Solar Installers Get The Job Done Right

Opting to hire solar installers will ensure high quality installation work for outfitting your house to utilize solar energy. The solar energy industry is a highly specialized field. There are few things to take into consideration before hiring an installation professional.

Renewable energy is catching on; however, it is not widespread yet. There are installation professionals that specialize in solar energy. You may need to search somewhat to find some in your area. It’s a good idea to consult online directories that list these professionals by location.

When you pay someone to work on your house for any reason, it is always important to hire reputable professionals. Verify their credentials. One of the best ways to help you decide whether or not to hire someone is to ask for references. Speaking with former customers will give you a better idea of the quality of the work they have performed in the past.

Solar energy installers are not as common as other specialists, such as plumbers, HVAC technicians or electricians. Finding an installation professional may prove to be slightly more challenging than hiring a plumber. You will likely want to do some research about the company in addition to speaking with their previous clients. Many homeowners are careful to check the company out and make sure there are no complaints with them to third parties, such as the Better Business Bureau.

Once you have some solar companies in mind, you may want to request free estimates from a couple of them. To provide you with an estimate, the installation professional will need to look over your home and your energy usage trends. This will give him or her some good information to begin the pre-installation inspection and estimate.

Most solar installers will offer you some sound energy conservation advice prior to beginning the installation process. Solar energy is not cheap. It makes sense to find ways to conserve energy prior to switching over to solar. You will save money by implementing energy saving techniques, whether or not you decide to go ahead and install equipment to use solar energy in your home.

There are many things that you can do to help reduce energy consumption in your home. Some of the most basic tactics include weather proofing your home. By eliminating drafts you will help to keep your heating and cooling costs substantially. Often, draft reduction only requires applying rubber weather stripping to your doors. Other strategies include adding better fireplace enclosures to reduce the amount of draft from the chimney.

Many professionals also recommend installing window coverings to help keep the desired temperature in your house. Certain window treatments, such as heavy drapes can reduce drafts from coming into your home. Adding adequate insulation to your home can drastically reduce heat loss in the winter and keep your house cooler in the summer.

When you hire a solar installation professional, take the time to do your research. Bring in a professional with expertise in the solar industry. Solar installers will help you find ways to conserve energy prior to installing solar energy equipment.

How to Choose a Professional Solar Installer

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations are becoming more common due to the 30% federal tax incentives and government grants from States and other funding agencies. Unfortunately, this has also led to a number of new and inexperienced solar companies in the marketplace. Some of these companies may be out to deliberately take advantage of customers. When considering the addition of a solar system to your home, it is very important to choose a reputable, professionally-trained installer. You can decrease your chances of entering into a “bad deal” by doing a little research and asking a few simple questions. After all, you are considering spending and investing in a renewable system that can range from $10,000 on up for a solar photovoltaic array.

In choosing an installer, there are several key things to be aware of. Like most professional fields, the solar field has a national board that grants certification to those individuals who have passed a professional test. The North American Board of Energy Practitioners, also referred to as NABCEP, is responsible for certifying solar professionals. Ask the installer you are considering if they are NABCEP certified. Don’t just take his/her word for it, but go to the NABCEP website to confirm it. You can also ask the installer for references, but keep in mind that these can be false. It is better if you can visit a solar installation and ask the owner his/her experience in dealing with the renewable energy company you are considering. Google the company name and see what additional information, other than what the company has posted on their website, you can find.

What type of background does your installer have? Is previous work experience in a related industry or is their previous experience in an industry that is totally unrelated to solar, electrical, engineering, or roofing trades? For example, in a down economy, companies that might have been installing windows, siding, gutters, heating and air- conditioning systems or any other such home improvements might decide to become a “solar company” and jump on the “solar bandwagon”. In this case, you should wonder how such previous experience translates to a technical industry such as solar. A qualified solar company has the necessary skills to deal with high voltage DC electricity, roof waterproofing, structural integrity and safety of your home.

Is the potential installer making production claims without a proper site-visit or without appropriate information? One such local company is known to promise customers a 54% reduction in energy bills without even doing a proper site assessment or knowing the homeowner’s electric bills and level of energy efficiency. Is the installer pressuring you for a quick sale? These type of systems are not usually sold on a single interaction with a company. It usually takes time to perform the proper site assessment and to design a system that is efficient and optimized to your particular situation and needs.

Is the company playing price games with you? Have they reduced cost considerably on several occasions to make a quick sale when you indicate that you cannot afford it? This only indicates that the initial price was too high and they were trying to gouge you. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Finally, is the installer trying to sell you on unproven new technology? Standard solar panels are either mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline. These technologies have a history of proven track records with life expectancies of 40 or more years. The relatively newer technologies do not have enough time to have an established performance record. This may be reflected in a shorter warranty offered by the manufacturer of the technology. Most standard panels have a warranty of 20 or more years. You should be careful of newer technology and do your research before committing.

Asking these basic questions, may help keep you from being taken advantage of. Remember: solar photovoltaic systems have been around for a long time and have a proven history for performance in the proper circumstances as well as a long life expectancy. Don’t let unprofessional solar installers reduce the value of your solar investment.

Colorado Solar Installations

There are over 200 solar installation companies in the state of Colorado. In the first six months of 2010 they competed for a little over 1,000 installations statewide. Solar industry professionals have been quoted as saying that “less than 20” of the companies currently installing residential solar energy systems in the state of Colorado follow best practices. In short, these are dangerous waters for unwary consumers.

Solar is an Investment
A typical integrated residential solar installation in Colorado amounts to a $25,000 investment (out of pocket costs vary but can be as little as $12,000 after incentives, rebates and tax credits). To get a very rough estimate the cost of a solar installation take the average monthly KWH times 12(months in year) and then multiply that number by $3 per kilowatt of solar module creation.

Example: If we use XCEL’s number the average Colorado home uses 650KWH per month the calculation would be: 650 x 12 x $3 = $23,400. Note: The $3 per kilowatt hour figure represents a significant drop over the past two years.

Over the life of the system the rate of return of a well planned, professionally installed solar installation is between 5 – 12% depending a variety of factors (including orientation, mounting and demographics). However, if that system is not properly installed or uses poor quality components the ROI can quickly become negative.

Why use a Solar Quote System
Residential Colorado solar investors should research solar installers to determine professional affiliations (often paid for), number of years in business, capabilities, and feedback from previous customers. After obtaining the information for 30 or so companies the potential customer could then filter out those with less than stellar credentials. But, who really has time to research thirty plus companies?

Thankfully, the research has already been done. Many solar industry professionals recognized early on that ensuring that consumers got value for their money was essential to the growth of the industry. A few of these pioneers developed a comprehensive list of fully credentialed solar installers and then placed them in a playing field where they competed only on price. This competitive bid system provides consumers with piece of mind regarding both the quality of the solar company and the price of the system.

Competitive quotes are provided free for consumers. Installers, who must first pass rigorous requirements, pay for the privilege of bidding on projects. If industry professional want to bid on the projects they must be adhere to a high level of professionalism and integrity.