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The number of dealers is growing every day.

I'm not going to try to list solar installing companies or dealers because trying to keep up with a directory like that would be more than a full time job for a staff of people.  Every day, new solar dealers pop up and others disappear.  It was the same way decades ago with personal computer dealers. There are a lot of "wannabes" who are not reliable.  If you are going to buy solar, I recommend dealing with a locally owned company that has a real office & warehouse building (typically called a "brick & mortar" type location) not just a website.  And they have customer reviews that have show they have been around a while.  Of course, not all 'reviews' are accurate, but longevity is a good indicator of someone to talk with.  "Buyer beware" applies.

I will suggest some things for you to keep in mind if you are shopping for a dealer in your area to buy solar from.  These are in no particular order, and this list will continually change as the industry changes, but these things may help protect you.

1.  Check to make sure they have an actual, physical address, not just one posted on their website or other advertisements.  Do your homework & even drive by the address to check it out if you want to.  You would be amazed at how many list an address, but it's really just a PO Box, or a search engine address.  Most people know what PO Boxes are, since those have been around for decades.  But a search engine address may be a new thing to you.  Search engine companies offer 'addresses' to customers so they can show a location that shows up in results when you do searches for them.  There is no real business done there.  No employees go to work there.  And customers won't find anything having to do with the business there.  There may be someone such as a receptionist or a guard at a desk.  But typically, these people work for another company.  Companies use this 'service' so they can appear to have a local presence.  But the company may be miles away or continents away.  If you encounter this, you might want to enquire deeper as to the validity of that company. 

2.  Check to make sure they have a master electrician on staff in your area.  Many municipalities or areas of jurisdiction require a solar installation be done by a master electrician who is registered in the are where the installation is going to take place.  Check with your local officials before entering into a deal.

3. Make sure the solar dealer has employees that know what they are doing.  Do some homework.  If you have 80 foot shade trees surrounding your house, but the sales rep says the panels will still be a good investment, you might want to do some more homework.

4. Find your local governing authorities to find out your rights.  Do not just check with your utility company.  Think about it.  Putting in your own energy source is taking revenue out of their claws so they have no reason to be helpful for forthcoming for you.  And you will want to check with your HOA if you have one.

5. Have a good roof.  And I don't mean just angle (pitch), latitude, azimuth, or declination. If your roof shingles are about worn out, address that issue first - then think about solar.

6. Be prepared for sticker shock.  Those ads you see in some places claiming you can get free solar, welllllllll the old adage that there's no such thing as a free lunch - fits here.  An average solar installation with the goal of completely supplying the electricity your house needs could cost $335,000 or more.  The typical goal is to have the payments on the solar installation equal the amounts you have been paying for electricity so you are not paying out more than you were before installing solar.  Then, when you get the solar paid off, you don't have to pay for electricity.  That's the stated goal anyway.  Do the math. 

Solar CAN BE a fantastic thing.  But there are 'gotcha's and specifications that could make it not such a good deal for you.  Do your homework.  In the end, you will be very happy you did.

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