How can somebody find the best solar company in Arizona to work with for their home? That was the first question the owners of Sunny Energy asked themselves when they started a solar company a few years ago. The four owners all had about ten years of experience each, in solar, in Phoenix, Arizona, doing solar installations. Each of them has unique skills in contracting, financing, manufacturing, global solar standards, software and general business operations, that combined, has helped them create one of the best solar companies in Phoenix, and in the U.S..
Each of us has worked for other solar companies in a variety of capacities, and we realized what solar companies should do, and more importantly, what they should not do, to gain and maintain an excellent reputation. When the four of us finally decided to start our own solar company in Arizona, deciding how to do it was easy. There are five guiding principles that we live by every day:
- Educate customers on what makes for a good decision to buy solar
- Solar does not make sense for every homeowner, so we let them know
- Offer fair prices to consumers for home solar
- Do quality work installing solar, the first time
- When we make a mistake on a solar installation, admit it and correct it
- Periodically review our solar install work, make improvements, and go back to number 1
Consumers looking for a solar company to install solar on their home, find a lot of confusing information. They might hear from a friend or neighbor about their experiences with solar, or home solar experiences they heard about. Consumers also get a lot of misinformation from solar sales people from other solar companies in Arizona. This information on solar installation ends up being confusing. Unfortunately, many people tend to hear mostly what they want to hear about solar companies in Phoenix, rather than information that can really help them decide whether or not solar at home is right for them. Sunny Energy’s quality control team calls each new customer within days after they purchase a system to ask questions, answer their questions and to make sure they have an accurate understanding of what they are buying.
Some of the more prevalent misconceptions about solar and solar companies in Arizona include:
- Solar is free. This is not true, but some people will say solar is free because the amount of money used every month to pay a utility can be used to make loan or lease payments for a home solar system.
- You can eliminate your electric bill with solar. Unless you are completely off-grid and not connected to the utility grid, a home solar system will not eliminate your utility bill. You still need to be connected to the grid for power for your home when your solar system is not working, like at night, or when solar is not producing as much energy as you need, like on a cloudy day.
- Solar leasing for your home is the best way to go. Purchasing solar for your home is the best way to go. Neither statement is true, for everyone. There are many factors to consider when buying or leasing solar for your home. Solar leasing may be best for some people. A solar purchase, with or without financing, may be best for some people. And, solar in Arizona may not be a good choice for some people.
- The solar incentives are gone. Not true. There is still a 30% Federal tax credit, and a 10% State of Arizona solar tax credit, capped at $1,000, for homeowners buying solar.
- Utility companies have made it difficult for homeowners to buy or lease solar in Arizona. This is not true. APS replaced an incentive called net metering with a new incentive called an export rate that pays you for excess energy from your home solar system. SRP just announced some favorable rate and incentive changes for home solar. TEP is still working through rate plans and incentives for home solar. It’s actually a very good time to buy solar in Arizona.
- Solar does not add value to your home, and selling a home with solar is more difficult. Not true. If you own your home solar system, it does add value to the home. Home appraisers are adding value to home appraisals for solar in Arizona. The savings of a lower electric utility bill to a new owner of a home with solar is very valuable. Utility savings of just $250 per month, when solar on the home produces most of the energy used by the home, is similar to borrowing $50,000 less, on a 30 year mortgage, at 4.5% interest, when considering the difference in monthly payments.
- It’s better to wait until better solar in Arizona is available. Not true. Solar technology is getting better, prices may come down, but solar purchased for a home today will produce energy and savings for 30 years or more, regardless of what technology is available a few years from now. If you wait until the technology is better, you may lose years of these savings from your home solar system.
- Arizona home solar takes so long to pay for itself, the solar panels, inverter or other equipment will break, before it does. This is usually not true, but a good system analysis will show you how it works for your home. When we analyze a home solar system in Arizona, we’re looking for payback in 5 to 9 years for cash purchases. If we don’t see that kind of return on investment, we will not recommend solar for the home. Most solar equipment is warrantied for 10 to 25 years, and solar companies in Arizona provide at least a 2 year workmanship warranty. Sunny Energy selects equipment that has a 25 year warranty, from stable companies like LG, Hyundai, Tesla and SolarEdge, whenever possible, and we warranty our work on home solar systems in Arizona for 10 years.
- Home solar is too expensive in Arizona. This is not true, but it does depend on many factors. Sunny Energy usually recommends home solar when the return on investment (ROI) is around 10% to 15%. This is better than nearly any investment commonly available to individuals. Home solar in Arizona is also a great hedge against rising utility rates. Solar in Arizona is an investment that should be considered carefully, using good information, from several reputable sources.
