Written by Sarah Hancock | Last Updated October 31st, 2019Sarah Hancock is passionate about green living and sustainability. She frequently writes about renewable energy and manages the Solar blog at BestCompany.com.
This is the fifth question in a twelve-question series. Please click here to read the introduction, as well as access the other questions in the series. Or, download the printable ebook to view the entire series.
"A solid track record, meaning it's important to know how long the solar provider has been in business. The concern should be "will you be around when I need you in the next 5+ years?" So many solar companies, large and small, have folded in the last 2-3 years. In many cases, homeowners who need need maintenance on their solar system have nobody to turn to once their original installer has closed its doors. The other is the quality of work and level of customer service. We believe that you get what you pay for. There are solar installers out there who offer lower prices just to win the customer's business. What the customer ends up sacrificing is quality. The quality of products are substituted for underperforming alternatives. And the level of customer service is lacking. All of this simply because the customer wanted the best price. We want to protect prospective customers from this because, unfortunately, it happens a lot in this business. A company who lowers its price is, at the same time, lowering its value. It's like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Go with a company that has a strong track record, has some experience underneath it, and offers real customer value instead of empty promises." -Rainier de Ocampo
"Someone with great reviews and someone that has substantial experience." -Geoff Mirkin
"Consumers should look for a solar installer with NABCEP accreditation. This is not an easy certification to get or keep and was established to set a standard for quality in the solar workforce to protect consumers. A solar installer should also take time to sit down with you and answer all of your questions to ensure you are getting the best system for your particular roof that will perform optimally so you can see those savings in your electric bill." -Kathie Zipp
"Commitment to great customer service, outstanding workmanship, and several product offerings to ensure they do what's best for you. The best bet is to speak to families who have already worked with them." -Julio Daniel Hernandez
"I recommend going with someone who is focused on solar but can demonstrate a great knowledge on both electricity AND general building. The design of the array is important, which is why I recommend using a solar-focused group. Having knowledge in electricity is also important for obvious reasons (efficiency and safety). I stress building because I HATE seeing a number of the new solar arrays going out with panels cut out because of vent pipes, etc. A good company that also knows construction/roofing should have no problem moving roof vents. They understand how the roof is constructed and can make changes or repairs while on your roof (we always cleaned the gutter of homes we were working on, performed a full inspection, and typically re-caulked flashing as part of our service)." -Teris Pantazes
"Companies that focus on offering ownership of the system and making sure the homeowners are the ones to receive the tax credit. Ownership of solar systems benefit the homeowners, while leases and PPAs primarily benefit the financial institutions that back those contracts (they are treated as securities that can be bundled and sold). Also, being able to answer questions about every aspect of their project and not having a high pressure sales approach. Looking for positive reviews online in regards to installation and customer service is important as well." -Matt Stoutenburg
"Reputation, longevity, and strong financial stability. There are many small/local outfits in the business today that may or may not be profitable and will not be in business several years from now. We have already seen this happen. In terms of warranty and long term maintenance. it is better to go with a well-established, reputable organization or electrical contractor." -Greg Reed
"The key to finding a good solar PV company is to avoid the shiny-suited salesman. There are a lot of companies that sell systems to homeowners and businesses that do not meet their needs. It is also important to ensure that they have internal and not sub-contracted labor, are members of the trade associations, and provide an insurance-backed warranty." -Mark Stevenson