Top Tips for Choosing a Solar Contractor in Florida
If you’re trying to find the best solar contractor in Florida, then you’ve come to the right place. As a business that fully understands the value of solar in the Sunshine State, we’ve created this guide to help you choose the right company for your installation.
Types of Solar Companies
In an industry that has been growing rapidly both in the state and nationwide for over 10 years, there are a variety of solar companies on the market, many of which provide different services. For residential solar installations, homeowners should be aware of whether or not the solar company they are working with sells or rents the equipment to their customers.
In an ownership model, homeowners may be able to receive a tax credit for solar panels to make their systems more affordable in addition to other incentives and an increased likelihood of long-term energy savings. When renting solar panels, homeowners can still save money on their electricity costs, but the contractor ultimately maintains ownership of the panels, the power they produce, and any incentives available to help finance the installation.
What makes a good solar installer?
When comparing solar panel contractors anywhere in the US, there are many things that can add credibility to a potential installation partner. To highlight three of the biggest indicators of a quality contractor, every good solar installer should have…
- A proven track record for previous installations.
- Proper licensing, equipment, and expertise.
- Extended parts and craftsmanship warranty periods.
Of course, as any company with a chance of staying in business will tell you that they are the right choice for the job, below we’ll explore a few tips and questions to ask solar contractors to help determine the best of the best in Florida.
7 Tips on How to Pick a Solar Company in Florida
No matter the size of your installation, the time of year, or your location, here are seven universal tips on how to choose a solar company in Florida.
Start by staying local
Like with a lot of home improvement projects, looking for local solar panel installers is one of the best ways to ensure a high-quality installation on your roof or property. Local contractors have more “skin in the game,” in that staying in business is highly dependent on their reputation within the communities they serve.
While out-of-state solar companies come and go, a local contractor is more likely to provide superior customer service both during and after an installation.
Make sure that they are a licensed Florida solar contractor
To operate legally in the Sunshine State, companies must maintain an active Florida solar contractor’s license. By choosing a licensed solar installer, the safety of your property and finances is more secure against potential “fly-by-night” contractors. When evaluating certified solar panel installers, you should also look for accreditations with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) or similar industry associations.
Check customer reviews
Head-to-head, one of the best methods to compare solar contractors is to weigh real consumer reviews. Just like you would for a restaurant or auto mechanic, searching for online reviews is recommended for just about every modern purchase, and Florida home solar panels are not an exception.
Today, you can find real customer reviews for solar contractors on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau as well as many industry-specific sites like Solar Reviews. By peeking into real customer experiences, you can instantly get a better gauge of whether or not to expect any problems when working with a potential installer.
Check recent reviews for PPM Solar 🔥
Ask about the installation
Although many people tend to focus on the solar panels and other systems parts themselves, the most important aspect of reputable solar companies is a professional installation. Whenever you are weighing your options, ask as many questions as you can about installation day, which includes your expected timeline and whether or not the company subcontracts its labor.
Sales representatives should also be able to answer any questions you have about the racking materials to ensure a high-quality installation with no chance of roof or property damage.
Explore your system equipment options
Whenever you’re designing your solar system, companies who can personalize your unique system options are more likely to be actively keeping the energy demands of your property in mind. By adding solar backup systems for a house, you can pivot off-grid to maintain power during an electrical outage or navigate around higher tired energy prices.
So depending on why you’ve chosen to go solar, you may benefit even more from a battery backup, alternative inverter options, an EV charging station, or other electrification upgrades.
Discuss warranties and maintenance
When comparing solar system installation companies, it is important to always remember the working lifespan of the product you are about to purchase. Solar panels are a relatively maintenance-free technology that lasts for 25 years and more, and while minimal upkeep is required, choosing the right installer can help prevent a bad situation if something were to go wrong.
Beyond the warranty periods of your panels, inverters, and other system parts, be sure to verify that a potential solar contractor offers a craftsmanship warranty and inquire about what you can expect in terms of ongoing system repair and maintenance.
