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Best 5 Solar Companies in Charlottesville, VA

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

The Charlottesville community is intentional about conserving resources and embracing sustainability. That includes embracing alternative energy sources like solar. While embracing solar power comes with upfront costs, local homeowners could ultimately save $930 per kilowatt on their electric bills. A professional technician can help you select the best panels to maximize your savings. On this page, we'll showcase Charlottesville's best solar contractors and offer valuable advice for your solar journey.

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

Top Charlottesville Solar Companies

SunDay Solar Logo

SunDay Solar

4.7/5
Based on 27 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Residential Panels Commercial Panels

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Informative resources
  • Free quotes
1139 River Rd, Charlottesville, VA 434-977-4292 sundaysolar.com
Tiger Solar Logo

Tiger Solar

4.6/5
Based on 40 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Residential Panels Financing Assistance Commercial Panels Battery Storage

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Reliable customer support
  • Informative resources
1132 E Market St, Charlottesville, VA 434-293-3763 tigersolar.com
Paradise Energy Solutions Logo

Paradise Energy Solutions

4.6/5
Based on 16 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Consultation Maintenance Commercial Panels Battery Storage Residential Panels

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Free quotes
  • Informative resources
1931 S High St, Harrisonburg, VA 540-705-1330 paradisesolarenergy.com
Radiant Solar Logo

Radiant Solar

4.7/5
Based on 23 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Off-Grid Solar Systems Solar Roof Assessment Emergency Services Cleaning Residential Panels Maintenance Battery Storage Consultation

Highlights

  • Free quotes
  • Informative resources
  • Reliable customer support
9962 Brook Rd Suite 660, Glen Allen, VA 804-518-8880 goradiantsolar.com

More Local Solar Companies

Southern Exposure Solar

User Reviews: 4.7/5 

11030 Richardson Rd B21
Ashland, VA 23005

Cap City Solar Panels Co

User Reviews: 4.7/5 

9701 Metropolitan Ct
Richmond, VA 23236

Nexus Energy Systems

User Reviews: 4.3/5 

10964 Richardson Rd
Ashland, VA 23005

Tiger Solar

User Reviews: 4.7/5 

331 N Lewis St
Staunton, VA 24401

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

Ranking Methodology

We analyzed a multitude of Charlottesville solar installers, using the following criteria to choose the finest:

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Facts about Charlottesville
Average Max Temp: 65°F
Solar Payback Period: 11.6 years
Average Daily Sunlight: 56%
Homes Powered by Solar: 2,517
Average Annual Energy Bill: $1,566
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 offers multiple advantages. Let's look at a few of them.

  • Better energy independence: Solar energy can keep your home functioning through emergencies and blackouts, giving you additional security. You can use your solar energy anytime with an optional battery storage system.
  • Smaller power bills: Generating some or all of your own electricity will save you money on your electric bills long-term.
  • 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 Charlottesville Homeowners?

Virginia agencies and electric companies offer several solar incentives to help cut your solar system costs. Check out a breakdown of relevant solar programs where you live.

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Deduction

Incentive Amount:

20% of the sales tax paid by an individual

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Website: law.lis.virginia.gov

Incentive Amount:

Depends on the local governing body

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Website: dmme.virginia.gov

Incentive Amount:

Varies (local option)

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 Charlottesville

The more informed your provider search is, the better your photovoltaic system will ultimately function. Make your choice based on the following essential elements.

Licensing and Training

Since 2012, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has issued Alternative Energy Systems (AES) licenses to contractors who work on solar PV systems. Even if a contractor has an AES license, they may still need to subcontract HVAC, electrical or plumbing work. You should also visit a company's website to learn about its private accreditations. Two of the most prestigious are the Solar Heating Installer and PV Installation Professional certificates, granted 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 Charlottesville

Different solar panel types look and perform differently. Monocrystalline panels cost more than other options, but they generate the most power. 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 car or use your solar power in inclement weather, you can pay extra for accessories. By choosing the right components, you can make your system more efficient and convenient to use. Not all solar contractors include these add-ons, so look for a company that sells them if it's a priority for you.

A majority of Charlottesville homeowners select solar systems designed for five kilowatts (kW) of electrical capacity. These systems cost about $17,950 to set up, considering both materials and labor. You can find more specific cost information in the table.

Solar Panel Cost Average Cost
Solar Monocrystalline $1,120
Solar Polycrystalline $874
Thin-Film $511
Solar Battery $717
Solar Home EV Charger $2,688

Financing Solar Energy in Charlottesville

There are numerous ways to pay for a new solar system, and the right one will minimize your overhead. A few of the most common options include power purchase agreements (PPAs), loans, leases, and cash payments. Though it requires a large up-front payment, cash is the most affordable choice because it doesn't accrue interest and qualifies you for incentives. Solar loans are the next best option. As with a car loan or mortgage, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for cost-saving solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases allow you to use your panels for a set monthly rate, while PPAs let you pay just for the energy you use, akin to an electric bill. Both options disqualify you for solar incentives and don't grant you system ownership. Solar experts generally don't recommend them, but they might be suitable in some cases. Ask each installer you're vetting about the payment options it offers. A representative can help you determine the most suitable option for your budget.

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

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

Solar System Capacity Estimated Payback period
1 kW 2.3 years
2 kW 4.6 years
5 kW 11.6 years
10 kW 23.2 years

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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Charlottesville

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

Most Charlottesville homeowners spend about $1,566 on energy each year. Your costs could drop by $934.82 for each kilowatt you generate after you pay off a solar array.

Is solar energy widely available in Charlottesville?

Yes, solar energy is on the rise in Charlottesville. Some homes already use solar power on-site or through utility grids, and they're fortified by a state solar economy with 4489 workers and counting.

Should I anticipate a property value increase after going solar?

Yes, new solar systems mean higher property values according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL.) Homeowners could project a $20 property value increase for each dollar they save on energy. Therefore, $600 in energy savings could increase your home's value by $12,000.

What if I live in a rainy or heavily-wooded

A solar system could still operate in cloudy conditions. Your provider will orient your panels to capture the most sunlight possible. They might also recommend a backup battery to keep your system functioning at its best.

How can I evaluate my site's solar potential?

To determine your home's solar readiness, there's no substitute for a comprehensive estimate from a local solar installer. However, you can use the PVWatts tool for a simple solar viability prediction based on public data, including system size, panel efficiency, local weather and topography, and tree cover.

What upkeep do my solar panels need, and how frequently do they need it?

To preserve your solar system's efficiency, inspections and cleanings every six months are usually enough. In dusty or dry seasons, your panels might need cleanings every few months. Your provider can recommend a maintenance schedule. Its team could also handle the cleaning for you.

How can I boost my solar array's performance?

To enhance your solar system's performance, you can implement the following strategies:
  • optimize the panels' position with your solar installer
  • regularly clean your solar panels
  • upgrade to a more efficient inverter trim or cut down trees in the way of your panels
  • use energy-efficient appliances

What are the signs I shouldn't use a particular solar company for my job?

While many online reviews are positive, even the rated solar installers might have complaints. You should know these early warning signs for the best odds of an exemplary job:
  • Pushy sales approach
  • Being evasive about references, cost, warranties and credentials and training
  • Limited or no customization
  • Rushing through the site assessment
  • Limited customer feedback

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

Sources