With the recent explosion of the solar industry in Oregon, how can you make sure you’re getting solar from a trustworthy company?
Homeowners looking to make the switch to solar and stop paying utility companies for dirty energy and rate hikes want to make sure they’re investing in a solid product that will last. Plus, with rooftop solar you’ll want to make sure the person and company installing it know what they’re doing so you don’t wind up with any leaky roof issues.
When you’re researching how to make the best choice for home solar for you, Purelight Power is here to help. Even if you don’t choose us, our goal of making solar energy accessible for every homeowner means we’ll guide you through things to look out for, and what a reputable solar installer in Oregon looks like.
Keep reading below to find out more.
Oregon’s Solar Industry
In just four years, solar in Oregon increased over 550%! As more and more homeowners look to solar for energy independence and savings, our beautiful state has seen a boom in solar. Not just as a way for homeowners to own rather than rent their power, but as a major part of the economic engine that keeps Oregon running.
While many of the companies helping to drive forward clean, renewable energy in Oregon are reputable and do great work, there is the unfortunate reality that some people will take advantage of the growing enthusiasm for solar.
The disreputable (and even fake) companies often steal marketing, photos, and more from the trustworthy, real companies. Which makes 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.
How You Can Spot a Shady Solar Company
Unsolicited phone calls and door knocking
With solar booming in Oregon, a reputable company is a busy one. While they may put out ads to make sure people in their community know they exist, they’re not going to spend time going from door to door trying to convince people to buy solar from them. Nor will they be calling up random people from the white pages to see if they’re interested. If someone shows up or calls you without you having submitted your information requesting a consultation, your best bet is to ask for their information, and tell them you need to look into their company before going forward.
Pretend to be associated with the utility company
Along with companies that do door to door sales is the unethical practice of pretending to be from your utility company, rather than a solar installation company. If a salesperson shows up at your home or contacts you claiming they’re from the power company and have a special solar offer, you have every right to ask them for their name and credentials. It’s a good idea to call your power company and verify the person actually works for them as well.
High pressure sales tactics
A trustworthy solar company won’t force you into a sale. Instead, they should be willing to provide you with as much information as you need to make your decision, explain their policies and how the panels work with your home’s electrical, and let you take the time to think it over. If the person you’re working with at a solar company is being pushy and pressuring you, that sort of behavior should raise a red flag for you. It’s often a sign of shady business practices, which leads me to my next point.
No contract offered prior to work happening or a contract has to be signed on day one
Solar is an investment You should be able to take the time to think about how it will impact your life, and be sure it’s the right investment for you before signing a contract. If the solar company you’re talking to tries to either convince you that you don’t need a contract at all, or that you have to sign a contract the very first day you speak to them, you’re better off going with a different company altogether.
A reputable company will want their customers to be informed about what they’re signing before you actually sign any legal documents, and will never encourage you to have any major work done to your home without a contract detailing terms and warranties on the product and work.
“Free solar panels”
While many companies have special programs to help make solar affordable for homeowners, none of them can offer free panels. Companies out there that claim they’ll install your solar system for free are actually leasing you a system.
When a homeowner buys a system, whether outright or through financing, you’re able to claim the Solar Investment Tax Incentive on your income taxes. Because you own that system it also increases the value of your home.
Leasing a system through what is commonly known as a power purchase agreement (PPA) means you’re actually paying the company you leased the panels through for often over a decade, with no real protections, and no return on the investment you’re putting into the system. While not every homeowner is in the position to have rooftop solar panels, that doesn’t mean they’re only option is leasing a system through a PPA. We’d recommend checking into community solar options until you are ready to own your power with home solar.
Poor reputation and reports of ghosting post installation
One of the best ways to vet a solar installation company is by looking at the reviews their customers leave. Are there complaints about the quality of the panels, concerns about how the salesperson behaved, or notes that everything was great but once the system was installed the company all but disappeared?
Checking reviews of a company can give you a heads up about issues you might be in for.
Doesn’t have photos of past installations/customer references available to show you
Similar to checking reviews, a real company that does good work will be thrilled to show you photos of past installations, and has real customers singing their praises across social media and review sites.
We know how important seeing what other customers have received is to a homeowner looking to go solar, which is why we share installations and stories across Purelight social media to make it easy to find.
How to Spot a Reputable Oregon Solar Installer
Now that we’ve covered some of the things to look out for as warning signs, you might be wondering if there are any green flags that can help you to be sure you’re making a good choice. There are!
They were recommended to you by another customer
Like most businesses, solar grows a ton by word of mouth. If a homeowner loves the company they got their solar installed with, that’s a great way to know that the company is reputable and safe to work with. But, of course, we all know that one friend who doesn’t always have the most solid judgment, so here are a few other ways to tell if the solar company you’re considering is a good one.
Will show you the contract and explains the terms
Not only should a company not force you to sign a contract too quickly, or try to convince you that you don’t need one at all, but they should be willing to walk you through the terms. Few of us are lawyers, and contracts can be confusing. If the staff you’re working with will gladly go over the contract and what each part of it means, that’s a great sign that they’re going to stand by the terms and care about their customers.
Evidence of good customer service post installation
While solar panels are now regularly rated to last at least 25 years or more, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect the solar installer to be around to help if you need it. From questions about your monitoring system, to wanting to make sure they’ll be around to actually fulfill the warranties and guarantees your system should come with, post-installation customer service matters.
Reading reviews to see how current customers discuss the customer service experience is a great way to check this. You can also check to see how the company responds to complaints and compliments on social media and reviewing sites. If they’re responsive and seek to resolve issues, that’s a good sign.
Understands current tax incentives available in your state, and can explain how they benefit you as a homeowner
When an industry sees a lot of growth, that often means a lot of new companies. But not every company is in it for the right reasons. A company truly dedicated to making solar affordable for homeowners is going to understand the various ways to increase those savings including net metering for your specific utility company, and how state and federal level tax incentives can increase the affordability and savings.
Is selling you the panels and installation, not leasing them to you
This is a big one! Home solar works in part because the homeowner gets the benefits of generating electricity right on their roof, which means wiping out their power bill, and seeing their home’s value increase by 4% on average.
A reputable solar installer knows this and wants to help the homeowner make the move to solar in a way that benefits you, as well as them.
Let Purelight Power Help You Make The Switch to Solar Safely
With 5 star ratings, a 10 year workmanship guarantee, and over 2,200 satisfied customers as of December 2021, Purelight Power is your local solar company in Oregon. We’re here to help make your switch to solar simple and affordable!
Want to find out if your roof qualifies for our zero down program? Take our quick 30 second survey and one of our team will be in touch asap.