Wondering how to pick a solar company that fits your needs? Finding the right company is a lot like trying to hit a bullseye while blindfolded. But with the right preparation, you can hit that bullseye dead-center every time.
Want to learn how? Excellent. When you’re ready to discover the process for choosing the perfect company, so you can avoid unwanted disaster, read on.
How to Pick a Solar Company Based on Research
Sure, word of mouth is important. Yes, advertisements can come in handy during your search. But if you’re going to invest more than $1,000 on any home upgrade, doesn’t it warrant a little research to ensure you’re happy with the outcome?
Think of each section below as different aspects of the same problem. You need to solve all of them to see the full picture. Only after you investigate each will you understand what your potential solar companies have to offer.
Solar Installation Experience
How long have you been in business? What about the installers who work on my house? How much experience do they have?
These are the questions you need to ask your prospects. It’s not unusual for a secretary to say, we’ve been in business for over a decade, or some such drivel. What she’s not telling you is what you need to watch out for.
Fortunately, the installation part of your project usually takes less than 24 hours. That means you’ll have the same set of installers beginning and finishing your job. So, pin down that secretary and get the low-down on the folks who will actually be doing the work.
Solar Panel Designs
Why go solar, anyway? Are you trying to save our environment? Is it your way of joining the “go green” bandwagon?
Or are you thinking along the lines of whether you can save money by using solar? If so, the short answer is yes. The long answer is the more you invest upfront, the more you’ll save in the long run.
A sizeable upfront investment covers not only installation fees, but also photovoltaic cells, batteries, wiring, and fixtures. You’ll be purchasing, not renting, this equipment. From then on out, all the energy you derive from that is yours free of additional charges.
On the other hand, some energy companies now offer “rental fees” instead. They cover the cost of the hardware and installation. In return, you lend them your rooftop real estate.
Then you pay a monthly bill, just like you would with your traditional power company. The big difference is that you know that energy is coming from green energy. Some companies also offer you a lower rate.
Online Customer Reviews
They’re not perfect, but customer reviews will help you understand what other clients think about your solar installation company. Check out their website first. Then check out other common online forums.
Look for patterns in customer feedback. Those patterns will indicate events you’ll likely experience too if you choose the company in question.
Comparing Installation Fees
One of the largest benefits of solar energy is financial savings. You can use NREL’s PVWatts Calculator to give you a better idea of how much less you’ll spend each month on your utility bills. For most folks, unfortunately, the installation fees will offset those savings.
When you consider installation fees, ask for a complete breakdown. Pay close attention to the costs of the hardware. Also, pay attention to the hardware specks, so you can cross-reference these factors against those offered by competitors.
Now you know how to pick a solar company that fits your needs. Now, use that momentum to make a shortlist of ten candidates. Then research them using the categories listed above.
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