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Selecting a Solar Contractor in Portland, Oregon: Key Considerations to Keep in Mind

When looking for a solar contractor, there are some important factors to consider to ensure you choose a qualified and experienced professional who can deliver a high-quality solar installation. Here are some key things to pay attention to:

  1. License and certification: Look for a solar contractor who is licensed and certified by a recognized industry organization, including your relevant state agencies. In Oregon, this will include the Oregon Department of Energy, Energy Trust of Oregon, and most importantly: Oregon CCB (our CCB # is 185494).

  2. Insurance and Bonding: No matter what kind of construction you're considering, always make sure that the contractor is license and bonded in the state you are performing the work. You can also check this at the state's contractor licensing board.

  3. Experience: Choose a contractor with experience installing solar systems similar to the one you have in mind. DPI Solar has been installing solar on homes and businesses since 2009. We've been there, done it (in general!)

  4. Reputation: You're shopping, and you'll use the reviews available, right? Well, that's where DPI Solar does well - but we don't chase reviews. Maybe we should? Honestly - we have them and they're great - but we don't ask every customer for a review - mainly because we're busy working on projects. No joke. We don't have a ton of reviews after 15 years, but therein is something to consider: we've been doing this for 15 years - if we were doing something wrong, you'd know by checking the CCB, BBB, or elsewhere. I'm not proud to say we lack reviews, but in the same breath, how many people reading this actively review their products that they purchase? Not nearly as many as who don't, amiright? It's not an excuse - but if you need references - we got'em!

  5. Equipment and materials: Make sure the contractor uses high-quality equipment and materials, and ask about the warranty on the equipment and components. Let me say this about that: Warranty work will put ANY business OUT of business. This is why DPI Solar really tries to offer only high quality products from companies who have a solid track record AND solid financials - that's right - I look deeper than just the product they sell: are they solvent? have they ever filed for debt restructuring? Can they do research and development with their own money or do they need "funding rounds" after 10 years to push their products forward? If I find that anything seems "off" about a decent manufacturer, you'll likely not see them represented in our portfolio of product offerings.

  6. Site assessment: The contractor should perform a thorough site assessment to determine the best location and orientation for your solar panels, as well as the most appropriate type of solar system for your needs. This is what sets DPI Solar apart from the "zoom meeting" sales people or the "quote by phone" companies: we don't and won't deprive you of our time and effort. You NEED a solid site assessment to truly model your home's solar performance, not to mention whether or not you'll need structural upgrades to the framing members of your home to achieve a building permit for the project. Don't settle here; demand an on-site evaluation. If you don't, you're almost 100% guaranteed to see a "change-order" requested after construction starts. What's a change-order, you ask? Well, it's when your solar contractor missed something during the bidding process that ends up raising the cost of the installation. They've already got you on the hook and are installing - so they know they've got you cornered. Now they'll come at you with a change-order, telling you that it's going to cost a lot more to install your system - and since they're already started, just "sign here". DPI Solar looks for the "gotchas" that can trigger a change order - and we've already included anything we see in your bid. Still think that saving a couple hundred (or thousand dollars) on a "quote by phone or zoom call" was worth it? You won't when the other guys ask you for an extra $5,000 for something they should have caught before they sent you a formal bid.

  7. Financial options: Consider the contractor's financial options, such as leasing, power purchase agreements, or financing. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of each option. 2023 has ushered in a new realm for financing: the "less than electric bill payment for solar" loans are no longer a thing with Federal borrowing rates hovering near 5%. DPI Solar truly only recommends one lender that has highly transparent fees and a solid, traditional loan structure. Don't be a sucker for a low interest rate! Ask one of our team to show you what's behind the curtain on these too-good-to-be true loans. If we won't use 'em, why on earth would we ask you to?

  8. Customer service: Pay attention to the contractor's level of customer service, including their responsiveness to questions and concerns, and their availability for ongoing maintenance and support. Will your chosen contractor be there for you in five years? Honestly - probably not. DPI Solar is one of the oldest solar contractors in the state of Oregon. We've made it through the "rough patches" and lived to tell the tale. Most solar contractors are either not really contractors (they're just sales people who sub-contract all of the labor) or they don't last longer than 5 years in the industry. It's kinda a brutal world in this realm - but we've got staying power that most don't or won't ever have.

  9. Cost: Get multiple bids and compare the cost and services offered by each contractor. Make sure to understand the payment terms and ask about any potential hidden fees or additional costs. What will you find with DPI Solar? We aren't the "low cost leader" - and we never will be. We also aren't the "niche-market" high priced operator who wants to sell a few, high profit projects a year. We're your workhorse in the industry. We want a lot of projects to keep our team busy and we aren't trying to "retire" off the profits of your project on its own. That means that our pricing falls well below market average, but above the "cheapest" bids you'll get. When you choose DPI Solar, you're getting a stellar installation from a highly experienced team, at a price that will make you feel like you spent a lot more than you did.

By paying attention to these key factors, you can choose a solar contractor who will provide you with a high-quality installation, a positive experience, and a long-lasting, reliable solar system.

In the end - I offer these nine key items for your research, but if you still only made one call, DPI Solar should be that call!

Thanks for reading "Selecting a Solar Contractor in Portland, Oregon" and have a great weekend (yes - I wrote this on a Friday!)


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