Finding the right solar company for you can be a difficult task. Purchasing a solar energy system is very expensive, and is a long-term commitment. You will be working with the company throughout the lifetime of your panels. Many solar companies are not as upfront as they should be, and do not disclose items that can lead to a long-term disaster. In this article we will be discussing five important things to look for when choosing a solar company.
Time in the Industry
You should first consider how long the company has been in the industry. It’s not that younger companies do not provide great service, but when you choose a younger company, there is a higher risk of the company not even being in business for the full 25 years of your solar panel’s warranty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 50 percent of businesses make it past five years in operation.
Going solar is an expensive endeavor; however, there are several financing options. Some of these options include green energy loans, power purchase agreements, and leasing options. Each of these options have positive and negative aspects to consider before making a final financing decision.
The first option we will discuss is the green energy loans. These loans were made specifically for people who want to change to a renewable green energy. Most of these loans have fairly low interest rates. This option allows you to own the equipment, and pay off the balance over time. Most people pay off green energy loan within 7–8 years.
The next two options are very similar: power purchase agreement and leasing options. With the power purchase agreement, you are essentially renting the equipment and paying for the energy you use. Leasing options are similar in that you are renting the equipment, but instead of paying for what you use, you pay a set amount every month. With both of these options you do not own the equipment. You are also tied into a long-term contract. Be aware that many of these contracts include an annual increase of your interest rate that can be as high as 3 percent. Be sure to read your contract carefully.
You will have to decide which of these options works best for your situation. Once you have chosen a company, you can further discuss the choices. It is suggested to find a company that offers all of these options.
Warranties are an important piece of the solar puzzle. The warranty consists of two parts: equipment and performance. The equipment warranty is generally good for 10–12 years, while the performance guarantee lasts up to 25 years. While most solar panels will go decades without any issues, it is important to have a solid warranty in case something does happen. You should look for a company that offers a:
Equipment warranty for 10–12 years
Performance warranty of 90 percent up to 10 years
Performance warranty of 80 percent up to 25 years
It wasn’t too long ago that finding real reviews for products was borderline impossible. You relied on word-of-mouth feedback, which isn’t always reliable. Finding reviews from real people who have experienced what a company has to offer can help you find a great company as well as avoid horrible mistakes. Find a company that has glowing reviews from past customers. Reviews can show what kind of customer support and services a company provides. You definitely want to find a company that’s representatives are responsive, caring, and knowledgeable, as you will be communicating with the company frequently.