Convinced that solar power is right for your home, but need a solar installer to help? As with any home improvement project, you’ll want to do some homework before hiring an installer. Here are some things to look for when screening potential contractors.
- Experience: You naturally want someone who has done some residential installations before. A handyman or a retired electrician is not up to the task.
- Size of Project: By definition, a residential installation is a relatively small project. If your project is a special case, a large house and outbuilding that will host panels and batteries in the basement, just verify that the installer has done this sort of thing before.
- Availability of sales plus installation: Some companies sell the panels and install them for you. This seller might include installation in the price, but probably won’t. In either case, going with a full-service company saves time and trouble.
- Planning assistance: Can the installer help you pick the right location for your installation and help you figure out how many panels you will need to meet your energy needs?
- Clear cost estimates: A real installer will be able to evaluate your job and give you a cost estimate up front. Some producers and installers even have solar cost calculators on their sites.
Finally, ask yourself if you need professional installation. In most cases, you will. If the project requires wiring work, the installation must comply with local building codes, whether done by the homeowner or not. A small panel mounted on a workshop roof? Yes, that could be a DIY project. Need something bigger? Leave the tools in the garage and call in a professional.