How to Choose a Solar Installer Like a Pro: 5 Quick Tips for Success

Updated: May 21


Empire Solar Group banner image with text reads, "How to choose a solar installer like a pro, 5 quick tips for success" with a yellow and blue background and features a man wearing a San Francisco Giants Hat wearing a harness installing a solar panel on roof.

Congratulations! You’ve decided to join the 2 million+ American families and businesses who’ve gone solar.


Whether your reasons are environmental or economical, you’ve already taken your first step towards owning your power.


But, if you don’t know a thing about the solar industry, selecting something as important as your solar installer can feel absolutely overwhelming, and the last thing you want is to be the latest victim of the dreaded upsell…


Don’t stress! Solar shopping like a pro is easier than you think when you know exactly what to look for.


Arm yourself with these 5 quick tips for finding the perfect solar installer for your home or business so you can consult with confidence.



Two boxing gloves face each other and "vs" in yellow with sparkles separates them.

Pro Tip: Solar Installers vs. Solar Sales Organizations


In this article, we cover our top tips for selecting the best solar installer, which is different from a solar sales organization.


Most solar sales organizations educate and sell solar, but aren’t the ones actually installing your panels. Instead, they contract with EPCs (meaning engineering, procurement, and construction) like Empire Solar Group to complete their projects and care for their customers.


Some solar sales organizations also offer installation, but often aren’t as equipped to devote the time and attention to detail your project deserves.


That’s why we recommend only working with sales organizations who have great relationships with competent, trustworthy solar installers.



1. Shop Around for a Quote

A solar installer wearing a grey Empire hoodie stands next to a young couple looking at solar panel layout blueprints in front of their house. The installer holds his hands up as if he's explaining how the pieces fit together, and the couple looks focused on the designs.
An Empire Installer explains the installation process to homeowners in Arizona.

Like any other big-ticket item, shopping around for multiple quotes on your solar installation is a no-brainer. And when you shop around, you can secure some seriously big savings.


According to solar shopping resource EnergySage, comparing multiple quotes can cut the cost of your solar installation by up to 10-25% compared to your state averages.


Depending on the size of your installation, that difference could translate to thousands of dollars, but a decision that will last you decades definitely isn’t something you want to skimp on. The best solar installer choice for you should be a balance of cost and quality.


When comparing quotes, make sure you consider what services are included, which panels and inverters they use, and what financing options are available to you.


For example, at Empire we offer a range of services, from solar panel array design to solar panel and battery installation and maintenance.


Additionally, we provide a variety of flexible financing options for owning your power, and can help get you approved, even if you’ve been turned down before.



A ribbon that reads "25"

2. Look for a Long Warranty

A solar panel installer wearing a grey hoodie and blue hat stands in front of a blue and yellow Empire install truck as if he's preparing to go up the ladder to the roof above him.

You want your solar system to last, and if it doesn’t, you want a solar installer that’s going to fix it. That’s why a long warranty and maintenance should be at the top of your priority list.


When selecting a solar installer, look for at least a 20-year warranty—the longer, the better, as you can expect your solar system to last over 30 years. And while solar panel maintenance is not usually required, it can get very expensive, very fast.


One of the most common problems with solar panel installations are leaks in your roof. Holes and gaps in your roof can quickly lead to drainage problems and leaks, so you want to make sure that your solar installer’s warranty covers these.


Empire offers the best warranty in the industry: every installation includes a 25-year full workmanship warranty on both our installation and electrical services, in addition to our manufacturer’s warranties on materials.


If your solar panels are not working properly or producing enough energy, we’ll send someone out to fix it, whether that means installing new panels and equipment, or simply having an expert do a double-check.


Empire’s warranty doesn’t just provide two and a half decades of exceptional service, it

guarantees you peace of mind, and we think that’s priceless.



A blue lightbulb with yellow light.

3. Choose a Solar Installer with Experience

POV from the rooftop looking down at a solar installer lifts up a grey and black panel to the roof.

The last thing you want is to spend thousands of dollars only to have a useless solar system poorly installed on your roof.


Even worse, a solar installer that is not qualified or properly trained can damage your property and even put your safety at risk.


For a project of this scale and importance, you want an expert with experience on your side.


