Tips for choosing a solar contractor

Need help selecting a solar contractor for the Solar City program? The municipality is not responsible for selecting a contractor on behalf of property owners so here are a few tips. Consider asking the following questions as part of your screening process.

  • What is the solar contractor's experience?
  • Can they provide references of past work?
  • Can they provide photographs of past work?
  • What equipment is used?

The Nova Scotia Go Solar Guide provides information to help you choose a qualified solar installer.

Is your solar contractor certified?

  • All electrical work must be completed by an electrician who holds a certificate of qualification in the Electrical Construction trade issued by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
  • All communication wiring installations must be completed by a holder of a certificate as a Communications Cabling Specialist as issued by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
  • All plumbing and piping work should be completed by a licensed Plumber with the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

An optional accreditation you can ask for is a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) solar installer certification. NABCEP is a non-profit, voluntary professional certification board dedicated to upholding professional standards for the renewable energy industry. NABCEP promotes consumer confidence and quality assurance by guaranteeing that certified practitioners have met minimum levels of education and experience, passed a rigorous competency exam, and abide by a strict code of ethics.

What insurance and liability coverage does your solar contractor carry?

  • Obtain a general liability insurance certificate with a minimum of $1,000,000 in coverage. This ensures the contactor has the proper coverage to handle any liability issues that could arise during your project.
  • Obtain a clearance letter from the Workers Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB). The clearance letter confirms a company is in good standing, i.e. the company has workers’ compensation coverage, has met all payroll reporting requirements, has paid all premiums to date and has no outstanding balance on account.

Will the solar contractor provide you with a solar energy assessment and installation plan?

  • Discuss your energy usage with the solar contractors you contact and work together to come up with an assessment and installation plan that works for your needs and budget. It would be useful to discuss any anticipated changes to your electricity or water consumption in the future, i.e. electric car, hot tub, heat pump, etc. The solar contractor is responsible for conducting a solar energy assessment and providing you with a report detailing energy savings and costs.
  • Review and discuss the proposed system with your solar contractor. Obtain a copy of the plans, solar module locations, wiring plans and equipment specifications. The Solar City office will review the assessment and plans, but it is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure the proposed equipment is certified for safety and performance. Remember, there may be less expensive options for equipment, however they may not have the same performance and safety certifications or manufacturers’ warranties.