How to Choose a Reliable Solar Contractor: What You Need to Know

Last modified on April 23, 2023

With the increasing popularity of solar energy and support from government grant and loan programs, it’s crucial for homeowners in Ontario to understand the different types of solar companies in the market. Knowing how to distinguish between reliable contractors and less qualified players can save you time, money, and frustration.

Solar Installation Contractors

A full service solar contractor will design, supply, install, and service your clean energy system. They will have extensive experience in a variety of technologies and can guide you through decision making, including referring you away from their own services if that’s the best solution for your needs. They employ all their own installers, invest in their people, and are proud of their installations and good referrals. They’ll warranty their work and provide service as needed. They’re your partner in clean energy generation. Full-service solar contractors provide comprehensive solutions, from design to maintenance, ensuring a smooth and reliable transition to clean energy.

Lead Generators

Lead generators are not solar companies at all; they’re SEO (search engine optimization) companies.  They excel at getting their own websites and ads listed at the top of search results, thus capturing the attention of homeowners doing research. Sometimes they offer a handbook or other informational resource, but their primary goal is to collect your contact information. They sell your contact information to other parties as a “qualified lead” and those companies compete for your business. They may sell your contact information multiple times to different audiences like roofers, renovators, landscapers, etc. Lead generators are middlemen who do not install solar systems. They collect your information and sell it to multiple companies, often resulting in unsolicited calls and emails.

Marketing / Project Management Companies

A marketing company’s focus is sales, marketing, and growth and it fills a position between a contractor and a lead generator.  These companies excel at SEO and have professional websites that make them appear like contractors. However, their focus is project management; they generally lack in-house technical expertise and they outsource most or all technical tasks including design and construction, which can lead to inconsistency in both quality and accountability.

Tips for Identifying a Genuine Solar Contractor

1. Who Does the Installation?

  • Ask if the installers are employees of the company or third-party subcontractors. Direct employees mean better quality control and accountability.

2. Who Are the People Behind the Brand?

  • Research the company’s leadership and team. A reputable contractor will proudly present their team, from executives to field installers.

3. Does the Contractor Have a Physical Presence?

  • Check if the company has a physical location with facilities for materials, tools, and vehicles. A legitimate contractor will have a functional workspace, not just a virtual office.

4. Company Branded Trucks

  • Observe if the company has branded vehicles and equipment. This shows pride in their work and commitment to community recognition.

5. Range of Solutions

  • Ensure the contractor offers multiple solutions tailored to different needs, not a one-size-fits-all approach.

6. Real Photos of Work

  • Look for real photos of their past installations instead of stock images. Authentic photos demonstrate experience and reliability.

7. Experience Over Numbers

  • Focus on the contractor’s years of experience and customer testimonials rather than just the total kW installed. Longevity indicates consistency, expertise, and customer satisfaction.

8. Post Installation Support

  • Inquire about the service and maintenance support provided after installation. Reliable contractors offer ongoing support and prompt service and they do it with their own staff, not subcontractors.

9. Industry Memberships

  • A committed solar contractor will be a member of CanREA, our national industry association. CanREA advocates for clean energy to governments, raises clean energy awareness among the public, and provides a forum for dialogue, collaboration, stewardship and growth of the industry.

At Generation Solar, we pride ourselves on being a quality-first, full-service solar contractor. With 25 years of experience, we employ and train our own staff, ensuring high standards and consistency. As a licensed electrical contractor, we offer a comprehensive range of design, installation, and maintenance services. Our commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction is evident in every project we undertake. Trust us to be your partner in clean energy generation.

Ready to Go Solar? Contact Us Today!