Recently, there has been a large movement to “buy local” - We’re sure you’ve read about it online or seen it on the news. But... does apply to solar? Specifically does it apply to you? This is by no means a "one-size-fits-all" industry. There are reputable companies at every level, national and local. There are also fly-by-night companies at every level. Some specialize in the residential market, others in the commercial. Some only use a particular product line, others are more open to their clients' well-informed research and preferred options.
Now, there are several reasons it makes more sense to work with a local solar contractor rather than a large national (or multi-national) solar installer.
First of all, you'll save money.
While quality of product and workmanship are a priority, it's also true that most homeowners pay attention to the bottom line. The good news is that, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in a 2017 article, local solar installers' pricing is an average of 10% lower than the national residential solar installers.
Do local installers have better customer ratings?
Simply put, yes. Local solar installers care more about the work they do, their reputation, and your ratings. In fact, studies have shown over and over again that local solar panel installers consistently get better ratings than the nation's largest, and most recognized solar installers. It’s true!
Couple that with them also often using higher-quality brands of solar panels and inverters products because they feel a personal responsibility for the systems they install and you have a match made for you!
Since local solar contractors care more about the work they do and their overall customer satisfaction, they use higher-quality products, materials, and workmanship - but still prioritize customer-centric pricing tables. This results in reduced long-term solar maintenance requirements and repair costs for their buyers, and it also increases the life expectancy of the solar panels and related equipment. National installers can be known for using cheaper products to lower in-house costs and maximizing their profits. While local installers certainly care about their profit margin, they take a different approach to pricing.
This approach can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a residential solar system.
Overall customer satisfaction matters more
When you work with a local solar contractor, odds are you're working with a family-owned business that cares about their customer's satisfaction in a more personal way. Local companies rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals. and those only happen when customers are happy with their work. Plus, if company owners and employees live and work in the same community as the client base, they're apt to run into you in the grocery store, the soccer fields, or at the local pool - and they want to be able to wave and say hello with open hearts and clear consciences.
We live in the age of the informed consumer and we don’t expect you to take this as verbatim. However, as you do your research, think about what buying local actually means to you. Think about the positive impact you can have on your community! Think about how you can lead the charge to a more sustainable neighborhood put together by your neighbors. Sounds great, right?