There are many elements involved in achieving this perfect design that is just right for the customer. If you know these elements, it makes the goal very attainable. The first one is to provide the customer with what they want and need; these two may not be the same and the need may sometimes have to stand in for what they want. Everything else falls under this one heading. The list includes financial return, pride in ownership and self-sufficiency. It is an understatement that the PV system must be design and built to last the full expected lifetime with minimal problems; the workmanship has to be as good as it can be. The system should be designed to consider all costs to install and operate over its lifetime; the finical variables may change due to utility agreement changes over time and these possibilities must be considered up front as much as possible. The primary purpose of the PV system should be to provide power from a sustainable source, whether it is just a utility interactive system without energy storage or one that provides backup power during outages. Owning the electrical power is a powerful position to be in and it should provide the best benefit to the customer.
This is all pretty straight forward so why are there so many PV systems that are not perfect for the customer? Here are some reasons.
- Customers are not well informed about the operating and cost parameters of PV systems. This fault falls partly on the homeowner and partly on the contractor.
- Customers do not seek estimates from more than one contractor. This is a customer issue and it is usually because it is stressful.
- Contractors sell what is popular rather than what is most practical. Giving the customer what they want is not always good for them.
- Some contractors do not know what they are doing and should not be in the business. Systems are either uninspected or poorly inspected. There is insufficient oversight from jurisdictions having authority.
There are a great number of high-quality PV system installation companies who are doing a great job of providing well designed PV systems to customers so why are there any who are not.
In order to be a good solar PV contractor, you must do the following.
- Effectively educate the customer about energy and how solar plays into it.
- Strive to understand every aspect of the design standards and the codes that govern those standards.
- Learn as much as possible about the financial parameters controlling the customers ownership benefit.
- Always give the customer the best even if it costs you finically; it isn’t worth it otherwise.
- Build a long-term relationship with the customer so that you can continue to provide them with good service.