Installing solar panels will be a long-term investment, that’s why it’s very important to find the right solar company that will meet your needs. But with so many solar energy companies how do you choose the right one? If you don’t know where to begin or it’s too confusing, here is a step-by-step guide to help you find the right solar company for you.
Step 1: Put Together a List of Solar Providers
One of the best ways to compare solar providers is to create a list that includes information about each of the companies. You can write it in a notebook or using a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet. The solar companies should be providers near your area. It’s a great idea to add local businesses and national companies that are in your city.
One way to get started on your list, is to search on your favorite search engine for words like “solar providers”, “solar energy companies”, “solar panel companies” followed by the city you are living in.
Once you are happy with your list, you can start filing it out with useful information to help you compile it over the next steps.
Step 2: Create a List with Pros and Cons of Each of the Solar Providers
When doing the comparison of all of your solar options, be aware of what local and national solar companies offer. For the most part, national companies are larger and tend to be established and can sometimes offer a 25 year warranty. They might also offer different payment options and/or system maintenance services, such as solar panel cleaning.
However, local solar companies will be more familiar with your state’s and cities permit requirements. They might also service less areas making the solar installation process a lot easier and faster. Local solar companies sometimes offer more quality services. You might be able to get your quote and solar installation quicker.
This step is left to your preference, there is no wrong or right answer – just consider the difference between large and small solar companies and what your needs and wants are.
Step 3: Check the Companies Qualifications
For the most part, experience is key as opposed to company size. Browse through each of the companies website and find out how long they have been doing business. See if they announce how much solar panels they’ve installed and the various types of installations such as roof and ground mounts installation.
Next to your experience column, you will want to note each of the companies credentials in your comparison document. Most companies have their certifications and state license. If you can’t find any credentials, you can call and ask them. Beyond state requirements, look for other certifications such as North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). This organization is recognized throughout the United States. Their certification program is called the “gold standard” for installations and sales. A company that has a NABCEP certification means the company and installers have met the huge standards of qualification and have gone through extensive training.
Step 4: Reviews
Although certifications and experience are important, it’s not as important as how the companies treat their customers. From acquiring the right city permits to choosing the size of your solar energy system to your Federal tax credit, going solar can be complicated. It’s a good idea to hire a company that will be with you every step of the way and can be helpful as much as possible
Search for past customer reviews on websites such as Better Business Bureau, Yelp and GMB. If the company doesn’t have any reviews, contact them and ask them for references and even installation sites. Most of the companies will provide three to five upon request.
On the review column of your document take note of the first impressions you get from customer reviews you read. This can help you remember things that might concern you and can address it to the company when you receive a quote.
Step 5: View Financing Options
There are various ways to finance your solar panel system. Most companies take cash, checks, credit cards, leasing and loans. Find what each company has to offer and write it down in the column.
If you are sure on how you want to finance your solar panels make sure the company you are interested in offers such options. If you aren’t sure what choice to make, think about what makes more financial sense and also contact a company that offers various financing methods so you can carefully decide. If one of the companies does not have such an option, cross it off and move on.
Step:6 Get a Quote
Based on all of the information you’ve collected for each of the solar companies, narrow it down to the top 5 to 8 picks. These are the companies you will want to reach out to receive your very own custom quote.
Most companies will schedule an appointment to come out to the property in which the solar panels will be installed so they can accurately assess their price. This is the best time to ask questions or concerns you may have.
Here are some questions you can ask them
Will your company handle all of the permits?
How much is my monthly energy usage, and what solar panels are best for my home or business?
How many panels will my home or business require?
What type of warranties does my solar installation come with?
What will be the next step if I decide to sign with you?
After receiving your quotes, did a company stand out? If so, you have found your very own solar provider! If not you can keep thinking about your decision and look over your list again. Look for whatever factors are important for you such as customer ratings, price, quality, customer service and financing options.