Choosing a Solar PV Installer: Get Three Estimates
Are you the type of person who has notoriously bad luck choosing home contractors? Do you get stuck with the painter who drips paint on your carpet, the bathroom installer who uses sub-par parts, or the window installer who doesn’t seal the windows properly? Then you might be nervous about choosing a solar installer, too.
Some age-old advice that applies to selecting any home contractor also applies to choosing a solar PV installer. Get three estimates. Yes, it takes extra time. But this person will be installing a 35-year investment on your roof, one that you’ll rely on to provide your family with clean, renewable energy. It’s worth a few hours of your time to make sure you get not only the best price, but the best person for the job.
Once you’ve got the three estimates, how do you evaluate them?
The Lowest-Priced Solar PV Installer
With all other factors, including national, state and local incentives being equal, why is this installer charging less? Does he cut costs with materials? Have less experience? Be cautious about going with the lowest bidder.
The Highest-Priced Installer
Often, there’s no compelling reason why one installer can charge a lot more than the lowest priced contractor — other than he believes he can get it. Is there a reason? Are his services worth more, or are you getting taken? Tread carefully.
The Middle Guy
Experts — including contractors — recommend you go with the mid-range estimate, under the assumption that he’s got quality materials and fair pricing.
When to Make An Exception
Regardless of price, go with your gut instinct. If you get a good feeling from the lower-priced contractor and can actually see that he’s using the same materials as the highest-priced installer, jump on the good deal. If you’re less than impressed by the mid-range installer, maybe you feel it’s worth paying a bit more to work with a solar contractor that makes you comfortable.
How does each installer respond to your questions? How knowledgeable are they? Are they certified? Take all these things into consideration as well.
Where to Find Three Contractors
EcoOutfitters.net makes it easy to line up your free solar estimates. Just request your free solar report, and you’ll get the names of all our solar PV installer partners in your area.