Table of Contents
Solar power becomes more and more popular source of electricity. To accommodate the growing demands, more and more crews appear at local and global markets, offering their services with installation and configuration of solar panels. However, some of them can not only fail to do their job, but leave you with huge damages altogether.
Correctly installed solar panels not only break your roof warranty, but even defend it from various damage sources. Proper solar grid can protect the roof even from a hailstorm, leaving the owners’ property pretty much unscathed. When something goes wrong, however, not only the panels provide no protection at all, but they also can damage the roof on their own.
Along with solar equipment quality and system warranties, installers’ technical expertise is one of the most important factors affecting the reliability of your system. They all tend to vary from installer to installer, so you must ensure to find the best specialist possible. Better spend a few extra dollars now rather than lose thousands on further repairs. We’re very lucky to have multiple highly-reputable and trustworthy companies across the US that provide the solar system installation services. So, we’ve gathered a few things you should look for when looking for a contractor for your solar system installation:
Make sure your installer has a NABCEP certification
NABCEP stands for North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Quite naturally, the list of “Energy Practitioners” also includes solar PV technicians. In order to get the certificate, a technician must have pre-existing solar system deployment experience and pass a writing test. The certificate alone does not guarantee the perfect work quality, but it at the very least ensures that the practicioner has at least some level of knowledge and experience. The best available options is to either have a NABCEP certified professional oversee the process or even do it himself.
The installation company must have a good reputation
An installer with a successful track record will usually ensure a successful installation and trouble-free use of a system. The best way for you to find a reputable installer is to ask a friend or acquaintance with a solar system, if you have one.
Another option to assess a company is to use an online consumer review website. You’ll find many of them on the Internet, so there’s really no need to highlight any of them.
One more sign of quality is that the installer does his job himself rather than outsource it. It’s not like we’re discouraging you from working with companies which outsource their labor, but quality of their installation tends to be a little bit unpredictable.
Look for best possible options
We think you won’t have problems looking for a reputable solar company – nowadays you could find at least two of them in most areas. Try milking them for multiple bids – in the end you might get better product quality with lower out-of-pocket cost. Let’s have an example here – most installers use a one-size-fits-all approach to the system design, but you can find a company that would be ready to customize the installation with your needs, goals and the property in mind. If the process is complicated, finding an installer with the best available equipment and installation approach is a must.
If you need help with comparisons, try using EnergySage. The site has secured a Department of Energy funding, providing a range of online resources and tools that help consumers researching and shopping for solar systems. You could also try UnderstandSolar – another service that links the shoppers to the best installers in their area for personalized estimates. Maybe you’ll need additional solar panels ofr a backup converter? Speak with different installers to find the best options and equipment choice.
Find a comprehensive warranty for the entire system
Different equipment types come with their own warranties on top of the installer warranty. As investing into solar power will be a very expensive expenditure, it would only be wise to obtain an additional warranty.
Warranties from installers usually vary in duration, but the most popular ones last from one to ten years, depending on type of works and the installer itself. Plus, the manufacturer warrantees the equipment. The panels have both the equipment and power performance guarantee for energy production; they usually last for 5-10 or more years. Other components, such as inverter, may have a very short warranty, not exceeding a year or two. Before you sign the contract with your installer, learn all available information about all devices you’re buying, including the warranty.
Time to wait before installation
Due to booming popularity of solar energy in recent years, most installers are falling behind when it comes to installation schedules. Chances are you’ll have to wait for months before your installer will be able to come to you, let alone to install the actual system. If you’re not exactly patient, ask about the installer’s schedule before signing any papers.
As you probably know, going solar grants you a 30% federal tax credit. However, the solar system installation timing might affect the time you’ll need before using the tax credit greatly. The earlier in the year you install solar system, the better.