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The Best Solar Companies (March 2024 Guide): Expert Reviewed

Our top-rated solar companies are SunPower, Sunrun, and Blue Raven. Get a personalized solar estimate in under 2 minutes.

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Author Icon By Tamara Jude + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed By Roger Horowitz Updated 02/13/2024

We’ve researched over 84 leading solar panel companies nationwide, interviewed industry experts, surveyed 1,000 solar customers, and spent more than 770 hours analyzing product specifications and warranties to find the best in the business. We selected SunPower, Sunrun, and Blue Raven Solar as our top three choices for solar installation companies. Compare these companies and other top-rated providers in our review.

Going solar includes understanding a lot of technical jargon that might confuse you. New companies and technologies emerge daily, so you may find it difficult to choose the best installer. Solar is a big investment that helps you save on monthly energy costs and offers a clean energy solution, so you also don’t want to make the wrong choice. Compare our top-rated solar providers in this review to help you make the right decision.

Compare Solar Companies

Based on our methodology, we chose SunPower and Sunrun as our top two providers due to their solar panel selections, additional service options, and positive online reputations across review sites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB)* and Google Reviews. These companies also offer some of the most comprehensive warranties and service selections available.

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8 Best Solar Companies of 2024

Our team evaluated close to 100 U.S. solar companies based on reputation, solar services, payment options, state availability, and warranty coverage. Here are our picks for the best solar companies:

Our Top Solar Company Picks



SunPower offers the most energy-efficient and high-performing solar systems available, with efficiency rates of 22.8% compared to the typical 15%–22% range. It’s one of the few companies that uses in-house system components, creating a streamlined system designed to perform better. SunPower also sells solar batteries and EV chargers.

How We Scored SunPower

We scored SunPower 4.8 out of 5 stars. The company earned points for its high-efficiency solar panels and comprehensive warranty coverage but lost some due to its mixed customer reputation and lack of additional solar services.


  • Solar Equipment and Services (15 out of 25 points): SunPower offers standard solar services, such as solar panel and EV charger installation as well as active monitoring. However, it doesn’t offer energy audits or roofing services and relies on third-party installers. 
  • Warranty and Performance Guarantees (22 out of 25 points): The company offers comprehensive 25-year product and labor warranties, plus a performance guarantee. It doesn’t include any roof leak protection.
  • Brand Reputation and Professional Certifications (15 out of 15 points): SunPower is one of the most established brands in the solar industry, earning it maximum points in this category. It has BBB accreditation and high customer scores. It also only hires NABCEP-certified installers.
  • Financing Options (15 out of 15 points): SunPower offers all possible payment methods as well as its own in-house financing department.
  • Industry Experience (10 out of 10 points): SunPower is an industry pioneer with 39 years of experience in the industry.
  • State Availability (10 out of 10 points): SunPower serves all 50 states, more than most other providers.

Pros and Cons

Pros Builds customized, high-efficiency solar systems to suit each home Offers an extensive coverage area throughout the country Sells energy storage and EV charger add-ons Cons Limits solar equipment options due to in-house product exclusivity More expensive than other companies, according to some customer reviews Service area varies by ZIP code within each state

Warranty and Financing


SunPower backs its solar products with an all-inclusive 25-year warranty covering all solar system components, additional equipment add-ons, workmanship, and a 92% power output production guarantee.

Financing Options
✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan
✔ Lease

State Availability

Available in: All 50 states but varies by ZIP code

Reputation and Reviews

SunPower received PV Magazine’s 2019 Sustainability Award for “outstanding sustainability leadership in the solar industry.” In 2022, SunPower received the Good Housekeeping’s 2022 Home Renovation Award in the Biggest Energy Savers category. Good Housekeeping recognized the company for its innovative SunVault energy storage system.

SunPower currently holds an A+ BBB rating and accreditation. Our review analysis revealed that customers were pleased with their SunPower system performance. However, we noticed a pattern of complaints about higher-than-average installation costs and communication issues with third-party installers.



We like Sunrun for its four financing options, including its unique leasing options if you don’t want to own your system. This stands out to us because the other companies on this list don’t offer as many options.

Prepaid and leased systems also include a 25-year warranty with system service and maintenance, ongoing monitoring, and theft insurance. The company even offers financing plans for quality monocrystalline solar panels and products from trusted brands such as LG.

How We Scored Sunrun

Sunrun earned 4.4 out of 5 stars based on our methodology. The company gained many points for its positive reputation, comprehensive leasing options, and well-rounded warranty coverage. It lost some points for is limited service selection.


