Posted on Wed, 05/18/2011 - 10:42 PM by Bryan Nisperos
viewed 15631 times
A solar power system is one of the biggest investments a homeowner will make, so it's important to make sure that everything is installed properly and built to last. Components vary quite a bit in terms of electrical output, form factor and weight, but most panels will come with a 20-25 year warranty, making solar a long term investment, dependent on a strong foundation of a quality install.
The first tendency when looking for an installer will either be to go for the cheapest option or to assume that the highest priced option is the best and go for that. The better choice will most likely be somewhere in the middle. A good solar installer will manage the entire supply line, meaning they'll source all of the components for you and take care of everything from start to finish. This typically means that they'll get wholesale prices on the materials and pass some savings on to you. The danger in going with the cheapest installer is that they may be providing a cheaper service by using lower quality components. Remember that although a solar panel can last from 25-50 years, critical components like power inverters are not as resilient, so making sure they're top quality is the best way to ensure your entire system functions for decades.
Finding the right installer will be much like finding a home builder or a general contractor for an addition to your home. There are so many elements involved in purchasing, planning and installing a solar power system, which a good installer will need to know a bit about everything. The installer will be handling the purchase of the equipment, any rebates and programs that you qualify for as well as the actual installation, so this will go beyond the scope of a typical handyman. The better business bureau or community review websites like yelp.com are great resources for weeding out the average from the excellent.
Finally, make sure that whomever you chose to install your system is someone you trust and are comfortable with. There is a tendency in many service industries to push higher priced products or additional services that may not be necessary in order to generate more revenue. Keep in mind that you're the customer and you need to be confident and comfortable with every aspect of the job before signing the contract. If at any point you feel uncomfortable or pressured, consider working with another installer. The installer will come and go once the job is complete, but you'll live with the solar power system for decades, so making sure you get exactly what you need is the most important part of the whole process.
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