How to find the best solar providers near you
Written by Andrew Sendy
Updated March 12, 2020
4 minutes read
How do you find the best solar providers near you?
Now that you've run some numbers and decided renewable energy is a good investment, the next step is to find a local solar installation company who can install your solar energy system.
You also need to determine what are the best brands of solar panels and inverters but this is the subject of other articles you can find in our blog. In this article, you'll learn how to find the best local solar providers. If you haven't yet run some numbers for your house through an online solar panel savings calculator then you might like to do this first). Solar-estimate.org and our sister site solarreviews.com has helped over 450,000 consumers around America find the best contractor near them.
Which solar companies should I request solar quotes from?
Whilst there are now a lot of installers doing high-quality solar panel installations it is difficult to know who is reputable, a good installer and is likely to be around to honor their warranties for the 20 years or more? Research over many thousands of installations shows there are good reasons to go local, and there are ways for you to find out who the best installers in your area are and find the best current solar deals in your city.
So let's dive into the questions of why you should go local and how to find the best solar deal from the best solar companies.
Why should I go local when buying home solar?
Lower prices: Without the overhead necessary to maintain its call-center sales force, local installers can offer you significantly lower rates. A national study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that local installers can save you almost $2,500 over the national chains. That is not an insignificant amount of money.
Better customer service: National chains are more interested in initial sales volume than they are about long-term customer service. As long as their salespeople bring new customers in through the front door, they're not that worried about the number of dissatisfied customers leaving out the back door.
Local residential solar power system companies, on the other hand, have reputations to keep, and they exist in your community. They are much more interested in keeping long-term customers because they don't have the workforce to make their money on volume. Their focus is on you as the customer—and that leads to better customer service in the long run.
Workmanship: Local companies are more likely to have the time to spend doing the job properly with the proper equipment and installation. They also know that you are more willing to recommend them if the job gets done right the first time, so they are often ready to spend the extra time on workmanship.
How do I find the right local installer?
Now that you've decided to hire a local installer, how do you go about finding one? Well, there are numerous ways, but here are some of the ones we like the best:
Ask friends and neighbors. The best recommendation is from someone who has had the work done by a contractor. They say solar is contagious. So if you're looking at getting solar installed, there's a good chance that someone in your neighborhood has already had it done. Ask them who they used and if they were satisfied.
Check local government websites. Local governments are encouraging more people to move to solar and other clean energies. As a result, they may well have a list of preferred vendors and installers with whom they recommend you work.
Find your best local installer at SolarReviews.com. With thousands of real-life reviews from real customers, SolarReviews.com is the perfect place to start your search. Just type in your zip code and voila—the best-reviewed local installers at your fingertips. SolarReviews also has a list of pre-screened companies so you can be assured these are amongst the best contractors in your city.
Read the reviews yourself and determine which local firm suits your needs best. It's one of the simplest ways to find local pros that can help you go solar at a reasonable cost.
What training and accreditations should I look for when hiring a solar contractor?
An installation company should have a contraction license, an electrical contractors license in your state and also have NABCEP certified installers.
Can I rely on solar providers to forecast how much solar will save me?
It is not necessary to only rely on the advice of your contractor - because the online solar estimator on this site is able to tell you a fairly accurate ballpark estimate of the cost and savings you will face. The estimator takes into the account the tax credit and other local solar incentives that may be available in your city.