  • Solar Equipment and Services (15 out of 25 points): Sunrun provides solar panel and battery installation but uses third-party installers. Though this is becoming an industry standard, in-house installers typically yield better communication and quality. The company also doesn’t provide roofing services or energy audits but does offer quality active monitoring assistance. 
  • Warranty and Performance Guarantees (19 out of 25 points): Sunrun offers quality warranties, such as its 25-year manufacturer and labor warranty, but doesn’t include a performance guarantee. 
  • Brand Reputation and Professional Certifications (13 out of 15 points): Sunrun has one of the higher customer BBB ratings we’ve encountered, and the company maintains an overall positive customer reputation online.
  • Financing Options (13.5 out of 15 points): The company doesn’t offer any in-house financing but provides more warranty coverage for customers interested in solar leasing than other providers, such as Palmetto.
  • Industry Experience (9 out of 10 points): Sunrun holds 17 years of experience in the solar industry, making it a veteran compared to a newer company such as Blue Raven Solar.
  • State Availability (8 out of 10 points): The company only serves 18 states.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides system monitoring that signals issues with your system Offers diverse financing options to suit various budgets Provides EV and solar battery solutions Cons Limited online information on solar incentive disqualification with leases Requires added costs for the same coverage plans as leased and prepaid customers Varies solar battery availability by state

Warranty and Financing


Sunrun backs its systems with a 10-year comprehensive warranty which includes product, roof penetration, and workmanship coverage.

Financing Options

✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan
✔ Lease

State Availability

Available in: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Reputation and Reviews

The company earned DroneDeploy’s 2022 Guardian of Safety Award for incorporating drone technology in its site assessments. In 2021 and 2022, Sunrun was recognized by Comparably with 14 awards. Its accolades include Best CEOs for Diversity 2022, Best Company Culture 2021, and Best Company for Women two years in a row.

Sunrun currently holds an A+ rating from the BBB and is accredited. Former customers praised the comprehensive coverage for leased systems but complained about delayed installations, poor customer service, and poor communication with project managers. Additionally, some customers are confused by Sunrun’s leasing and PPA options, which we noticed in this recent Reddit thread. Customers mentioned Sunrun was willing to discuss and clarify these plans, though.

Blue Raven


Blue Raven Solar has one of the best reputations for reliability and trustworthiness. It has won awards for its team and CEO, and customer reviews report great customer service and prompt installations. The company also stands out for its in-house financing, which includes 18 months of free solar energy.

How We Scored Blue Raven Solar

Blue Raven received 4.4 out of 5 stars according to our rating system. The company scored the most points for its customer service reputation and warranty coverage. It also earned points for providing all standard solar panel services but lost some due to its limited financing options and lack of roof leak coverage.

  • Solar Equipment and Services (18 out of 25 points): Blue Raven offers solar panel and battery installation, active monitoring services, and energy audits. However, it doesn’t offer solar roofs, EV chargers, or additional roofing services. 
  • Warranty and Performance Guarantees (22 out of 25 points): The company offers top-of-the-line warranties, including a 25-year workmanship warranty. The company earned points fo providing a performance guarantee, but its guarantee is shorter than many other providers. However, it doesn’t provide any roof leak coverage. 
  • Brand Reputation and Professional Certifications (13 out of 15 points): Blue Raven has high customer review ratings on its BBB profile and other popular review sites. The company uses in-house installers but doesn’t ensure they’re NABCEP-certified, which made it lose some points in this category.
  • Financing Options (12 out of 15 points): Blue Raven offers some of the best in-house financing of the companies this list, but it limits this financing to solar loans. You may want to consider a different provider, such as Sunrun, if you’re looking for a lease or PPA.
  • Industry Experience (7 out of 10 points): Blue Raven has less experience than other providers, with only 10 years in the industry.
  • State Availability (7 out of 10 points): The company limits its service area to 19 states.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers SunPower’s high-efficiency panels and storage options Provides a unique in-house financing option which includes 18 months of free solar energy Recognized as one of the industry’s most reputable solar companies Cons Offers one of the shortest production guarantees among our reviewed companies Some customer reviews mention poor communication Workmanship warranty falls slightly below the industry standard

Warranty and Financing


A Blue Raven system has a 25-year product warranty, a 10-year workmanship warranty, and a two-year production guarantee.

Financing Options

✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan

State Availability

Available in: Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington

Reputation and Reviews

Blue Raven has won numerous awards from Comparably, a site known for its company culture and reputation reviews. It also ranked No. 20 on Glassdoor’s Best Place to Work in the USA in 2021.

