If you’ve decided to invest your hard-earned money in a new solar electric system, the next step involves choosing the right solar installer.
This could be one of the most important decisions you can make regarding your new system, and one that should not be taken lightly. After all, if you’re willing to commit to making as sizable an investment as solar energy in your future, you need to make sure that, when the system is installed, it’s done correctly the first time.
To help you make sure you’ve taken all the steps necessary in making a decision you can feel good about, here’s a checklist of points to check off as you go through the process.
• I have a budget I need to work within, but I’m also aware that I can’t let price be the determining factor, all other things being equal. The old adage that says you get what you pay for applies here as well.
• I have checked the installer’s credentials, and, even if they don’t carry any kind of certification, I have managed to get a good feel for their competence, or lack of.
• I have made sure the installer at least carries liability insurance to protect my property.
• I made sure I’m not the installer’s first customer by verifying that the installer has been fully trained and has plenty of experience. If I was to allow the installer to use me as his first customer, I may end up as the installer’s training site, which may have major repercussions for me.
• I have asked for and checked the installer’s references. And, to make doubly sure, I went out to the site of one of the installer’s previous customer’s to verify his work.
• I asked for and got written guarantees that cover the installation and any follow-up work that may need to be done.
• I have asked for an inventory of the products the installer intends to use and verified that they are of the highest quality by contacting several solar retailers to see if they would recommend these same products.
• I have compiled a list of local installers supplied to me by nearby solar companies and organizations. I prefer to use someone local because they are able to perform a site inspection and analysis in person, at which time I can also find out more about their competence and qualifications, and get to know them a little better.
• I have conducted a thorough face-to-face interview with the installer and been able to ask all the questions I had regarding the installation so that I can feel comfortable about working with a particular installer and about the decision I need to make.
These are the main points to cover when considering hiring a solar installer. The decision as to which installer to hire can be a make or break decision that should not be rushed into, and should not be made purely because of price considerations.
You need to do your due diligence so that you feel comfortable with the decision you end up making and the installer you end up hiring. A bit more effort up front can prevent a lot of pain and expense later on.