Renewable energy is the new hot trend. Everybody is switching to solar energy to cut down their electric bill and be kinder to the environment.
But, the hype has had an unexpected consequence – too many options. There are hundreds of solar companies offering different services, and knowing how to pick the right one is crucial. There are over 20,000 solar installers in the US alone. You don’t want to be stuck with solar panels and no solar installer.
So, here is a simple guide on identifying solar companies and how to choose the right one.
- 1 Different Types of Solar Companies
- 2 How Do I Choose a Solar Company?
- 3 How to Identify a Good Solar Company?
- 4 What are the Best Solar Companies?
- 5 Wrapping Up
Different Types of Solar Companies
Before you can choose a solar energy company, you need to know the types of solar companies that you can choose from.
Since renewable energy has become such a movement, the solar industry has exploded. There are multiple solar companies that have cropped up. Each of these companies has different roles within the industry, and knowing which one to pick is essential to your continued solar efficiency.
Solar Panel Manufacturers
Solar equipment manufacturers produce solar cells and put together all the parts of the solar panels. When finished, these products go directly onto your roof.
Since they are part of the production, Solar panel manufacturers are often the pioneers of solar energy research and development. Any and all development leads to better production practices and higher efficiency solar panels.
The development is usually related to the solar cells being produced. But, the best solar panel manufacturers own everything from their supply chain to the warranty they offer on the solar cells they develop.
Solar Panel Retailers
Apart from the manufacturers, there are solar panel retailers. They’re like the middlemen of the solar industry. You’ll find them mediating between the solar panel manufacturers and installers. They usually work with a large network of suppliers, manufacturers, contractors, and installers.
There’s no point in simply purchasing solar panels. You’ll need somebody to install them too. That’s where solar installers come into the picture.
The primary business of a solar installer is to get the panels you’ve purchased working on your roof. They’re meant to get the solar energy system supplying solar power to your home.
But, you don’t need to source a manufacturer and then a separate solar installer. Most solar installers source the panels for solar energy systems straight from the manufacturer (this is where the retailers come into the picture).
Solar Financing Companies
Renewable energy isn’t as affordable as it should be just yet. Just try getting high-end solar panels installed, and you’ll see what that means.
But, not all hope is lost. There are solar financing options that help people finance their solar panel systems. Financial help can come in the form of a solar lease, power purchase agreements, and loans.
With solar financing companies, it’s possible to outfit any home with solar panel systems for more energy efficiency.
Solar Lead Generation Companies
Within the solar industry itself, there are several companies that specialize in lead generation. These companies focus on generating sales for other types of businesses like a solar financing company or solar installation companies.
If you’re looking for solar providers then chances are you’re going to find one through a lead generation company.
Solar Panel Dealers
There are specific solar companies that get to sell and distribute a particular manufacturer’s products. These can be specific solar panels, solar cells, or whole set-ups. You’ll also find that the dealers have in-house installation teams.
Full-Service Solar Providers
If you’re not interested in looking for separate solar companies for every step, then there are full-service providers.
They manufacture, sell, install, and maintain solar systems for homeowners.
How Do I Choose a Solar Company?
So, you’ve located the solar company type of your choice and need to narrow it down to a particular solar company. How exactly do you do that? Well, there are 6 steps to follow.
Get Multiple Quotes
There are multiple solar companies that you’ll have to speak to. Why do you have to? It’s because different solar companies will offer you different rates for installation, purchase, and even maintenance.
Ideally, you want a company that offers a flat rate. So, they’d be charging you per watt, and therefore the cost would depend on the size of the system you require.
When you get multiple such quotes, you can choose the very best one because expensive does not always equal cost-effective.
When judging the cost, it’s best to ask a few more questions. It’s best to ask questions at this stage because most solar companies make the first appointment about price by coming to judge your home.
So, ask questions that’ll show you whether the panels are worth the price.
Expertise is Necessary
Once you have a quote in hand, look for expertise. It’ll help you narrow down your list.
Any company you choose should have at least 2-years of on-site experience in the solar-related field. If everybody in the company looks like they’re fresh out of college, don’t go for them.
If you’re not sure of expertise, then ask if they’ve got NABCEP certification. It’s the easiest way to judge how experienced they are.
License and Insurance
Once you’ve got their expertise covered, move on to licenses and insurance. No matter how safe solar panels may seem, there can still be accidents. You don’t want to be liable.
So, check for the required licenses according to your state. Generally, they’ll require at least a C-10 license along with a general electrician’s license.
For insurance, they need to be OSHA certified and have general liability insurance. Protect yourself.
If a track record looks unnaturally good, it’s a red flag. But, don’t opt for the ones with more red in their ledger than green.
Too little work is a sign that they’re bad at what they do and too much means that they’re taking on too many accounts to focus on yours. It’s all about maintaining and choosing the company with the right balance.
Do you know the best way to ensure a solar company is trustworthy? Ask around and talk to other people. Check their reviews and testimonials. Yelp and Google reviews are public for a reason.
Past customers are the best judge of a solar company, don’t forget that. Too many bad reviews mean you should definitely stay away.
Warranties and Maintenance
A company that leaves you high and dry after installing your solar energy system is not one you want to purchase from. Check for warranties and post-installation maintenance.
Look for longer warranties and great customer service. You need to ensure that the company will stick around when you need them.
How to Identify a Good Solar Company?
It’s easy to identify a good solar company when you know what to look for. Much like any other type of company, a good solar company caters to the needs of its consumers. Everything from warranty to customer service matters.
So, apart from the above-mentioned factors, make sure that the company you’re choosing caters to your requirements as a customer. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the warranty good enough?
- Are there services for installing solar panels?
- Is the company known for good customer service?
- Are the reviews for this company good?
- Has the company been featured in articles?
It may not be the most scientific or comprehensive way to identify a good solar provider, but it’s definitely a good start. You can do additional research after.
What are the Best Solar Companies?
Despite knowing how to choose a solar company, it’s always nice to know who the very best providers are. It saves you a lot of time on research and lets you get the very best of technology. So, here are the top solar energy companies in the USA.
SunPower is a well-known and established solar energy brand in the USA. They have a great minimalist design for all their solar panels, with their microinverters cleverly hidden behind every panel.
The company has kept up with modern technology, even creating an app to help monitor the solar panels.
Apart from the technology, they’ve got brilliant reviews and testimonials from multiple clients over the years.
- Well-known brand
- Minimalist design
- Lost median cost
- Great customer service
- Multiple positive client testimonials
- App to help monitor solar panel
- Reduces electricity costs quickly and effectively
If you want something reasonable, then Zenernet offers great flat and modular pricing for all solar systems. It means that you can customize the components and upgrades in the solar panel system to help you control the price.
The company has great representatives that guide you through the buying process and solar panel installation. It’s even easier to sign up.
- Modular pricing system
- Customizable plans
- High satisfaction rate
- Knowledgeable representatives
- Easy sign-up process
- Better prices than other solar companies
When you want to get with the times, you buy Tesla products – including their solar panels. In 2016, Tesla and Panasonic teamed up to start producing solar panels.
The very best part of Tesla Energy solar panels is how you can design your solar systems online before purchasing. There are multiple options, but it is a lot pricier than other companies.
- Multiple customization options
- Easy ordering process
- Great customer reviews
- Easy, efficient solar system installation
- Effective customer service is available
When you choose to switch to solar energy, you’re doing the environment and your wallet a great service. But, it can be a slight hassle. With this guide, at least you’ll know the kind of solar companies you’re approaching and what you’re getting out of them. In the best case scenario, you’ll have your home outfitted with the best solar energy system in no time.