How to Choose a Solar Installer
So you've decided to take the plunge and install solar panels on your home or business – congratulations!! The next step is choosing a professional installer to do the work.
- Go with a professional electrician: It's not necessary to hire a contractor who is a licensed electrician, but often you will be required to hire someone who is licensed to do the final hook up. Save yourself the extra step by doing the whole project with the same person.
- Look for someone who has a North American Board of Certified Electrical Professionals (NABCEP) solar installation certificate. This means they have standardized special training in solar PV installation.
- Inquire as to how the professional was trained in solar installation. Many electricians are self-taught in solar because the field is so new. Others may have received formal training from the company that manufactures the solar panels they use. A handful will have formal education from a technical college or university.
- Experience is the most important factor in choosing a solar installer. Ask how many systems similar to yours the PV installer has completed. Ask if he or she foresees any complications and how those could be addressed.
- Ask if the contractor plans to subcontract out parts of the work. Subcontracting decreases the level of quality control the lead contractor has over the project.
- Request references.
- Ask if they provide a warranty for there service. A good installer will be proud of their work and will often warranty for 5-10 years.
- Get 2-4 estimates. Through this process you will find the contractor whom you are most comfortable with and may see a large range in price differences as well.