Abandoned by your Solar Company?

If you are thinking about going solar or were abandoned by the company you went with….here are a few things you need to know.

Investing in solar is not like buying a dishwasher or other appliance, so why do  many people treat it that way? Remember that “nothing good can come from choosing the wrong solar company!”  Let’s talk more about this.

We get calls all the time from customers of other solar companies where the company is no longer in business and did not finish the installation and interconnection process.

In many cases, these other companies were small installers that had not been in business long and had offered a “great price or great deal” that was too good to pass up.

In other cases, the solar company was a solar sales company.   This is a solar company that just sells solar systems for a commission and is only loosely associated (if at all) with the solar installer.  These companies do not have a service number since they really don’t service the systems they sell.  After the sale, most customers never here from this company’s sales person again.

In both cases, the customer was left holding the bag and wondering what to do when their system went down.  The customer didn’t have contact with anyone that could help them nor does the company they bought from pick up the phone nor call back.

Does this sound like something you or someone you know has experienced?

Choosing the right solar company ensures long-term satisfaction in your decision to go green.

Get 3 Quotes

You want to make sure you are being treated fairly and are not being taken advantage of.  Pushy, hard-selling sales people want to close you as quickly as possible.   After all, they want their commission.  Compare three company’s quotes and make sure to compare them “apples to apples.”

Compare technology and service commitments, not just price.  Look at the warrantees and guarantees and make sure the installer has been around long enough to back up their installation warranty as well.   Most reputable solar companies only sell Tier 1 panels which is good.  These panels have long, reliable warrantees, perform well and have a good overall track record.   The most reliable panel manufacturers rank high on the PVEL National Reliability Scorecard which is published every year.

Many times solar companies will use panels that are being discontinued by the manufacturer.   This is because they often cost less or are “on sale” from the distributor.   These can make your price look better but beware! These panels may seem great on the surface but since they are being retired and replaced by newer models, they will be harder to replace when you file a warranty claim.  The newer modules also may not be compatible with your system.

Look at the installation warrantees and guarantees and make sure the installer has been around long enough to back up their installation warranty as well.  A rule of thumb I remember hearing often is “if the company has been in business less than half of the years of the warranty they are promising….RUN AWAY and find another solar installer!!!”

Read the fine print in the contract.  You may often find that the 20-25 year installation warranty you are being sold is not transferrable if you sell your house.  Also, the equipment warrantees may not be as wonderful as your sales person may be claiming.  There are significant differences between what is paid for by the manufacturer and what your solar sales rep is claiming.  This is especially in the area of labor costs.  Many labor costs are not covered by the warranty and if they are, it is for only a very limited period of time.  You could end up paying a lot of this out of pocket.

Get to know your solar company

Be sure to check their reviews on the Better Business Bureau and other review sites such as GoogleReviews.  The Better Business Bureau is a great one to use since companies have to be approved for membership and are required to address any and all complaints they receive.

How long has your solar company been in business?

The longer they have been in business, the better the odds they will be around to service your system should things go wrong.  We have been in business since 2007 and have seen lots of companies go out of business since then.

Does your solar company have a local service phone number and contact info? 

If not, that is a pretty good reason to look elsewhere.  Non-local companies will not be able to provide good service.  That is very difficult to do when you don’t have a local service center.  Service times can be longer than you hope for and you may spend a lot of time on the phone, waiting on hold.  You will also have trouble getting someone to call you back, if at all.  Equipment replacement and servicing also takes a lot longer.  In a worse case, you could end up with lessened or no solar power for several weeks or even months while you wait for a much needed part.  Did someone say high electric bills again?

Why is a Company that is a locally owned seller/installer important?

You make your own judgement.  Solar is an important investment in your home. A local company can and will be there when you need them.

Read a Related Article on Solar Reviews:

Why the solar providers near you are often the best solar companies to buy from

Check for Industry Certifications

The National Association of Board Certified Energy Professionals (NABCEP) is a national organization that provides training and certifications for energy professionals such as electricians, engineers and solar sales professionals.

