Hiring the Best Solar Contractor
Mar 14, 2013
by EmPower Solar
Hiring a solar contractor can be a challenging task, especially when limited time after work is spent caring for children and pets, and accomplishing more pressing tasks. Homeowners also want to protect themselves to ensure they are making a reliable, long-term investment after receiving the best service and products available.
At EmPower Solar, our goal is to make a difficult decision as easy as possible. To assist you in this process in becoming an educated consumer, we’ve composed a list of the Top 12 Topics to discuss when hiring a solar company. Every home is different and every homeowner has different priorities, but starting with these questions will simplify the process.
- Company History: How long has the solar company been in business? How many energy systems has it installed?
- Company Licenses: Is the company properly licensed and insured? Specifically, what licenses and insurance does it carry? Does the company carry liability insurance and workmen’s compensation coverage?
- Subcontractors: Does the company subcontract? If so, what is the background of the subcontractor, and what work is performed?
- Project Timeline: What is the timeline for design, permitting and installation?
- Paperwork: Who handles the paper work for permits, solar rebates, and tax incentives? Do I have to do that myself?
- Engineer/Designer and Installation Team Qualifications: Are there trained engineers and architects on the design team? What about the installation team? Are they NABCEP certified?
- Solar Equipment: What type of solar panels and inverters are recommended? How strong are the manufacturers financially? What is the contractor’s relationship with that manufacturer?
- Installation Technique & Roof Impact: What method is used to attach the system to my home and will that violate my roof warranty?
- Monitoring System: Is the system monitored remotely to make sure it’s functioning properly? Is the monitoring system included in the cost? Is consumption monitoring an option?
- Historical System Performance: How accurate is your prediction of how much energy my system will produce?
- Warranty: Who is responsible for system maintenance once it is up, or will you come back and check on it? What does the workmanship and panel warrantee include?
- References: Can I talk to someone who already has a solar system installed by your company? What about someone who has required service work was the company available in a timely fashion?
Once you finish interviewing solar contractors, it’s time to research references. EmPower has a series of YouTube Videos that highlight “EmPowered” homeowners sharing their solar experience. Upon request, we can also provide you with direct contact information for families who have chosen to go solar with EmPower. We’re especially proud of our response to those impacted by Superstorm Sandy.
Additionally, Renewable Energy Long Island (ReLI), a non-profit energy advocacy organization, has a network of hundreds of homeowners who have gone solar and are ready to tell their stories. Access that network to discover what homeowners liked best about their contractor what they wished they did differently.
Certainly not all solar companies are the same. When comparing companies and pricing, it’s critical to put apples next to apples, and not lemons. Take into account what products, services, and guarantees are offered. Consider the skill and certification levels of employees. The installation becomes a critical part of your home or building that should produce clean kilowatt hours for many years to come. It is a long term investment.
The EmPower Solar team could talk until your face turns blue about why we are the #1 solar contractor on Long Island and New York City, but we won’t. We value the health of our employees too much. However, we do feel obligated to provide homeowners with the information and tools necessary to make educated decisions about selecting their solar provider so please contact us with any and all questions: Sales@Empower-Solar.com (or) 516-837-3459.