With the rising costs of electricity, many home and business owners are moving toward alternative sources of energy to power their homes, businesses, and cars. Last year, the average monthly Bay Area electricity bill was $250 per home. Over the next 25 years that adds up to nearly $150,000 for electricity alone. To ensure that going solar will result in real cost savings, the quality of the solar installer and equipment selected must be considered carefully, because the system’s reliability will directly affect long-term savings. Here are 5 tips on how to pick the best solar company for your home or business.

1. Do Your Homework

Nearly 209,000 Americans work in the solar industry – that’s more than double the number in 2010. By 2021, that amount is expected to increase to more than 360,000 workers, meaning that many solar companies and employers will be new to industry and short on experience. Make sure you take time to carefully review each solar company’s website and read online reviews to verify that they have a consistently positive track record and back it up with a good warranty. While nearly every solar installer offers a 10 year workmanship warranty these days, it is only as good as the company behind it.

2. Don’t Be Pressured

If the solar provider tries to pressure you into a system, they’re not a good solar partner. Solar systems are long-term investments that require information gathering, careful consideration, and real financial commitment. If the solar installer says that the price will go up tomorrow, then it’s time to look for another resource.

3. Meet Them First

Never e-sign a contract with a solar company before you meet the solar installer in person. Make sure they have solid credentials and proper documentation. Always ask for a copy of the solar contractor’s and subcontractor’s license, insurance, and workers’ comp coverage to ensure you’re not liable for any damage or injuries during installation.

4. The Best Equipment

To maximize the amount of energy you receive from every drop of sunshine it’s imperative to pick a solar company that has the best panel technology available. All solar products are not equal and picking a solar company with inferior panels will result in your paying more out-of-pocket for electricity due to less efficient panels, and more for panel maintenance, due to inferior quality construction. Ask your solar partner about the panel design, reliability, warrant and efficiency, and then compare those with other solar companies in your area before picking the right provider for your installation.

5. Solar Financing

Finally, always pick a company who will help guide you through the variety of solar financing options available to you. A good solar partner will work closely with you to identify the right option for you, whether cash purchase, solar lease, solar loan, or even a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program. No matter what your budget or credit history you can start saving with solar if you’re working with the right company.