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Big Dog Solar

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Since 2008, Big Dog Solar Energy has been designing and installing quality solar panel systems in residential, commercial, and industrial markets across the country. Big Dog Solar is currently licensed and insured in 13 states, employs NABCEP-certified installers, and offers a suite of high-quality solar power products designed to reduce homeowners’ utility bill and carbon footprint.

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The Good

  • Broad Service Area
  • High-Efficiency Solar Panels
  • NABCEP Certification

Broad Service Area

For a solar company that’s only been in business since 2008, Big Dog Solar has rapidly expanded its service area from local jobs in and around its Pocatello, Idaho headquarters to 13 states across the country:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Considering the majority of the nation’s solar providers only conduct solar installation services in one, possibly two states, Big Dog Solar Energy’s expansive coverage is certainly impressive. And while the company may be behind some industry leaders in terms of state coverage, the fact that Big Dog has been in business for well over a decade and has maintained operations across such a broad service area indicates that customer satisfaction is generally good.

High-Efficiency Solar Panels

In addition to solar inverters from SolarEdge, which are considered industry-leading, Big Dog Solar Energy also installs solar panels from REC Solar into its solar system. REC Solar panels are widely regarded as a top five solar module in terms of energy efficiency (up to 21.7 percent), temperature coefficient (-0.37 to -0.26), and equipment warranty (20 years).

The company installs two main types of systems for its residential solar customers: grid-tied and off-grid. These systems can be installed via ground mount or roof mount depending on available space. Big Dog Solar has chosen SnapNRack Solar Mounting Solutions as its partner for both roof- and ground-mounted systems.

Big Dog Solar Energy doesn’t just install solar panels; the company also installs the LG Chem backup battery, which allows homeowners to store excess solar energy harnessed during the day, and apply it — rather than switch back to a traditional utility supplier — at night. The LG Chem battery also provides emergency power in the event of a grid outage. This addition allows homeowners to save even more on their electricity bill.

NABCEP Certification

Installers employed by Big Dog Solar Energy have been certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), a solar industry–recognized organization that sponsors some of the more rigorous certification programs in solar. This certification sets companies like Big Dog Solar Energy apart from the competition because it tells customers that technicians are installing their photovoltaic systems according to top standards and best industry practices.

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The Bad

  • Undisclosed Financing Options
  • Undisclosed Workmanship Warranty

Undisclosed Financing Options

While the company website does mention that Big Dog Solar Energy has partnered with certain third parties to provide affordable financing solutions to its customers, the company does not appear to disclose either the identity of these partners or the various financing options and terms they might provide. For a company with such an expansive service area, the partnerships could be many, each coming with its own terms for solar loans, solar leases, or power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Potential customers interested in learning what financing options are available to them will need to fill out a contact form to obtain a free quote first.

Undisclosed Workmanship Warranty

Big Dog Solar also mentions that certain components of its solar energy systems come with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty; however, this does not account for the workmanship warranty (if any exists) from Big Dog itself. Unlike the equipment warranty, which covers defective parts, the workmanship warranty protects the homeowner from costs associated with labor and installation errors. Often, companies will attach a workmanship warranty between 10 and 25 years, or the life of the system; but whether Big Dog Solar Energy offers either of these terms (or none of them) is unknown.

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The Bottom Line

Big Dog Solar Energy brings much to the table for customers looking for a competent, experienced solar energy provider. The company builds solar arrays that meet industry standards and state permitting requirements. However, more information, specifically concerning its financing options and partnerships, as well as the terms of its workmanship warranty, needs to come to light before we can recommend this company fully to potential customers. 

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Big Dog Solar Frequently Asked Questions

Why Big Dog Solar?

Big Dog Solar is a full service solar installation company. We are a one-stop shop and have done over 5,000 installs. We believe experience matters and have been installing renewable energy for nearly 15 years. We are also NABCEP certified. 

What happens to my solar if I move?

As a Big Dog Solar customer, if there comes a time where moving is necessary, you have the following options:

  1. You can sell the house and solar system with its increased market value.
  2. If your system is financed, you can transfer the financing of the system to the new homeowners. 

How does going solar with Big Dog Work?

Going solar with Big Dog Solar is easy because everything is handled in house. The process begins with a site analysis, followed by system design, permitting, installation, and operations/production. Handling everything ourselves means consumers can go to one place for all their solar needs.

How much does a solar system from Big Dog Solar Cost?

Many factors go into the cost of a solar system, including who your local utility provider is, specifics of the physical setup of the system. The best way to find out the specific cost, is to provide a knowledgeable Big Dog Solar rep with a current power bill, which contains the information needed to meet your needs.

How long does Big Dog Solar installation take?

While there are many variables that go into the installation process and time, our goal is to have each system up and operating within four to six weeks from the time an agreement has been reached. Often times it can happen quicker, but is largely dependent on local jurisdictions and the permitting process. 

What is the best time to go solar with Big Dog Solar?

There are pros and cons to going solar at different points throughout the year. From a production standpoint, the most optimal time to install a solar system is spring or early summer. In doing so, you will have several months of high production energy months to build up credits that can be used towards lower energy months. 

What is net metering and how does it work?

Net metering is a simple process in which your local utility provider puts an electrical meter on your home, which will keep track of all the energy you consume, as well as any energy you produce. This process can vary from one utility to another, but generally speaking, sunny months (spring, summer, fall), you will get credit for overproducing electricity, which you can use towards your winter power bills when the production months are lower. Thus, you can offset your utility bill on an annual basis. 

How long will my solar panels last with Big Dog Solar?

Depending on the type or manufacturer of the specific panels, the warranty will vary. But because we only use tier one rated panels, the minimum production warranty is 25 years. 

 

Does Big Dog Solar warranty on their workmanship?

Yes, Big Dog Solar offers a 10-year workmanship warranty. This covers all defects of labor and material, as well as applicable roof areas.

Message from
Big Dog Solar

Big Dog Solar provides residential and commercial property owners with a budget-friendly and earth-friendly alternative for electrical energy. Having been in local business for over 20 years, and in the solar (photovoltaic) industry specifically since 2008, our experience has proven an extremely valuable asset in helping consumers find the right energy solution for their unique needs. Whether you are looking to save money, save the environment, or save your sanity, Big Dog Solar is your all-inclusive stop for solar energy on homes or businesses. Our goal is to put the power back into the hands of consumers, so they can have the peace of mind that comes with energy independence and backup battery solutions. While we may not be able to have our thousands of customers around our Thanksgiving table, we strive to treat every one of them as if they could drop by at any time for a warm meal and friendly conversation. So if solar seems like something you'd like to learn more about, give us a jingle. We don't bite or release any private information. Let us know how we can help.

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David Yager Kuna, ID

I requested Big Dog to install 12.5KW of solar on our house. It has worked flawlessly. It has reduced my power to the meter charge only.

1 month ago

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