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Tips for hiring a solar contractor

Expect a home visit

A contractor needs to do an in home assessment to see if any upgrades are needed to the electrical system or building structure to accommodate solar panels.  They need to gauge the condition of the roof for possible repairs.  It’s important to simulate a physical layout with pitch and orientation of the panels taking into account any protrusions they may need to work around. This step could avoid any unforeseen costs of system re-design. Your contractor will be required to submit a site location map with your net metering application. This information includes topographical details of structures, buildings, NB Power line and easements as well as generator location(s). You should review this map prior to submission.

Know your warranty

When it comes to warranties, understand not only the warranty on the solar energy system itself but also the warranty on the installation job. Contractors should guarantee their work.

Ask for and call references

Every reputable contractor should have many happy customers. Ask them for references and call and ask about their experience with the installation and performance of their solar energy system. Consider going to see the installed systems in person.

Get more than one quote

Buying a solar system is a long-term decision.  Speaking with several installers may present options that are beneficial to you.

Get it in writing

Make sure you have a complete written account of all of the things (efficiency, warranty, installation, work schedule, payment schedule, financing options, etc.) you want to consider when comparing your contractors’ quotes. Make sure you receive detailed manufacturing technical specifications of the equipment the installer is quoting; this is crucial to allow you to compare your options. Your contractor will be required to submit this documentation with your net metering application and you should review it prior to submission.

Hire a professional

When hiring any contractor, make sure they carry liability and workers’ compensation coverage, they employ licensed tradespeople to perform the installation and that they will be responsible for any permits or licenses required to complete the job. Confirm what work will be sub-contracted so you know who is responsible for your installation and workmanship warranty. The best solar installers will be able to provide accurate modelling to demonstrate how their proposal will impact your energy bill and provide a report.