Finding A Solar Contractor
Consumer Energy Center's Contractor Search - Hosted by the California Energy Commission. To use the search engine, only enter the area code (415) and press enter.
Findsolar.com - Search for solar electric and solar hot water contractors in the area. Also includes reviews and ratings. A joint partnership between American Solar Energy Society, Solar Electric Power Association, Energy Matters LLC, and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Choosing a Contractor
It is always a good idea to get more than one bid. If you do get several bids, be sure that they are made on the same basis to allow for practical comparison. Request the contractors' bids include the total cost for the system as well as an itemized breakdown for equipment, labor, permits, tax, etc. The bid should also outline the current available incentives (rebates and/or tax credits) and detailed warranty information for both the equipment and the installation. Bids should include specifics on the proposed system - equipment make, model and quantity; estimated peak generating capacity; and annual energy production estimates.
Additional Points to Consider When Selecting a Solar Contractor
Solar energy systems should be installed by an experienced, qualified and insured contractor. Your contractor should possess an A (general engineering), C-10 (electrical) or C-46 (solar) license.
Solar electric (PV) contractors may have staff that are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
As consumer demand increases, more companies will come online. It is important to ask the installers how many years they have worked installing systems or the number of systems they have installed.
What do past customers have to say about the solar firm's quality of work?
Know what entity is responsible for your warranty. Review the warranty terms and conditions with your contractor. Ask about any other warranty or after-sales service policies.
Pending or Active Judgments
Does the firm have any pending or active judgments or liens against it? The California Contractor's State License Board maintains records of the work history of contractors.