Connect with a Contractor

Contractors are your key resource to getting the most appropriate solar system for your individual budget and property needs. Contractors typically provide free site evaluations as well as comprehensive quotes, system specifications and payback information.

Selecting a contractor

CSE recommends contacting and evaluating at least three contractors and their bids before selecting one to install your system. Consider the following tips and best practices.

Tips and best practices for hiring a contractor

  • Seek multiple bids - We recommend that you obtain at least three bids from different contractors. Use CSE's bid comparison worksheet to help you compare contractor proposals.
  • Get References - It's a good idea to request references from previous customers. You also may want to consult third-party review resources such as the Better Business Bureau or Yelp before making a selection. 
  • Hire only a licensed contractor - Ask for the company’s state contractor license number and check your state licensing board to ensure that your contractor and subcontractors are licensed and in good standing. The National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) offers links to licensing information throughout the United States.
  • Never sign a contract under pressure - Insist on at least 48 hours to study any contract.
  • Pay as you go - Never pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less, to start a job. Hold back 10% on the final payment until the entire job is complete and has been inspected by the proper authorities. Never pay for work before it is completed.
  • Never pay cash - Pay by check or credit card.
  • Get references - It's a good idea to obtain references from the contractor's previous customers. You may also want to consult third-party review resources such as the Better Business Bureau or Yelp before making a final selection.
  • Hire insured contractors - Always insist upon a certificate of insurance for general liability insurance. Uninsured workers who are injured on the job may file damage claims against the business owner.
  • Get a thorough written contract before any work begins - Any work valued over $500 requires a contract. In the contract, be sure to specify the start and completion dates of the job and insist on a progressive payment schedule specifying exact costs. Be sure to require that all change orders must be in writing.
  • Keep a job file - Put receipts, permits, plans and anything else pertaining to your job in the file.

How to find a contractor

The best way to find a reliable contractor is to ask friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, or other business owners who have had solar PV installed.

For solar installers near you, visit Go Solar California.