As the solar industry begins to pick up more momentum in the United States (and Florida in particular), you will see plenty of contractors try to hop on the bandwagon. If you’re interested in installing solar panels on your home, however, you want to make sure you are buying a quality product from a reputable dealer. Read on to find out how to avoid these 4 mistakes when choosing a Florida solar panel installer for your renewable energy project.
Not asking about certification for solar installation
Properly installing solar panels in Florida can be complicated. The installer must make sure that the panels are in the best location and that they work. They also need to follow appropriate codes to ensure that your new solar installation is up to standards.
The most widely-recognized certification in the solar industry is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). They offer accreditation in both photovoltaic (PV) and solar heating systems, providing one of the first solar panel installer exams in 2003.
If your installer is NABCEP certified, you can feel confident that they will uphold “high standards of ethical and professional practice.” That means you won’t get cheated by some fly-by-night company just looking to make a quick buck.
Forgetting about safety during and after installation of solar panels
Whether they’ll be installing panels on your roof or in your yard, solar installers need to keep safety as a top priority. Even though you’re not the one up there doing the work, unsafe installation practices could result in a nasty accident or damage to your home.
What are some signs that your Florida solar panel installer has safety as a top priority?
- Equipment: Look for harnesses and hard hats. These safety measures take a little more time but can prevent serious injury.
- Process: Your solar installation company should be happy to discuss their safety measures with you. If they don’t mention it upfront, ask about the overall process. Find out if their workers (and your home) will be safe during and after the installation.
- Insurance: As with all contractors working on your home, you should be sure that they are properly insured and bonded. If you have any doubts, check their insurance and actually call to be sure the coverage is current. You don’t want to be liable for an accident that injures a worker, a neighbor, or someone in your family.
Not looking for referrals from previous solar customers
Another way to find out whether you can trust your Florida solar panel installer is to speak with previous customers. Ask for referrals and actually call a few to find out what their experience was.
Since solar installation is relatively new in Florida, you might find that a company doesn’t have a long history of projects. It should take just a few customers to give you an idea of their process. If the installer is doing a great job, referrals will be happy to talk to you about their experience.
And if a shady company left them high and dry, they’ll be happy to keep you from making the same mistake. Make sure you find out the speed and efficiency of the installation, but also ask about how the system has been running.
Forgetting about a warranty for your new solar panels
Installing solar panels on your Florida home is a significant investment that pays for itself over time. But that won’t happen if it’s malfunctioning because of faulty equipment or installation.
You should look for warranties for the equipment, the power production, and the installation itself (including any impacts it has on your roof warranty). A solar installer who stands by their work will offer a warranty that guarantees quality and durability.
With Florida taking steps to become an attractive home for solar energy, we should expect to see more and more installation. That means you’ll need to be careful when choosing a decent solar panel installer for your home. For more advice about whether solar is a good choice for your home, contact me today.
Marc Jablon, the Jablon Team