Solar and in-person consultations

Begin rant.

Home solar PV system installation is hot in California right now. It’s hard to get quotes efficiently. I’m pretty sure this is by design, but it’s still annoying.

Your goal, as homeowner, is to get a lot of quotes so you can get a good sense of what the market looks like. Provide a Google Maps view of your roof along with a few of your past electric bills, indicate whether you’re interested in cash, financing, or leasing, and that should be enough for them to come up with a figure.

Their goal, as solar installer, is in part to discourage you from shopping around. The quicker they incur sunk costs with you, the more likely you’ll give up and sign a contract.

So the online form looks nice and friendly, but the emails do nothing more than let you know you’re in the system and they’ll be calling you on the old- fashioned telephone. Then when they do call you, the main point is to disqualify you (foam roof, renter, etc.) or else schedule a “free in-person consultation.” Which is basically a half-day of your time and which doesn’t scale to 5-10 quotes.

Unfortunately, even companies you’d expect to be on the tech bandwagon, such as Solar City (specifically Andrew from (725) 333-xxxx), won’t talk to you except on the phone, and will ignore emails asking that the initial dance happen over email.

If a reputable company provided an instant, competitive online quote, I’d probably sign right away. Recommendations welcome.

End rant.