If I discovered anything from the recent #SolarChatfocused on solar professionals that I would share with solar consumers, it is that the solar industry is made up of amazing, passionate, knowledgeable and spirited people. As someone relatively new to the industry, every day I am moved by just how dedicated people are, from the manufacturers to the installers and every step in between. Raina Russo is right when she calls it a “solar movement” with the strength of an industry behind it.
This philosophy that extends across the solar tribe makes it easier — and a lot less scary — for homeowners who are choosing a solar installer for the first time. You often hear homeowners trading “horror stories” about home contractors. Personally, I know people who have had furniture broken by carpet installers and bathrooms left unfinished by painters. I even know someone who had the unfortunate experience of a general contractor who simply disappeared in the middle of building a new home.
In the tight-knit solar industry, this is far less likely to happen, simply because, as The Solar Foundation’s Andrea Luecke stated so succinctly on Twitter, “The industry doesn’t need a black eye. Quality and safe installations are key.”
What to Look for in a Good Solar Contractor Referral
A number of solar certifications are available, a topic we have blogged about before and will cover in further depth in the future. Such certifications indicate a solar installer has a certain amount of classroom training and real-world experience. But in your search for a solar installer you can trust, it’s always important to ask the opinions of others with homes similar to yours who have purchased a similar system.
While the facts about the money you can save with a solar installation are well-documented — and you can use EcoOutfitters free Solar Savings Report to see how much you might be able to save — it’s important to ask other people with solar about their experience with contractors you are thinking of hiring.
Some questions you may ask those who have already gone ahead with a solar installation project:
- How well did your solar installer explain the tax credits and incentives available to save you money?
- Did the solar installer explaining financing terms in plain language you could understand?
- Were there any surprises when it came to costs — either upfront costs you didn’t expect or monthly payments higher than you expected?
- Did the solar installer make you feel comfortable about the entire process? Did he answer your questions clearly and concisely?
- Did he clean up following the work? How long did the installation take? Was this in line with his estimated date for completion, or did he finish up faster or slower than expected? Were there delays, and, if so, why?
- Were there any issues during or following installation? If there were problems, how quickly were they resolved?
- Overall, do you feel this company was trustworthy?
Since solar is so new — and growing rapidly! — it might be challenging to find others who’ve used the solar installer you’re considering. You can research in other ways, as well, including through the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and the Internet, starting right here at EcoOutfitters.net.
How else can we help in your quest for solar? Sound off below!