Blue Raven is accredited by the BBB and currently holds an A+ rating. We noted that customers praised the knowledgeable staff and prompt installation but cited poor communication after completing projects. We analyzed several Reddit threads and found that some of these issues stem from the company’s financing department and third-party installers.



Palmetto Solar offers a wide range of quality solar products and excellent customer service, including phone, email, and online chat options, an online service request portal, and a library of troubleshooting resources. Overall, Palmetto offers more customer support than other providers we reviewed, most notably through its tiered system protection plans and mobile app.

How We Scored Palmetto Solar

Palmetto earned 4.4 out of 5 stars according to our methodology. The company scored more points for its comprehensive service selection and long-term protection plans. It lost some because of its standard warranty options and lack of production guarantee. 

  • Solar Equipment and Services (20 out of 25 points): Palmetto offers an excellent selection of solar services, including solar battery and electric vehicle (EV) charger installation, energy audits, and active monitoring.
  • Warranty and Performance Guarantees (16 out of 25 points): The company’s warranty options don’t stand out as much as Sunrun’s. It offers industry-standard coverage for 25 years on products and 10 years on labor.
  • Brand Reputation and Professional Certifications (14 out of 15 points): Palmetto has a highly positive online reputation on popular review sites such as the BBB. The company also screens its installers to ensure they’re certified with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
  • Financing Options (13.5 out of 15 points): Palmetto doesn’t provide in-house financing but offers all possible payment methods.
  • Industry Experience (8 out of 10 points): Palmetto holds a decent amount of experience, with 15 years in the industry.
  • State Availability (8 out of 10 points): The company serves 17 states.

Pros and Cons

Pros Gives access to customer support via email, chat, phone, and app Offers a tiered system protection plan Provides an online solar savings calculator to estimate potential savings Cons Limits its active monitoring services to three years Shorter roof leak and workmanship coverage than other installers Some online reviews mentioned permitting and installation delays

Warranty and Financing


Palmetto’s warranty protection includes a 25-year panel warranty, 12-year inverter warranty, 10-year workmanship warranty, and five-year roof penetration warranty.

Financing Options

✔ Full purchase
✔ Lease
✔ Loan

State Availability

Available in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia

Reputation and Reviews

Palmetto Solar received Solar Power World’s Most Forward-Thinking Contractor award in 2022. Inc. magazine recognized the company the same year with a Power Partner Award. Palmetto also aims to provide solar energy to underserved communities with its Get Solar, Give Solar program.

Palmetto Solar is accredited by the BBB and has an A+ rating from the site. While reading online reviews, we noticed that homeowners praised Palmetto for its dedicated installation managers and quality systems but mentioned very long waiting periods for permitting, plus installation delays.

Freedom Solar Power


Freedom Solar Polar is a SunPower Master Dealer that provides high-efficiency solar systems. The company has 17 years of solar industry experience and partnerships with certified installers. It’s one of the few solar companies to offer grid-tied, ground-mount, carport, and off-grid solar solutions. 

How We Scored Freedom Solar Power

Freedom Solar scored 4.4 out of 5 stars according to our methodology. The company earned most of its points because of its comprehensive warranty coverage and reputable customer service. Its biggest drawback is its basic service selection. 


  • Solar Equipment and Services (16 out of 25 points): Freedom Solar has minimal service options compared to companies such as Elevation or ADT Solar. It offers solar panel and battery installation with active monitoring, but that’s it. We do like that it provides in-house installers to do the work. 
  • Warranty and Performance Guarantees (22 out of 25 points): Freedom Solar received many points for its 25-year warranty, which covers panels, workmanship, and performance.
  • Brand Reputation and Professional Certifications (14 out of 15 points): The company has a highly positive online reputation, including a strong BBB rating and accreditation, positive customer reviews, and no alerts or active lawsuits. 
  • Financing Options (10.5 out of 15 points): Freedom Solar only offers cash purchases and loan options with no in-house financing. 
  • Industry Experience (9 out of 10 points): The company holds 17 years of experience in the residential solar industry.
  • State Availability (6 out of 10 points): Freedom Solar limits its service area to five states.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers rooftop, ground-mount, carport, and off-grid installations Provides preconstruction consultations with its home contractors Works with SunPower to install high-efficiency solar systems Cons Called out for underperforming solar systems in customer reviews Covers a limited service area Doesn’t offer many system customizations

Warranty and Financing


Freedom Solar provides a comprehensive 25-year warranty covering product, workmanship, and panel performance. 

Financing Options

✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan

State Availability

Available in: Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Reputation and Reviews

Freedom Solar made Inc.’s Regionals 2023: Southwest list for the fastest-growing private companies in America. Solar Power World chose the company as a Top Solar Contractor nine times.

