Photo by US Army Environmental Command
This article is Part II of a series by Mark Yarbough, providing sage advice about picking the right company if you decide to install solar on your buildings. See Part I, “Competence: the Next Phase of Solar .” He is a member of the City Council of Perris, California. He is also the owner of a Volvo repair shop. His city went solar two years ago and won two major national awards from the League of California Cities and the American Planning Association for their solar efforts.
After I read his first part about his solar experience, I asked him, how do you choose a solar installer? Here is what Mark had to say:
The same way you choose a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker:
1) Check out their references.
Visit their projects.
Do they work on-time and on-budget? A simple yes or no will suffice. In the end, you don’t need a warehouse full of excuses. You need a warehouse full of energy.
When you check their references and visit their projects, check out their service department: A lousy solar company will tell you their system will never break. A good one will say yes, it will go down, however briefly.
That’s not the question. The real question is what are you going to do when it does.
So you have to know whether your service call is The only question is going to be answered by a salesperson, or a trained solar technician. I personally like to check the trucks: I want to see several of them — all full of solar maintenance equipment and qualified service experts — not someone from the sales and marketing department.
Don’t scoff — it happens.
And of course, monitoring. Your solar company should know about any problems in your system before you do.
And whether you make it first item to check, or last, the viability of your system will depend on how well you are able to apply for — and receive — grants and credits from local, state and federal governments, as well as your local utility.
A delay can cost you big time in lost energy savings — and even bigger — in lost energy rebates because you missed a deadline and the program expired.
It happens. if you pay attention, just not to you.
Thank Mark for both Part I and II of your series on the pitfalls of installing solar.