Choosing Solar Panel Installers

Once you've made the decision to install solar power, you will need to find solar panel installers to buy photovoltaic (PV) panels from who are reliable and can install them properly under warranty.

The system installation companies all want your business and naturally, all claim to be the best. So, how do you pick the best panel installer from among the many offering their services? The tips provided on this page will help you to decide.


How to Choose the Best Solar Installer

Choosing a Solar Panel InstallerHomeowners Choosing a Professional Solar Panel Installer
(Source: ©iStock.com/gchutka)

Review the Company's Background

If you live in an area where PV panel installation has been available for a while, you should be able to find one or more installation companies which have been in operation for a several years. They should be able to provide you with plenty of references from satisfied customers whom you could contact. Talk to their customers and view their installed PV systems, if possible.

However, be very suspicious if a company refuses to supply you with a recent customer reference; they might be hiding something unfavorable. It should also be easy to check with your Chamber of Commerce or local trade organizations to see whether the solar installation company is a member in good standing.

Review the Company's Solar Products

Ask the solar panel installer about the brand of PV panels and system components used, then research on the Internet to read reviews of the manufacturers. Find out the kind of warranties the equipment comes with. Also find out what warranty the installer offers on their labor and workmanship.

It's common to find warranties on PV panels from 10 to 25 years, depending on the quality. Storage batteries have limited warranties of 8 to 10 years. Inverters and controls usually have a 2 to 10 year warranty, and workmanship should have a 1 year warranty at minimum.

Qualified Installers Lifting a Solar PanelQualified Solar Panel Installers Safely Lifting a Panel to the Roof
(Source: ©iStock.com/gchutka)

Review the Installer's Experience

What experience does the solar installer have? Some solar panel installers specialize only in off grid installations, while others might specialize in installing grid tied systems. There are definite differences between the two installation types.

Off the grid solar tends to be more complex than grid tied solar, so an off grid installer will likely be quite capable of connecting your PV system to the local power company grid if that's what you want.

Ask which company will actually install your new solar system. You might assume that it'll be the company you contract with, but you could be wrong. Many companies will contract their work out to other installers if they've overbooked and are running behind. You need to know how experienced the actual installer is.

Review the Company's Memberships

Membership in a professional organization for alternative energy vendors might be another indicator of the company's professionalism. However, always check out the membership organization on the Internet to see what requirements are needed to become a member.

Most memberships are voluntary, and some organizations require only that the company pays a membership fee to join. Other organizations require the company's installers to have field experience and to have taken industry related courses to meet membership requirements.

Review the Installer's Recommendations

The best solar panel installers will have word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted sources. Do you know someone who has recently installed a PV power system? If so, ask them whether they would recommend the people who installed it.

Also check with a local real estate agent, as they view many houses and will often know the trustworthy solar contractors from the untrustworthy fly-by-nighters.

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