Once the decision to get a solar panel system installed for your home has been made, the next step is to look for and pick a reputable company. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are shopping around for panels and an installer.
How to choose the right panels
- Reading reviews: A good place to start is by talking to friends and family about their systems. Also read up on available technology and the different panels on the market. Local installation companies are also in a good position to come and check out your needs and make recommendations. It is up to the customer to do due diligence before investing a good chunk of money on solar panels.
- Getting multiple quotes: Get quotes from different installation companies to get an idea of the cost of different kinds of panels, the number needed for a home/office and installation. Asking for quotes will also offer an idea on how responsive and interested a company is.
- Panel Brands and Designs: Have the installation company explain the different kinds of panels available on the market, how they work and the pros and cons of each type. A good installation company will take your needs into account and then recommend the right one for your needs. The two major panels sold for residential use are mono and polycrystalline silicon.
- Warranties: Power output of solar panels usually lasts between 25 – 35 years. Warranties should cover repairs of the silicon cells when the electricity production falls by a certain percentage. Product and workmanship warranties cover glass, laminate and backing used in construction. Inverters are usually the part that could break down first – they work round the clock to provide power. Get a good inverter warranty –depending on the one you have, the warranty could be up to 10 years for a regular one and 25 for a micro-inverter.
- Certifications: Check installer certifications to see that you get the right company for the job. There are a few certifications offered by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. The Better Business Bureau is another great resource for information on whether a specific company has a good track record and also if there are complaints against them.
- References: It is essential to get references from other customers – a services company should be willing to give information on previous jobs. This will help you to decide whether the installer knows their job and what kind of service they offer.
- Financing: The initial cost of getting a solar power system is expensive – it could cost $20,000 or more. There are quite a few incentives being offered by federal and state governments to encourage people to consider this option. An installer will be aware of the options and should be able to explain what you should choose.
Making the shift to solar power is a big commitment but well worth it. Find the right company to help and reap the benefits.