Choosing the Right Solar Installer
When it comes to solar energy systems, there are enough brands, types, acronyms, "buzz words", and installers to make your head spin. So how do you begin to narrow down your options and find the right solar installer and system for you? The following is a list of questions to ask yourself (and any potential solar installer.)
Are They Licensed, Bonded, and Insured?
Competition is fierce in the solar installation business and pricing can often vary significantly from one company to another. But skimping on credentials is not the best way to get a job done cheaply. The old adage "cheap isn't good and good isn't cheap" does hold some value (Osceola Energy believes we do a good job of managing both of these). Hiring a contractor that is not licensed, bonded, and insured places the consumer at significant risk and can end of costing thousands more in the long run. So make sure it gets done right the FIRST time.
What is Their Area of Expertise?
Many electricians will claim they are able to do solar installs, and may have the electrical knowledge to do it safely, but companies with expertise on renewable energy systems will ensure that your solar energy system is as efficient as possible - taking into account the best angle for annual sunlight exposure, future energy needs, and sizing a system that isn't too much (or too little) for your needs. Recently, many HVAC companies in Albuquerque and Roofing companies have jumped on the bandwagon trying to make a quick buck by dabbing in solar energy systems. While some of these companies may perform quality work, we have seen too often that these solar energy systems come out sloppy or worse - having multiple code violations. Don't fall prey to this, hire a professional solar installer who understands the ins and outs of the process.
Off-grid solar systems require even more expertise because they have to account for all of your energy needs for the day (and night) within the daily peak sun hours, and store that energy in batteries. Osceola Energy is an expert in grid-tied, off-grid, and hybrid solar power systems. We can also perform service panel load balancing and energy efficient lighting integration (dimming switches, motion sensor lights, LED light) to help lower your energy consumption saving you even more money.
Do They Use Top Quality Solar Panels, Inverters, and Mounting?Solar panels vary in their efficiency.The two most important numbers in comparing solar PV systems are 1) the AC kWh output/year, and 2) the cost. Whichever complete system can give you the most yearly output at the best price is the system to choose. Make sure that the panels carry a 25 year warranty, the inverter for at least 10, and the installer warranties their work for minimum of 5 years (Osceola Energy offers a 15 year craftsmanship warranty for all solar installs).
How is Their Customer Service and Attention to Detail?
With all else being equal, it will often come down to how the solar installer makes you feel. Are they willing to take the time to get to know your unique energy needs and address your concerns or questions about the process? Do they offer free consultations (Osceola Energy does), and are they easily accessible should an unforeseen issue arise? Do they take care of the interconnection agreement, and permitting for you? Do they offer an owners packet with operating information, warranties, and permits for easy record keeping? These are the little details that can make the difference in a smooth integration to solar or a headache and complications down the line.
Now that you've found the right solar installer, you will soon be on your way to energy independence and amazing savings. Congratulations, your future looks bright!