If possible, ask for referrals
Finally, positive referrals can often make the strongest case for how to find a reputable solar company. Although some companies, understandably, may not want to give out any personal customer information, established solar contractors may be able to provide you with contacts to discuss their services with previous clients.
While online reviews are a great indicator of a quality company, personal connections and real-world stories can really solidify your choice of a reputable solar contractor.
7 Questions You Should Ask a Solar
If you’re wondering what questions to ask a solar installer, then you’re taking a great first step to picking the right contractor. As a growing industry with many different players, one of the biggest tips for buying solar panels anywhere in the world is to always compare proposals from multiple companies with a consistent set of criteria before signing any installation contract.
Who will be installing my solar panels?
Although the question may seem a bit silly, it is critical that you verify exactly who will be installing your solar panels when choosing a contractor. Most reputable solar companies utilize an in-house installation team for continued success or exclusively subcontract with a network of verified professionals.
When can I expect the installation to be complete?
When choosing solar panel installer options, expected installation timelines can be a strong indicator of your best choice. In a bit of a Goldilocks and the Three Bears scenario, too soon is a red flag, too long can be frustrating, but an expected timeline with completion between 60 and 120 days is “just right.”
While you can only begin to save money on your energy after your solar panels have been installed, any company that can tell you (and stick to) an expected timeline is more likely to successfully deliver on a project and meet your expectations.
How can I monitor my system’s performance?
One of the best things about owning a solar energy system is monitoring its performance and actively seeing your energy savings. Whether you are planning for net metering or going off the grid in Florida, any installer using high-quality equipment should be able to provide you with a way to monitor your system’s performance besides your monthly utility bills. Today, solar energy system output, battery capacity, and home energy use can often be seen online or in an app provided by your installer or part manufacturer.
How long have you been in business?
Although the industry is still quite young, solar panel system installers who can stay in business for long periods of time are always going to be more likely to deliver a positive customer experience. Like with many contractors, solar companies who have been in business for longer are objectively more experienced and therefore more likely to be able to navigate through project difficulties and create workable solutions.
What brands of solar equipment do you support?
Branding isn’t everything, but tier-one equipment is an absolute must when working with a solar contractor in Florida. While it can be tough to discern between solar panel and equipment options, it is important to ask what brands your installer supports. Here, American-made products are always a plus and less likely to experience issues from supply chain backups or outsourced customer support.
If you are looking for a specific brand of panel, inverter, battery, or EV charger, asking the right questions as soon as possible can help save you time in your search for the perfect contractor. For example, not every solar company in Florida offers Tesla Powerwall installation services, but there are also plenty that do.
What are my financing options?
When buying a solar energy system, many people focus on the total price, rather than the financing options. Unless you are buying the system in cash outright, choosing a solar contractor with the best financing options will allow you to maximize the value of your system through ongoing payments without excessive charges or interest rates.
While it is possible to use a third-party financier, solar developers with multiple financing options can typically be better trusted to find a solution that works best for your home and budget.
Can I have some time to think about this?
Any sales rep that is actively trying to get you to sign on the bottom line may be a good indication of a solar company that is only after your money, rather than your energy needs. At the end of any solar sales presentation, you are more than welcome to ask for more time and information before making a decision.
After all, solar is a commitment that can last for three full decades, so you will want to make sure that you’re not rushing into the renewable revolution with the wrong contractor. In a few days’ time, you’ll be able to properly compare your proposal with that of other installers and talk to your friends, family, and neighbors to determine the best company moving forward.
Whether you are just starting your search or are actively comparing contractors, we hope that this article has shed some light on how to choose a solar installer in Florida or any part of the United States.
PPM Solar is a residential and commercial solar contractor in Florida, assisting customers with PV panel installations, energy storage options, Tesla Charging Station set-up, and other professional electrical services.
If you’re interested in working with PPM for your solar energy installation, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation on your project in Gainesville, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and surrounding Florida cities.