The U.S. is growing in residential and commercial solar PV installations – and fast. If you’re a home or business owner, owning and paying for a solar PV system is easier than ever, but there are guidelines for potential solar PV owners to make the process successful – starting with who you choose to install your PV system. When you enter solar installer search criteria into your search engine you’ll get a long list to choose from. So how can a home or business owner tell who is, or isn’t, a competent professional installation company?

First, at least one person with the contracting company must be a licensed general contractor or licensed electrical contractor to legally write a contract for the PV installation. Also, it’s a good bet that if an installation company has been in business for a few years, they’ll have at least one NABCEP Certified Installation Professional on their team. A NABCEP Certified Installation Professional has been through many hours of advanced solar training, has experience installing and designing PV systems, and has passed a demanding nationally recognized exam. Ask questions. Reputable solar installation companies won’t mind answering them.

The solar training an installer gets can mean the difference between a qualified, competent installation professional and an installer who is less qualified, or just out for the money. Ask the company representative where they received their solar installation or solar sales training.

A solar training program that is IREC Accredited, or a trainer who is IREC Certified as a Master Trainer has achieved the highest level of quality and excellence in the solar industry today.  If the team you’re interested in isn’t NABCEP certified, it’s a good idea to make sure they were trained in an IREC Accredited program, or by an IREC Certified Master Trainer.

Of course, there is also word-of-mouth. Join Facebook solar groups where you can ask other PV system owners about their experiences. Solar is a long-term investment in your home, your business, your future and your family.  Doing your homework before contracting with a solar PV installation company could mean the difference between an installation that is reliable or one that requires expensive troubleshooting.

Leigh Hamilton
Solairgen School of Solar Technology

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