There are very few companies here in El Paso and Las Cruces that employ these professionals.    Do you think having NABCEP certified professionals on staff is important?  You bet it is!  Who would you rather have working on your house?

Does your solar company employ their own electricians & installers or are they subcontracting?

Many solar companies will use sub-contracters for their electricians and to provide other services.  This helps keep costs down for the solar company and allows them to charge you less for your solar system.   What can that mean for you?  You could have unskilled or lightly-skilled labor working on your home.   When something goes wrong with the installation, those subcontractors can sometimes be hard to contact to remedy the problem.  Is that what you want?

Making sure the solar company you are using has their own electricians and installer on staff is very important.

Is your solar company also your solar installer?

Many solar companies here in the Borderland are Solar Sales Companies.

If you can print a business card, you can call yourself a solar company.

Working for a solar sales commission

For a commission, these solar sales companies are selling solar for a handful of solar installers.  Some of these installers are local and others are national companies that operate a local operations office.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is noting wrong with going into business for yourself, selling solar and helping make the world a better place.  There are also a lot of good–maybe even great–solar sales people out there and there are a lot of good, quality people that want to help you make a difference.  But understand that the majority are working for a commission and are selling for whomever will pay them the most.  Many of these “solar sales people” will sell for multiple solar installers. Selling and making money is their primary motivation, not making the world a better place. When their pay changes, they move to sell for another company.

Interesting fact:  There are a lot more solar sales companies than there are solar installers.

If you buy from a solar sales company, will you hear from your sales person again?

Once that sale is made, there is a very small chance you will every hear from that sales person again.  They will also probably never answer the phone when you call them about a problem you are having with your system.  The responsibility for service falls on your installer.  Hopefully, you will have a relationship with whoever that solar installer is.  Do you know who your installer is?  Have you spoken with them?

One Solution:  Use Solar Smart Living from the very beginning!

Save your self the trouble and headaches that could appear down the road.  Go with a reputable, time-tested company that will take care of you for the longterm.  We still strongly recommend you get 3 quotes when you are looking at going solar.  Just make sure one of those quotes is from us.  We’ll make sure you get all the facts and are treated fairly.

We only use Tier 1 Solar Modules and guarantee the power you produce in the first year.  We are designing your system to be a powerhouse for your home.   We also warranty your system for 25 years as well as any other good company.  The difference is we have been around long enough to stand behind that warranty.

We have more NABCEP Board Certified Engineers and Electricians than any other solar company here.  Check out the latest installers that earned their certifications.  Our installers and engineers and sales team members are all employees of Solar Smart Living and they care about serving you well.

We also have more well-earned 5-Star Reviews on Google and the Better Business Bureau than any local company.  Don’t take our word for it though.  Read what our customers say about working with us.

If you have been abandoned by your solar company, call us!

If you have been abandoned by your solar company and can’t get anyone to help you, don’t sweat it.  Call us.  We can, and will help you.

System Inspection and Re-certification – we can inspect and fix any issues with your system and get you up and running again.

Need more power? – we will review your existing system and current energy consumption and help determine if you do indeed need more panels.  If you don’t we won’t sell you something you do not need.

Provide Products and Services the other company was not able to – we are an energy independence and sustainable technologies company.  We offer many products and services that other companies do not have the expertise and ability to offer.  Wouldn’t it feel great to work with one company that can help you with all of your sustainable energy needs?

Here is a short list of some of the products and services we can help with:

  • Energy Storage and Battery Solutions
  • Electric Vehicle Chargers
  • Heat Pump Mini-splits (HVAC)
  • Pool Heaters
  • Electrical Service Upgrades
  • Solar Screens
  • Water Filtration
  • and more…..

Most of the products and services we offer will help you to be more energy independent and use your solar energy more effectively.

If you would like more info or if you have been abandoned by your solar company…
Contact us

About the author
Alan Morgan

Alan is a solar and sustainable energy advocate. He has served the renewables industry for over 5 years for companies such as Solar City and Tesla and now acts as the Director of Business and Market Development for Solar Smart Living.