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Best 5 Solar Companies in Columbia, SC

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Written By Max Peterson|Last Updated: February 05, 2024

Columbia homeowners are privileged to live in abundant sunlight, both to bask in and use for energy. With all the options to choose from in this concrete jungle, you might feel swamped searching for an excellent company. In this guide, we'll showcase Columbia's best solar companies and offer tips for your company choice, so you can find the right one for your home.

Best High-Efficiency System
4.8
  • Builds custom, high-efficiency solar systems suited to each home
  • Extensive coverage area throughout the country
  • Offers energy storage and EV charger add-ons
Most Reputable
4.4
  • Offers high-efficiency panels and storage options
  • Provides unique in-house financing options
  • Recognized as one of the most reputable solar companies
Best Solar Panel Leasing
4.4
  • Provides system monitoring
  • Offers diverse financing options for various budgets
  • Provides EV and solar battery solutions

Top Columbia Solar Companies

South Coast Solar Logo

South Coast Solar

4.5/5
Based on 45 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Tesla PowerwallBattery StorageConsultationPanel Installation

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Informative resources
  • Clear pricing policy
1219 Bluff Rd, Columbia, SC 803-254-0294 southcoastsolar.com
Sunpro Solar Logo

Sunpro Solar

4.2/5
Based on 177 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Panel Installation

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Free quotes
  • Reliable customer support
630 Blue Ridge Terrace, Columbia, SC 843-666-0006 gosunpro.com
BroCo Solar Logo

BroCo Solar

4.1/5
Based on 17 customer reviews.

Services Offered

ConsultationPanel Installation

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Free quotes
  • Informative resources
1340 Old Dairy Dr, Columbia, SC 803-200-1658 brocosolar.com
SOLZA POWER - Solar + Roofing Logo

SOLZA POWER - Solar + Roofing

4.1/5
Based on 20 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Panel Installation

Highlights

  • Free quotes
  • Informative resources
  • Reliable customer support
1122 Lady St Suite 221, Columbia, SC 803-991-4033 solzapower.com

More Local Solar Companies

Broker Solar

User Reviews: 4.6/5 

118 Drafts Woods Rd
Lexington, SC 29073

Southern Coker Power

User Reviews: 4.2/5 

3142 Platt Springs Rd
West Columbia, SC 29170

Poly Energy

User Reviews: 4.4/5 

174 Corley Mill Rd
Lexington, SC 29072

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviewsteam@thisoldhousereviews.com.

Ranking Methodology

We reviewed dozens of Columbia solar companies, using the following criteria to select the best:

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Facts about Columbia
Average Max Temp:73°F
Solar Payback Period:9.5 years
Average Daily Sunlight:62%
Homes Powered by Solar:6,437
Average Annual Energy Bill:$1,730
Solar Power per Capita Percentile:48.0%

Expert Tips By

This Old House empowers homeowners with the knowledge and tools they need to tackle various projects and navigate the complexities of homeownership.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy provides several advantages that will enhance your home for years to come.

  • Lowered energy bills: With solar panels, you create power without paying the tacked-on costs of grid-tied power. You can eliminate your bills completely if you go off-grid.
  • Better energy independence: Adding a solar battery lets you have reliable energy during grid outages and storms.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power means you're less dependent on fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gasses.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Columbia Homeowners?

South Carolina homeowners who upgrade to solar could qualify for rebates, reimbursements, special financing and tax credits. Here are just a few of the region's incentive offerings.

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: duke-energy.com

Incentive Amount:

Central A/C or Heat Pump: $300 - $400 + 50 with smart thermostat
Geothermal Heat Pumps: $400 + 50 with smart thermostat
Heat Pump Water Heater: $350
Attic Insulation & Air Sealing: $250
Duct Sealing: $100
Pool Pump: $300

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Incentive Amount:

100% exemption

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: santeecoopersolar.com

Incentive Amount:

Residential and Commercial: $1.05/W
Non-Profit: $1.30/W

Incentive Type: Corporate Tax Credit

Website: energy.sc.gov

Incentive Amount:

25% of eligible costs

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: energy.sc.gov

Incentive Amount:

25% of eligible costs

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: ecowatch.com

Incentive Amount:

30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Columbia

The more thorough your provider search is, the better your solar panels will ultimately perform. Consider all of these criteria in your business search.

