June 14, 2016
Solar is everywhere these days. And with the increased demand for solar installations, a person or business looking to go solar is faced with seemingly endless options when choosing a solar provider. So how do you decide which company to go with? Though we may be a little biased, we have put together a list of qualities and offerings to look for in a solar provider, to ensure your solar installation will be the most positive experience.
A long-term partner.
Solar PV is a long-term investment. Modern systems have a lifespan of 25 years or more, and as a complex technology, a solar PV system is not something you should “set and forget”. When considering a solar provider, look for a company who will be there for you in the long run. A company who can answer your questions and service your array in year 1 and year 21. Maintaining a lasting relationship with a solar company ensures more consistent service, better system optimization, and ultimately a more productive solar array – all of which contribute to the best possible return on your solar investment.
An experienced developer.
Solar arrays are complex electrical systems. Their construction requires experience, finesse, and technical excellence. When choosing between solar developers, consider each developer’s level of experience. A veteran developer is not only more comfortable with technical solar construction, it is also more familiar with the nuances of the entire solar process. In an industry as regulated as the solar industry, a developer must consider timelines, permitting and applications, environmental impact studies, financing, weather, and more. While experience level should not be the only factor by which you judge your solar provider options, it’s practical to choose a company who has gone through the process time and time again, who owns projects themselves and knows the process of ownership firsthand, and can be there to answer your questions every step of the way.
A full-service company.
Simplicity solves a lot of problems, and this is certainly the case in the solar industry. If you have the option to have one solar provider take your project from origination through installation and management, it will make your solar experience more streamlined and stress-free. Instead of going to one company for initial development assessment and design, one for financing, another for installation, and still another for post-construction management and maintenance, try to find a company that offers a suite of services and has the experience to guide you through each of these steps. You will establish a robust relationship with a single company, instead of multiple fragmented relationships with a series of companies. This will help ensure all aspects of your solar installation will work cooperatively and prevent important details from falling through the cracks due to inconsistencies.
A local company.
Even though solar is being widely adopted throughout the country, location is a big factor in the construction of a solar array. Due to vastly differing policies and regulations determined by individual states, a solar installation in California requires different permitting, financing, and construction processes than the same array in Massachusetts. Additionally, diverse areas of the country experience widely different weather patterns, which impact solar production and ultimately impact system design. It is important that your solar provider be intimately familiar with the local area in order to design effectively and ensure maximum efficiency and regulatory compliance. Additionally, a successful solar provider will be active in shaping and understanding local energy policies, in order to best represent its customers’ best interests and be able to explain the complex solar policies and incentive programs to those considering a solar installation.
An active community contributor.
Finally, when selecting your solar provider, consider the company’s involvement in the community. Such involvement shows dedication to improving and participating in the region in which a company operates. A company who cares about its community is a company that cares about people in general. There is more to a solar company than building megawatts; it is important to select a solar provider dedicated to building relationships as well – with customers and the community it in which it operates.