Choosing a Solar Contractor? Ask These Questions First
Choosing the right solar contractor is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when installing a residential or commercial photovoltaic system.
Choosing the right contractor can mean the difference between a solar panel system that provides decades of trouble-free service and one that plagues you with problems.
Take the time to interview a few contractors before making your selection. Asking the questions recommended below can help ensure that adopting solar energy is as easy as it is financially beneficial.
Determine Potential Solar Contractor Qualifications
It can be helpful to read online solar contractor reviews and ask other photovoltaic system owners for recommendations. However, this alone won’t provide you with a clear understanding of a solar contractor’s qualifications.
When speaking with installers, ask pointed questions regarding their years in business and the number of photovoltaic system installations they have completed in your area. Also, ask to see a portfolio or a list of recent projects to learn more about their work.
Make sure that any solar installer you consider hiring is licensed in your state.
In addition, look for an installer certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), as this organization requires contractors to meet an exemplary level of professional standards and qualifications.
Ask Solar Contractors about Products and Services
The brand and quality of photovoltaic panels and other system components a solar contractor offers should strongly influence your hiring decision.
Learn about the products a solar installer works with and why they prefer these. Be sure to ask about warranties on parts and labor as well, as these can vary.
For the smoothest installation process, select a solar contractor familiar with local permitting requirements and who has experience working with your utility company. It will also be beneficial to hire a solar installer willing to provide operation and maintenance training as well as assistance in applying for any available rebates and incentives.
Finally, ask if the contractor handles installation with its own staff, or if they subcontract any part of the work to others. If so, you’ll have to repeat this process for any subcontractors they plan to use.
Solar Contractor Bid Questions
Each solar contractor you interview should provide you with a detailed bid that includes several components.
The total cost of the photovoltaic project — including equipment, design and installation as well as any applicable taxes and fees — must be included. The federal tax credit and other incentives for which you are eligible also should be factored into your total.
If you don’t see all of this information, make sure to ask. Also speak up if the bid doesn’t include equipment and warranty information. Most contractors also will project your range of potential savings over time.
Finally, be sure to ask if the total bid includes all permitting costs, hookup fees, and any other extra expenses that may catch you by surprise.
Intermountain Wind & Solar, established in 2008, has installed more 15 million watts of PV solar energy to date, comprising more than 60,000 panels. We were named a top U.S. solar rooftop contractor for 2015 by Solar Power World, ranked No. 32 in the nation for rooftop solar power contractors, and No. 1 in the state of Utah.
Contact us today and let us show you all the reasons we are Utah’s premier photovoltaic solar contractor.