Connect with a Contractor

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 — Obtain at least three bids from different contractors. Use CSE's bid comparison worksheet to help 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 licensed contractors — 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.
  • Never sign a contract under pressure — Insist on at least 48 hours to study any contract.
  • Pay as you goNever 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 completed and has been inspected by the proper authorities. Never pay for work before it is done.
  • Never pay cash — Pay by check or credit card.
  • 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 homeowner.
  • 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 or co-workers who have had solar PV installed.

For solar installers near you, visit Go Solar California.