Thinking of going solar? If so, you’ll want to make sure that your solar company of choice understands your priorities.
See, a lot of solar sales teams cover the same ground during their pitch. They’ll tell you how solar panels work, why they save you money, and how renewable energy is great. What they often neglect to mention is whether solar is right for you at all.
Yes, solar can save you money. However, can your solar provider guarantee to install your system the right way? If they can’t, there’s a chance you’ll have to replace the entire system if it breaks. Most reputable companies won’t try to fix another company’s mistakes.
Not sure what to ask your solar provider? These eight simple questions will help you find the right crew for the job.
1. Why Do You Charge Less Than Your Competitors?
While you’re researching solar companies, you’re bound to see some lower bids. This can be an indicator of a good deal, but it can also be a red flag.
The truth is, there are plenty of factors that influence the cost. Maybe it’s the products they’re using. Maybe they don’t offer a warranty. Maybe their price comes down to their low overhead and company size.
If you notice a deal that seems too good to be true, there’s almost always a reason for it. When it comes to solar, you tend to get what you pay for. The price tag alone will never tell you the entire story—do your due diligence and research further.
2. Do You Offer a Warranty?
Solar is a big enough purchase that you want to be sure you’re making the right choice. If you’re buying a high-quality product, it should come with a warranty. The company should be confident enough to back up its craftsmanship as well.
This is another area where it’s important to look into specifics. For example, you should ask the solar company what is and isn’t covered by their warranty. You should also inquire about the process for repairs done outside of the warranty.
3. Do You Use Google Earth for Sizing Your Systems?
Google Earth is a helpful tool, but it can be out of date. For instance, it may not capture the recent renovations you’ve done on your home. If there are any trees around the house, they may have grown a lot within the last five years.
If the solar company relies on Google Earth to size the systems, their quote might be inaccurate. This can lead to design or price changes down the line. The best way to receive an accurate quote is to work with real measurements of your property.
4. Do You Subcontract?
If a solar provider doesn’t subcontract, their installer team will have better collaboration with the sales team. Plus, your salesperson is more likely to know how the installation process works. This allows them to see issues with the design before they come up.
The above benefits translate into a more seamless experience for the customer. You don’t get that with a subcontracted crew. If a company subcontracts work, they won’t control its safety, quality, and insurance.
5. Are You and Your Employees Insured?
If the answer is no, you should start looking elsewhere. When it comes to construction, insurance and workers’ compensation is essential.
In these situations, it’s important to consider the worst-case scenario. Let’s say an installer slips off your roof and gets gravely injured. If the company has insurance, the worker’s family will go straight after them.
If the company isn’t insured, this kind of incident could make them go under. This stops you from taking advantage of any kind of workmanship warranty you might have had. What’s more, the worker’s family could now press charges against you.
6. Can You Provide References?
Testimonials remain the best way to gain insight into a company. The more reviews a company provides, the better their brand loyalty looks.
Of course, you should always do your own research. One thing to pay attention to is how similar the reviews look. If everyone says that the company was professional, you should be more inclined to trust them.
The number of ratings and reviews matters as well. Two 5-star reviews are nice, but 30 4-star reviews are a more reliable indicator of quality. Look for reviews from recent customers—if all the reviews are old, the company may not be on top of its game anymore.
7. How Often Do You Run Into Issues After Installation?
Every experienced solar provider has encountered problems of some kind. The important thing is how they deal with them. Find out how they handle service calls, what kind of problems they run into, and how do they go about fixing them.
If you get the sense that they keep replacing faulty panels or patching up leaky roofs, dig further. Is this an industry-wide problem? What are they doing to avoid these issues in the future? If you get several quotes, compare their answers to these questions.
8. Who Is Your Lending Partner?
No, a solar company can’t set the terms of your loan. That said, what they can do is pick a lending partner that has your best interests at heart. Every solar company with enough experience can recognize a good deal.
This is why you should ask your solar provider how they picked one lender over another. They should be able to make their case by pointing out certain pitfalls or tricky terms most loans come with. If they can’t do that, you may want to look into other options.
More on Choosing a Solar Company
Going solar should be a wonderful experience, not a headache. By asking these questions, you can all but ensure that the process goes smoothly.
One final tip: look into the company’s install crew turnover. As a rule of thumb, low turnover translates to more experience. This is a good way to guarantee better workmanship and fewer issues in the future.
Interested in learning more about the many benefits of solar energy? Looking for a solar company that can efficiently meet your solar needs? Contact us today—we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!