If you’re anything like me, you care about the planet and its future because it’s what our children will inherit. I’ve recently learned that more than a third of climate-impacting pollution in the U.S. comes from the burning of fossil fuels for electricity usage in buildings and homes. One thing we can do to mitigate that overwhelming statistic is to power our homes with renewable energy from solar panels, which can help save money on energy costs while creating a more sustainable future.
But where does one even begin? There are so many solar companies out there. I am really concerned about getting taken advantage of since it’s an industry I’m unfamiliar with and because I’ve heard horror stories from others. I recently came across some information that made a lot of sense when it comes to researching solar companies. So I want to share that with you.
Below are 4 tips for choosing a trustworthy solar power company to work with.
1. Know the kind of solar company you will be working with.
Some solar companies strictly do sales and then pass off the actual work to a third party. However, others keep all aspects of the process from sales to installation to ongoing maintenance under one roof. To simplify your life, you want the latter. If you go with the first option, you’ll need to vet and research both the sales company and the installation company. You’ll also run the risk of getting the runaround if things go wrong because the company that sold you your system isn’t the same one that managed your project.
When you’re beginning the process of deciding which solar company to use, make sure to ask, “Who will be installing my system and what is your scope of work?” Also, ask for an electrical contractor license number, which is required for any organization performing solar installation. Then you can look up that license number to make sure the company is in good standing. Doing all this will help you avoid working with a sales company that will outsource your project.
2. Beware of the solar company door-knocker.
Even though I can appreciate the fact that solar door-to-door salespeople are spreading awareness about the benefits of solar power, they always seem to stop by at the most inconvenient times and then proceed to rile up my dog. Unfortunately, door-knockers can be more than simply annoying.
Many of them are out-of-state 1099 contract workers who lack accountability and industry training. They may not understand local policies, utility rate structures, tax incentives, and other important elements to properly evaluate whether solar is a good fit for you and what you’re actually eligible for. These contractors typically have no base salary, no benefits, and little support. If they don’t sell, they don’t get paid. So there is high turnover with low accountability. They may use high-pressure sales tactics. This might result in your overpaying for a system that doesn’t live up to expectations and a poorer customer experience.
3. Solar is an investment. Think long-term when vetting companies.
Some solar companies are here today and gone tomorrow. They leave customers with the task of finding another company to provide costly maintenance that should have been covered under the original workmanship warranty. Some solar companies don’t have a physical location in the area. So this should be a red flag. They might lack established infrastructure to support your solar investment for years to come. Work with a solar company that has a proven track record and a positive reputation. You want to be able to trust they will be in business long enough to cover your warranty (typically 25 years or longer).
Make sure to ask what the process and timeline are for service work. Also, ask whether they have a dedicated service department to handle claims. While solar equipment is reliable and durable, repairs or service may be necessary even if it’s as simple as the system underperforming. You’ll want to understand what working with your chosen solar company will be like after the initial sale. Find out how responsive they are and how they are set up to handle support.
4. Research the company and its reviews.
This tip is important when you’re looking into any company you want to hire. When checking reviews, don’t just look at their overall ranking. Anyone can get employees and friends to leave a positive review to drown out complaints from actual clients. It’s a good practice to read the lower-ranked reviews and look for patterns of certain issues as well as how the company responds to these complaints. Check multiple platforms such as Google, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, Next Door, and other trusted sources. Make sure to check the reviews of any subcontractors (if the company is outsourcing installation as mentioned in tip #1).
The goal is to find a quality, reliable, trustworthy partner that will keep your solar system in tip-top operating condition for years to come. If you are a New Mexico resident and are considering switching to solar, reach out to our partners at Positive Energy Solar. They are available to answer questions and guide you through the process.
If you are looking for a way to make your home more sustainable and your energy more affordable, Positive Energy Solar is here to make that process simple.
As New Mexico’s local, trusted solar experts for over 26 years, you’ll find Positive Energy Solar’s approach is consultative, without the high-pressure sales tactics or gimmicks. Their goal is to ensure you fully understand what your options are in creating a more sustainable household and to allow you to make an informed decision that is right for you and your family.