So we got bids from six different solar providers asking them all how we could get close to a net zero PG&E bill. Several of the more well-known companies wanted us to go with their lease and sign over our 30-percent federal tax credit. Others were not at all helpful guiding me with system sizing. One didn't get back to me for nearly a week and another was just way too expensive on a cost per watt basis.
Shields Electric was the only company that was willing to build a system we would own and keep our tax credit, patiently guide me through the process of accurately determining our system size, responded to my many questions usually within minutes even nights and on weekends and was by far the most reasonable on a cost per installed watt basis. In fact, they were nearly half the cost of one company.
They also use American made solar panels which was important to me but just as important was the quality of the support system. They showed me the hardware and how they would install it on our roof and it was clear that they were dedicated to installing it right the first time; the hardware was robust, well made and the way they described their installation process made it clear to me they were as concerned about making a leak-free and strong installation as I was living under one.
It was getting near the end of the year and it was important to have the system completed quickly to qualify for the tax credit. Shields Electric & Solar took care of everything from applying for and getting all the necessary permits to ensuring all the parts arrived in time for the projected November installation date to coordinating the final inspection.
The installation happened right when they said it would, arriving on time and going right to work. Being something of a tech nerd, I was truly interested in what they were doing whether it was on the roof, in the main electrical panel (which they completely replaced and rewired with true artisan attention to detail) or individually testing each panel before it went in the roof, I was looking over their shoulders on several occasions...and they didn't at all seem to mind. Just the opposite, they took time to explain each step of the process so I would have as complete an understanding of my new solar system as I wanted.
It only took a few days to complete the installation of our 9.8 kW system and we couldn't be more pleased with the quality, cost, cleanliness, speed and follow through of Shields Electric & Solar. The system is producing at nearly 110% of projected and that is with several days of cloudy weather. There was one panel that, by remotely monitoring, they noticed wasn't producing as much as it should. So they came out and replaced it with a new one that works perfectly.
They gave us so much more value than we expected that it is a little hard to recollect everything. They showed us how to monitor our system online and with our Smart Phones even including a custom designed mock up of our home with our new solar array complete with our German Shepherd Dogs in the patio area. They even made sure that during the county's final inspection that we had all the necessary smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed correctly (a bizarre county requirement even for solar installations)...installing new ones as needed. Since I may need to add capacity in the future, they designed the system so that it would be easy and cost effective to expand. Lastly, they took care of switching us over from tiered billing to of time of use with PG&E.
All we did in this whole process was write a check. And a small one for what we got at that!
Would we use Shields Electric & Solar for any future projects? You bet!