Local vs National Installers Pros and Cons
Which company you choose to buy your solar system from can correlate to how much you will save by going solar. In this article, our goal is to help you understand what things you should look for when choosing your solar partner. We say “partner” because going solar means committing for at least 25 years to be there for you whenever you need. Here is what to consider when comparing offers from national or local installers.
You can make an apples-to-apples comparison on any proposal by determining the price per watt of the system.
You calculate your price per watt by taking the total cost of your system and dividing it by the system size (watts). So if the gross cost of the proposal is $30,000 for a 10-kilowatt system (or 10,000-watt system), the price per watt is $3 ($30,000 / 10,000). Although there are a variety of factors that can impact this price, typically, a standard system between $2 – $3 per watt is considered to be a “good value.”
In a report by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a national-scale solar installer is 10 percent more expensive when compared to a local installer. The reasoning includes high overhead operational expenses, subcontracting their work to various third-party solar installers, who may or may not be qualified to work on your home, or, are part of a public company that places profits over everything.
When you buy from a local installer, like Solar Topps, you are more likely to pay less for your installation when compared to a national installer. Local installers have more freedom to choose their products, are involved in every step of the process driving down operational costs, and don’t have a “big name tax” included in their price. With a myriad of purchasing options, we have the right offer that best matches your budget and future energy requirements. Typically, Solar Topps prices are about 20 percent lower, which is why we are the “Best Value in Solar.”
While they operate on a national scale and can distribute to more States across the nation, they only install homes within the range of their facilities. Homes in more rural locations or new and developing communities are more likely to be rejected by national installers. Moreover, National installers typically neglect to disclose what products or panels they use, which could be due to them using products they aren’t proud of. If you ask them to provide premium products such as what you would find at Solar Topps, you can rest assured the price will come with the “big name tax” mentioned earlier.
Solar Topps prides itself on providing premium products at affordable prices. We use top-of-the-line products from industry-leading companies like REC, Panasonic, LG, and are an Enphase Gold Installer. Along with a fantastic production value, they also come with industry-leading 25-year warranties, most covering both parts and labor. Using these products will increase your home value and save more money faster. That is how you get the most out of your investment!
Review and Response Times
National installers work at a national level. When you need a repair, be prepared to be patient. To get in contact with them, you are most likely calling a 1-800 number and be left alone to navigate their automated system accompanied with that dreadful hold music. Trying to make contact with someone that can assist can be frustrating. All of these factors contribute to what we call “system downtime.” While you jump through all these hoops to contact someone, you’re losing money by not having a fully functioning and well-operating system.
Solar Topps and other reputable local companies can provide rapid responses, have technicians quickly show up to your home, assess the issue, and immediately begin working on a resolution. With an in-house team of highly trained solar professionals, we can provide service at the right moment, minimizing downtime and maximizing your savings.
Quality of Workmanship
While national installers are usually a household name, they are not working on your project from start to finish. A series of different companies are completing your job. Various workers will have different standards for the installation on your home. If something goes wrong, it can be confusing to figure out who will fix it, especially if the contractor that installed your system is no longer in business. We receive calls daily from these national installers to help in repairing systems that were installed incorrectly.
Solar Topps and its in-house team of energy professionals are involved in every step of your installation, maintaining high quality throughout the whole process. Every individual piece needed for your install is waiting in our warehouse, ready when we receive the proper approvals from the City. Our engineers work hand-in-hand with our installers to ensure your system is installed as intended to get the most power out of your panels. With industry-leading warranties on workmanship, you can trust Solar Topps will be there the service you if needed, because that is what neighbors do for one another.
While national installers are well known, they can be more expensive and less tailor-made for you and your family. If issues arise, you can expect substantial downtime while you try and get a hold of the right people who will attempt to fix the problem. Solar Topps is one of the most trusted local installers in Arizona, serving thousands of homes across the State. For more than a decade, we have used our expertise to provide the best value in all things solar.