Co-Founder of Palomar Solar Adam Rizzo has been seeing a very disturbing trend as he explains below.
I am receiving RFP requests almost daily for commercial projects and non-profits from “consultants” who are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing. In several cases the “consultants” are paid a fee by the organization to help put together and RFP and choose a solar contractor.
Most of the time the organization thinks they are hiring an independent consultant to do the legwork for them. But in, reality these “consultants” actually work for a solar company or are paid a commission for steering business there way.
There are a few solar companies in San Diego who are financially stable, have proven track records and experience with these types of projects, etc. I can tell you that all of us also have experienced licensed representatives who can bid on these projects and provide feedback for free in the hopes of earning the business.
In my, opinion the best way for an organization to find the right solar contractor they should:
- Do your own research and invite the top three companies to bid on your project.
- Have an initial consultation separately with all three.
- Every company is going to bid your project a little differently. All three will provide valuable feedback.
- Once you receive the initial round of proposals and feedback then go back to all three and give them the exact system size you want and ask for a final bid.
- In addition to the bid you should also request a copy of the contract they expect you to sign. Often times what a salesman tells you does not end up in writing in the contract.
- Now you can confidently choose a solar contractor.
There are several problems with hiring a “consultant”
- You are receiving biased feedback from one person instead of three experts. Again, most of the time the “consultant” is being paid a commission or kickback for steering business to a certain company.
- Often times they suggest putting together an RFP to “show” their value. In reality, the RFP’s are written in such a way that only one or two companies would meet the qualifications or spend the time to fill it all out. Organizations end up adding significant unnecessary cost to their projects by doing this. I’m currently working with a city who has added over $2000,000 in unnecessary costs due to the RFP.
- The “consultant” has no liability.
These “consultants” are popping up in the residential market as well. I always recommend doing your own research and meeting with three experts. Stay away from the companies offering gimmicks such as barbecues, cars, iPads, Padre tickets, etc. You will always pay more for the gimmick than just buying it yourself! I would also recommend staying away from companies you meet at street fairs, home shows, big box stores or worse the ones that call you during dinner as these companies tend to not have very good reputations.
If you do a little bit of research online up front you will save yourself or your organization thousands of dollars and lots of headaches.
Palomar Solar prides ourselves on helping home and business owners make great decisions in regards to investing in solar whether they choose us or not. Meeting with one of our licensed representatives will not be a waste of your time.
We are thankful and appreciate all opportunities!