A residential solar system is an important investment for your home and family. You want to feel confident that the solar company you choose will install a quality system that meets your needs.
If you’re going solar with a group, as a member of a solar co-op, you can rely on a committee that works together to compare installers. This lets them choose the best option for the group.
If you’re going solar on your own, how do you find a solar company you can trust to install your solar panels?
In this post, we’ll tell you where to look, what to look for, and what to watch out for when searching for a reputable solar installer. For even more information about going solar, download our free Go Solar Guide or contact our Solar Help Desk.
Where to look for solar installers
- Ask friends or neighbors with solar systems who they worked with and if they’d recommend them.
- Read reviews on websites like Solar Reviews, the Better Business Bureau, or Google.
- Connect with solar homeowners in your area through community Facebook Groups or apps like NextDoor.
Key criteria to consider
From the amount of energy produced, to the style of your panels, what you want from a solar system might differ greatly from what another person wants. But regardless of these specifics, anyone looking for a trustworthy solar installer should consider four main criteria:
The solar installer you choose should have at least one person on its crew who is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). A NABCEP certification is considered the gold standard. It ensures that your installer has the experience and the knowledge to provide a quality installation.
Electrical panels, inverters, racking systems! Discuss with your installer which materials will work best for your home and whether their inventory can meet your needs. Ask the installer which materials they do — and do not — offer. If they don’t have a specific type of material that you want (American-made panels, for example), ask if they have a way to get it.
This may seem obvious, but many people skip assessing an installer’s experience. To understand how much and what kind of experience they have, ask your installer questions like:
- How many installations have you completed?
- How many were systems similar to mine (in size, design, and materials)?
- How long have you worked in this jurisdiction and utility territory?
- How familiar are you with the permitting and interconnection procedures here?
Your solar company should offer a warranty to cover its workmanship. This should include electrical wiring and roof penetrations. Ask your installer what is — and is not — covered by the labor warranty. If you don’t find the warranty sufficient, inquire about upgrading to a longer or more robust warranty. Or, go with an installer whose warranty truly meets your needs.
Red flags to watch for
While most solar companies are reputable and responsible, it’s important to be wary of those employing scams or aggressive sales tactics.
Some of the common red flags to watch out for include:
- So-called “special financing rates” or incentive programs that are only available for a limited time.
- Supposed low-cost or “no-upfront-cost” solar programs. (These often appear in social media advertisements targeting low- and middle-income homeowners.)
- Claims about special government or utility programs that won’t cost you money.
Go solar with confidence!
By doing your research and asking the right questions, you’ll find a solar installer you trust in no time.
If at any point you need an extra hand or have a specific question, let us know by reaching out to our Solar Help Desk. Solar United Neighbors (SUN) is an unbiased, expert-level resource focused on consumer protection and advocacy. Our free guidance and support — like our Go Solar Guide — has helped thousands of families go solar.