According to a report from the Solar Energy Industry Association, solar in Montana is poised to grow by more than 250% over the next five years.
That’s good news for homeowners, since more solar means lower costs and better access to programs like net metering, solar incentives, and reputable solar installers. But how do you make sure the company you choose to go solar with is trustworthy and experienced?
Unfortunately for homeowners in the best last place, a booming solar industry means plenty of inexperienced and even fake solar companies. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck taking a risk when you make the switch to solar!
Keep reading to learn what things to look out for, and what a solar installer you can trust looks like in Montana.
The Solar Industry in Billings
More homeowners across Montana are looking to solar to cut energy costs with solar, including residents in Billings.
By going solar, you can stop renting power and gain energy independence to avoid rate hikes from greedy power companies. As the cost to go solar in Montana continues to fall, even more homeowners in Billings are making the switch.
Unfortunately, amidst all of the growth of rooftop solar energy in Billings and across Montana, some unscrupulous people will take advantage of a hardworking homeowner’s desire to switch to solar.
Inexperienced, untrustworthy, and even fake companies can steal marketing, photos, and more from the trustworthy solar companies. That can make figuring out who to trust a tricky business.
But that doesn’t mean you have to just give up on your dream of clean power right on your roof! There are some key things to watch out for.
Shady Solar Company Tactics to Watch Out For
So how do you spot a phony solar company when looking for someone to partner with for your switch to solar? Here are some red flags you should keep an eye out for.
Unexpected visitors and unwanted phone calls
Reputable companies will advertise so their communities know they exist. But companies looking to just make a quick buck who aren’t interested in being part of their community will employ more aggressive tactics. That’s because they don’t care if they burn bridges.
Watch out for companies going door to door trying to convince people to buy solar from them.
These companies also call random people from a bought list to see if they can force a solar sale.
What should you do if a salesperson shows up or calls you without you having requested a consultation from them first? Tell them you need to look into their company before going forward. Or tell them you’re not interested.
Pushy sales tactics
Companies that use aggressive methods to contact you might also be pushy to try and get you to say yes to the sale. A solar company that’s safe to work with won’t force you into anything.
Instead, they’ll willingly provide you with as much information as you need to make your decision. This includes explaining their policies, how the panels work with your home’s electrical, available tax incentives, and letting you take the time you need to think about switching to solar.
If the solar company is being pushy and pressuring you, that sort of behavior is a red flag. It can often be an indication of poor business practices at worst, and just poor customer service at best.
No contract OR a contract that must be signed on day one
Solar is an investment in your home. You as the homeowner should be able to take the time to think about how it will impact your life before signing any contract.
If a solar company you’re talking to tries to push you to either forgo a contract altogether, or tells you that you have to sign a contract the very first day you speak to them, you should consider going with a different company altogether.
The solar company you partner with should want you to be informed about what you’re signing. No trustworthy company would encourage you to have any major work done to your home without a contract detailing terms and warranties on the product and work.
Adding solar as an afterthought to their services
As solar grows in Montana, you’re likely going to see companies that add on solar as a bonus service. We’re not saying every instance of this is a red flag, but keep in mind that solar is complex. For the best quality panels, installation, and ongoing service to keep your system in great condition, you’ll want to work with someone who knows what they’re doing.
Often, contractors who simply add on solar lack the experience and training to manage the full breadth of a solar installation. Worse, they may not have a team who can help you troubleshoot if something does go wrong with your system.
Limited or Outdated Information on their Website
Companies investing in being part of your community and providing quality solar will be able to provide you with accurate and timely information. One great way to check this is to take a look at their website.
Do they have information about how solar works in your state? What about information about federal and state level incentives that can help you save? (The federal solar investment tax credit saves homeowners 26% of their total costs until the end of 2022, by the way.)
A team that is dedicated to keeping up on how residential solar works in your state might even have a blog so you can learn more and be ready to ask questions when you meet with your solar consultant. If they can’t answer your questions, or haven’t bothered to keep up-to-date on information about solar, that’s a definite red flag.
Can’t show you photos of past installations
Every company that does good work will want to show you photos of past installations. After all, who doesn’t want to brag a little?
They’ll also have real customers discussing their positive experiences going solar across social media and review sites. To help customers feel comfortable choosing Purelight Power to help them switch to solar, we share installations and stories across Purelight social media to make it easy to find.
We strive to provide a world-class customer service experience for every homeowner we work with, and aren’t shy about sharing how pleased our customers are.
Spotting a Reputable Solar Installer in Montana
Don’t worry, it’s not all bad news. There are also green flags that let you know the company you’re talking to will be a great partner for your home solar.
Another customer recommended them to you
Solar might be a booming industry, but especially in states where it’s still growing, word of mouth is still king.
When a friend, family member, or coworker loves the company that installed their solar, they’ll let you know. That’s a great way to know that the company is reputable and safe to work with.
There are a few other ways to confirm that the solar company is as great as your great aunt says.
Will show you the contract and explains the terms
A trustworthy solar installation company won’t force you to sign a contract way too quickly, or convince you that you don’t need a contract to protect you.
Their team should be willing to walk you through the terms, and answer as many questions as you have. If the solar consultant will gladly go over the contract and what each part of it means, that’s a positive indication that they not only know what they’re guaranteeing, but will stand by the terms, and any warranties and guarantees.
Customers report great post-installation customer service
Most solar panels are rated to last at least 25 years. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still expect the solar installer will be around to help if you need it. After installation, you may have questions about your monitoring system, or need to have some work done that’s covered by the warranties and guarantees your system came with.
Read a few reviews to see how current customers discuss their experience with that company’s customer service. Great companies have good customer service that’s responsive and actively resolve issues.
Knows about the current tax incentives available, and can explain how they benefit homeowners
A fast growing industry will attract lots of interest. Not everyone who takes notice will get into solar for the right reasons.
To make sure you get the most out of your solar, look for a company dedicated to making solar affordable for homeowners. They should understand how net metering with your specific utility company works, and the ways state and federal level tax incentives can increase the affordability and savings of home solar.
SELLS you solar
This is possibly the biggest green flag! Home solar can save you money because you get the benefits of generating electricity right on their roof, which means wiping out your power bill, and seeing your home’s value increase by an average of 4%.
A reputable solar installer knows that owning your system allows you to get the highest return on your investment, and access tax incentives and rebates. They won’t try to get you to lease a system from them.
Purelight Power Can Help You Save with Solar
Why choose Purelight Power? We offer a trio of warranties and guarantees that go above and beyond what is normally offered, and over 2,200 satisfied customers as of December 2021.
We’re your local solar company in Billings. Let us help make your switch to solar simple and affordable!
Take our quick 30 second survey to find out if your roof qualifies for solar.