Choosing a solar installer is an important decision. In this section of the guide, we break down the pros and cons of the major players in the solar installation industry, as well as give our top picks in major cities.
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City & State Solar Installers Guides
National vs. Local Solar Installers
Solar installation companies that operate nationwide offer several advantages over smaller, local outfits. For one, national-scale installers tend to have an off-the-shelf package that is tried and true, with clear pricing and terms and conditions.
National-scale solar installers are also more likely to offer solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs), which are a great option for homeowners who want to go solar but don’t want to buy the solar energy system themselves.
Local solar installers come with plenty of benefits and a few potential downsides.
Choosing local can mean getting a more personal, friendly experience. You may work directly with the team installing your solar array, or at least have a dedicated person you can call with questions and concerns.
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Local solar installers are also often able to provide discounts that national installers can’t offer. This is because companies operating in a particular area get to know the best suppliers and can negotiate better prices. Local solar installers are also more likely to have a good handle on all of the available solar rebates, tax incentives, grants, loans, and other solar incentives you can apply for.
In many cases, the solar installer will apply for these on your behalf and offer a discounted quote for installing your home solar array.
Final thoughts on choosing a solar installer
Whichever installer you end up choosing, be prepared for the decision to take a while, and don’t be afraid to back out and start the process again if anything seems off.
Never put down a deposit for more than 10% of the project cost, or more than $1,000. This is the law in many places and is just good sense everywhere.
If you’ve signed a contract and put down a deposit, but something doesn’t seem quite right, it’s far better to lose that $1,000 than to go ahead with an installation that could imperil your home, leave you with outstanding loan payments for decades, and wreck your credit score. These are all extremely unlikely, but a little caution and a lot of research at the outset goes a long way to making the process of installing solar smooth and enjoyable.
And, of course, once the project is done, don’t pay in full or sign off on loan funding release until you’re completely satisfied with the job!