How to Choose a Solar Contractor
With its sunny weather, the highest electricity costs in the United States, and supportive tax incentives, Hawaii is a great place for homeowners to “go solar.” In fact, the robust market is drawing in scores of new participants.
“With so many solar companies piling into the market, it can be hard to distinguish firms with the technical knowledge and experience in the Hawaii market from fly-by-nighters looking to make a quick buck, or mainland companies who think they understand the Hawaii people,” says Eric Carlson, principal of locally owned RevoluSun. “Systems should last 25 years, and the quality of the installation is critical to its long-term durability and to the integrity of the home. I definitely recommend that homeowners do their homework before choosing a solar contractor.”
Those interested in a solar system should: • Lower energy usage first. The fastest way to reduce your power bill is to use less electricity. Cut back that usage through power-saving appliances, changing light bulbs, and turning off energy hungry devices when they are not in use. RevoluSun, who installed more solar systems in Hawaii in 2010 than any other company, offers a free energy evaluation to any Hawaii homeowner before they even begin discussing solar solutions for prospective clients.
• Get comfortable with the technology and the installer by visiting a solar open house, where other Hawaii homeowners invite the public to see their solar system in action, and talk story about design, installation and how it affected them. Hawaii homeowners also can check out one of the free, solar education series RevoluSun holds in locations around Oahu every month as well as on Maui and the Big Island. You can find a listing of these free open houses and solar education seminars at www.RevoluSun.com or by calling 748-8888.
• Do your homework. Research the company to ensure it has the proper licensing. You can do this by visiting the Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs at www.hawaii.gov/dcca or visit the Regulated Industries Complaints Office at http://hawaii.gov/dcca/rico to see if the firm you are planning to work with has received any complaints and the outcomes of those complaints.
• Interview the solar company to find out the qualifications of its installers, and the firm’s protocol for scheduling installations. Be upfront and determine what kind of recourse you will have should the work not be completed on time, on budget, and with no mistakes.
• Pay attention to service and quality. This includes making sure that you are comfortable that the team installing panels on your roof and working with your home’s electrical system observe proper safety protocols, and finding out what the solar company does to help you apply for your federal and state refunds or tax credits. These generous incentives pay for up to 65 percent of the system. But if the system is not installed properly, or the correct paperwork is not sent to the utility, homeowners could get stuck footing the entire bill.
Hawaii’s solar energy experts, RevoluSun, work exclusively with American Piping & Boiler (APB) to install all its residential solar systems. APB is a highly respected union shop with a long history of successful projects in Hawaii’s energy industry. Founded in 1965, APB is a locally owned general and electrical contractor.
“The truth is that most solar companies, including us, are really young. But what RevoluSun does through its partnership with APB is groundbreaking, and it addresses many areas of concern in this fledgling industry,” says Carlson. “By partnering with a kamaaina company that has been in business for more than 45 years, we gain a level of maturity and proven work experience that no other solar company has. Add to that APB’s large, qualified work force, and we are able to service clients on time, and make sure each customer receives the attention and professionalism they deserve.”
Though this partnership, RevoluSun provides the design, permitting and exceptional customer service needed to ensure the job runs smoothly while APB handles the construction.
As Hawaii’s leading solar provider, RevoluSun designed and installed more residential photovoltaic projects in 2010 than any other company, and it’s able to help you, too. RevoluSun offers free, understandable energy evaluations to homeowners, which allow for customized systems based on each home’s unique energy needs.
To schedule your free energy evaluation, call 748-8888 or visit www.RevoluSun.com.