Hire a Local Solar Contractor

The solar energy industry has exploded in the last several years. At the turn of the century, there were a handful of local solar contractors in Southwest Florida, and a decade later, that remained the same. But since 2010, the number of solar energy companies in the area has increased to dozens of local dealers. More impactful has been the influx of statewide, regional, and national solar companies. But why would anyone hire someone from outside of the area?

Texas, Utah, California, Pennsylvania – solar companies from other states have invaded Florida since the market took off. The problem is that most of these companies are really just sales organizations dressed up like contractors. They are focused on sales, marketing, and financing solar energy. They have no interest in a long-term relationship with clients, and almost all of them have abysmal reviews for services after the sale.

And the crazy thing is they aren’t any cheaper or better than local contractors in any way. They don’t have better products, their installers are not better, and they often don’t stand behind their work. When clients call into their call centers, they have long hold times, incompetent customer service, and unacceptable waits for service calls.

There is a big buzz in the industry that the giants are about to fall. As fast as the industry grew, it is now on the verge of an implosion. The big solar contractors and finance companies are in dire straights, having overextended themselves. They are falling victim to higher interest rates and market pressures they can’t control. These companies were never in it for the right reasons, and now the dominoes are starting to fall. Hopefully, consumers are catching on.

ADT Solar, formerly the loathed solar company SunPro, is the latest victim. They are exiting the solar installation market, just as I predicted they would immediately after the 2021 acquisition of SunPro for $825 million. And it couldn’t have happened sooner. I have been called to many, many of their client’s homes to fix problems and sort out various messes caused by their incompetence as solar contractors.

You see, solar contracting is a trade. It’s like HVAC, plumbing, carpentry, roofing, electrical, etc. In fact, it blends some of those disciplines. Traditionally, tradespeople have served their local area, providing quality workmanship and service to their neighbors. Rarely would tradespeople go outside of their local market because it is impossible to effectively supervise work of employees far from home base. Aside from having multiple layers of management and supervision, contracting far from home does not work.

For a General Contractor who subcontracts various aspects of work to the trades, that works. Supervisory employees can oversee professional tradespeople who consider themselves craftsmen. For the trades, expanding beyond a local market is foolhardy and bound to result in poor work and a bad reputation.

I am a local contractor. I serve my neighbors. I’m proud to have decided years ago to limit our service area to Southwest Florida, where there is plenty of business to go around in the solar energy industry for responsible local tradespeople who want to provide a true service and build relationships.

The ADTs of the world will eventually go away, and the local solar contractors who are in it for the right reasons and didn’t overextend themselves will be left here to pick up the pieces.

 

 

 

 

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