There are countless solar photovoltaic (PV) installers to choose from—it truly is a buyer’s market. And not surprisingly, the bigger contractors receive the lion’s share of attention. They often have much larger marketing budgets.
But there are several advantages of going with regional installers, which explains why smaller players continue to gain more market share despite having fewer resources and less exposure.
In fact, according to GTM Research’s Q2 2016 U.S. PV Leaderboard, regional installers are now growing faster than top national contractors.
But why is this shift happening?
There are actually several reasons.
Regional Solar Installers Have Local Expertise
Solar regulations vary from city to city, with each jurisdiction having its own permitting, inspection, and incentive processes. Weather is also location-dependent—i.e. no two states enjoy the same amount of year-round sunshine.
These variables are important since installing solar panels is far from a cookie-cutter process—every solar installation is highly customized.
Regional installers understand the challenges and opportunities unique to your geographic area. They know how to expedite paperwork, they are familiar with your local utility company and inspectors, and they’re better equipped to design a PV system that maximizes your home’s energy-generation potential.
Regional Installers Offer Continuity of Service
Larger installers often outsource their work to contractors—based on pricing and availability. But if your PV system ever needs servicing down the road, you’ll likely end up with a totally different team of installers.
By contrast, regional installers tend to do most of their work in-house, using their own employees. They can send out the same team, removing the need to reinvent the wheel and at the same time ensuring that the quality of their customer experience is consistent across the board.
This continuity of service means local installers are more accountable. And they’re incentivized to do higher-quality jobs the first time around.
Smaller Solar Installers Have More Skin in the Game
Because larger installers focus on quantity, not quality, they can afford to make mistakes. A few dissatisfied customers won’t hurt their bottom line since they can just move onto the next market.
Local installers don’t have that luxury.
They can’t escape bad press. So it’s in their best interest to keep customers as happy as possible. Rebuilding one’s reputation is very expensive, and regional installers have too much to lose by under-delivering.
With more skin in the game, smaller players must focus on delivering a better overall customer experience.
Does This Mean Regional Installers Are Always Better?
Not necessarily. You won’t automatically receive a better installation if you choose a local contractor. It’s still important you do your homework and select a team that is experienced and the right fit for you (we even have a guide to help you choose the right solar installer).
But when deciding between regional vs. national, there is a general trend regarding quality. It’s very similar to eating at a neighborhood restaurant vs. ordering takeout from a national chain. More often than not, the dining experience is better if you choose the former.
However, don’t take our word for it.
See for yourself by requesting a free solar quote from us and scheduling an appointment with a national installer. This comparison costs you nothing, and we believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality of service that a local installer provides.
Request your free Direct Energy Solar Quote today.