Once you have decided to go solar, it’s time to choose who will install the solar system. With hundreds of solar installers and contractors in Southern California alone, it can seem pretty overwhelming. By properly researching your solar contractor, you can ensure that you will receive a quality installation and your system will produce the maximum amount of solar energy for the duration of its lifetime. But, where to start?
First things first, research the company’s professional credentials. We suggest finding out the following:
• Are they a member of CALSEIA?
• Are they listed as an eligible vendor at the California Solar Initiative website?
• Are they licensed by the Contractors State License Board?
• Are they a member of the League of California Homeowners?
• Do they have an A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau?
CALSEIA, or the California Solar Energy Industries Association, is dedicated to spreading solar technology throughout the state. They make sure that their members are avoiding any deceptive acts and are running an ethical business model. Of course, it’s important to check that the company is listed as an eligible vendor on the California Solar Initiative (CSI) website and is also licensed by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB).
We also recommend choosing a solar installer who is a member of the League of California Homeowners. This nonprofit organization does a rigorous background check on their members every year. Among other things, they check to see that the company did not file for bankruptcy and has the proper workers comp and insurance. They also interview three customers a year to make sure that folks are happy with the company’s work.
The Better Business Bureau doles out ratings from A+ to F based on a 16 point system that evaluates everything from the number and degree of any complaints filed to the use of questionable advertising. We would only accept a solar installer with an A+ rating from the BBB.
Second, ask the solar contractor to provide you with customer references from previous installations. Pay attention to the amount of references they give you. For instance, did they provide you with 3 or 30 references? Are the references from recent jobs only or the entire time that they have been in business? We recommend contacting a few of the references to see what they have to say. Ultimately, their feedback might help you make your final decision.
Lastly, research the solar company’s online reviews on websites like Yelp or Angie’s List. Since these sites are unedited, you can get a pretty good feel for the company’s reputation by reading through the commentary. Solar Reviews is also a good website to gauge a solar installation company’s quality of work and service.
Verifying a solar company’s professional credentials and reviewing their customer references and reviews are a few tips that will give you a good start on researching the best solar installer for your project. Be sure to check back in on the blog next week for the second installment on how to choose a solar contractor with even more pointers and advice.