Pick My Solar has received a 2015 Outstanding Small Business award by the US Small Business Administration according to a recent press release. The Los Angeles based company helps homeowners get rooftop solar systems by providing information and soliciting bids from local solar contractors.

Pick My SolarIt also vets each contractor so that low-ball bids from companies with poor performance histories get automatically filtered out. When the bidding process is done, the homeowner is left with 3 or more competing bids from qualified installers who have a reputation for quality workmanship.

“Pick My Solar is a great example of a company harnessing the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit here in the LA region. Not only are they making a positive environmental impact through the services they offer, they’re saving homeowners money and contributing to the increase in home solar installations, which helps create jobs in LA’s green economy,” says Fred H. Walti II, executive director of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

Pick My Solar was started in 2013 by Max Aram and Chris Blevins. As solar advocates, they set out to help as many homeowners as possible obtain a solar panel system, but soon learned that customer uncertainty regarding the bidding and purchase process was a major deterrent to industry growth.

After examining this problem, they concluded that the solar sales process was too difficult for homeowners to navigate and that all of the various finance options were confusing. Pick My Solar created an online marketplace to simplify the process, drive down costs and provide the consumer advocacy necessary for solar to achieve broad market success.

Today, on the company website, a homeowner can fill in details about the location and characteristics of the home where a solar panel system is desired. A Pick My Solar–trained representative will review the details and call to speak to the homeowner in person. That call will last not more than 10 minutes.

After that, Pick My Solar will place the information on its website and invite solar installers to bid on the job. It will review the bids and pass along the best ones for the homeowner to consider. The bids are valid for 2 weeks but the homeowner is under no obligation to pick any of them. Pick My Solar has already helped more than 10,000 customers with its online bidding process.

The company also runs informational clinics in the Los Angeles area to educate consumers about the advantages and disadvantages of home solar, the technologies available, and various financing options. It operates on the principle that an educated consumer makes the best customer.

No salesman will call after the bidding process is initiated. No commissions are paid. The homeowner gets only knowledgeable advice and support and there is no fee for using the service. The result is that Pick My Solar customers know exactly what they are getting and often pay far less for their system than they would otherwise.