Freedom Solar is BBB accredited and holds an A rating from the organization. The company has many positive reviews on its BBB profile for its consistent installation updates and well-trained staff. However, negative reviews highlight issues reaching customer service.

Venture Solar


Venture Solar specializes in installing systems that are perfectly symmetrical and have no visible wiring or mounting devices. This design provides a simple, stylish look tailored to your roof’s appearance. Additionally, Venture offers comprehensive financing options similar to Sunrun, making solar energy more accessible to homeowners.

How We Scored Venture Solar

Venture earned 4.2 out of 5 stars. It gained most of its points due to its flexible financing options paired with an in-house financing department. It also provides plenty of solar services to match most customers’ wants and needs, though it lost points for lacking roofing services, energy audits, and EV charger installations. 

  • Solar Equipment and Services (16 out of 25 points): Venture offers solar panel and battery installation with active monitoring. The company lost points in this category because it doesn’t provide EV chargers, solar roof installation services, energy audits, and roof repairs.
  • Warranty and Performance Guarantees (25 out of 25 points): The company features excellent warranty perks with 25 years on labor, products, and performance. It also includes roof leak protection. 
  • Brand Reputation and Professional Certifications (13 out of 15 points): Venture has a great reputation. It features high ratings on its BBB profile with an accreditation and no active issues like lawsuits.
  • Financing Options (14 out of 15 points): Venture provides financing options through an in-house financing team and works with every payment method except PPAs. 
  • Industry Experience (7 out of 10 points): The company holds only eight years of experience in the solar industry.
  • State Availability (7 out of 10 points): Venture has a limited service area of only three states.

Pros and Cons

Pros Provides transparent information about its financing options online Includes remote monitoring Includes a 25-year roof and system warranty with all panel systems Cons Requires your phone number to submit an online quote Reviews mention mixed experiences with customer support Doesn’t work with power purchase agreement

Warranty and Financing


Venture offers a 25-year bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers workmanship, products, and power output. 

Financing Options

✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan
✔ Lease

State Availability

Available in: Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.

Reputation and Reviews

Venture has an A+ rating and accreditation on its BBB profile. According to customer reviews, the company provides high-quality workmanship on its solar panel systems and good customer support. However, some customers have raised concerns about the pricing and quoting process. They found it confusing to determine the total cost of their system and experienced frequent back-and-forth over pricing. 

Some customers also noted that Venture focuses on premium products, leading to higher pricing even when unnecessary. We found several Reddit threads discussing Venture where other solar customers and installers mentioned similar experiences.

Solar Energy World


Solar Energy World (SEW) is one of the most robust and well-regarded solar installation companies. It boasts several impressive features, such as its 30-year manufacturer’s warranty. Its service area is limited, and it doesn’t offer energy auditing services. We like that SEW discloses what solar panels it primarily works with and that the panels are from trusted, quality brands such as Qcells and Silfab.

How We Scored Solar Energy World

SEW scored 4.4 out of 5 stars according to our methodology. The company received many points because of its warranty, which is longer than most other solar companies’ warranties. SEW offers a 30-year manufacturer’s warranty on all its solar panels and inverters, whereas many providers only offer 25-year warranties.

  • Solar Equipment and Services (18 out of 25 points): The company is an ideal option for many basic solar products and services, such as solar panels and battery installation. It lost points because it doesn’t install EV chargers or perform energy audits.
  • Warranty and Performance Guarantees (19 out of 25 points): SEW’s manufacturer and labor warranties are standout features, but the company doesn’t include any production guarantees with its work. 
  • Brand Reputation and Professional Certifications (15 out of 15 points): The company’s reputation is one of the best, with high BBB and Google Reviews ratings. We also found no active alerts or lawsuits.
  • Financing Options (13.5 out of 15 points): SEW offers all possible solar payment options but doesn’t provide an in-house financing department. 
  • Industry Experience (8 out of 10 points): The company has been in business since 2009, so it received most of the points in this category.
  • State Availability (6 out of 10 points): SEW limits its service area to eight East Coast states.

Pros and Cons

Pros Features an extensive solar product catalog with trusted brands Includes free active monitoring Hires NABCEP-certified installers and designers Cons Reviews mention communication issues with staff Warranty coverage varies by solar panel brand Doesn’t offer a power production guarantee

Warranty and Financing


SEW offers a 30-year manufacturer’s warranty on all purchased solar panels and inverters. However, coverage varies by brand, and the company doesn’t guarantee them with every panel option. 

Financing Options

✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan
✔ Lease

State Availability

Available in: Washington, D.C, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia

Reputation and Reviews

The company landed on Solar Power World’s 2023 Top Solar Contractors List in the No. 10 spot.

