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How Do I Choose the Best Solar Energy Contractors?

By Robbi Hess
Updated May 23, 2024
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Installing a solar energy system could be a large financial undertaking, so making certain you’ve chosen the right solar energy contractors is important. The solar energy contractors you choose should be licensed, experienced, and able to provide you with an estimate both for the price of installation and the savings you will realize once the installation is complete. They should also have access to information on any rebates available in your region for the cost of equipment.

As with any home improvement project, it’s best to secure bids from several solar energy contractors before choosing one. One of the first things to ask prospective contractors is whether they are licensed and bonded and whether they are experienced in solar energy installation projects. Checking with the Better Business Bureau or a local contractor association is another way to check the solar energy contractors’ credentials. Ask for references from former clients.

Once it has been determined that a contractor does have the proper licensing and experience, it’s important to find out whether he will do the work from start to finish, or whether subcontractors will be involved. It’s one thing to place the solar energy panels, but the panels also need to be properly and safely wired to a converter box. Make certain the solar energy contractor has the electrical knowledge and training to complete the task.

Find out if there are incentives or tax rebates being offered for solar energy conversion in your region. If the solar energy contractors you’re talking with don’t mention them, make certain you ask. The contractor should have access to all paperwork necessary to file for the refunds and rebates. Be aware that in certain regions, contractors may need to be certified in order for your solar energy installation to qualify.

When asking for bids, make certain the criteria requested is the same so they can be compared with confidence. The bids should include estimates of how much electricity the system will generate and what your savings will be once you make the switch. Ask what warranties and guarantees come with the new system.

Having an idea of what you are looking for before calling solar energy contractors will make the process run more smoothly, so do some research. Doing your homework ahead of time can give you an edge. While the technology of solar energy may be ever-evolving, the process of hiring a solar energy contractor is the same as working with any other professional who will be working on your home.

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Discussion Comments
By Drentel — On Feb 11, 2015

Whenever you talk with a contractor be sure he or she is telling you the truth and not just what he or she thinks you want to hear. Contractors want you to use their services, so you shouldn't be surprised when some of them are less that up front with the facts when they think the facts might discourage you from using their services. Solar contractors are or can be the same as other types of contractors when it comes to stretching the truth and leaving out some important details.

By Sporkasia — On Feb 11, 2015

@Feryll - Like you, I have been pricing the cost of adding solar energy panels at my house. This is something we did in a home we owned previously and it worked out very well. We spent way too much money having the panels installed, but fortunately we were able to recoup all of the money we spent on installing the solar energy as a whole and then some when we sold the house.

This time around I definitely want to get a more reasonable price on the installation. We did not have any really good choices of reasonably priced contractors last time. We are also considering doing the installation ourselves, but this may turn out to be too big of a do-it-yourself project for us to handle confortably.

By Feryll — On Feb 10, 2015

The second paragraph of this article where it talks about getting several bids is very important and worth taking to heart. I have a friend who never shops around when he is getting any type of repairs whether it be repairs to his car or repairs to his house. I could understand this if we were talking about small ticket items, but home renovations and car repairs can be costly.

I have been shopping around for solar energy panels and contractors to install them. The cost is unbelievable. With all of the money we have already put into our house, getting the best price possible is very important, and there has been a big difference in some of the estimates I have received for the panels and definitely for the installation so far.

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