Solar on Angie’s List — What Does It Mean?

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In yet another indication that solar is becoming more mainstream, more solar companies appear on Angie’s List. Several solar providers have recently received the list’s Super Service Award.

Updated 2/12/14

Just the other day, I heard an ad on the radio for Angie’s List. It’s not unusual to run across such ads. The service, which has been around since 1995, has become a household name — that’s appropriate, given that it provides guidance for consumers on household services. While the list has expanded to include health care and other services, the most popular categories remain plumbing and similar household needs.

That’s why a number of recent announcements from solar providers caught my eye. More than one solar company has been getting the Angie’s List Super Service Award.

 

What does this mean? For one thing, it means more solar companies are on Angie’s List. The site features articles on solar as well as listings for solar providers. Solar’s presence on the list is yet another indication that it’s becoming more mainstream.

 

It also means that consumers are becoming more savvy about picking installers. Some may resort to sites like Yelp, but Angie’s list provides a few unique features. They don’t allow anonymous reviews, and reviewers must sign an agreement verifying that the review is based on their own experience. The company being reviewed can see who wrote about them and have an opportunity to respond — and members can see the company’s response as well as other customers’ reviews.

 

That’s designed to keep the system more honest. In addition, consumers are guided with specific questions to elicit helpful reviews, which are written in narrative form as well as assigning a letter grade.

 

A benefit to the companies listed is that customers using Angie’s List — over 2 million households, according to the site — are already predisposed to hire. That’s important for solar companies, which spend a lot of money on customer acquisition. Companies are not charged to appear on Angie’s List, though they can pay for ads as long as they maintain a good rating. Companies can submit profiles to appear on Angie’s List, somewhat like a Yellow Pages listing. But it’s only when they get reviews and grades from customers that the power of Angie’s List is demonstrated. Companies that consistently earn good grades are the ones that get repeat business.

 

Adding to its value for solar providers, Angie’s List allows article submissions from experts. They must be informative for consumers, not just promotional. And the expert company writing the article must be in good standing on the list.

 

To get the Super Service Award, a company must also be in good standing — in fact, it needs to have perfect grades for the year. It’s also important to “go above and beyond” and have no recent, unresolved complaints. Less than 5% of companies listed on the site receive the award.

 

So the fact that a number of solar companies have been getting this award is good news for solar. It shows consumers are looking out for the best solar service. And it shows that in this evolving industry, some companies are rising to the top.

 

REC Solar is one of the solar companies that received the award for 2013. Recognition for its excellent customer service, in face, helped position its residential business to be sold to Sunrun.

 

Other companies receiving the Super Service Award for 2013 are Sullivan Solar, Baker Electric Solar, American Solar Direct, Standard Energy Solutions, Solar Energy World, Exact Solar, Aurora Energy, and Tucson Custom Solar and Leisure. I make no claims to this list being comprehensive, but all of these popped up in a Google search.

 

As more consumers go solar, they’ll continue to get more savvy. And since social proof is so important in going solar — not to mention, in picking an installer — we can expect to see even more solar activity on sites like Angie’s List.

 

UPDATE: Angie’s List Experts is hosting an article-writing contest from February 24 to March 31. They’re giving away $1,000, $500, and $250 prizes, and the chance for winning articles to appear in Angie’s List Magazine. Contestants can enter up to five original articles, as long as they are in good standing on Angie’s List and the articles are consumer-focused. Articles must be 300-800 words. Submissions and contest info will appear at Angie’s List in the next week or so.