When it comes to installing solar panels on your home, the decision-making process can seem overwhelming. With so many solar companies out there, how do you prioritize? Is the lowest price the most trustworthy? What certifications and qualities should you look for? You should start by considering a local solar company. When you choose to work with a local and licensed solar installer, you’re choosing from the best possible companies to buy your solar panel system from. This is because licensed installers in your area usually prioritize customer satisfaction, use higher-quality equipment, and typically have the best prices available.
The Benefits of Choosing a Local Solar Installer
There are several reasons it makes more sense to work with a local solar contractor instead of their national solar installer counterparts or a third-party sales solar company:
Understandably, homeowners prioritize the quality of products and craftsmanship when considering solar installations. After all, a solar panel system is a big investment that should provide reliable service for many years. Homeowners want to be assured that the panels are durable, the installation is professional, and the system will perform efficiently.
However, the financial aspect is also a significant factor in their decision-making process. Installing a solar system is a significant financial investment, and homeowners need to consider not just the upfront costs, but also the long-term savings and return on investment. This is where choosing a local solar installer can make a significant difference.
According to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), local solar installers typically offer pricing that is about 10% less than what national residential solar installers charge. This price difference can be attributed to several factors: Local installers have a better understanding of local regulations and incentives, which can help reduce the overall cost of the system. They also have relationships with local suppliers, which can lead to cost savings on materials. Plus, local installers often operate with lower overhead costs than national companies, which allows them to pass on the savings to their customers.
Better Customer Ratings
Simply put, local solar installers place a high value on the quality of their work, their professional reputation, and their customer’s experience with them. Repeated studies have demonstrated that local solar panel installers consistently outperform the nation’s largest and most well-known solar installers in terms of customer ratings. This is often because they choose to use superior brands of solar panels and inverters, driven by a sense of personal responsibility for the systems they install.
Do your due diligence by reading online reviews from previous customers of the installers you’re considering. These installers should also be able to connect you with past clients who can share their experiences with the installation process. As you meet with different installers, they should be able to communicate effectively and explain how your solar system will function in a way that’s easy to understand.
On the other hand, national installers are known to use less expensive products in an effort to reduce internal costs and maximize their profits. While local installers are also mindful of their profit margins, their approach to pricing is different. Given that local solar contractors are more invested in the quality of their work and overall customer satisfaction, they opt for higher-quality products, materials, and craftsmanship, while still focusing on customer-friendly pricing structures. This approach leads to reduced long-term solar maintenance and repair costs for their customers and enhances the lifespan of the solar panels and related equipment. As a result, homeowners can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of their home solar system.
Dedicated Crew of Full-Time Employees
When you work with a local contractor, you’re collaborating with a team of full-time professionals who are directly accountable to the company’s owner. This direct line of responsibility is often absent in larger, national companies that outsource their work to subcontractors. These subcontracted crews, who may not even be local to your area and could be working on a part-time or seasonal basis, may not have the same level of commitment to each project. In contrast, a local contractor’s crew is more likely to invest their best effort into every project they take on.
Higher Customer Satisfaction
Choosing a local solar contractor often means you’re working with a family- or locally-owned business that takes customer satisfaction to heart. These local businesses thrive on the power of positive word-of-mouth, which is only possible when customers are genuinely pleased with their work.
Plus, the owners and employees of these companies are part of the same community as their customers. They could be your neighbors, bumping into you at the supermarket, cheering on their kids at the same soccer games, or relaxing at the local pool. They value these community connections and want to maintain a reputation that allows them to greet you with a friendly wave and a clear conscience.
Reasons to Avoid Third-Party Solar Installers
While the solar industry has seen a surge in solar installation companies, not all of these businesses provide the same level of service. As we mentioned above, some companies, particularly those that operate on a national level, may subcontract their installations to third-party companies, which can lead to a lack of accountability and a lower standard of workmanship.
Moreover, third-party solar sales companies are often known for their assertive, and sometimes intrusive, sales strategies, such as unsolicited door-knocking. Their primary objective is to sell contracts because they’re typically not the ones performing the installations, and they have sales targets to hit. These sales representatives tend to show up without prior notice or invitation and persuade you to purchase solar and quickly move on to the next potential customer if you decline. This high-pressure approach can be not only annoying but also intimidating, and it doesn’t reflect the dedication and commitment that solar installation truly warrants.
Third-party solar sales companies are also primarily structured for sales, not installations or post-installation services. Once they’ve persuaded you to buy from them, the responsibility of finding a local company for future maintenance and repairs falls on you. They frequently outsource the installation of your system to the lowest bidder, which can result in subpar work, inferior products, and inconsistent customer service during the installation process.
Finally, third-party solar sales companies often lack a local office or presence, which makes them less accessible once the sale is completed. They may even leave your town once they’ve finished their neighborhood sales campaign. This lack of a local presence can pose challenges in obtaining the necessary support and service you might need after your solar panels have been installed.
Selecting a Local Solar Installer
First, ensure that the companies you’re considering are licensed and insured. You should also get a minimum of three to five solar quotes and compare them closely.
Finally, invest time in conducting thorough research on:
- Online customer reviews
- Recommendations and references from recent homeowners who installed similar sizes and types of solar systems
- The brands and designs of solar panels
- Information on warranties for parts and equipment
- Certifications and professional memberships and affiliations
- Options for financing, whether in-house or external
Choosing a local solar company is a choice that can benefit your home, and your community, for many years to come. Local companies, like Solar Technologies, provide high-quality products, first-class customer service and are deeply invested in their communities.
As a locally-owned and operated Bay Area business with more than 25 years of experience and 5000+ installations, many neighbors, friends and customers have trusted us to install and care for their solar panel power systems. We understand the unique needs and challenges of homeowners in California and we’re committed to providing high-quality, reliable solar installations that help save them money and reduce their environmental impact.
Choosing a local solar company for your installation is not just a smart financial decision; it’s a decision that will also benefit your community and the environment. Local solar installers provide high-quality installations, understand the local landscape and are committed to helping their community transition to renewable energy.
Our Bay Area team has a great understanding of utility rates throughout California and experience in designing and installing the right size of home solar system to meet your family’s growing needs. Schedule an online appointment today to learn more.