Guides Home Team wants to make sure that our readers are well informed when making a switch to renewable energy.
We have spoken to solar experts and representatives of solar companies, surveyed 1,000 solar-equipped homeowners and spent many hours researching the solar industry in order to develop a methodology that is centered on what solar customers care about.
Seven relevant factors were used to compare solar panel installers. We scored each company out of five stars based on a scale of 100 points.
Each company was scored by weighting each criterion.
Cost and Payment Options (20%)
Solar energy is an important financial decision. Solar companies should provide their customers with several financing options. This is how we scored this category.
Solar companies offering in-house financing (5%) received the highest points. This means that you don't need to use a bank or third-party lender to finance your solar panels. Bonus: solar leasing or PPA options (+2,5%): Solar leasing and PV PPAs no longer represent the best financing option for homeowners. We still believe that it is in the best interest of customers to have as many options for financing as possible. Therefore, we gave companies who offer 2.5 bonus points.
In our survey of 1,000 solar-paneled homeowners conducted in March 2023, 66% installed a battery with their installation and 44% installed a charger for electric vehicles.
We awarded the highest points to those companies who offered solar accessories that were popular with customers along with their solar installations.
How do we award points to companies who offer add-ons or extra services?
Installations in-house (5%)
Out of 1,000 solar-powered homeowners we surveyed 516 said that the company's reputation was the most important factor they considered in choosing a provider.
Four metrics were used to evaluate each company's reputation:
BBB Customer Review Rating (5%): All five points were awarded to companies that had a BBB Customer Review rating above 4.5. North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners r (NABCEP), certification (5%): Companies that hold a current NABCEP certificate earn all five points for this category.
When choosing a company to manufacture solar panels, you should consider three warranties: a warranty on workmanship/service, a warranty on the product and a warranty for performance.
We gave solar companies 3 points for each of these warranties. Plus, we added 2 points if they met or exceeded industry standards for warranty length (10 years in the case of workmanship and product warranties; 25 years in the case for performance warranties).
Performance Warranty (5%)
Customer Support (10%)
You need to find a company with excellent customer service, as your solar panels are expected to last at least 25 years. If something goes wrong, you will be helped by companies that are responsive to your issues, even after the solar panel installation has been completed.
We evaluated the customer service provided by each company.
Backend support (5%) : We analyzed any negative reviews to identify common customer pain points after solar installation. Customers who frequently complained about difficulty contacting customer service, or delays when their systems needed maintenance or stopped working would lose points.
Experience in Industry (10%)
A number of solar companies are now on the market as the industry grows. We believe solar companies that have more experience in the industry will be able to better understand the solar market, and what customers want.
Solar companies that are newly established can have a greater risk of failing to operate, which could invalidate your warranty.
In this category, companies that have been operating for at least 10 years receive full points. We deducted 1 point per year below 10 years that a business has been in operation (companies who have operated for 9 years received 9 points, 8 years earned 8 points, etc.). ).
We reward companies that have taken concrete, actionable steps to sustainability. This includes sustainability statements, ESG reports and disclosures, end-of panel disposal programs, and community partnerships.
Companies that have detailed disclosures about their sustainability initiatives and are committed to sustainability receive all five points for this category.
Guides Home Team is a group of experts in home services who write and research content for the providers that we recommend. From initial research through to the final edits, we handle all aspects of the editorial process for published pieces on life insurance and other services.
Our team strives to be fair and objective in all of our content, and to communicate the strengths and weaknesses of providers as they relate directly to consumer concerns. Our goal is to help our readers by connecting them with the companies who offer the best prices and solar products. This will reduce their research time, and streamline the decision making process.
Faith Wakefield, a North Carolina-based writer, is an expert in the field of journalism. She has an economics degree and an English degree from UNC Chapel Hill. Her work has appeared on EcoWatch and The World Economic Forum, as well as Today's homeowner. She loves to watch personal finance videos, read books, and spend time outdoors in her free time.
Sabrina Lopez has over six years experience in writing and editing digital contents with a focus on personal finance, home services and home products. Sabrina Lopez enjoys creative writing, spending time with family and her two parrots and working on articles that help consumers make informed choices.