Buyer Beware: Solar Sellers Without Installers
The final quarter of 2019 is upon us, and for those interested in solar energy, we are also approaching the first reduction of a major incentive: the 30% tax credit on solar installations ends on December 31st of 2019. More specifically, residential construction must be started by that date, according to the tax code as it currently stands, to qualify for the full 30% credit. After that, the tax credit goes down by 4% to 26%, which means that projects begun next year will still see substantial savings and a quicker return on investment than they would without tax incentives.
This is a great time for quality solar installers who have been in the business for many years. Unfortunately, there are also those who would like to cash in on the benefits of how popular solar is right now without providing the best possible workmanship. For instance, some of the newest companies do not have long-term solar installation crews and instead utilize subcontractors and temporary workers. Getting an extensive depth of experience is harder when you don’t have your own dedicated workforce. These companies sometimes try to subcontract to established installers like mtvSolar, however we and others often prefer to work our own turn-key installation process from start to finish.
The worst case scenario from using unqualified installers are complete system failures, or even fires. The phrase “buyer beware” comes to mind, simply because doing one’s homework for such a large investment is key to reaping all the rewards of a new solar energy installation on your home or commercial property. A properly installed system with modern safety systems is completely safe.
There are, of course, new companies that are doing excellent, high-quality installations. We want our potential customers to understand what to look for when choosing a contractor and avoid getting a bad impression of solar overall. We welcome questions and discussions so that you can make a highly-informed choice about who will work best for you. Following are some things to look for in a great solar installer.
Does the Installer Carry Full Insurance?
Installers who put their employees and customers first will always make sure to have workers compensation, general liability, and automotive liability insurance. They should be able to let you know that they understand the value of these policies and don’t cut corners when it comes to protecting the work sites for their solar installations.
About 1099 contractors
A 1099 worker is a private independent contractor and are not classified as an employee. If a jobsite accident occurs and they are not insured, the homeowner can face liability. There are cases of 1099 laborers who carry no workers compensation insurance and that dodge payroll taxes, which may be against the law and leaves the homeowner at risk.
“When a worker is an employee, employers must pay state and federal unemployment tax, social security tax and workers compensation/disability premiums to a State Insurance Fund. When a worker is an independent contractor, the hiring party is not required to make any of these payments.” Says LegalZoom.
Always ask to see certificates of insurance, for anyone that will be working on your property.
Does the Installer Have an Experienced Workforce?
Work history is essential with solar energy installation. After all, every installation surface is different, and so learning from many different projects over time is what creates truly skilled individuals and work teams. When you are evaluating potential installers, it makes sense to work with a team that can enthusiastically share testimonials, work history, and a long track record of success. If a request for such things is met without a clear response, you have reason to keep looking for a different supplier and installer. Another important requirement would be that the installer has a Master Electrician on staff to over-see the wiring.
Does the Installer Take Pride in Their Work Through Required and Voluntary Certifications?
The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) offers a variety of certifications that can be distinguishing elements when you are offered similar solar installation proposals and cannot tell which of the teams would be the better choice for you. This organization offers certifications for PV associates, designers, installers, and solar roofing professionals, among others, and Mountain View Solar takes pride in the extensive training and certification process our workers undertake. We recognize that understanding the best practices of the industry makes us stronger, so we implement them in every installation we complete.
Is the Company Financially Stable?
Most individuals and corporations at least consider financing at some stage in the solar energy process, and your financing agents will be keen to know who your installer is if they are to get behind your project and pay for it. If a contractor cannot field scrutiny from any source of funding that you are working with, or if they don’t have any leads on financing that could help you, it may be best to go a different way. Many solar energy installers who are established in the business wish to help connect you to reputable, reliable sources of funding themselves and are all too happy to prove their capacity to deliver if need be. In the end, you want a company that will be around to honor your warranty.
Does the Company Comply With All Health and Safety Regulations?
OSHA offers both 30-hour and 10-hour construction industry training certificates (the longer ones for site supervisors), and these are incredibly important when on a solar installation jobsite. Ideally, these individuals should also have photovoltaic-installation-specific health and safety training so that they are incredibly well-prepared. When discussing the initiation of a project, ask any company about their health and safety regulations and compliance, and if they cannot name the ways in which they are meeting and exceeding these requirements, you may have cause for concern. This is also tied to the work experience above: if they pass the question along by saying that each crew is a little different, you may be working with someone who hires people without a long-term career in solar installation with excellent construction safety experience.
About Mountain View Solar
While it is an excellent idea to get one’s solar installation started in time to receive the tax credit, there is no substitute for the savings associated with a well-installed, easy-to-maintain solar power system from Mountain View Solar. The peace of mind that comes from a high-quality installation, as well as the benefits of expert decision making, go a long way to making your solar energy system an excellent investment.
Work with people who can back up their promises rather than anyone who does not seem to have experience or a clearly well-trained team; it just makes sense to do your research before making such a big investment in your home or commercial property.
Want to get to know Mountain View Solar? We’re excited to show you our passion and thorough preparation for installation of solar equipment. Contact us today! We offer zero-pressure FREE consultations, have our own fully employed and insured workforce, and have been around for over a decade.