As the solar industry continues to shine in Southern Arizona, a new organization, known as the Southern Arizona Solar Standards Board (SASSB), has been introduced to ensure that consumers receive professional, quality service when solar equipment is installed at their homes. Why? With the tremendous growth of the solar industry in southern Arizona, Tucsonans have seen the local industry expand from around 17 solar companies in 2007 to more than 100 today. As the industry expands, consumers are increasingly at risk of poor installations, shoddy workmanship, and unsavory business practices. This rapid growth has sometimes made it difficult for consumers to know which businesses are qualified to properly install solar energy systems.
Who? Enter SASSB: a 501(c)3, locally grown out of a solar installers’ “best practices” group, and later adopted as a program of Pima Association of Governments. SASSB is working to strengthen the local solar industry in two ways. First, by increasing the level of installation quality through the creation of industry standards, and second by informing and educating consumers so they not only pick the right installer, but the right system for their particular needs.
How? SASSB has developed standards for professionals installing photovoltaic or solar hot water systems. Companies are eligible for membership and accreditation contingent on meeting the core requirements and agreeing to adhere to industry best practices as they are defined by SASSB. Standards include:
- Having at least one full-time employee certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
- Being in business for at least two years and having completed at least 10 utility-verified solar system installations
- Being in good standing with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors
- Being deemed an "approved installer" with applicable utility companies
- Being properly licensed through all applicable southern Arizona entities
- Offering customers a 10-year workmanship warranty and data monitoring for all systems
Consumers interested in solar are able to choose from a list of SASSB accredited installers, thereby adding some peace of mind to the selection process. SASSB has also published a list of Buyer Tips & Steps for the Consumer as well as a Useful Definitions page on their website.
To find out more about SASSB’s mission and local accredited installers visit http://www.solarstandards.org/