Switch to Solar vs. the National Installers

The Rise of the Regional Solar Installer

Assessing local solar installers versus the national ones can be difficult. 

On the one hand, people are often more confident about the staying power of national companies. People implicitly assume that because of the national companies’ size and volume of work, they offer the best pricing.

On the other hand, people often assume local companies pay more attention to detail, have a high quality of work, and provide better customer service.

SolarCity Horror Stories

In the solar industry, the idea about the local companies is proving to be true. The same can’t be said about the national companies.

National companies, such as Solar City and Vivint Solar, carry the massive cost of marketing to and servicing an enormous and diverse market. As a result, they are under tremendous pressure to meet aggressive sales quotas.

The national companies desperately need a very high volume of sales to cover their high costs. Pressure for mass sales has bred sales practices many describe as aggressive and deceptive.

Beyond that, companies have also tried to relieve the pressure by taking steps to reduce costs.

One way they’ve reduced costs is to provide what many past customers call dreadful service after a system is installed. For example, SolarCity has had 602 customers file complaints with the Better Business Bureau in the past three years.

The real cost of leasing versus buying solar panels.

Another way these companies have tried to lower their expenses has been to unbundle services. This way, they keep the “free” services to a minimum and charging for the “extras.”

Services one considered standard, such as long-term warranties and installed monitoring systems, are now extras. These companies also do not apply for the federal, state and other financial incentives on the customer’s behalf. In fact, the national companies often seek to keep most, if not all of the financial incentives available.

In contrast, Switch to Solar makes it as easy as possible for you to get every financial incentive you’re due.

The 6 Most Common Problems with SolarCity 

Some companies have even resorted to trying to increase their revenues by selling system insurance. What people often don’t realize is their existing property insurance typically covers damages to a PV system without any increase in premiums. So these national companies are selling redundant coverage just to pad their bottom line.

Another problem is the national companies race to install as many systems as possible in a single day, regardless of quality. In fact, SolarCity promotes the number of installations they perform every minute. Meanwhile their work is shoddy.

The defects may not be noticeable at first, but they surface later as roof leaks, poor wiring connections, and missed rafter attachments.

SolarCity Complaints – What Homeowners Think

The shoddy wiring has led to a number of electrical fires in home service panels. This is one of the reasons inspectors across all local jurisdictions are focusing more and more on grounding and bonding.

Beyond being installed improperly, often these systems wind up performing poorly they are placed exactly in the wrong places.

In driving around our neighborhoods, it is very common to see solar-electric systems installed in front of obstacles such as trees or buildings. And often these systems are facing directions that lead to substantially reduced output or no output at all.

The final concern for the large national companies is the reliability of the equipment. In particular, they select modules as a way to keep costs down, not because of quality.

U.S.-Residential Solar Is Set for a Radical Makeover

It ends up module reliability is an issue for the customer to address.

Solar electric systems are supposed to perform at a high level for a minimum of 25 years. Most manufacturers warrant their modules to perform to at least 80 percent of their rated output after 25 years, some for 30 years. What is basic for ethical installers is unattainable for the national installers.

Think about the difficulties you have getting your phone company or cable company to respond to problems. The national solar installers have developed a reputation for being unresponsive and unhelpful until reports are filed with the Better Business Bureau.

Can you experience the same sort of issues with local companies? Of course you can, but the chances are higher that you won’t.

Specifically, we can assure you that you won’t have any of these problems with Switch to Solar. Naturally, we would say that, and you are right to be skeptical. However, we take a different approach that starts at the top and cascades through every aspect of how we do things.

We custom design systems to fit our customers’ needs using the most reliable system components available and installing them with care.

At Switch to Solar, we design and install our systems to perform at a high level and problem free for a minimum of 25 years.

On top of that, we provide full service.

  • We apply for your state rebate.
  • We register your SRECs with the broker of your choice.
  • We schedule and follow-up on all county and utility inspections.
  • We supply you with a fully operational monitoring system with your on-site portal already registered.
  • We ensure you know what you have by sending you a comprehensive documentation of your system from plan sets to instruction manuals to warranties.

You can be confident in our dedication to our customers and the quality of our systems because:

  • Our systems come with extended warranties on the inverters, out to 25 years if available. The warranties are direct to you from the manufacturer.
  • Our systems are backed by our 20-year everything warranty. If it is our fault or a component manufacturer’s, we return everything to proper working order, all at our cost, not yours.
  • Our installers have a combined 30+years of experience in home remodeling. They are trained personally by me, a NABCEP-certified installer.

The NABCEP certification held as the industry’s gold standard.

Another reason you can have confidence in us is our transparency. Before you decide what installer to go with or even if you want to switch to solar at all, we provide you with a (typically two) detailed proposal.

Our proposal will show you:

  • The equipment we propose to install.
  • Where we propose to install it.
  • How it will perform.
  • A genuine cost-benefit analysis, complete with projected net cash flows for 25 years.

If that is not enough, talk with our customers. We are happy to put you in touch with them. And they are excited to talk about their experience with Switch to Solar.

But, what about our prices? You might think for all of what we offer we would have to be more expensive than the national companies. But they are not.

Our prices are often lower than the national companies’ prices.

We can do all of this because we work with a variety of distributors to get the best price. Also, we keep our indirect costs down by trying to be no more than a small, local shop known for doing quality work.

I hope you decide today to choose the trusted, affordable, local, high-quality local installer.

You can reach me personally at: Chris@Switchtosolarnow.com, or call me at: 301.740.8233 or request a quote.


Did You Know – Shopping Locally:

  • 68% of Sales Goes Back into the Local Economy vs. 14% of National Chain Stores
  • 60% Higher Rate of Reinvestment Goes into the Local Economy vs National Chain Stores.
  • Local Businesses Donate to Local Charities at More Than Twice the Rate of National Chains. 
  • Local Businesses Account for 75% of All New Jobs and Employ Over Half of All Workers in America.


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