Empire isn’t new to the electrical scene—we’ve been thriving in the electrical

contracting space for over 15 years.


We know what it takes to get the job done, and that’s reflected in our average solar project turnaround time from clean document submission to install on the roof of 35.5 days, one of the fastest in the industry.


When you work with Empire, we assign you one of our fully-licensed and trained electricians and a project coordinator to make sure your installation goes as smoothly as possible.


Since our founding, we’ve installed nearly 16,500 total kilowatts of power, enough to light 275,000 standard 60-watt bulbs. Maybe that’s why we’ve been named one of the Top Solar Contractors by Solar Power World, 2 years in a row.



Speech bubbles with stars inside.

4. Read Relevant Reviews

A large white truck site outside of a long white house and manicured yard with yellow and blue decals reads "take back your power".

When researching solar installers, reading reviews can be a great resource. However, when reading online reviews of any kind, it’s important to take them with a grain of salt.


Online reviews are inherently biased according to a recent study published by the Harvard Business Review, which revealed “they tend to over-represent the most extreme views.”


Here’s why: usually only people with extremely positive or negative experiences take the time to post reviews—this results in “a distorted view of products, services, and companies.”


Additionally, if you plan to work with a solar installer with multiple locations, it’s best to read reviews relevant to your area to get a better idea of the service you will receive.


In the end, online reviews are certainly something to consider when choosing a solar installer, but shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision. Of course, any concerns you have should be easily addressed by your solar installer.


At Empire Solar Group, your complete satisfaction as a customer is important to us, and we

wear our A+ BBB rating like a badge of honor.



Two hands grasp each  other in a handshake.

5. Connect with Your Company


Scoping out your solar installer’s website can tell you a lot about their company. A quality solar installer will list their qualifications, awards, and more details about their services.


By reading their “About” page and mission statement, you can uncover their values and see if they align with yours. Forming a personal connection with your potential solar installer can help to set them apart.


Here at Empire we’re especially proud of our humanitarian work, like our

partnership with the GivePower Foundation.


So far, we’ve donated over $300,000 towards providing clean drinking water and solar power to underdeveloped communities across the globe. Your installation alone can provide clean drinking water for 4 people for 20 years—that’s the Empire impact.

Three kids aged 4-5 stand in front of a small solar panel array in a village in Nepal. They hug each other while smiling for the camera. Image courtesy of the GivePower foundation.
Image courtesy of the GivePower foundation.

Additionally, analyzing your interactions with the company can give you insights into how you will be treated as a customer.


When you speak to your company representative, are they respectful? Do they answer your questions and address your concerns, or are they more focused on closing the sale?


Make sure to always trust your instincts and keep an eye out for any red flags like poor customer service and evasive behavior.


Let’s Review


Selecting a solar installer doesn’t have to be a headache. In this post, we covered 5 quick tips for finding the best solar installer for your needs. Let’s recap:


● When shopping around for quotes, compare what services are included, the quality of their materials, and their financing options


● Look for warranties over 20 years that cover common issues like roof leaks and include maintenance of your system


● Make sure your solar installer is experienced so that your panels will be installed

properly and you can avoid potential property damage and safety issues


● Reading online reviews can be helpful, but shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision as they are inherently biased


● While connecting with a company’s core values and mission statement can set them

apart, it’s important not to ignore your gut feelings about their intentions


Ready to go solar? Get your FREE QUOTE from Empire Solar Group today!



References


Empire Solar Group. (n.d.). Affordable solar panel installation: Residential. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.empiresolargroup.com/residential-solar-panel


EnergySage. (2020, July 15). Why You Should Compare Solar Energy Quotes. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.energysage.com/solar/decision-guide/why-compare-solar-system-quotes/


GivePower Foundation. (n.d.). Clean Water Through Clean Energy. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://givepower.org/


Klein, N., Marinescu, I., Chamberlain, A., & Smart, M. (2018, March 14). Online reviews are biased. Here's how to fix them. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2018/03/online-reviews-are-biased-heres-how-to-fix-them


Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). (2019, May 9). United States Surpasses 2 million solar installations. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.seia.org/news/united-states-surpasses-2-million-solar-installations


Solar Power World. (2021, February 23). 2020 Top Solar Contractors. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2020-top-solar-contractors/

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