Licensing and Training

South Carolina differentiates between mechanical and general contractors for solar energy work. A licensed mechanical contractor can install or repair any solar PV system rated for between 50 and 600 volts if they have an electrical Certificate of Authorization. If a company installs solar thermal systems, they need a Certificate of Authorization in plumbing and a supervising licensed plumber on their team. You should also visit a company's website to learn about its private certifications. Two of the most recognized are the Solar Heating Installer and PV Installation Professional certificates, awarded by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Some companies don't publish this information online, so you should also ask your estimator about them.

Cost of Solar Panels in Columbia

Different solar panel types look and perform differently. Monocrystalline panels offer the best energy production but cost more than other options. Polycrystalline panels provide a lower price point but produce less power. Thin-film panels work well for small projects like RVs and sheds, but they're not ideal for larger installations due to their low performance.

If you'd like to charge an electric vehicle (EV) or use your solar power in inclement weather, you can pay extra for accessories. By choosing the right components, you can make your panel array more productive and convenient to use. Not every solar company provides these extras, so look for a contractor that sells them if it's essential for you.

You can plan to spend about $17,250 on average for a five-kilowatt solar energy system in Columbia. Check the table in this section to get an idea of what amount Columbia solar companies might quote for your specific system.

Solar Panel CostAverage Cost
Solar Monocrystalline$1,132
Solar Polycrystalline$883
Thin-Film$516
Solar Battery$724
Solar Home EV Charger$2,716

Financing Solar Energy in Columbia

Choosing the correct financing option will impact your overall solar system cost and possible savings. Common payment options include cash payments, loans, leases, and power purchase agreements. Most solar experts recommend paying cash or using a solar loan. Cash payments require a large up-front sum, but they help you avoid paying interest, grant you system ownership, and qualify you for cost-saving incentives. Solar loans have the same benefits, though you'll pay more in total due to interest and fees. Similar to a home or car loan, you'll pay a set monthly rate with as little as $0 down. Solar leases involve paying a set monthly rate to use rooftop panels. A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) lets you pay a monthly rate determined by the energy you use, similar to an electric bill. We usually don’t recommend these two options because you won't own the system and cannot use solar incentives. Ask each business you're evaluating about the payment plans it offers. A salesperson can help you determine the best option for your pocketbook.

The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Columbia.

You can claim a 26% federal tax credit from the IRS for new residential solar systems purchased before 2032. Additionally, utilities and local governments may have their own rebates and financing plans that could reduce your total cost even more.

Solar System CapacityEstimated Payback period
1 kW1.9 years
2 kW3.8 years
5 kW9.5 years
10 kW19.0 years

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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Columbia

How much money could I save by going solar in Columbia?

Most Columbia homeowners spend about $1,730 on energy each year. Your costs could drop by $1,175.33 for each kilowatt you generate after you pay off a solar array.

How common is solar energy in Columbia?

Yes, solar energy is becoming increasingly popular in Columbia. Some homes already use solar power on-site or through utility grids, and they're backed by a state solar economy with 3307 workers and counting.

Will solar energy systems increase my Columbia home value?

Yes, a solar PV system will increase your property value. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), for every dollar you reduce on energy bills, your home value increases by $20. So, if your panels save you $600 per year on energy costs, your property could appreciate $12,000.

What if I live in a dark or rainy

Even with Columbia's above-average tree cover, you could still take advantage of solar energy. Your contractor will optimize your system's performance by selecting the proper site for panels, cleaning them regularly, positioning them to capture the most sunlight throughout the year, and installing a battery backup system. This way, you can store solar power and use it as necessary.

What maintenance do my solar panels need, and how often do they need it?

Solar panels don't demand much maintenance to keep working for your home. All you'll need to do is inspect and clean the panels every six months or as necessary in dusty seasons. Solar installers frequently offer maintenance packages to help you in your system's care.

What is the average payback period for Columbia solar panels?

The average payback period for a solar loan in Columbia is 10.3 years. By paying off extra principal each month, you can shorten the payback period and own your system faster.

What's the difference between a PPA and a solar lease?

After you sign a power purchase agreement, your solar provider will not charge to install or maintain your new panel array. Instead, you'll pay them only for the electricity you generate. Typically, PPAs last for 10–25 years or until you "buy out" of the contract.

If you choose a lease, you'll make fixed monthly payments.

With both leases and PPAs, you do not own your panels and lose eligibility for most incentives. Further, you'll have to "buy out" or transfer the contract if you sell your home during the term.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviewsteam@thisoldhousereviews.com.

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