Your decision to go solar is one that will benefit you for decades to come. Since your satisfaction relies so heavily on a quality installation, it’s important to weed out the less experienced installers and choose the best solar company in New Jersey.
The solar industry is booming and more companies are offering solar panel installations. This makes the task of choosing the best solar company in NJ increasingly difficult each year. Fortunately, you can learn which installer you should work with by following these steps.
Look for Certification
This is the first clue that you’ve found a trustworthy solar company in NJ. The most important certification comes from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
This organization trains and tests solar technicians. A company with a NABCEP-certified installation team has proven its ability to provide quality installations time and time again.
Ask About Experience
You want an installer that has experience working on projects just like yours. Find out how long the company has been in business and how many residential installations they have performed in New Jersey in that time.
Also, find out if the company uses subcontractors for any part of the installation. The core company’s experience and credentials don’t matter as much if a subcontractor’s technicians are the ones who end up on your roof.
Look into Licensing and Insurance
Solar contractors are required to get a business license to operate in New Jersey. Ask potential companies for their license number and verify it online.
Insurance is equally important. Look for liability and worker’s compensation insurance. These types of coverage ensure you’re not held responsible if a technician is injured while installing your solar panels.
Read Customer Reviews
The experiences of other customers are a good indication of the experience you’ll have. Check Yelp.com, Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau to learn more about a company’s reputation and customer service.
Don’t be surprised if you see even the most reputable company receive the occasional complaint – how the company resolves the complaint is what matters most.
Ask What Financing Options are Available
There are many ways to finance a solar installation, but not all companies offer the option that’s right for you. The top three ways to pay for a home solar system include:
- Upfront purchase: This is the most straightforward way to buy solar panels and results in the highest long-term return on investment. The problem with an upfront purchase is that many people don’t have the funds available. Fortunately, like buying a car, you can make your investment in other ways than paying for it with cash.
- Solar lease: If you’re eager to convert to solar with no money down, a solar lease could be right for you. This is the most hassle-free way to benefit from solar panels. Ownership remains in the solar company’s name so you’re not responsible to pay for repairs or maintenance.
- Solar loan: You may be more inclined to own your solar panels, in which case a loan is the best option. You can still get started with $0 down, but all ownership rights belong to you.
Find Out What Solar Panel Brand the Company Installs
You wouldn’t buy an expensive car without researching the make and model just because you bought it from a reputable dealership. Likewise, you shouldn’t hire a solar company without researching the panels they install. Efficiency, longevity, durability and warranty are all important factors to research.
SunPower is one brand that excels in all categories. It boasts record-holding efficiency, an impressively long life, sustained efficiency even after decades in use, and a comprehensive warranty for your peace of mind.
Seek a Full-Service Solar Installer
To ensure you can work with a single company over the course of your solar conversion, find a company that handles every step of the process. These steps include:
- Designing your system
- Handling the permitting process
- Completing the installation
- Filing incentive paperwork on your behalf
- Following up on warranty claims
- Maintaining your system
- Offering system monitoring
- Beware of Low-Ball Estimates
When you feel confident that you’ve found the top three or four solar companies in NJ based on your research, it’s time to seek estimates. Be sure to get these bids in writing. Then, when you sit down to compare costs, don’t automatically choose the lowest bid, especially if it’s significantly lower than the rest.
A low-ball estimate could mean you end up with outdated equipment and a rushed installation that could cause roof leaks, electrical shorts or energy production problems in the future. To avoid this, take purchase and installation costs into consideration along with the rest of the factors in this guide.