Going solar is a major decision, but it’s also a worthwhile investment. The average savings for Americans who switch over to solar power is projected to be more than $20,000 over the course of 20 years. Financial benefits aside, there’s also the emotional fulfillment that comes with knowing that you’ve helped the environment through something as simple as solar installation.
In fact, when it comes down to it, there are virtually no disadvantages that come with switching to solar. It’s a clean, green, and carbon-free energy resource that works just as well as fossil fuel. The only obstacle is finding certified professionals who can help you with the implementation—because solar installation is definitely not something you want to DIY.
Here are seven things you should inquire before you hire:
1. Are you insured and licensed as an electrician or solar installer?
Check if your solar installation company is compliant with the labor rules and regulations in your state. Ask them for proof of insurance and their license/certification of solar panel installation. The insurance is basically assurance that you won’t be held liable should accidents happen, and the license is a guarantee that the company and/or contractor knows what they’re doing.
2. At any stage of the installation, do you subcontract? If yes, can you identify them and provide their qualifications?
The last thing you want to see when you’re undergoing something as complicated as solar panel installation is a vehicle with an unknown company logo drive up to your home. It’s even worse if people you’ve never seen or talked to start climbing out of said vehicle to make their way to your front door.
To avoid a potential misunderstanding, be sure to ask your installer if they have subcontractors you should be aware of. If they do, ask to see their licenses and credentials as well.
3. How long have you been in the solar panel industry?
It always helps to know a company’s experience and track record. It is recommended that you go with a company that has been actively installing solar panels for at least three years.
4. Can you provide photos of solar systems that you’ve previously installed that are similar to what I want?
You want to be sure your contractor understands the solar system setup you want to achieve. Definite bonus points if they’ve already pulled off said setup successfully. If they don’t have proof of previous jobs that are similar, either your request is quite unique—in which case, you’re free to make a judgment call—or they simply haven’t been in business long enough. Again, you definitely want to work with someone with considerable experience, so maybe think twice if they don’t have any references regarding previous jobs.
5. Who are the manufacturers you source from or recommend?
Get an idea of what items will be used and be sure to research them online. You can also check out testimonials or reviews if you know the manufacturer’s name.
6. Do you know the electrical codes in my area? How do you comply with them?
The answer to this question varies by state. Be sure to read your codes before you ask this question to make sure your solar installation contractor is up to date.
7. Are you certified by the NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners)?
You’ll need proof to verify this. The NABCEP is a voluntary certification that lets professionals get additional experience and sets them apart from other competitors. It also adds to the solar panel contractor’s credentials.
Switching to solar power should be a fun process, not a stressful one. Conduct thorough research before hiring a solar installation company or contractor for full peace of mind. Make sure to ask the above questions before you hire, and you—ideally—should have nothing to worry about.
Power on Solar is always ready to help you answer all questions related to solar installation. We will guide you in every step, may it be in the early or later stages of your installation.