Solar powered systems still lead the way in renewable energy sources. And the costs have significantly decreased in the past decade. But it’s critically important to choose an ethical solar company to handle your installation.
Companies using shady business practices, hoping to profit in a popular market, have left some customers with huge debts for substandard work.
Imagine investing thousands of dollars and later learning your solar energy system was not properly installed.
Alarming stories in the news tell of botched installations, inadequate or inoperable solar systems, and even hazardous conditions. Customers who hire unprofessional installers never receive the energy savings they were promised. Many end up paying for shoddy work on projects costing $20,000-$70,000, or more.
Complaints against unethical solar companies have prompted investigations in several states, stirring up many questions to solar companies. However, these issues can take a long time to resolve. In the meantime, some of these companies file for bankruptcy.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself. When you take steps to vet a solar company, you’ll have the peace of mind of working with trustworthy professionals and knowing what to avoid with a solar installer.
How to Choose a Solar Panel Company
First, be wary of sales representatives making fantastic claims. It’s not just bad business practices. Some representatives are con artists hawking solar panel deals as a ruse to gain access to your personal information. For example, a September 23, 2022 solar company scam alert was issued by the Better Business Bureau cautioning consumers about sales people promising “free solar panels.”
Likewise, ads claiming the “end of electric bills” are usually suspect. You may have seen these misleading claims on social media.
Other red flags to note when choosing a solar company:
- Aggressive sales tactics
- Pressure to sign documents you haven’t thoroughly reviewed
- Avoiding or deflecting certain questions
- Attempting to get you to accept an online quote
Take the same careful approach to evaluate any contractor you hire to work on your home.
Well-respected solar companies rely on referrals, and they build relationships in the community. Ethical professionals won’t rush you because they want you to have all the facts before moving ahead.
Further, trustworthy solar installers always perform inspections on-site. They do this to get the most accurate quote. And it allows the installer to assess site conditions and anticipate potential issues before any work begins.
Credentials and Compliance
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offers great advice on their website for choosing the right solar installer. Their insight can help you prepare for your project.
One resource they recommend: The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). As the foremost organization providing solar industry certifications, they help ensure contractors have the specialized knowledge to tackle the complexities of a project.
Our team at Solar Design Studio includes licensed engineers certified by NABCEP.
Solar companies must comply with local and state requirements. Rules vary, but you can look up details for your state on the National Solar Licensing Database This database is maintained by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).
State-level solar industry trade organizations offer valuable guidance as well.
Why Solar Code of Ethics are Important
Another mark of professional conduct is a Code of Ethics. In our earlier blog post, we discussed the benefits of working with an ethical solar company and the Code of Ethics set by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The SEIA fosters dialogue between solar companies and consumers. They promote honesty and transparency. Solar Design Studio is a member of the Solar Energy Industry Association and the Missouri Solar Energy Industry Association, and we follow the code of ethics.
Each solar project demands diligence and attention to detail – from choosing the highest quality solar components, designing and configuring a system, and navigating multiple regulations. We’re proud of our relationship with SEIA and MOSEIA because it allows us to use our expertise and integrity to deliver solar technology that’s built to last.
If you have a solar project to discuss with certified, ethical, professional solar experts, contact us today!