Choosing a solar power provider can be a challenge, especially in the Tampa area, where there’s an abundance of providers. Although we believe that we’re the best with our combination of experience and unparalleled customer service, there are still several other solar companies in Tampa. If you decide to look elsewhere, here are some things you should consider.
- Ask to see a written statement of what the solar power system is expected to produce and what is being charged per watt of installed photovoltaic (PV) power or per kWh of expected hot water heating.
- Ask what the cash-flow payback is on the investment.
- Ask for references and photos of prior work. Don’t just take their word for it; search on open review sites like Google Maps.
- Check to see the company is licensed and insured to work in Florida.
- Find out the specifics of the workmanship and solar product warranties offered. Some panels offer a manufacturers’ warranty up to 30 years.
- Be swayed by heavy-handed sales tactics, especially if they require an immediate house visit. Unless there is a shade problem or hard-to-measure roof sections, a highly accurate quote can be given through email after a basic phone or email exchange and the aid of satellite images (like Google Earth).
- Be too impressed with contractors who only sell products from one manufacturer. This monopoly can cause them to over-emphasize the capabilities of their chosen manufacturer at your expense, ignoring better and more efficient possibilities.
- Wait for solar water heaters and PV module prices to drop. Much like the housing market, solar panels bottomed out in the spring of 2013 and have been firming up since then.
- Worry too much about your HOA. You have a right by Florida law to install solar. Be courteous and go through the project request form they provide, but don’t be intimidated—Florida law protects your solar access rights.
Arm yourself with knowledge, and you’ll make the right decision when choosing a solar power provider. If you have any other tips on what to look for, leave them in the comments below.