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HomeTechSolar Subcontractors vs. In-House Installers: Which Is Better?

Solar Subcontractors vs. In-House Installers: Which Is Better?


Using subcontractors is widespread in lots of companies. In the case of a photo voltaic set up, nevertheless, customers ought to know in regards to the potential risks of photo voltaic firms that outsource their work.

A photo voltaic subcontractor is a 3rd occasion that’s employed and contracted to put in photo voltaic panels on behalf of a photo voltaic firm and an in-house photo voltaic installer does the work themselves with their very own employed staff, stated Zayn Kalyan, CEO of Infinity Stone Ventures, an organization that invests in a photo voltaic power effectivity answer. 

One instance the place this enterprise mannequin went improper, reported by KOAA in 2021, is when Jeff Lamborn of Colorado bought photo voltaic panels from one photo voltaic firm that subcontracted an installer — and two years had passed by with the challenge left unfinished.

Can photo voltaic panels prevent cash?

Thinking about understanding the affect photo voltaic can have on your private home? Enter some fundamental info beneath, and we’ll immediately present a free estimate of your power financial savings.

The case brought about a number of years of complications for individuals who merely needed to cut back or remove their electrical energy payments by way of photo voltaic.

This Colorado case could also be on the intense finish, however it illustrates a lesson for householders curious about including a photo voltaic system to their dwelling: it is in all probability for the very best to work straight with an in-house installer. 

Can photo voltaic panels prevent cash?

Thinking about understanding the affect photo voltaic can have on your private home? Enter some fundamental info beneath, and we’ll immediately present a free estimate of your power financial savings.

That stated, many photo voltaic firms make the most of subcontractors to develop their footprint throughout the US with out points. And so long as the corporate is respected and ensures its work, they’re nonetheless price contemplating.

Photo voltaic subcontractor vs in-house photo voltaic installer: What is the distinction?

An in-house installer would deal with each step of the photo voltaic set up course of: gross sales, advertising, set up, customer support and coping with any points that come up post-install. 

An organization that makes use of subcontractors would usually deal with solely gross sales and advertising, then outsource the set up work to subcontractors. 

Momentum Photo voltaic and Blue Raven Photo voltaic, for instance, are two photo voltaic firms reviewed by CNET that use in-house installers as a part of their enterprise mannequin. Momentum was additionally named one in every of CNET’s prime 5 photo voltaic firms of 2023. 

SunPower, one of many largest photo voltaic firms — and likewise a prime 5 photo voltaic firm by CNET — however, makes use of a mixture of in-house installers and subcontractors. 

Why do some photo voltaic installers use subcontractors?

Installers usually leverage subcontractors to assist unfold their geographic protection space. For instance, a New York-based installer that desires to promote photo voltaic installations in New Jersey might make the most of a sub-contractor mannequin. As a substitute of increasing its enterprise to that state and hiring native staff, it might search for New Jersey-based subcontractors to companion with.

“It is extra environment friendly and it makes much more sense as an organization to make use of subcontractors from a geographic standpoint,” Kalyan stated. “It retains an installer’s enterprise mannequin lean, so it would not essentially have to hold a number of workers.”

The dangers of utilizing a photo voltaic firm that makes use of subcontracted installers

Except for the intense state of affairs described above, which can have been extra attributable to a photo voltaic installer with unhealthy enterprise practices, Kalyan stated there aren’t actually any inherent dangers, risks or advantages of utilizing a photo voltaic firm that employs subcontractors.

“Not all subcontractors are created equal, however typically, as long as you are working with a reliable photo voltaic vendor, they’ve seemingly vetted and finished due diligence on their subcontractor companion,” Kalyan stated. “If they’ve, customers do not must be actually involved.”

Basically, you will need to do the identical due diligence on any firm you do enterprise with, whether or not they make use of subcontractors or not. If an installer does use subcontractors, it is price asking who they’re, if they have been vetted and whether or not they’ve finished photo voltaic installations earlier than.

For extra on photo voltaic scams, see CNET’s Photo voltaic Panel Scams: 7 Pink Flags to Keep away from.

The way to discover the very best photo voltaic firm

In the event you’re able to go photo voltaic, step one you must take is to take a look at what installers work in your space. place to start out is your native photo voltaic affiliation, for instance the New York Photo voltaic Vitality Industries Affiliation, which gives a list of member installers and suppliers. Subsequent, solicit a number of quotes so you may get a way of pricing and the way a lot of your power wants could possibly be met. 

Be sure you try any buyer critiques for the businesses and analysis or inquire whether or not the installer makes use of subcontractors. In the event that they do, examine for any critiques for the subcontractor. Throughout the quotes, learn any advantageous print, examine the warranties (15 to 25 years is commonplace) and have a look at the tools (panels, inverters and battery in case you go for one) supplied. 

In order for you a second pair of eyes, the nonprofit Photo voltaic United Neighbors gives a free help desk the place a member of the group will look over your quotes and flag any potential points.

You can even try CNET’s record of finest photo voltaic firms of 2023. CNET did the legwork for you by score and scoring photo voltaic firms utilizing these three standards: tools, warranties and repair. 


Is utilizing an in-house photo voltaic installer higher than a subcontractor?

It is not essentially higher or worse to make use of a photo voltaic installer that makes use of subcontractors, as long as the corporate has correctly vetted the installer and it ensures the work performed on its behalf. With that stated, it’s easier to go for an in-house installer in case any issues come up. That manner, you solely must take care of the installer moderately than a number of events.


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