Forget what the naysayers have against solar panels. They’ll try to tell you that the sun doesn’t always shine, and coal electricity is cheaper. But the data is in: electric is the cheapest electrical source in history, and batteries can hold it for later.
So now you are excited for a home with a residential solar system. But you may not be too enthusiastic when you have to select a residential solar contractor. Horror stories abound of unreliable professionals who leave jobs half-done and then never return your calls.
We aim to help you avoid such an unfortunate series of events. Follow along as we give you all the tips to have the best solar installation experience.
Select a Residential Solar Contractor That Uses High-Quality Equipment
Solar panels have made leaps and bounds in cutting manufacturing costs. Modern solar panels are more efficient, lighter, and make better use of material resources. There are a variety of options for solar contractors to choose from.
However, this thriving market has tons of cheap-o versions from questionable manufacturers. Solar panels like this break within a short timeframe, or else have a fraction of their supposed performance. You get what you pay for, and the good stuff won’t come cheap.
When comparing solar installation costs, you don’t necessarily want to go with the cheapest contractor. This could be a sign that they are using substandard methods and low-quality parts.
Instead, select contractors that use the best components and the right tools to install them.
Choose Contractors with Warranties
Solar installation might go well, but then comes the moment of truth when you switch it on. Even if it does function as intended, it might break a week later. If you had no warranty on the installation, then the contractor might just shrug when you ask for a refund.
Find contractors that give you their word in writing, and enforce it with a contract. Find ones that put their reputation above all else. Doing a poor job should be something of a disgrace for them.
It can take time before manufacturing defects and installation hiccups start rearing their ugly heads. A year may go by, when the panel suddenly craps out. Contractors who offer extended warranties and guarantees are your best choice.
Check the Company’s Reputation
In our digital age, you no longer have to rely on word-of-mouth alone to establish a company’s bona fides. There are a plethora of online tools that will tell you everything you need to know about a particular business.
Examples may include the following:
- Ratings on the BBB
- Good reviews on review sites like Facebook or Google
- Years of operation and experience
- Awards from business organizations
Of course, don’t discount word-of-mouth. If your neighbor tells you not to go with a certain contractor, then it’s probably a good idea to listen.
Don’t just rely on the contractor’s estimation of their own company. Anyone can and will say they are the best in the business.
Stick with Local Companies
“Support local businesses,” they always tell you even when the prices aren’t great. But there is some truth to this phrase. Supporting local businesses gives you an unexpected benefit: local expertise.
You see, rules and regulations for renovations and installations vary from place to place. In one town or neighborhood, there may be very harsh restrictions on what you can and cannot install. They may limit how many solar panels you can have, or forbid them entirely.
Then there are local organizations like the HOA. Everyone knows that the HOA is a stickler for arbitrary rules and may fine you for disobeying them.
The contractor can be your guide to these building codes and regulations. They can warn you against doing something that can get you in hot water with local law enforcement or city councils.
Only Work with Licensed Companies
Licenses can be an annoyance, but when you take a step back and think, they are a very good thing. They ensure that only certain people can do certain things. Imagine if you let a cashier work as your tax preparer.
You need licensing to install solar panels, period. This is a laborious job that requires a lot of special knowledge. It’s not the sort of thing that a person can do with a manual and an industrious attitude.
Unlicensed contractors are a liability to have on your property. Don’t hire anyone who doesn’t have the necessary licenses, even for something as simple as solar system maintenance.
Bodies that issue licenses make it easy to search for companies. If the company you are eyeballing doesn’t appear in the license database, steer clear of them.
Don’t Work with Uninsured Companies
Insurance keeps us all honest and protected. You wouldn’t want to drive on the road next to somebody who doesn’t have car insurance. So why would you want contractors to perform an expensive job without coverage for mistakes or injuries?
Think about just how dangerous it is to install solar panels. Contractors have to position heavy equipment on top of a roof. There are endless opportunities to fall or much worse.
Without insurance, this could turn into an utter legal fiasco. Contractors can blame things on you, or leave you to pay for damages. If they have insurance, then you have somewhere to submit a claim in the unlikely event of problems.
Find the Right Residential Solar Installation for You
It’s time to select a residential solar contractor to get those solar panels you have been dreaming of. But before you do, take into consideration their reputation, their local expertise, and whether they have insurance. Having warranties and licensing protects you from any potential accidents or hiccups.
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