If you don’t work in the solar industry, terms like “NABCEP-certified” or “electrical licensing” probably don’t mean very much. They’re just buzzwords.
Some solar companies in San Diego include them in their literature. Others don’t.
However, whether your solar installer is NABCEP-certified or licensed is extremely important.
But let’s back up a bit.
Anyone can install solar panels. You can even buy home solar kits from Amazon and put them up on your rooftop. Many hobbyists do, and we think that’s great.
More solar = less fossil fuel = cleaner planet.
So NABCEP certification and electrical licensing are not requirements for going solar.
But there’s a huge difference between amateur solar installations (done by weekend hobbyists) and professional installations (done by licensed experts).
Let’s explore why.
Why Licensing Matters for Solar Companies in San Diego
Before explaining the “why” lets define what licensing actually means in the solar industry.
- Electrical licensing means that you’ve passed relevant state or local exams governing electrical safety codes and best practices.
- NABCEP certification means that you’ve passed the industry-leading solar exam offered by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
Now the “why.”
There are actually 4 main reasons why you want to contract a truly licensed and certified professional to handle your solar installation.
1. Better Energy Output
All things being equal, licensed contractors will be able to ensure that your solar installation delivers the highest energy output.
Small percentage differences in solar panel performance may not seem like a lot.
But over 25 to 40 years, the electricity bill savings from a truly professional installation can exceed those of an amateur installation by tens of thousands of dollars.
2. Better Legal Protection
You’re legally responsible for any home improvements that you (or a neighbor) make to your rooftop. If there’s an accident – a fire, electrical shortage, falling panels – the courts will hold you responsible. Especially if someone else gets hurt.
By contrast, a professional installation is less likely to result in any types of accidents. And in the rare event that one occurs, the licensed contractor is usually responsible – not you.
3. Qualify for Incentives
Paying for a solar installation out of pocket isn’t cheap. Fortunately, both San Diego and California offer a range of incentives designed to bring the price of new solar installations down for homeowners and businesses.
But for many of these incentives, your installation only qualifies for tax credits and rebates if it was handled by a truly licensed and certified professional. In other words, you may be missing out on huge savings if you go the amateur route.
4. Qualify for Grid Connection
Want to connect your system to the grid and take advantage of net metering (i.e. the utility company pays you for the excess electricity that your panels produce)?
You better hire a professional.
SDG&E won’t let amateurs connect their solar systems to the network. Only licensed contractors.
Hiring Licensed Solar Companies Is Cheaper, Better, and Safer
Usually when you hire a professional – you pay for it.
- Want legal help?
- Expert medical advice?
- A gourmet dinner?
It’ll cost you.
But with solar, the professional, “licensed” route is actually cheaper when you factor in the incentives gained and the legal problems avoided. It’s also better for the environment when you factor in the long-term benefits of more clean power produced.
If you’re looking to hire a professional solar installer for an upcoming project, definitely keep us in mind.