How to Select Solar Installation Contractors: What You Need to Know


You’ve made the decision yourself to go solar, but now you’re confused about how to select solar installation contractors.

You want to pick a company that can get the job done right, with a solid reputation for customer satisfaction and a commitment to making sure you’re experiencing the benefits of solar power. Sound familiar?

If so, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn more about how to choose among a wide range of solar contractors.

Let’s get started!

Look for Contractors Who Have Experience

When selecting a solar installation contractor, it is important to look for one that has solar installation experience. Experienced contractors have the skills and knowledge needed to properly install solar panels. They will be able to navigate any potential problems that may arise with the installation.

Experienced contractors are also familiar with the local building codes and regulations. This can help ensure the safety of the job.  Additionally, it is always a good idea to visit the contractor’s job sites to observe:

  • how the contractor works
  • the quality of their installations
  • the professionalism of the staff

Taking the time to research and consider the professional experience of a contractor can go a long way to ensuring a successful solar installation.

Choose a Certified Contractor

When selecting a solar installation contractor, you should ask them if they are certified by a recognized body. This can include the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). NABCEP certification is a voluntary specialty certification that demonstrates a high level of:

  • knowledge
  • experience
  • credibility

While certification is not a requirement for a contractor, it can help you decide who is best to hire for the job. Besides certification, you should also consider a contractor’s experience and customer references. Ask your prospective contractor for a list of their past clients and contact them to find out their experience with the company.

Additionally, look for the kinds of certifications and memberships that contractors can have. This includes the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the International Association of Home Performance Professionals (IAHPP). These certifications can provide assurance that your contractor is up-to-date and committed to quality work.

Ensure the Contractor is Licensed and Insured

Many states require solar contractors to obtain a special electrical license. Thus, it’s important to make sure your contractor holds all the necessary certifications. Additionally, the contractor should have insurance — such as:

  • general liability
  • workers’ compensation
  • third-party property damage

All of which are required to protect both their own and your property. Ask the contractor to provide you with proof of both the license and the insurance. If they can’t, consider another contractor. Once you verify that the contractor is licensed and insured, you can rest assured that your solar installation project will be done right.

Consider Professionalism

When selecting solar installation contractors, professionalism should be top of mind. Professional contractors are trustworthy. They have up-to-date knowledge about current safety regulations and industry advancements. This can help ensure that the job is done the right way the first time.

They will also have the resources to complete large projects in a timely manner. Not only can they advise you on the best system for your particular needs and circumstances. They can also point out flaws and problems with their competitors’ systems.

However, if you fail to select a qualified and experienced contractor, it can be costly. Poor installation of solar panel systems can create safety hazards. This can lead to malfunctioning systems that require more costly repairs in the future.

Consider Customized Design

Solar systems are tailored to your individual needs. So you need to make sure that your contractor is experienced and qualified in designing and installing systems. Prioritize contractors that can offer full services for:

  • design
  • engineering
  • installation services

This will ensure that the system is perfect for your needs. Furthermore, ask to see a portfolio of the contractor’s past work and make sure to get a copy of the customized designs, as this will clarify any questions you may have.

Additionally, the contractor should be able to explain their proposed system and answer any relevant questions. Take your time to choose the right contractor, to ensure that you get the ideal customized design for your space.

Consider Brand and Quality

When selecting a contractor to install solar panels, consider the brand and quality of their products. The panels and wiring should be certified by the relevant safety standards body and be suitable for the intended application. The contractor should be highly familiar with the brand of panels and other components they use.

The contractor should replace any faulty or damaged panels and wiring to guarantee efficient performance and safety. Make sure to check the warranties offered by the contractor and the brand of panels and other components. This will assure that any issues related to the installation will be attended to quickly and any damages will be covered.

Compare Prices and Financing Options

Look for contractors who provide cost-saving options and transparent pricing. Ask potential contractors to provide a full breakdown of the cost of the installation. This includes all fees and services.

Inquire about potential savings through solar tax incentives and financing terms, such as loan terms and interest rates. Comparing multiple bids and engaging in thoughtful, thorough research will help ensure that the best contractor is hired for the job.

Inquire About the Installation Timeline

Asking questions such as why they need a certain amount of time to install or how they plan on completing the project in the proposed timeline can be helpful. It is also important to ensure that the contractor is realistic and practical when it comes to planning and scheduling.

Ask for the contractor’s recent timeline for similar projects. This will help you make sure your contractor is reliable, experienced, and professional when it comes to this type of installation.

Some contractors may even offer up-to-date timelines, which can be useful in providing you with a better understanding of the process. It is essential to ensure that you have a contractor who will be able to meet your expectations and help you to accomplish your overall goals.

Factor in Permitting

Different locations have different regulations on what solar panels and what type of equipment can be used. Thus, you’ll need to consult with both the contractor and local authorities. This is to make sure the installation will be in compliance with all necessary regulations.

You’ll need to research both contractors and permits to ensure everything is in the right place, making sure to get the right equipment and right permits to make sure the installation is compliant. The contractor should also be well-versed in the permitting process and be able to guide you through the process without any issues.

Choose a Contractor Who Provides Monitoring Services

Before you get solar installed, ask about performance monitoring. Monitoring allows you to track the energy being produced by your system. It helps compare it to your utility bills. Compare monitoring services offered by contractors when making your decision. Ask for detailed information about:

  • what kind of data is provided
  • how often it is updated
  • if it can be accessed remotely

Ensure the contractor regularly performs maintenance to ensure your system is working optimally. Inquire if the contractor has additional support in case of equipment breakdown.

The Contractor Must Offer Maintenance Services

When selecting a solar installation contractor, it’s important to choose one that offers maintenance services. Maintenance services should include:

  • regular inspections
  • checkups
  • any necessary repairs

Maintenance services are necessary for long-term success. This is in terms of keeping your system operating as efficiently as possible with no downtime or service disruption. Proper maintenance can also help to ensure any warranties you have stay in effect.

Failure to select a contractor who offers maintenance services can lead to costly repairs or replacements. This can be due to system damage or breakdown. Additionally, a lack of maintenance can significantly reduce the expected lifespan of your solar system. This leads to premature replacement.

It is important to invest in a reliable contractor. Make sure maintenance services are included in the contract. Otherwise, you could be met with unexpected costs that could have been avoided.

Choose a Contractor Who is Local to Your Area

Choosing a local contractor for your solar installation project will save you time and stress. Local contractors should have an in-depth understanding of the local building codes and regulations and will have established relationships with inspectors. This can make the installation process smoother.

Additionally, with local contracts, you will be able to visit their offices and discuss the project in person. Being able to communicate your specifications and goals face-to-face will lead to a better understanding of the project at hand.

You are also likely to get better value for your money with a local contractor. This is because their overhead costs will be lower. Ultimately, it is important to find someone local that you can trust. Find one who has the skills and experience to complete the job to your satisfaction.

Learn How to Select Solar Installation Contractors

Finding a reliable and trustworthy solar installation contractor doesn’t have to be a hassle. By researching, you can select solar installation contractors that are best suited for your project.

Reading online reviews and comparing estimates should be done. With the right knowledge and tools, you can make an informed decision with confidence. Get started today on finding your solar installation contractor!

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Last Updated on June 1, 2023

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