EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Local solar panel company Solar Solutions is seeing an uptick in sales after a slow year for the industry.

Jaime Navarro, sales manager at Solar Solutions, said the business had seen declining business throughout 2020 and at beginning of this year, but now more people are looking into switching their household utilities to solar energy.

“People are now interested in saving, particularly on utility bills, since everyone is at home for school or working from home,” said Navarro.

He said he believes federal income tax returns and the recent disbursement of stimulus check is boosting sales, with more people who are not just inquiring but following through with purchasing panels.

Even before the pandemic, he said, El Pasoans would buy panels for economic reasons, but now that they are spending more time at home, this benefit has been the main reason.

“Some of the benefits are controlling your home’s expenses, locking in a payment that you’re already comfortable with and it’s good for the environment,” said Navarro, adding that appropriate solar panel systems for your home can save from 70 percent to 90 percent on your utility bills.

He warned that many new businesses in the industry have popped up in El Paso, but he said consumers should be careful when picking out who to buy from.

“I hate to use the term ‘fly by night,’ but there are a lot of new and ‘fly by night companies’ in this business. We have seen companies that started up last year during the pandemic and they are now gone,” explained Navarro.

He said he cannot claim whether these companies closed down so quickly because of the pandemic or because they “decided this wasn’t business for them anymore.”

He pointed out that when these short-term companies arrive, many customers end up having issues with their warranty repairs and have to wait for service for extended periods of time, sometimes even not receiving it.

“Do some research, Google is a great start. Obviously check the reviews of the company you are considering. Pick at least two to three different companies, two to three different sales ‘reps’ and, if possible, ask for references,” advised Navarro on choosing the company to install your solar panels.

He suggested going to local businesses established in the community.