When people are planning a major improvement to their home, they want to make sure they’re getting the best: top-quality components that ensure the best performance and longevity. Things are no different when homeowners are considering going solar. Because of this, some homeowners we talk to are very interested in brand names: they want to know the pros and cons of all the various brands of solar panels, inverters, and other solar system components so they can figure out which one is the “best.” Some solar installers encourage this type of brand-conscious thinking as a sales tactic because they want to tell homeowners that the components they sell (and which probably provide them the biggest profit margin) are superior.
Although we completely understand why homeowners are concerned about brands, especially when shopping in an area where most of the manufacturers won’t be familiar to them from other types of products, we think that worrying about brands is ultimately unproductive. In fact, we would go so far as to say that for practical purposes, brand name just doesn’t matter when it comes to solar panels. Here’s why:
Solar panels are a highly “mature” technology. When a technology is still in its infancy, it’s highly possible that one manufacturer might make a breakthrough that gives them a huge advantage over competitors, leaving everyone else to play catch-up. But this simply isn’t the case here: solar energy technology is well understood and has reached a high state of refinement. Although incremental advances will continue to be made, the differences between panels has become more and more marginal, to the point that solar panels are essentially a commodity. The gap in performance between two panels from different brands in the same wattage class is negligible. Homeowners can be confident that any modern solar panel will be highly efficient, last for decades, and look good on their roof – regardless of the brand name it’s sold under.
At Forme Solar, we’ve worked with many great solar panel manufacturers, and we like to give homeowners a choice between different brands when possible. However, with such close parity between brands, and disruptions in global supply chains meaning inventory of some brands has become very difficult to acquire, we’ve scaled back the selection of brands that we sell. We made this choice because our top priority is making sure that we can deliver what we promise. We want to avoid a situation where a homeowner selects certain solar panels during the initial consultation process, and then weeks down the line we have to tell them that their install will be delayed or that they have to select different panels, possibly affecting the price of the system, because their picks are no longer readily available. We believe homeowners would rather have the timeline for their solar install stay on track than have their project delayed just for the sake of using a specific brand of panel that won’t move the needle in terms of system performance, anyway.
For some solar companies that like to build their sales pitch around the “best” brands, these supply chain disruptions present big problems, as they find themselves forced to ask their customers to either accept an “inferior” product when the one they insisted was the “best” isn’t available, or face a long delay in getting their system installed. At Forme Solar, we would advise homeowners that the people actually doing the work of installing your solar system, and the mounting hardware used to secure the panels on your roof, are far more important considerations than the brand of solar panel. When it comes to the roof over your head, you want to have confidence that the job is being done by experienced craftsmen using top-quality hardware.
Because we don’t try to set ourselves apart or upsell homeowners by touting a particular brand name, we can focus on delivering solar systems that meet our customers’ needs and budget, are installed on schedule, and are made to last. If you’d like to know more, schedule a talk with one of our energy consultants on your schedule.