How to choose a solar installer
Article by: Kimberly Guest
Improve your home 18 Aug 2023

How to choose a solar installer

High stages of loadshedding and escalating electricity prices have made solar more popular than ever. However, this rising demand has seen the emergence of unqualified and even unscrupulous dealers, making the selection of a solar installer more difficult than ever.

It’s not a concern to be taken lightly as in the face of rising complaints, the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud earlier this year issued a solar warning to households to select their equipment and installers with care.

The concern for most households is knowing what to look for in a solar installer and what to expect from a system. We look at 6 essential factors that should be covered:

  • Reputation and experience: One of the first elements to look into when choosing a solar installer is their experience and reputation in the industry. Make sure the company is legitimate and has a proven track record of successful home solar installations. Googling the solar provider for reviews and customer comments can often offer a more balanced view on their previous performance than the testimonials provided on their website. Just remember there will always be a customer or two that simply would have been impossible to please, so consider the tone of all the reviews.
  • Qualifications and accreditation: To ensure a safe and efficient solar installation, it's essential to work with installers who possess the necessary expertise, accreditation, and licenses. As a starting point, confirm whether your chosen supplier is registered with the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association or the Southern African Alternative Energy Association to ensure their installers have undergone the required training and possess the appropriate qualifications. You’ll also want to ensure the company has a qualified electrician on the team to check the safety of the installation and issue a certificate of compliance.
  • Evaluate product quality: The quality of the solar panels, inverters, batteries, and other equipment used by the installer significantly impacts the performance and longevity of your solar system. Request detailed information about the components specified in the installer's quotation. Verify that they are sourced from well-known and reputable manufacturers within the industry. On the day of installation, cross-check the components with the invoice to make sure you’re getting what you paid for.
  • Warranty and after-sales service: Since a solar system is a long-term investment, it is crucial to select an installer who offers a warranty on both their workmanship and the products they install. It’s important to bear in mind that solar panels, inverters and batteries have different life expectancies and warranty terms. Speak to the installer about the various warranty terms and after-sales service before making a decision, as a responsive and reliable company will provide efficient support in case of any issues with your system.
  • Price and time to installation: While price should not be the sole determining factor, it is essential to find a solar installer who offers competitive pricing without compromising quality. Be cautious of particularly low prices as these may indicate sub-standard or low-quality products or workmanship. Additionally, be prepared for potential delays in installation, as the high demand for quality components has caused shortages. If an installer promises an exceptionally short installation timeframe, ensure you thoroughly research the company's reputation and the quality of their products before proceeding.
  • Seek professional site assessment: Before confirming your purchase, it is highly recommended to have a properly qualified and experienced solar installer conduct a site visit. This assessment allows the installer to evaluate the structure of your home and discuss your specific needs, enabling them to recommend the most suitable solar system. This step is crucial as the Consumer Protection Act does not provide protection if you buy incorrect equipment. Clear communication and accurate specifications are vital for ensuring the right solar solution for your needs.

LookSee provides customers with the peace of mind of knowing that their solar system and installer has the backing of Standard Bank. Learn more about LookSee’s extensive vetting process and how the comprehensive evaluation of solar installers mean you can be assured your investment is protected and will last for years to come.

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