Federal and state rebates can save you as much as 50% on your total cost, so it is important the company is taking every advantage of available rebates.


Aaron Hall | Borrego Solar

EarthToys Renewable Energy Article
Federal and state rebates can save you as much as 50% on your total cost, so it is important the company is taking every advantage of available rebates.

10 Tips for Picking the Right Solar Installer

Aaron Hall, President & CEO of Borrego Solar

Why Picking the Right Company is Important: The company you pick should specialize solely in designing and installing solar electric power systems. A solar installation is a complicated process that involves an initial assessment, a detailed installation process and a lifelong maintenance relationship.

How long has the company been in business: Confirm that the company has at least a ten-year record of operations. Most contractors go out of business before ten years, so it’s important to ensure the proven history and the longevity of your solar electric provider. Also, ask if the company has its own high-quality staff to avoid a subcontracted installation. One of the ways you can ensure they are highly trained is if they are NABCEP certified (a national organization that establishes the highest level of industry standards in energy system design and installation).

Setting up the Initial Consultancy: The initial meeting with a consultant should be an in-depth analysis of your current energy consumption at no charge. Look to see if the energy consultant actually goes on your roof to inspect and measure as this is a vital step in accurately determining the effectiveness of a solar electric power system. The energy consultant should also check your electric service panel to ensure that it can safely accommodate a solar power installation.

What Type of Materials are they Using: Ask about the types of materials they will use for the system. Some examples of high quality materials you should look for include corrosive-resistant aluminum, hot-dipped galvanized steel, and materials designed for all types of weather. They should also offer customizable features from shingle roofs to ceramic tile, tar-and-gravel, metal tile, and other materials.

See Design Examples: Ask to see examples of designs done in your area. The company should have a complete design department staffed with technical experts familiar with top-flight CAD software and equipment.

State and Local Licensed Documentation: Check to see if the solar installer has proper licensing documentation from both the state and local government and is bonded on all their installation work. Ask if the licensing extends to have both C-10 and C-46 certification with the latter indicating highly-trained and qualified expertise.

Check on the Availability of Rebates: Federal and state rebates can save you as much as 50% on your total cost, so it is important the company is taking every advantage of available rebates. Ask if the company has fully-trained staff that can discuss with you the rebate programs and are familiar with the procedures on how to take advantage of government incentives.

Insist on a Fair Warranty: Confirm that you are receiving a fair warranty agreement from the solar electric installer. An industry standard warranty should include the following:

  1. 10-year warranty on the system
  2. Five-year leak proof roof guarantee
  3. Additional warranties from equipment manufactures—some of which extend 15-25 years.

Service Guarantee: Ask about a service guarantee to pay your eclectic utility costs should the system malfunction or under perform. This should extend to any system that is not repaired within one business day.

References and Referrals: Referrals are an important part of determining the quality of your solar electric installer. Ask to speak to a previous client, ideally a recent client or someone located in your neighborhood. If you are not satisfied with their opinion, there are independent research companies that certify the performance of solar installers by interviewing their past clients. You can contact them for a trusted evaluation of client satisfaction.


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