Sunny Energy tries to educate solar customers in Arizona, but we educate ourselves first. As the solar business changes, we try to keep up with it, to help our customers make the best decisions about installing solar on their homes. The principals of Sunny Energy stay involved in solar industry standards organizations, like SunSpec, NREL and Sandia Labs, all on a voluntary basis. The owners are also members of AriSEIA, an Arizona solar energy organization, and they maintain a Board seat and the office of President of the Distributed Energy Resource Alliance (DERA), an Arizona solar, battery storage, energy management and EV charging organization. We learn the best in solar, and we pass it on to our home solar customers so that they have the best information available to make good decisions on buying solar for their homes.
Sunny Energy is not trying to be the largest solar company in Phoenix. We do not have the highest prices for home solar, nor do we have the lowest prices among solar companies in Arizona. We sell high quality equipment. We have very high installation standards. We provide excellent customer support. All of this allows us to sell solar in Phoenix, and the rest of Arizona, at very reasonable prices, while remaining profitable. We have been profitable every year we’ve been in business. We do not incentivize any employees to sell solar for prices higher than they should be, or to consumers who we do not feel will benefit from solar at home. In fact, we do incentivize our employees to find ways to reduce costs, reduce sales prices for home solar systems, and for Sunny Energy to remain profitable. We are here for the long term, to maintain a good, stable business, protect the investments our customers make in solar purchases for their homes, and to provide a good living for our employees, and ourselves.
We understand that installing solar on the roof of your home is a big responsibility. We treat every home, when we are installing solar, as if it were our own. Our work quality standards are very high. Our home solar installations must also look good. A single service call, because of poor workmanship, on a home solar installation, can wipe out our profits. We install solar correctly, exceeding industry safety and quality code standards whenever we can. This eliminates call-backs and makes our customers very happy home solar buyers.
Mistakes do happen when installing solar, and we have our share. When we do make mistakes, we readily admit it, and we correct it. But, we do not stop there. We take additional steps to make sure we do not repeat mistakes made on home solar installations in Arizona.
Periodically, we will analyze our solar installation process, the solar equipment we use, the solar training provided to employees, any mistakes made, and new solar installation tricks learned. These reviews may be as often as daily, or weekly, depending on the issues. All of this is a learning experience so that we can improve solar installation for homeowners in Arizona. It’s used to improve our work quality, reduce work times, reduce solar installation costs and the prices we charge, and to educate our solar customers so that they can make informed decisions about solar for their homes..
Please don’t just take our word for it. We have been recognized, in 2016 and 2017, as one of the top solar contractors in Arizona and the U.S. by leading industry organizations, including Solar Power World. The article below is from 2017, but we’re working on improving our standing as the best solar company in Arizona for 2018.
The Solar Power World Top Solar Contractors list includes Tempe-based solar firm
TEMPE, ARIZONA—Coming off the biggest year ever for U.S. solar installations, local installer Sunny Energy is proud to be named one of the top solar contractors in the United States by Solar Power World magazine. Sunny Energy achieved a rank of 188 out of 500 solar companies.
The Top Solar Contractors list is developed by Solar Power World to recognize the work completed by solar contractors across the United States. Produced annually, the Top Solar Contractors list celebrates the achievements of U.S. solar developers, subcontractors and installers within the utility, commercial and residential markets. The list was released on July 25.
“The 2017 Top Solar Contractors list features 500 of the best solar contractors in the United States,” said Kelly Pickerel, managing editor of Solar Power World. “From solar hotbeds on the coasts to the up-and-coming Midwest solar market, every installer adding even the smallest solar array to the grid is making a positive impact on our communities. We’re proud to recognize these companies and their efforts to bring solar power to U.S. homes and businesses.”
The U.S. solar market installed more than 14,700 MW of solar in 2016, nearly doubling the capacity installed in 2015. For the first time ever, solar was ranked as the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity additions brought online throughout the year. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) predict the cumulative U.S. solar market to nearly triple in size over the next five years. By 2022, more than 18 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity will be installed annually, and Sunny Energy will continue to be a major player in adding solar to the grid.
Sunny Energy is a residential solar company that is dedicated to giving homeowners a choice in how they power their home, all while helping them save money on their electric bills. Founded by industry veterans who have sold nearly 1,000 MW of solar combined since 2008, Sunny Energy is committed to providing world-class customer service, installation, design and equipment selection so that homeowners can rest assured they have the best system for their home and their family.
“Going solar is about having a choice in your energy, a choice in your savings, and a choice in your future,” said Sunny Energy Director of Business Development Chris Wood. “We are proud to be named one of the top solar contractors in the U.S. We’ve never focused on being the biggest but we’ve always focused on being the best in the industry in customer satisfaction and giving homeowners a choice in how they power their lives.”
About Solar Power World
Solar Power World is the leading online and print resource for news and information regarding solar installation, development and technology. Since 2011, SPW has helped U.S. solar contractors—including installers, developers and EPCs in all markets—grow their businesses and do their jobs better.
|Sunny Energy LLC
|Solar Power World
Kelly Pickerel, managing editor