Clean energy consumption is advancing by leaps and bounds in Mexico.
For residential solar panels alone, Merida and Mexico City leading a 350 percent growth rate between 2017 and 2018, said Juan José Aguayo Puuc of Energía Solar del Sureste, a private company.
Falling prices, helping clients recoup their investments within three years, have helped the industry grow, he said. Equipment that a few years ago cost 6,000 pesos is now half that, he added. Installation fees have dropped up to 30 percent.
“It has seen exponential growth in the last three years, and each year is surpassing the previous one,” said Aguayo Puuc. In 2017 solar panels generated 273.45 gigawatts of electricity; in 2018, that grew to nearly 1.4 million gigawatts.
He warned that homeowners use caution with hiring solar-energy contractors. They should be certified and experienced. And beware of unrealistic claims.
“There are people who can sell the idea that with two solar panels you can save up to 10,000 pesos in energy consumption; that is completely false.” said Aguayo Puuc. A company should have a physical office and carry an installation certificate granted by FIDE, he added.
Erich Briehl, of Merida-based Bulldog Solar, went further.
“Having just a physical office and a FIDE certificate does not constitute a good installer,” said Briehl, a Canadian-born resident of many years. “A solar company’s installers should be graduates from accredited multi-year university programs with a focus in renewable energy. They should carry certification from the federal level, renewed on a yearly basis for current electrical norms and regulations. This is also a good sign that your installer knows what they are doing as well and is not going to cause damage down the road to your system. Most important, multiple clients for references, not just from current-year builds, but from builds that have been installed in previous years, giving the short- and long-term view of their workmanship and quality.”
Briehl had one more piece of advice for customers.
“Don’t get pressured into buying a ‘package deal,’ ” said Briehl. “All houses are different and no two are the same. A good installer will offer to come and review your site and prepare a no obligation quote based on your needs.”
Choosing carefully is important. So far in 2019, about 14 consumer complaints were filed accusing their solar installer of fraud, according to Aguayo Puuc.