So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and go solar! Now what? The most important decision you can make is to carefully select the solar installer that you’re going to work with. While it may be easy to price solar panels and other equipment, finding the right installer is not so easy. A low-quality contractor could install your panels poorly or connect to your existing electrical infrastructure incorrectly. Mistakes in those areas could end up costing you much more than you bargained for in repairs and potential damages. So what should you look for in a solar installer?
What Certifications Should a Solar Contractor Have?
You want your solar installer to be an expert in all areas of solar system installation. The best way to ensure that any installer you are considering is an expert? Ask them if they are NABCEP certified. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners provides solar professionals with the Solar PV Installation Professional Certification. This ensures that installers are experienced, competent, and use up-to-date best practices in their solar installations. This certification is considered the gold standard throughout the United States. Solar installers that are NABCEP-certified, like us here at Steel City Solar, provide documentation without hesitation. They will list this on their company website, or provide you with proof of certification upon request.
Solar installers should also carry all of the necessary documentation for doing business in your state. This includes business licenses and insurance. This may include general contracting and electrician licenses. However, solar installers should minimally carry general liability insurance in case something goes wrong.
Master Electrician Is Key
Although the proper installation of the solar panels themselves is vital, it’s all for nothing if the connection to the power grid is faulty. A key component to any solar installation is having the electrical work performed by a licensed electrical contractor.
Think about it: Installing solar panels is much more than just attaching the panels to your roof. It includes correctly wiring each panel to the power system, connecting the PV inverter to the electrical panel, and installing the power meter. The last one is especially important, because the power meter is how you gain energy credits from your utility company when you produce more energy that your home uses (known as net metering).
A good solar installation company will have all of this work conducted or inspected by a Master electrician. If the installation is not performed by a professional electrician, it may not adhere to your local electrical code. This could cause problems down the road. For instance, under-sized wiring may lead to poor performance of your PV system. In a worst-case scenario, it may also lead to costly and dangerous fires.
We’re proud of our experienced team of master electricians and highly trained staff. Our employees are long-term team members who are committed to giving you the best solar experience.
Beware of Outsourcing
Many solar companies outsource certain portions of a PV system installation. This may include the actual installation of the panels or the electrical work. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can cause problems for you down the road if something goes wrong. Who do you call? And who is responsible for fixing it? There is also no way to ensure that the outsourced company is doing the high-quality work that you expect.
If your solar company uses a crew that is entirely in-house, however, then you know that they will stick to the standards and procedures that drew you to that company in the first place. Your installers are more likely to be the professionals who examined your house and designed your PV system. They’re more likely to treat your home with respect and will probably be more responsive to your needs. And if there’s a problem, you have a direct line of communication to the company.
If you’re sure whether or not your solar company outsources some or all of the work, go ahead and ask. Companies that rely on in-house technicians will be proud of that fact. They’ll be happy to introduce you to the professionals that will be doing the installation.
Workmanship warranties provide the customer with recourse in case something goes wrong with their PV system. They apply to the design and installation of your PV system. Warranties vary but usually range from one to 10 years. It’s possible to contract with a different solar company to oversee the maintenance of your solar system. However, it’s probably best to use a solar installer that offers a long and expansive workmanship warranty. Look up reviews of the company online to determine how responsive they are to service and maintenance requests.
Deciding to install a solar system in your home is a big investment. Make sure you choose a solar installer you can trust to do the job right. A good solar installer will take the time to listen to your needs and design a solar system with your home in mind. Most importantly, a reputable installer will advise you through the process and help you understand your new solar system.
If you’re looking for a solar installation company that proudly meets all of these criteria, then look no further than Steel City Solar. We make customer satisfaction our top priority. Giving you the highest quality installation and the best experience is why we do business the way we do. Reach out for a free estimate and see for yourself!