How to choose your installer
The most critical aspect for the success of your solar journey will be the company you choose for the procurement and installation of your solar system. However, choosing the right installer may easily be the most challenging part of your solar buying process. Use these guidelines to help you find the right solar installer for your property.
Key things to look for in an installer
solar installation expertise
Your solar installer should have demonstrable expertise in installing solar power systems. While there is no gold standard yet established for the South African solar industry, a few good indicators can still be employed in assessing your installer’s competence. The PV Greencard is an industry led quality assurance label that shows that the installer has gone through the theory and practical training for safe and quality small scale solar pv installations up to 100 kWp. Registration with industry bodies such as the Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa (ECASA) and the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) also demonstrate an installers credentials.
Licenses and insurances
Solar installers should have all necessary business licenses and insurance policies. Typical business licenses for solar installers include general and electrical contracting, electrician. Electrical contractors must be registered with the Department of Labour. As a minimum, installers should also have general and third party liability insurance.
experience and track record
Solar is a fast-growing industry that is attracting professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Businesses that once focused on other types of projects are extending their practice into solar installation. When conducting your installer evaluation, make sure they have an established solar installation track record. A solar service provider should be able to discuss and show you systems installed for past customers.
Solar installer reviews from past customers are great for evaluating installers, but they can be misleading. Customers providing ratings and reviews are unlikely to be a representative sample relevant to you. However, ratings and reviews can provide a check on bad behavior – a pattern of customer complaints is probably an indication that you should work with a different installer.
Solar Installer review is easy with Energyfundi
Energyfundi has done the work of reviewing installers for you. All of the installers in the Energyfundi Installer Network are pre-screened for technical expertise, licenses and insurance, industry experience, market reputation, and commitment to the solar industry.
SELECTING THE BEST INSTALLER
If the installers you’re talking to all meet the basic criteria above, the question then becomes how to select the best installer from multiple good options? The best installers should have the following additional qualities:
Workmanship warranties are specific to the work of designing and constructing the solar energy system, and generally range from 1 to 10 years. While you can sometimes purchase a separate contract for the operation and maintenance of your solar panel system, in most cases, it is better to pay for an installation from a qualified installer with a solid workmanship warranty.
Selective use of sub-contractors and effective oversight
Solar installers sometimes rely on sub-contractors to perform specific tasks during an installation project. The best installers are transparent about how and why they use sub-contractors, and they use effective oversight whenever sub-contractors are involved. The sub-contractors should have similar licences and insurances as the main installer.
When a sub-contractor brings a particular expertise or has a longstanding relationship with the installer, these arrangements can work quite well. Be wary of any solar company that sub-contracts all of its work or presents you with a contract from a company with a different name. It is important to know who exactly will be standing behind your installation.
Trusted advisor on energy system design
Going solar can be a significant investment in your home or business, and you should have a strong, trusting relationship with your installer. The best installers will collaborate with you to understand how and where solar fits within the energy system of your home or business.
Moreover, superior installers are guides and advisors. Your solar installer should be someone that that you want to do business with, as well as a professional with the competence that you expect.
Start your solar journey today with Energyfundi
EnergySage is South Africa’s online solar marketplace: when you register your property for free, we connect you with solar companies in your area, who compete for your business with custom solar quotes tailored to fit your needs.