By Rob Appelhof
With so many solar energy companies cropping up, it can be difficult to know who to trust. The company you choose can make or break your solar experience, so you want to be sure you make the correct choice. But how can you know whether a company is the right energy installer for you?
Choosing the Right Energy Installer
There are several key qualities you should look for in your solar energy company. Notably, they should be experienced, helpful, and extremely knowledgeable about solar installations. The best solar companies will embody all these traits in addition to making you feel generally at ease about the installation process.
Your Energy Installer Should Be Experienced, Knowledgeable, and Helpful
Since solar is a rapidly growing market, many new companies have been formed just to seize the opportunity for profit and may not have what it takes to properly install quality solar energy systems. Because of this recent development, it’s more important than ever for the company you choose to be experienced and knowledgeable. Its employees should have impressive, varied backgrounds with years of combined experience working with solar. To operate as an effective team, members must be well-versed in engineering, design, construction, installation, energy management, and project management.
A solar energy company’s representatives should be knowledgeable enough to answer any questions you have. If you have any unique concerns about the installation process, financing and rebates, the operation of the system, or the maintenance of solar panels, they should be able to offer you a workable solution that suits your home.
Your Energy Installer Should Consult with You Prior to Installation
Any solar energy company that passes muster should be willing to give you a free, no obligation consultation. A consultation is a necessary component to providing accurate pricing for your project. It’s in the company’s best interest to analyze your home or business prior to going into business with you, and
it’s in yours to take the time during the consultation to ask questions and ensure you have found the right company. Some great questions to ask include:
How many panels will be necessary to generate the power my building needs?
Are there rebates or grants available to me?
What financing options do you have?
How long will it take to get a return on my investment (ROI)?
What sort of maintenance plans do you offer?
What warranty can I expect for my system?
What are the next steps if I decide to move forward with your company?
Take your time during the consultation so you’re sure you’ve gathered all the information necessary to make an informed decision about the company. It will likely be the last interaction you will have with the solar consultants before making your final decision about whether to work with them.
Have Previous Satisfied Clients
Even when you’ve done your due diligence and researched several solar companies, there are some things only a customer of these companies would know. If you haven’t been personally referred to a company, you can still check their reviews on sites such as Google and Yelp. While you should take these reviews with a grain of salt (both positive and negative reviews can be exaggerated), they can provide great insight into how satisfied the company has made their average client.
Some companies, like Cedar Creek Energy, also have testimonials and case studies on their website. This can be a great way to see how your project may compare to others the company has already completed.
Won’t Neglect the Details
Each solar energy company has access to different financing options for their clients. They should assist you in determining your financial goals with solar before locating the perfect financing for your solar project. Taking advantage of available tax credits and rebates is also vital to your return on investment, so make sure the company has knowledge of the current programs available to homeowners.
Once you’ve secured financing for your project, you’ll need to apply for the necessary permits. Applying for solar permits is often an overwhelming process, and you shouldn’t undertake it alone. Keep this in mind when choosing a solar company. They should spearhead the acquisition of any permits necessary to begin the installation process.
Make You Feel Comfortable
Above all else, you should feel comfortable speaking to and working with your solar panel installation company. Any concerns you may have about the project should be handled with ease, and the company’s passion for custom solar solutions should be apparent. Go with your gut and know that you’ve done all the research necessary to pick a great solar energy company!
Meet the Author:
Rob Appelhof is President and CEO at Cedar Creek Energy. Cedar Creek Energy is a Minnesota-based Solar company for turnkey Commercial and Residential solar solutions, EPC services, LED-lighting and retrofitting, operation and maintenance (O & M) of existing systems, and other renewable energy solutions.