Solar Panel Installers
Solar panel installers are professionals that have the skills and training necessary to set up a solar power system in your home.
Once you’ve decided that you want solar electricity to power your home, you have to determine whether you want to install the system yourself or if you want to hire a professional contractor.
There are many do-it-yourself solar panel kits on the market with easy-to-follow instructions; indeed, many people elect to install solar power systems themselves find that they can market their expertise to others by installing systems on other people’s houses.
However, many homeowners find that the time and technical knowledge necessary to install a solar power system dictates that they hire a reputable solar panel installer to perform the work. These professionals often have an electrical and/or roofing background and will come to your house to set up your new solar power system from scratch.
Choosing Your Solar Panel Installers
As with any home improvement project, it’s always prudent to acquire proposals from several different contractors, assess cost estimates, and check references on prior projects.
Depending on which state you live in, you should also determine whether licenses are required from the contractor to perform any type of solar energy work. Click here to see if your state requires licensing.
Generally, certifications are not required for solar panel installers to perform installation work. However, certified installers can give you more peace of mind that they have achieved a higher level of knowledge and training than un-certified installers; and importantly, some states require that an installer be North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified if you want to participate in state incentive programs.
Finding a Solar Panel Installer
Many consider NABCEP the standard for photovoltaic systems and solar thermal installation certification. Finding out if there are NABCEP-certified installers in your area is easy. Click here to go to its Web site and choose your location.
What Solar Panel Installers Do
Generally, solar panel installers will perform the following work:
- Help determine your energy needs and financial expectations
- Perform a site survey of your home
- Size and design a solar power system unique to your home
- Help work with the local utility to construct your system
- Help secure permits and approvals
- Install the electrical and battery components
- Install the solar panels and mounts
- Test the system
- Provide you comprehensive documentation
- Help you navigate and understand your new solar power system
Depending on the contractor, installation can represent as little as 10 percent of the cost or as much as one third of the total of your solar power system. The rest of the cost is for the materials – i.e., panels, inverters, mounts, wires/cables.
It’s important to note that installers do more than just secure solar panels to your roof and connect them to your electricity grid. They take into account the placement of the panels, the angle at which the panels will absorb the most sunlight, the scope of the project, the amount of electricity required, and even the aesthetic look of your solar power system. In other words, installers help map out exactly what kind of solar power system you need and can afford, set it up, and help you understand how to operate it to its maximum efficiency.