Choosing a solar provider can be tough! With dozens to choose from, multiple sales pitches and an information overload, it’s easy to get lost. After 20 years of experience in the industry, we’ve seen and heard it all. We’ve recognized a pattern in the similar mistakes customers make in choosing a solar system and a provider. So, we’ve put together 5 sure-fire steps that are essential for solar success but are often overlooked 90% of buyers.
- Know what you really want
80% of people looking into solar become overwhelmed by the stacks of information handed down from solar salespeople. What often happens as a result is a push for products that are more important to the sales team and the business making money, than those that are right for the customer. It’s easy to lose track of what you really want.
That’s why it’s important to start with one main solar goal. If you’re like most people and your goal is to save money – start with that. Our biggest piece of advice is… Don’t be an expert on what they sell, be an expert on what you want. Then make them prove to you that they can deliver. It is the job of the provider to convince you that what they’re selling will deliver and will continue to deliver to achieve your goal.
- Show me your credentials
This step is often overlooked. For some, it’s easier to assume trust in a company to avoid an awkward conversation – but you should feel as comfortable and confident with your solar provider, as you do with your GP sitting next to their framed degree. Your decision to invest in solar power needs to be backed up by credentials. The most important thing to check is the legitimacy of the company. Take this list to your potential solar provider and ensure they tick these boxes:
- Are they an approved Solar Retailer with the Clean Energy Council (CEC)?
- Do they have an Electrical Contractors License?
- Are they CEC accredited with appropriate additions?
- Do they have extensive solar experience and solid references?
- What other installs have they done in the area?
- Do they have public liability (min $5M)?
If the company is not partnered with the CEC as an approved retailer, you should ask for a good reason as to why. The CEC approved retailer program holds a sales company to a minimum of 5 years guarantee on the promises made at sale time. This is a voluntary program that only exists to give the end user more assurance. So be wary of those who are not part of this program and ensure they give similar guarantees.
- Products and service go hand in hand
Comparing products (as described in step 1), even for the most experienced and solar savvy, can be challenging. Comparing a company’s quality of service is equally important but often easier to determine. Read customers reviews on their post-installation service, check out their ratings and ask around town. Don’t just hold your provider accountable on the product alone (that’s the easy part), ensure they can meet your service needs as well. Tell them what you expect and ask them how they will deliver – not only on the install, but on post-service questions, call outs or unexpected issues.
Service starts from the moment you first make contact. Take note of your provider’s ability to deliver on their promises. How do they guarantee it? Who do you call after the install? Will they be around to help if anything goes south?
- Who will keep an eye on your solar?
Like anything, there is always a slight chance of something going wrong with a solar system. So, who keeps an eye out for problems? Over 90% of solar systems are totally reliant on the end user picking up on an issue and determining the best course of action. Monitoring your own solar is beneficial, but it’s often hard for a customer to understand the reports and check it regularly. That’s when you want your solar provider to be there. A very reasonable statement to put to a provider is – I do not want to be responsible for ensuring my system delivers over its life. That is your role. How you will do it?
The less expectation put on you as the end user, the more you know that provider will be around to assist. If your provider does not want to discuss it now, then they definitely won’t later.
- Think about costs vs value
We all know that some things are too good to be true, but for the lack of better information, sometimes we just can’t help but go for475 the cheapest option. We know however, that the cheapest is very rarely the best.
Getting the cheapest cost item up front can be a comforting way to make a decision. However, the logical side of our brain (or our logical better half) tells us otherwise. Up until now, the most logical way to make a decision about solar was to compare it at face value, which usually comes down to cost comparison. But, the key here is to ask the right questions and ask for the facts – get mathematical! The cheapest upfront cost might not always deliver the best long term ROI. Our director, Kon Flaherty has put together a set of fool-proof calculations that can help you make an informed, confident decision.
For more information about how you can achieve solar success, call our team of Green Energy experts for an obligation-free discussion about your solar power needs.