Looking for solar system companies in Myrtle Beach or in your local hometown? Here are some tips on how to find a good solar contractor for your project.
The first thing to understand is that solar power can be a great investment, but there are many things to understand when installing a solar energy system that will produce at a high level. Two seemingly identical systems may produce much different results due to the exact products used, orientation of the panels, methods of wiring and otherwise. A good solar contractor will walk you through the best options to fit your budget. Equally important, you want to know that you have a contractor that will followup with you after the job in the event that you ever need service, have questions or would like to expand your system.
Here is a list of several things to consider when hiring your solar company:
- Are they insured? You want to work with a company that has full insurance.
- Are they local? Due to great local incentives, your area might get a lot of “out of town” contractors. Being Local is an underrated factor in searching for a company. But, the process of being able to work with local reps and specialists is greatly comforting. Plus, it expedites service if you ever need service to your panels after the job is complete.
- Are they licensed and experienced working in your area? Local building departments may have different methods of enforcing the solar system installations. While the Building code will dictate the basic requirements, the local authority having jurisdictions may go above and beyond those requirements or have special inspection requests.
- What is their warranty? The solar industry has many warranties with relation to their products. Due to the different warranties, there is sometimes confusion as to what and who is actually providing the warranty. Here are some quick examples:
- The Product “Workmanship” warranty on the solar panels. Though the word, “workmanship” often refers to the labor warranty in construction, the solar panel manufacturers actually use this word often to describe their panel warranty. The product warranty is designed to protect for things such as: panel glass clouding, the cable and plugs durability, or aluminum frames will not fail. If you are talking about “workmanship” warranties with your solar contractor, make sure you understand what they are referring to.
- The Performance Guarantee on the panel production. This is meant to represent that the panels will perform to some specified level of production for a period of time. Currently most panels will guarantee performance over a 25 year period.
- The Contractor’s Labor (Workmanship) warranty. This is the one that’s important when picking your contractor. Your contractor should define what period they are going to warrant their installation for.
- Do they have experience installing the system or are they outsourcing the installation to a third party? There are some solar broker’s that sell solar energy systems but may not have anything to do with the install because they have an agreement with the actual installer of the project. This could be a slippery slope when working with a company when it comes to having your work warranted for the long run. Find a company that either uses their own employees or is contracted with a subcontractor that works on their jobs and has experience with solar installations.
- Do they put their contracts in writing? This is pretty common, but the thoroughness of the contract can be a factor. Make sure the contract spells out: brands used, system size, etc.
- Are they affiliated with any organizations? An active company in the community is often invested in your community. This is a good sign that they intend to be around for the long haul.
- How thorough was the presentation? Your presentation and quote should be detailed and show that there was time taken to analyze your specific home. As mentioned above, you might have two quotes for the same size of system; but, these systems could have very different production. If the quote is not thorough, be prepared to ask questions.
- How long have they been in business in your area? This is good to know for the experience factor.
- Do they meet the standards of the local utility company? A good example of this is a Santee Cooper Trade Ally program. These are contractors that have meet the credentials required to be involved with their program.
Of course, this list is not all-inclusive. The major goal in picking your solar company is have a company that has made you comfortable that they will produce a solar energy system that will perform well for many years to come. Ask your questions before signing up and enjoy your energy savings later!