Why care about high-quality workmanship when installing solar?

Updated

Solar installer working on panels on a roof
Quality workmanship ensures that your solar system will last as long as possible. Image source: PV Magazine

Solar panels are an investment in both time and money. Sometimes in life, going with the cheapest quote is worth it. When it comes to solar, that is not the case. Solar panels will be on your roof for their 25-year warrantied lifetime at least, so it’s important to ensure that you’re choosing a trusted installer from the start.

Although a higher cost may be less palatable at first, going with a more reputable solar installation company will save you time and money in the long run. Dependable installers are more likely to be around for repairs over the years, their installation will be more secure, and your panels will look better, too.

Find reputable solar installers in your area

High-quality workmanship is an important factor when installing solar panels. Let us tell you why.

Key takeaways

  • Small, local companies might be more expensive but will work hard to use quality materials and provide great customer service.
  • Quick, cheap installation will not only be less aesthetically pleasing, but it could also lead to unsafe electrical work.
  • NABCEP certification is another way you can make sure that the installer you choose is top-notch.

On this page

    Why local quality matters

    We recommend local installers because we believe that working with smaller companies in your area is the best way to get quality solar panels for a fair price. Larger companies, like Tesla, have a reputation for less than ideal customer service when it comes to honoring the warranty and providing timely repairs. Large companies like Tesla have a reputation for less than ideal customer service for things like honoring the warranty and providing timely repairs.

    Local installers who have been in business for five years or more tend to offer high-quality service – if for no other reason than because they want you to recommend their business to your neighbors.

    Installers who bid on a job that are not trying to compete with price are more likely to take the steps needed to ensure a high-quality job done. They know what labor and materials go into getting the job done right and will stand up to a higher quote. Additionally, higher quotes are accounting for higher quality materials. Some companies, like SunPower, allow only certain approved installers to use their materials.

    Find out more about how to make sure your estimate is legitimate.

    What impacts installation quality

    Several factors can affect the price of your solar estimate. If your estimate is a bit higher than you anticipated, it may mean that your solar panels are made of more expensive, higher-quality materials. While you can bring costs down with solar panels or inverters made of cheaper materials, they might not be the best option for a long-lasting system.

    Check with your installer to see if the materials they use are high quality. You can use our top 10 manufacturers list as a starting point.

    Cheap, quick work can also lead to unsafe solar installations. For example, taking the time to ensure that the cables underneath the panels are connected and hidden helps keep the wiring safe and the panel more aesthetically pleasing.

    When rewiring your house to run on solar, there are a few new cables and wires that need to be installed. These cables connect to the junction boxes via conduits which can be an eyesore when affixed to the outside of your house. Quality solar installation companies will take the time to make sure that the wires are hidden safely, keeping your home from looking like one big electrical grid.

    Look for NABCEP-certified installers

    Aside from confirming that your installer will use quality materials and install with care, looking for a NABCEP-certified installer is another way to ensure quality. NABCEP, or the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, is the most well-respected certification agency within the renewable energy world.

    Solar installers need to take rigorous courses and pass in-depth testing to obtain and maintain their NABCEP certification. On SolarReviews, we make it easy for you to find the NABCEP certification at the bottom of a company's profile. This certification, coupled with a company that uses quality materials, will give you peace of mind when choosing a solar installer.

    A higher solar quote can save you in the long run

    You might need to fight the urge to pick the cheapest solar quote, but you will be happy that you did. Relying on the cheapest option could mean shoddy installations, less-sturdy materials used in the build, and a company that will never return your calls if you need help.

    It's important to remember that solar panels are generating live electrical currents right on your roof. Is that something saving a few bucks on is worth? Chances are, the answer is no. Monitor the reviews on our site, check for NABCEP certification, and talk with prospective installers to make sure that you are getting the best deal – not the cheapest.

    Can going solar save you money? Find out today
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Ana Almerini

    Web Content Specialist

    Ana is a content specialist at SolarReviews. She uses her experience in marketing and knowledge from her master's in climate communications to research and review the solar industry.

    Related solar news