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Did you know that in 2019 alone as many as 2 million houses in the United States had solar panels? Since that time, the number of houses with solar panels has only increased because more and more people are discovering the benefits of solar power.
If you’ve been thinking about running your home off of solar energy, you might be wondering where you should start when it comes to choosing the best solar company for you.
When you hire a solar company, one of the first things you need to remember is that the company you choose needs to be legit. This may sound obvious to you, but finding a reputable solar company can be harder than you think. But the solution to finding one is simple: start with online customer reviews.
Keep reading to help you learn how to choose the best company for your needs.
Use Online Customer Reviews to Find the Best Solar Company for You
Online reviews are more important than you might expect and for good reason. By exploring the customer reviews online for a particular solar company, you can learn about what kind of history that solar company might have. You will also be able to see what kind of relationship the company has with its customers.
As a rule of thumb, the more customer reviews a company has online, the better. With more reviews, you have a bigger sample size to work with. You will be able to see if the reviews are mostly positive or negative.
On the other hand, if you find solar services that only have a few reviews online, you won’t have much to work with. For example, if a company has two reviews and one is very positive while the other is negative, you won’t know the real story. More than that, a company without many reviews likely has not been around for very long which may be suspicious.
A new company may not have a lot of experience, and do you really want your solar panels to be installed by installers without a lot of experience? Instead, try to find solar companies in your area that have at least a couple dozen reviews.
From those reviews, you should see how many are positive and how many are negative. Of course, you should avoid any company that has mostly negative reviews because that company is obviously doing something wrong. On the other hand, a company with great reviews most likely knows how to get the job done right and treats customers well.
You should also take your time and read through some individual comments. This will give you the bigger picture of how the company installs solar panels and how it treats customers.
Ask For Recommendations
If you know friends, family, or even acquaintances who have gotten solar panels for their homes, you should ask to see if they would recommend any solar panel installation company in particular. Recommendations are different from online reviews in one big way: they are more personal. You would be listening to people you already know rather than strangers on the internet.
But more than that, you can also get more answers than you would from comments on the internet. This is because online comments are limited and you can’t ask them any more than what is already written. On the other hand, when you ask a friend about his experience with a particular solar installation company, you can ask about all the details.
Was the solar installer-friendly and professional? How much did the installation service cost and how long did it take? How well did the company communicate with you to make sure everything was going well?
By asking someone you know these questions, you will be able to get much more detailed answers. You will also be able to hear what someone didn’t like about a solar company. For example, your friend might tell you that a solar company did a great job installing solar panels, but the price was a little expensive.
Or, a solar company might have taken too long installing the solar panels but the job was otherwise high-quality. By taking all of these factors into account, you can learn a lot about one or more solar installation companies. But more than that, by combining all the information you’ve learned, you will be able to better make a decision for you and your home.
But you shouldn’t stop at personal recommendations. You will need to do some in-depth research on your own as well.
Make Sure the Solar Company You Choose Has Experience
Wondering why you should own solar panels? Because they can help you save on your electricity bill, they’re good for the environment, and they often come with tax incentives, all of which can save you a lot of money in the long run. However, if you end up hiring a solar installer who doesn’t know what he’s doing, you might end up wasting a lot of money right out of the gate.
As mentioned before, a company with few or no reviews might not be very experienced. However, counting the reviews a solar company has is not the only way you can tell if a company and its installers are experienced or not. You should never forget to visit a given solar company’s website.
You can learn a lot from a website that goes beyond the service section. You should look to see if the company details how long it has been servicing homes. The longer, the better.
You should look for companies that have at least a few years of experience under their belts. Any less and you won’t be able to trust the quality of their work. More than that, they might not even be fully qualified to install solar panels in the first place.
The reason why experience is so important for a solar company is that the more experience a company has, the more information it has to deal with unexpected problems and optimize the results. A solar installer who has very few years of experience might not know what to do if a problem arises. If this happens, the solar panel installation process might take a lot longer than you wanted or expected.
On the other hand, you can always expect speedy installation from experienced installers and you won’t need to worry about quality.
Get More Than One Quote
Many people make the mistake of only getting one quote from one solar company before proceeding with the solar installation. You should avoid this mistake at all costs because you could save yourself a lot of money by simply finding a few more quotes from different companies. While you ask for recommendations from your friends and family, you should remember to ask about the cost as well. You should keep in mind that nowadays you can also choose between leasing or buying solar panels.
This will give you an idea about how much you might need to pay for solar panel installation from solar companies in your area. After your gather some recommendations, you should again visit various solar company websites. Some websites might list a general price range for solar installation while others might not.
If you can’t find any price range on the company websites in your area, try contacting the companies to get quotes. A good company should respond quickly and you shouldn’t be left waiting around for a week as you wait for an answer. Once you get a quote from one company, don’t hesitate to get quotes from other solar companies near your home.
Try gathering about three or so quotes. Once you do, you will be able to compare these different prices and see which is the most affordable for you. However, be sure that you don’t get too hung up on the price alone.
After all, you often get what you pay for, especially with solar installation services. Even though a company might be more affordable, be sure that their solar installation services are still reputable and of high quality. Even if you might need to pay a bit extra, it might be worth it for high-quality solar installation services.
Make Sure Your Solar Installer Is Licensed
The final thing you need to consider before choosing a solar installer is that the installer is licensed. Solar installers need to have a license to install solar panels within the state they are located in. Every state has unique licensing requirements that you can read about from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
In some states, a solar installer may only need to have an ordinary electrician’s license in order to install solar panels. Other states, in contrast, may need to have special licenses meant for the installation of solar panels only. And in other states, a solar installer might only need to have a contractor’s license.
Whatever the case, be sure that your installer has a license.
Choosing the Best Solar Company for You
Choosing the best solar company for you can be difficult, but as long as you follow the recommendations mentioned, you should be fine. By reviewing online reviews, getting recommendations, getting several quotes, and checking licenses, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a good solar installation company.
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