Going solar is an investment that will positively impact your home for decades from the time your system is turned on. But like any industry, there are bad players in solar who's "too-good-to-be-true" pricing models hide the sobering reality that they may not be around when they're needed most. Whether that's because they go out of business or leave the state all together, it's an unfortunate reality that many people selling solar have no long-term plan for servicing what they sell.
Here at SVSS, our in-house service department receives calls daily from customers who have been left stranded by an installer that's no longer in business. While we're more than happy to help these orphaned solar customers, the reality is that their original installer owed them a much better experience.
If you're shopping for solar, here are a few questions you should ask to ensure that you're working with a reputable and stable installer who will be there long after the sale.
1. What manufacturer & professional certifications do they hold?
Being certified or a preferred partner with reputable manufacturers and utility providers shows that the service team has the training, knowledge, experience, and trust to earn a brand's seal of approval. This also demonstrates a level of commitment to stay on top of the latest technology, and installation and repair techniques. Most reputable brands won't partner with just any company, so a manufacturer's certification is a quick and easy way to verify quality. Professional certifications are also important. Find out if your solar service provider is in good standing with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, and if they have been certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
2. Do they have a history of servicing solar energy systems?
Experience in servicing solar energy systems, especially those under our brutal Arizona sun, can make a big difference when it comes to performance and longevity. Components and installation techniques that work fine in California may not be robust enough for Arizona's long stretches of triple-digit heat. Service providers with years of experience here in Phoenix know the most common causes of system failure and the best ways to correct or avoid them altogether. Opting for a cheaper, inexperienced service team can leave you with a "band-aid" instead of a long-term solution. These quick fixes will also end up costing you more in the long-run.
3. What monitoring services do they provide?
Time is literally money when it comes to solar energy production, so if your system is down or operating inefficiently, you'll feel it in your wallet. Most modern-day inverters come equipped with an app that will allow you to self-monitor your system. A qualified solar service company should also offer augmented monitoring where they'll check your system on a regular basis for you and flag any signs that it's underperforming.
If you decide to go with a monitoring package that your solar service provider offers, you'll have the peace of mind that they'll be able to detect issues before they can result in large ones taking your system offline. Some companies also offer yearly on-site check-ups to ensure all the components are operating properly and efficiently.
4. Do they sell and service their own systems?
Installing solar energy systems in Arizona requires critical licenses and training. Plus, if you're installing and servicing your own systems, there's a built-in motivation to get it right the first time. Quality from beginning to end, all under one team and one brand, has financial benefits benefits for the installer as well as the customer.
When you choose a solar service provider who is part of a larger solar operation with decades of experience, you'll be able to tell the quality of their work from the types of customers they work with and the amount of time they've been doing it. The old adage, "Buy nice or buy twice" rings true especially with solar, so make sure you're not just looking for the best price, but also the best track record, resources, and staying power.
If your solar energy system needs service, or if you'd like a routine check-up to ensure it's operating at peak efficiency, contact our service team.