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Top 10 Errors with Selecting Solar Contractors and How to Avoid Them

Going solar can be an exciting and beneficial decision for homeowners, but choosing the right solar contractor can make all the difference. However, with so many solar contractors, it’s easy to make mistakes that can lead to poor quality work and even legal issues.

To help you avoid these errors with selecting solar contractors, we’ve compiled the top 10 pitfalls to watch out for and how to avoid them. Read on to learn how to find a reliable solar contractor that will help you enjoy the benefits of solar power for years to come.

1. Not Doing Enough Research

When it comes to selecting a solar contractor, doing enough research is crucial. Many people make the mistake of not doing enough research before hiring a contractor, which can lead to poor quality work or even financial loss.

To avoid this mistake, it is important to look for a solar contractor who has experience and a good reputation. A contractor with a good reputation is likely to have positive reviews from their previous clients, indicating their ability to deliver quality work and good customer service.

An experienced contractor will have the necessary knowledge and skills to install the solar panels correctly. This will ensure that your panels will function efficiently for a long time.

One way to find a reliable solar contractor is to ask for referrals from friends and family. If someone you know has had solar panels installed, they may be able to recommend a contractor they were satisfied with. 

You can also search online for reviews of solar contractors in your area. Check out some reliable websites and extra resources found here. Reading online reviews and gathering information can give you an idea of the quality of work provided by different contractors.

2. Not Checking the License and Insurance

When selecting a solar contractor to install solar panels on your property, it’s important to make sure they are licensed and insured. Licensing ensures that the contractor has met certain standards and qualifications. Insurance provides protection against accidents and damages during the installation process.

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Hiring a licensed solar contractor can give you peace of mind that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to complete the job. If a contractor is licensed, it means that they have met the minimum requirements set by the state or local government to work as a solar contractor.

These requirements usually include passing an exam. They may also be required to complete a certain number of hours of training or have a specific level of experience.

3. Choosing the Cheapest Option

When choosing a contractor, it can be tempting to choose the contractor with the lowest price. However, selecting the cheapest contractor solely based on price is not always the best decision. This is because selecting a contractor solely based on price may result in poor-quality work and costly repairs in the future.

Choosing a solar contractor who offers reasonable prices and quality work is essential. While you don’t want to overpay for the installation of your solar panels, it’s important to remember that quality work is a must. 

Comparing solar installation costs will help you pick the best company that can give you fair pricing without compromising the outcome of their work.     

4. Not Asking for References

Asking for references is an important step in the selection process because. It provides you with firsthand accounts from previous customers. This can help you make an informed decision about whether the contractor is the right fit for your needs.

This will also give you an idea of the quality of their work, their level of expertise, and how satisfied their customers are with their services. If a contractor is unable or unwilling to provide references, this could be a red flag, and you may want to consider other options.

5. Not Checking the Warranty

It’s important to review the warranty carefully and ask the contractor any questions you may have before signing any contracts. A good warranty can give you peace of mind and protect you in the event that something goes wrong with your solar panel system after installation. A good warranty should cover both the installation and the equipment for a certain period of time.

The warranty should specify what is covered and for how long, so it’s important to review it carefully. Make sure that the warranty covers any defects in the equipment or installation.

The warranty should also cover any damage that may occur during the installation process. Additionally, check whether the warranty covers the cost of any necessary repairs or replacement of parts.

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It’s important to note that the length of the warranty can vary depending on the contractor and the equipment used. Some contractors may offer longer warranties than others. Other manufacturers may offer longer warranties for their products.

6. Not Asking About Maintenance

A good solar contractor should offer maintenance services to ensure that your solar panels continue to function optimally and efficiently over time. Solar panels require regular maintenance to ensure that they are operating at their best.

Maintenance can include cleaning the panels to remove any dirt, debris, or buildup that can reduce their efficiency. It can also include services like checking the wiring and connections to ensure they are secure and functioning correctly.

A good solar contractor should offer maintenance services as part of their installation package. If not, they should at least be able to recommend a maintenance provider. They should provide you with information on what is included in their maintenance services, how often they recommend servicing, and the cost of any additional services.

7. Not Getting Multiple Quotes

Getting multiple quotes from different contractors will give you a better idea of what the market rate is for solar panel installation and maintenance services. This can help you avoid overpaying for services and ensure that you are getting a fair price.

It’s important to compare not only the price of the services but also the quality of the services offered. Look for contractors who offer a comprehensive range of services. These include installation, maintenance, and repair, and who use high-quality materials and equipment.

When comparing quotes, make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Some contractors may offer lower prices. However, they might cut corners or use inferior materials. Others may offer higher prices but may be providing more comprehensive services or using better quality materials.

8. Not Asking About Permits

The contractor should be knowledgeable about the local regulations and obtain the necessary permits. This is because solar panel installations are subject to local regulations and building codes.

The installation process typically requires permits from the local government or utility company. The permits ensure that the installation meets safety and quality standards. It also ensures that it is connected to the electrical grid in a safe and reliable manner.

A good solar contractor should be familiar with the local regulations and know what permits are required for the installation process. They should be able to obtain the necessary permits on your behalf and handle all the paperwork and fees associated with the process.

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By ensuring that the necessary permits are obtained, you can avoid potential legal issues and ensure that the installation meets safety and quality standards. Failure to obtain the necessary permits can result in fines or even the removal of the solar panel system.

9. Not Understanding the Payment Terms

Make sure you understand the payment terms before signing the contract. You should know when and how much you need to pay. Typically, solar contractors require a deposit before starting the installation process.

The deposit may be a percentage of the total cost or a fixed amount. The remaining balance is usually paid upon completion of the installation.

It’s important to clarify the payment schedule with the solar contractor before signing the contract. Make sure you understand when payments are due, how much is due at each stage, and what payment methods are accepted.

In addition, ask about any financing options that may be available. Some solar contractors may offer financing options or work with financing companies. These will help you pay for the installation over time.

10. Not Reading the Contract

Before signing a contract with a solar contractor, it’s important to read it carefully. This is to make sure you understand all the terms and conditions that you are agreeing to.

The contract should include details about the scope of the project. You should also see the equipment that will be used, the payment terms, and the warranty. Furthermore, it should include information about any permits that are required and who will be responsible for obtaining them.

If there’s anything you don’t understand, it’s important to ask the solar contractor to explain it to you.  It’s better to address any issues before signing the contract rather than deal with problems later on.

Additionally, if there are any verbal agreements or promises made by the solar contractor, make sure they are included in the contract. Verbal agreements may be difficult to enforce if they are not included in writing.

Don’t Make the Same Errors With Selecting Solar Contractors

Selecting a solar contractor is an important decision that requires careful consideration for a successful installation. Ensure that you avoid these errors with selecting solar contractors to protect yourself and your investments.

Research multiple contractors to find the best option for you, and don’t be afraid to ask for references. Solar panel installation is an investment in your future and your wallet. So, make sure you have made a wise decision by following these tips!

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