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Tips for choosing Solar Panel Contractor

If you decide to have your solar panels professionally installed don’t just pick a contractor out of the phone book. You are hiring someone to install some pretty pricey equipment so it’s in your best interest to make sure they know what they’re doing. Do some research and then consider these points for each contractor to help you choose the right solar panel installation company:

1. Where is the company located in relation to your property?
Is it a national chain company with franchises or is it a local company? All else being equal, a local company is better to deal with given that it is more accessible for you and knows your area. The company should be local so that you can get a service technician to come out and service your panels if there is a problem and also to cut down on the cost of transporting the panels and the time to get an installation appointment.

2. Is the company certified?
This is a big one. In order to be qualified to install any type of PV solar energy systems or solar panels a company should be certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, or NABCEP. Ask if the company is certified and then go online to the NABCEP website to check and make sure the company is currently certified by NABCEP to do solar panel installation.#

3. Does the company subcontract their work?
Sometimes it might be ok for a company to use a subcontractor but not when it comes to solar panel installation. Ask the company specifically if they use a subcontractor. If they do, you can either ask if the subcontractor is also certified by NABCEP or just choose another company.

4. What is there Customer Service like?
When you’re buying and installing solar panel you are going to be spending a lot of money, usually upwards of $20,000 for the panels and the installation. That should entitle you to some good old fashioned customer service.
If you contact a solar panel installation company and they don’t return your phone calls, or try to get you to sign up for installation before they are willing to answer your questions then you should choose another company. A reputable solar panel installation company will be happy to answer your questions and help you with your concerns about your solar energy installation without pressuring you to buy their services.

5. How much installation experience does the company have?
Ask how many solar panel installations they have done but also ask about the employees. Ask how long they employees have been with the company and how experienced each employee is. If the company has done more than 50 solar panel installations but they put a brand new tech that’s never done a single installation, your installation project you could still end up with an incorrectly installed solar array so ask specific questions about the employees’ experience.

6. What is the company’s reputation?
Ask around town to see what people think of this particular company. Ask them for references that you can call, ideally from other people that they have done solar panel installations for. Go online to the Better Business Bureau website to see if the company has had any complaints filed against it. You will be giving the company that you choose a lot of money so check them out thoroughly and make sure they’re trustworthy.

7. What brands does the company have experience with?
Find out what brands and models of solar panels they are certified in or have experience in. Each company that makes solar panels makes them a little differently and it’s important that the company you choose to do the solar panel installation has experience working with the particular brand name and model that you bought. The company’s NABCEP license should also tell you what models and brands the company is certified to work on.

8. What kind of a warranty does the company offer?
Every solar panel installation company should offer some type of warranty on their work. It’s important that you know the details of the warranty that the company offers because if anything goes wrong with the solar panels as a result of the installation you don’t want to have to pay to have it fixed.

9. What payment terms and payment plans does the company offer?
Always find out what payment terms the company accepts up front. Some will want full payment before the work begins, some will want a deposit with the balance due at the completion of the work, some others may offer monthly payment plans to help alleviate the financial hit of the installation cost. It’s important that you understand the payment terms going in so ask the company directly what their payment terms are before signing anything.

10. Will the company help you with rebates?
There are lots of rebates and other incentives that are available at the state level and the Federal level but often in order to get those rebates you need signed documentation sent in by both the company that you bought the solar panels from and the company that did the installation. So ask if you’re not sure if the company is willing to provide the documentation and signatures you need in order to get those rebates.

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