Generally speaking, solar panel systems pay themselves off within 10 years of purchase. Once they've reached that point, they provide nothing but free energy. This is why, whether you're a homeowner or commercial property owner, you should strongly consider solar installation.
Of course, if you're going to install a solar panel system, you'll need to find a reputable solar installer. How do you find the right solar energy contractor?
We're going to help you with that now. Here's how to hire the best energy contractor in Cheyenne, WY.
Use a Search Engine
You can start by using a search engine. Type in something like "solar panel installer in Cheyenne, WY" or "Cheyenne, WY solar installation". This should give you a list of viable candidates to choose from.
Next to each name on the list, you'll see a consensus star rating. You'll also see a link that leads to reviews from past customers. Use both of these to determine which options are the best, and then create a small pool of the installers that appeal to you the most.
Once you have this list created, you can research each candidate in greater depth. This is key to narrowing down your options and making a final choice.
As with any service provider, when hiring a solar energy contractor, experience is vital. You don't want a relative rookie doing intensive work on your home. You want someone who's proven themselves time and time again.
This is why, before signing any contracts, you need to ask your prospective contractor how long they've been installing solar panels professionally. We advise choosing a contractor with at least 2 years of experience. That said, the longer, the better.
If a contractor has maintained a decent reputation over several years of consistent work, they almost undoubtedly have what it takes to get the job done. In other words, they can be trusted.
Make Sure They're Insured
In addition to experience, your chosen energy contractor should also have insurance. Insurance is vital as it protects you financially in the event of mishaps. If your contractor doesn't have insurance, you could end up on the financial hook for damages or injuries.
For example, let's say that, while installing your solar panels, your solar installer accidentally damages your roof. If they're not insured, they'll have to pay for the repairs out of pocket, and so might try to avoid them altogether.
In that situation, you would either have to pay for them yourself or file a lawsuit against the contractor. Both of these cost you money, not to mention stress and time. As such, they're undesirable.
On the other hand, if your contractor has insurance, their insurance company will simply cover the cost of the damages. This makes it much less likely that you'll have to.
And it's not just damage that can affect you. Injuries to the contractor's employees could affect you as well.
What if one of the contractor's employees is injured on your property? In this scenario, you could actually end up being held liable for the employee's workers' compensation. But if your contractor has insurance, their policy will cover the costs of the injuries, and thus save you from having to cover them.
There are two types of insurance to check up on, general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance. The first covers damage and the second covers injuries.
Look Up Licensure
In the state of Wyoming, solar power contractors are required to carry an electrician's license. This is supplied by the state and indicates a requisite level of knowledge and skill in the realm of electrical work.
If a solar power contractor is working without a license, they're working illegally and should be avoided. Utilizing the services of an unlicensed contractor could result in your being scammed, and thus is a big risk.
Fortunately, it's fairly easy to look up a specific contractor's licensure. You can simply use the Wyoming license lookup tool.
Type in the name of the company or individual you're considering and see what pops up. If the electrician's license shows, they're good to go.
Check On Certification
As noted, solar installers in Wyoming are required to have electrician licenses in order to work legally. They aren't, however, required to have any sort of solar panel installation license.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't look for certification when browsing through contractors though. There are solar installation certifications out there, and if a contractor has one of them, they're likely a safer bet than those that don't.
Currently, the premier solar installation certification comes from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. If your chosen contractor has this certification, it means that they've demonstrated proficient skill and knowledge in the realm of solar panel installation.
Inquire About Costs
Different solar installers are bound to charge different rates. To ensure you're getting a decent deal, you'll want to inquire about these rates prior to signing any contracts.
This is why we advise calling up the options on your list and asking for estimates. An estimate will give you a ballpark idea of what a specific installer charges and will enable you to truly assess whether its services are worth pursuing.
Make note that the cheapest estimate isn't necessarily the best option. At the same time, the most expensive estimate isn't necessarily the best option either.
Oftentimes, companies charge less than their competitors because they're lacking in some way. Conversely, some companies charge more than their competitors simply because they can. This doesn't necessarily mean they're a better option overall.
Do your due diligence on each company and try not to make cost your primary selection criteria. Weigh it along with other criteria as well.
Ask About Payment Type
There is more than one way to pay for a solar panel system. Not only do you have the option to pay for the entire system up front but you also have financing options.
That said, not all companies provide all payment options. This is why, before selecting an installer, you need to ask about the types of payment they accept.
In the long run, paying upfront is the cheapest option. However, many homeowners struggle to manage such a substantial payment at one time. So, if you can find a company that offers a monthly fixed rate for payment, you might be better off.
Get a Feel for Their Reputation
Experience alone won't tell you the full picture. To truly understand whether a specific contractor can get the job done, you need to assess both experience and reputation. If a contractor has maintained a positive reputation over years of business, they're almost certainly a safe bet.
How do you go about determining a contractor's reputation? The easiest course of action is to look at customer review sites. These run the gamut from Facebook, to Google, to Angi, to Home Advisor, and more.
Read through the reviews and try to get a feel for the general consensus. See if any of the reviews answer questions you might have. Finally, use star ratings to gauge a contractor's overall quality.
If you can find anyone who's worked with the contractor before, make sure to talk to them. Their recommendation could help to solidify your decision.
Call and Ask Questions
Another thing you should do before signing any contracts is call and ask questions. After all, you're going to be spending a lot of money on this. You want to make sure your installer doesn't give you any red flags.
A call enables you to speak with your installer personally. You can gauge their tone and determine whether or not you'll get along with them. You might even be able to ask them some questions to see how they respond.
If they're welcoming of questions and give you thorough answers, they're likely a safe bet. If they're dismissive of your questions and try to skirt past them as quickly as possible, they're probably not someone you want to work with.
Have the Contractor Come to Your Property
Our last tip is to have the contractor come to your property. This is best done as a precautionary measure, just to ensure that there are no glaring issues with your prospective choice.
Have them check out your house, discuss the project with them at length, and ask for a more specific estimate than what you received over the phone. If you jibe with the contractor during this meeting, they're all good to go.
That said, don't feel obligated to sign a contract right then and there. We advise taking some time to think about it first.
Looking for a Reputable Solar Energy Contractor?
On the hunt for a reputable solar energy contractor in Cheyenne, WY? If so, you don't have to look any further. We here at Skyline Solar are the people to see.
We provide everything needed to get a solar panel system up and running. We even offer zero-down financing, allowing you to make fixed monthly payments for your solar costs.
Contact us now for more information!