Solar Shopping is Not That Easy

Sometimes homeowners who are solar shopping become annoyed when we tell them we can’t give them estimates online or over the phone. Others ask why we don’t have a solar calculator or order yourself option on our website.  Some people have told us they think we are trying “trick” them into receiving a high pressure sales pitch.

Although the U.S. solar market saw 14% growth in 2019, with over 12 GW of new solar power added to the grid (enough to power 2.28 million average American homes) and more homeowners are going solar every day, many people who are just beginning to look into home solar are not used to thinking of solar panel installation as home improvement.  If they did, they would not be asking for online or phone quotes.

Think about this; When you need to make a major home improvement, like having your kitchen renovated, or getting new siding for your house, this involves hiring a contractor or installer, unless you plan on doing it yourself. You probably expect that the contractor will need to come to your home, look over everything, discuss options with you and provide a quote after that.  Plus it’s likely you will want to interview more than one contractor  because you need to feel you can trust them not to wreck your house or waste your money. In fact, very few homeowners expect to get a quote over the phone or online for major changes like this because they know that is not the best way to operate.

Yet, when it comes to shopping for a home solar system, many homeowners still expect solar companies to provide quotes over the phone, email them proposals, or try to figure out for themselves how much they will pay for a solar system, how much energy it will produce, how much they will save on utility costs, and what their return on investment will be by using an online solar calculator. If you are seriously considering going solar, this is not the best approach as the list below outlines.

Top 4 Reasons Why an Onsite Visit is More Beneficial When Solar Shopping Than Phone Quotes or Online Estimates:

1) You cannot get a detailed financial analysis of your building’s energy costs and your projected return on investment in a 10 minute phone call or through email. We believe solar is too important an investment to give people phone or email quotes. The return on investment is phenomenal but it varies for each person and requires financial analysis by an expert who understands the SREC market, tax incentives, grants, long term financial planning and more. It takes time to do this correctly so our solar analysts only give proposals to people who are interested enough to meet with us, fully qualified and who we believe will make the best candidates for solar.

2) Online calculator quotes are likely to be inaccurate. Calculator quotes often come in a lot lower or somewhat higher than what it will really cost someone to go solar. That’s why we got rid of the calculator we used to have on our website. There are constantly changing incentives and tax breaks that affect pricing almost daily. There are also different types of solar PV products. Some are high efficiency and some are not.  A calculator cannot determine what type of solar panel will be best for your building’s energy needs.

3) We are locally owned and operated so we can give you exceptional service. Our customer service begins with providing you with an accurate analysis based on your goals, budget and a first-hand examination of your property. Looking at a home or business on Google maps can be useful but an online view does not provide as much information as an onsite visit can. Many of the solar installation companies who give quotes online or on the phone use subcontractors.  If a company gives you a quote without meeting with you and seeing your property, it could be because they want to entice you with a low price to get you to meet with them, or it could be because they are not a full service solar system design and installation company and expect you to do most of the work. Solar Energy World does not sell DIY or one-size-fits-all solar systems and we don’t disappear once the installation is complete.

4) Solar Energy World’s customer service and the quality of our work is so good that when you meet with us, your solar analyst will pull out a list of all of Solar Energy World’s thousands of customers and let you pick anyone from our customer list at random who you can then call for an unbiased, unrehearsed reference. If you ask for references from other companies most will give you 2 or 3 customers to call who are cherry-picked ahead of time. They certainly do not need to meet with you in person to do that.

If you are solar shopping, there has never been a better time to find out if you qualify. Simply fill out the form on this page or click on the image below to review our current offers.

By Laureen Peck, CMO, Solar Energy World