23 Aug 2014
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5 Things You Didn’t Know about Solar Companies but Need To Going solar? Tips on how to know who you’re inviting to your home

5 Things You Didn’t Know about Solar Companies but Need To Going solar? Tips on how to know who you’re inviting to your home

North County Solar 101 Luncheon happening Saturday, June 21st, at the Brengle Terrace Recreation Center (1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista 92084) from 11am-12pm. Come learn about solar technology, rebates and incentives, and local case studies.


Over the past decade, the solar industry has been booming in San Diego County, ranking year after year as one of the fastest growing industries. The financial benefits and increasing demand for solar power has made the solar industry an attractive business venture.

According to Environment California 2014 report, San Diego ranks first for solar power per capita in the state. Wide open spaces, long periods of high temperatures, and high electric bills make San Diego the ideal location to install solar power systems.

In San Diego County there are over 200 solar companies. With a multitude of options to choose from, not knowing what to look for makes difficult to determine the best company to contact for the job.

“Consumers are feeling inundated and overwhelmed by all the solar companies in the region,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power, the largest integrator in the San Diego Gas and Electric Territory, according to CSI data.

Tired of cold calls and solar companies knocking on your door? “There are a lot of fly-by-night companies that have entered the market, and consumers need to do their diligence with an investment like solar energy,” said Sullivan. 

“How do I know a solar company is established and trustworthy?”

The first thing you want to do is validate a company’s years in business on the California State License Board website. “Many companies are claiming to have been in business for decades, but only just started doing solar.” Sullivan suggests using companies that have been in business for 10 years; the duration most companies provide on their workmanship warranty.

Sullivan suggested looking up a company’s Better Business Bureau rating, and using companies without any complaints filed against them. “The BBB serves as a watchdog for consumers, if people are escalating complaints to the organization; there have been serious issues with the company.”

Another thing to look into is a company’s portfolio. If the firm has large businesses and government organizations that have trusted the company with their projects, best bets are that you can too. 

“I am tired of pushy sales people and aggressive solicitations.”

Be wary of pushy tactics. Credible solar companies will educate you on solar, not push you into it. “You want to be educated on your options, not sold,” warns Sullivan.

“Can any contractor install solar panels?”

Solar is a highly specialized field that should be installed by state-licensed electricians (C-10 license). It is better to use a company that is focused on solar exclusively, and that is not also trying to sell you windows, alarms, or air conditioning.

“Should I lease or buy solar? What is the difference?”

Solar can be purchased or leased. The main difference is that with a lease option, you don’t receive a Federal tax credit. A reputable solar company will make the payback period, Return on Investment and tax credits clear and understandable.

“What should I expect at an in-home appointment with a solar company?”

At a home consultation, the company will provide you with a proposal. A proficient one will include details on your current electric consumption, what size system the company is suggesting, detailed information on the products they are proposing and all financing options available to you. A roof inspection and shade analysis needs to happen before you sign a contract. “A quality company will get on your roof and do a full design layout for you to approve,” said Sullivan.

By passing these qualifiers, you can be certain you are working with an ethically sound and secure company who will provide you with a quality solar power system for your home or business. The bottom line – do your research so that you know the company you are doing business with is going to be around for the next 25-years that your solar panels are under warranty. 

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