5 Reasons You Should Hire a Solar Installer

Solar panel installation is undoubtedly a great decision to reduce your utility expenses and obtain safe, clean and reliable source of energy. When it comes to installing a solar electric system, getting the help of a professional solar installer is essential to get the right and quality panel type for your home. In this article, I am going to describe a few reasons as to why you should hire a solar installer.

1. Providing the Right Type of a Panel

There are a huge variety of solar electric systems available today in varied sizes and types. Therefore, hiring a professional installer will help you select the right type and size of a panel that best fits your electricity requirements and budget. He will determine the panel type by estimating your monthly electricity needs. Moreover, a professional installer will find out the proper place for installation for your solar electric system so that it gets direct sun exposure for generating optimum electricity.

2. Ensuring Your System is Energy-Efficient

Your solar installer efficiently connects each and every component of solar module including inverter, controller and other parts via electrical wiring. Electrical wiring can be dangerous, as it involves specialized connection terminals and wiring and you may not be able to on your own. A professional installer has the expertise to handle the voltages correctly thereby preventing any electric shock or fire hazard, ensuring an energy efficient panel is correctly installed for producing maximum efficiency.

3. Completing Your Project in Time

There are a variety of good reasons to hire a professional installer, but this is the most obvious one. Installing a solar electric system can be a quite difficult task as it involves working with electricity, lifting heavy objects, crawling on the roof and other risky tasks. Getting the help of an installer will provide you with the security that the project will be definitely be completed in time without any problems or mishaps.

4. Avoiding any Possibility of Home Damage

It is another important reason for hiring a professional solar panel installer that ensures your home is safe from any structural damage. There is a possibility of damaging your roof or a solar module while installing the panel yourself. As these solar electric systems are quite fragile and a small hit or drop while lifting can severely damage an expensive system. Choosing a professional to install the panels is one of the great ways to reduce the risk of damage to your panel or your roof.

5. Providing Quality and Affordable Material

A professional solar installer can save you money by providing quality and affordable mounting supplies and power systems. These professional do a large number of installations so they have a better knowledge about the rates of latest mounting equipments, saving you time and money by providing quality products in affordable rates.

If you want to reduce your costly electricity bills then, installing a solar panel is the best possible solution in this regard. Hiring a solar installer is a viable option that will provide a safe and secure installation on your home, giving you much better pace of mind.

Buy Local When Choosing a Solar Installer Or Contractor

I am sure you have heard the words, “buy local,” when referring to locally grown food.  This motto is transferable to all other goods and services.  A locally owned business is more likely to produce income, jobs and tax receipts for a given community over many generations. 

As adoption for solar energy systems grows, your options for choosing a solar panel installer are increasing.  I want to first describe the major types of solar installers and then talk about why it makes sense to contract from a local solar panel installer. 

1. Solar Panel Manufacturers – Their business is primarily manufacturing panels, but they also bid on utility-scale photovoltaic projects. Solar Panel Manufacturers are well suited for larger projects since they can supply the panels directly and eliminate the middleman, reducing overall system costs.

2. National Solar Installers – National players usually operate in multiple states across the country, with many having their national headquarters in California.  National Solar Installers tend to handle the largest volume of installations per year.

3. Regional or Locally-owned Solar Installers – This group specializes in only solar installations for a certain local area usually designated by state. 

4. Other Contractors – The largest group of solar contractors are those that offer solar panel installations as  part of their portfolio, but specialize in something else – many are electricians, roofers, door and window contractors, or general contractors.

Why Buy Local?

  • Local contractors are better acquainted with the local weather conditions and how to design a system to fit those requirements.
  • A PV installer that is based in your area will be more familiar with regional permitting rules and electric codes reducing design errors, speeding up time to installation, and providing the best overall service.
  • Statistics show that buying from independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business,  will infuse three times as much money in your region’s economy, strengthening the economic foundation of your community.
  • Locally owned contractors tend to make more local purchases requiring less transportation.  This reduces congestion and transportation-related emissions.
  • Small businesses hire locally and will support green jobs where you live.
  • A local installer will help you maximize the incentives for your solar projects because they have a greater awareness of different rebates, tax credits and exemptions, loan programs, SRECs, etc.

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.