When someone is in the market for installing a solar panel system on to their home or small business, how should they go about choosing from all the solar companies that are out there? What are some questions someone should be asking when contacting different solar companies?
The first question should be how long the company has been in business. Since these types of energy systems are becoming more affordable and quicker to install, there are many more fly-by-night businesses than before. This type of renewable energy system has been around for decades now, and years of experience is definitely an advantage for the businesses that have been there through all of the changes.
Most likely, the next question is how much the system will cost. This alone should not be a deciding factor when choosing between solar companies. The old adage of you get what you pay for is true in this industry. A reputable business will have their employees properly trained and certified. There will be years of combined experience. The systems that they use should come with solid warranties. They should also offer some kind of assistance if the system ever needs maintenance. These are all things that go in to the overall cost of the system, so be sure to compare all of these points.
An installation question that should be asked of all the solar companies is if all the people that will be part of the installation process are also employees of the business. If they are, then they have all received the same training, and the customer should feel confident about the work being done. If they are not, then the customer should ask where those workers will be coming from, and what kind of training they received. Many of these businesses are part of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, or NABCEP. This organization offers certificate programs and certifications for people in this field of business. Finding a company and installers that are part of this is something one should be looking for as well. The next step would be to get a list of referrals. Then, go and look at the work that was done, and speak with the customers of completed installations.
Another important question is how many watts each of the solar panels will yield, and how that will correlate to how many panels the residence or business will need. Having a company representative come to one’s home or small business to give a quote for the job will answer this question in part. The other part is getting an understanding of the terminology. Two things to look at are the highest minimum warranted power rating and the lowest negative tolerance rating. For example, say a 200 watt panel is rated as having a negative tolerance of 10%. Then the panel is assured not to have a power rating lower than 180 watts. The representative that comes out to give the quote will be able to accurately assess the electricity needs of the home or small business.
An additional question that should also be asked when talking with different solar companies is how their work and product is warrantied. Most manufacturers will offer their own warranty on the parts. A reputable business will adhere to those warranties, as well as offering additional coverage.