money will you save each month? These questions and more can be answered by your solar installer.
It’s important to find a solar installer you trust to make the most of your investment. Most solar installers are full-service solar providers who can help you from start to finish. These installers work with dealers and name brands to provide you with high quality equipment and complete installation so your home is fully integrated into the power grid.
7 Ways To Find a Solar Installer
- Ask Friends and Family
- Check With Solar Dealers
- Talk To Local Home Professionals
- Customer Reviews
- Inquire at Local Home Improvement Stores
- Review Government Databases
- Research Online
Solar installers will typically also sell a variety of solar panels and package options, though this isn’t always the case. You may find it more cost effective to purchase a system yourself and then hire a professional to install it for you. Either way, the most important thing is to make sure you do your due diligence and choose an installer that is reputable, certified, and insured.
What Does a Solar Installer Do?
Installing solar in your home requires a high level of expertise due to the combination of carpentry, roofing, and electrical wiring work. Solar panel installers are certified and trained to set up solar panels on the rooftop and land at your home. They work with a variety of dealers to provide a range of options so you can choose the right solar energy package for your home.
Your solar installer will evaluate your property and help you determine the best placement for your panels to maximize sun exposure. Once the location on the property is determined, the solar installer will make the necessary adjustments to your building or property to ensure each solar panel is properly fitted and supported.
A solar panel installer will also ensure the solar energy system is properly and safely wired and connected to the local grid. Because you are working with electricity, it is best to work with a professional with the proper safety equipment and protocols to avoid physical injury and damage to your solar equipment.
How to Find a Solar Panel Installer
When finding a solar installer, resist the urge to go with the first company you find. Always do your homework and thoroughly vet the company you are considering hiring. A good rule of thumb is to get quotes from three different installers before making a final decision. There are many ways to find solar installers in your area. Here are a few different ways to get you started.
1. Ask Friends and Family
One of the easiest ways to find a solar installer is to ask those you know if they have any recommendations. If your friends, family, or neighbors have installed solar in their homes, get the contact information for the installer they used with their project. This is a great way to get recommendations and feedback from the people you trust.
2. Check With Solar Dealers
When you purchase your solar PV system, check with your dealer if they have installers or technicians that can install the system. If they do not directly work with a solar installer, they are likely to have a list of local solar installer companies and solar technicians that you can contact to install the panels that you have purchased. They may even be able to give a direct recommendation or some specific questions to ask your installer based on the system you purchased.
3. Talk To Local Home Professionals
Solar dealers aren’t the only people who can point you in the right direction. A roofer or electrician may be able to recommend a solar installer. Call your local electrician and see if they have any suggestions. If you have worked with an electrician in the past, they may also be able to give you some specific tips about your home’s wiring system to look out for, especially if you live in an older home.
4. Customer Reviews
Another way to find solar installers near you is to search review sites. These sites are populated by consumers who have already worked with solar installers, giving you their honest opinion about their experiences. This can give you an idea of what to expect when you choose a specific installer and help you find the names of solar photovoltaic installers near you.
5. Inquire at Local Home Improvement Stores
Not every home improvement store will sell solar PV systems. However, some of the bigger chains, like Home Depot, sell these systems and may even offer installation services. If you are considering installing solar in your home, check with your home improvement stores near you to see if they offer this service or if they have any recommendations for PV installers in the area.
6. Review Government Databases
The push toward renewable energy, especially solar power, is an initiative supported by the government through various tax credits and incentives. To help make it easier, some state governments offer a database of certified solar installers that can help you with your home’s solar energy system. You can search these databases via government websites using your zip code. However, it’s important to note that not all states offer this type of database, so you’ll need to look online or check with your local electricity company to find out if one of these databases exists in your state.
7. Research Online
Most homeowners find their solar installers by searching online. If you use a mobile device or have your location turned on, all you have to do is search for “solar installer near me,” and you will get a list of solar companies in your area. Make sure you do thorough research before deciding who to use as your solar installer.
Questions To Ask Your Solar Installer
Finding solar installer companies to contact is the first step in choosing who to install your solar PV system. Once you find an installer to contact, you want to make sure that they know what they are doing so that you get the best results. Here’s what to ask your solar installer to better understand their experience and the guarantees they offer about their service.
How long have you been installing solar PV systems?
It's always a good idea to check and see what kind of experience a potential installer has. Ideally, you'll find an installer with years of experience working exclusively with solar PV panels. Having experience means the installer has worked with many different systems and types of houses and properties so they can make recommendations on what configuration and placement will be best. Additionally, years of experience means they can easily identify and avoid problems during the installation.
Are you a licensed installer?
Before working with a solar panel installer, you want to make sure they are certified and licensed. You want the solar installer you choose to work with to have at least a general electrical contractor’s license, also known as a C-10 license. Because they will be working with your home’s electrical system and connecting the solar panel system to the grid, you want to ensure they have the proper certification and are licensed to work with electrical wiring.
Do you have insurance coverage for your work?
When choosing a solar installer company, there’s always a risk that someone could get hurt on your property or that your property could get damaged. Insurance is beneficial for all involved. It will protect your solar installer if they get injured, but it also protects you if your property is damaged. A reputable solar photovoltaic installer will have insurance. If they do not and your property is damaged, you may be able to take them to court, but there’s no guarantee, and then you’ll also have legal fees. Therefore, it’s advised to make sure the contractor you choose has insurance before starting your project.
What brands of solar systems do you work with?
Check with the installer about the brands they use, especially if you have a particular brand in mind. While the installation process is nearly the same for every brand, it can be helpful if the installer is familiar with your preferred brand. This way, the solar installer may be better equipped to deal with any initial issues that may crop up during solar installation.
What is the total cost to install the solar PV system?
You want to make sure you get quotes from at least three potential solar installers before making a final decision. When you get a quote, make sure you get a final price, meaning all fees are included. This will help you make sure you are comparing apples to apples, and you can make a more informed decision. While competitive pricing is important, you often get what you pay for, so don't focus solely on price.
Do you have any workmanship warranties?
Installing solar in your home is a huge undertaking. To give yourself peace of mind, make sure you work with someone who stands behind their work. Many quality solar installers will offer a workmanship warranty that will cover any issues with the installation. The length of this warranty will vary by solar installer company, with some offering up to 10 years warranty.
However, if an extended warranty is offered, make sure the company has been around for a while and has a reputation for quality work. New companies that offer extended warranties may not stay open, voiding the warranty. So, make sure you ask about any warranty specifics and research the installer before moving ahead.
Are you a solar installer or a solar technician?
When deciding on a solar installer, it can help to ask if they are a solar installer or a solar technician. An installer only installs the solar energy system. In contrast, a technician can also troubleshoot problems, run diagnostics, and address issues in the future, including those not related to solar panel installation. While it’s fine to work with just an installer, working with a technician is a better alternative in the long run, as you’ll have an established relationship should you run into issues down the road.
Finding a Solar Installer Near Me
Installing solar in your home is a big project, and the process of finding a reliable solar PV installer can be overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be, as long as you take it step-by-step.
The first thing to do is identify solar installers in your area. Contact the ones you are considering and discuss what services they offer, prices, warranties, etc. Always make sure you check reviews and get quotes from at least three different installers before making a final decision. Taking these steps is worth the effort. The right installer can provide a high quality solar installation that will save you money and increase the value of your home.