What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Every Homeowner Should Understand These Top 3 Considerations Before Buying a Solar Electric System
There are three very important considerations for anyone thinking about solar electricity. Many people focus on only one or two of these crucial parts of a solar electricity system, but all three are equally important. If any one of these three is missing you could be heading for serious problems like decreased energy savings, increased maintenance costs, and safety issues. Don't trust any installer who wants to focus on only one or two of these.
1) Quality of Solar Panels, Inverters, and Mounting Equipment: Your installer should use only high quality solar electric panels. There are many less than reputable companies selling solar panels. Stick with established manufacturers that have a solid history of making quality solar panels. The same is true for the inverters (remember the inverters convert the electricity that the solar panels produce (DC) to the type of electricity used in your home (AC)).
Use only established manufacturers with a good history. The mounting equipment should be strong enough to stand up to highest local winds and be long lasting enough to last at least 25 years. The mounting parts should all be aluminum or stainless steel. Wood will not last long enough.
2) Quality of System Design: Solar electricity systems must be designed conscientiously by an expert. An improperly designed and installed system can have catastrophic effects. It could cost you many thousands of dollars, could have safety issues, and may never work properly. I have seen this happen more than it should. Protect yourself and find an expert who specializes specifically in solar power. Avoid contractors who also do solar as an add-on to their business; like home improvement companies and heating and air conditioning companies. I would not go to an "eye, nose, and throat" doctor who does heart surgery also? As always, it is in your best interest to find a specialist!
Solar Experience, electrical engineering degrees, and NABCEP (www.nabcep.org) certification are all excellent indicators of an expert. NABCEP is an independent certification group that requires extensive knowledge and experience to qualify for their certification. This is a minimal qualification that every solar installer should have.
3) Quality of Installation: This is often the most important and most overlooked consideration. First of all find a contractor who does their own installations. They maintain control over the quality of work and time schedule. Always avoid sales organizations that just outsource their work, because they cannot maintain control of the quality of work and timeliness of the install.
Wouldn't you rather know who your installer is? How would you feel to have someone youve never seen let alone met do your installation?