The BBB accredits SEW, and the company holds an A+ rating. Former customers praise the company for its professionalism, assistance with applying for financial incentives, and smooth installation process. However, some reported discrepancies in finances and scheduling.

Tesla Solar


Tesla is one of the few solar companies that provides potential customers with an up-front quote on its website. It offers a range of sleekly designed solar panels and shingles that blend into your existing roof. It also manufactures the Tesla Powerwall, one of the industry’s most popular solar batteries.

How We Scored Tesla Solar

Tesla earned 4 out of 5 stars based on our rating scale. The company offers many industry-standard services, including solar roof installation. Unfortunately, Tesla earned some of the lowest point values for customer service and reputation. 

  • Solar Equipment and Services (18 out of 25 points): Tesla installs solar panels and shingles in addition to its Powerwall batteries. The company also earned points in this category for its active monitoring services.
  • Warranty and Performance Guarantees (16 out of 25 points): Tesla lost points in this category because it only offers a 10-year product and workmanship warranty, whereas most companies offer a 25-year product warranty.
  • Brand Reputation and Professional Certifications (5 out of 15 points): Tesla lost significant points in this category because it has a negative online reputation despite being a popular provider. It also doesn’t prioritize working with NABCEP-certified installers.
  • Financing Options (10.5 out of 15 points): Tesla doesn’t provide in-house financing and only offers full purchase and solar loan payment options. 
  • Industry Experience (7 out of 10 points): Tesla is one of the largest names in solar, but it only has 18 years of experience.
  • State Availability (8 out of 10 points): The company serves all 50 states.

Pros and Cons

Pros Offers up to 10 Powerwall batteries with each installation Provides transparent online quotes with full pricing details Sells solar roofing options that replace your entire roof for a streamlined appearance Cons Has issues with scheduling service appointments, per some customer reviews Limits customization options Only offers third-party installation services

Warranty and Financing


Tesla offers a 25-year performance warranty on its system and a 10-year comprehensive warranty covering product and workmanship.

Financing Options

✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan (in select areas)

State Availability

Available in: 50 states but varies by ZIP code

Reputation and Reviews

Tesla began in 2003 as a subsidiary of Tesla, Inc., a leader in automotive manufacturing and electric vehicles. It grew its solar technology to include solar panels, the Tesla solar roof, the Tesla inverter, and the Tesla Powerwall, one of the industry’s most popular solar batteries.

Tesla has an A+ rating on its BBB profile but doesn’t hold accreditation. We noted that Tesla customers praised the company for its solar panel and Powerwall performances but flagged constant issues with scheduling repairs and servicing.

Other Companies We Reviewed

The following companies didn’t make our list but are still worth considering.

  • LGCY Power: LGCY Power provides one of the best guided solar consultations and offers detailed online articles covering the solar installation process. The company also partners with Sunrun, one of our picks for top solar companies. 
  • Momentum Solar: Momentum Solar keeps its customers informed throughout the installation process with timely updates. The company also uses an in-house installation team to provide quick, high-quality installations. 
  • Trinity Solar: Trinity Solar has served the Northeast for more than 28 years. The company’s in-house staff is certified by some of the solar industry’s most prestigious programs.
  • Elevation: Elevation takes a holistic approach to solar energy by offering entire home energy upgrades. The company provides solar systems, batteries, and energy audits to help you save on energy costs. The company also sells Curb Energy Monitoring devices to track energy usage and control smart devices in your home.
  • Green Home Systems (GHS): GHS installs high-efficiency solar panels and solar shingles that blend in with your roof. We like the company’s solar roofing system because it’s a competitive option compared to Tesla’s solar roof.

Some companies didn’t make our list because we don’t recommend them to everyone. For example, Solar Is Freedom has limited services compared to other providers, and Vision Solar recently announced bankruptcy amid two lawsuits. We feel confident the providers suggested in our guide have solid bankability and top-tier service options. 

What Should You Know About Going Solar?

You should know about the best payment options to maximize your investment and which solar incentives you’re eligible for to avoid scammers or untrustworthy companies when going solar.

How much does a solar panel system cost?

The national average solar energy system costs between $17,430 and $23,870.

The cost of your solar panel system varies based on several factors, including the system size, whether it’s installed on or around your home, the installation complexity, and your selected solar panel type. Changes in a company’s technology will also affect the price, as will your region.

We recommend getting quotes from at least three companies to closely compare your options.

What are solar incentives?

Solar incentives, credits, and rebates allow you to save money when installing solar equipment. The federal government provides a 30% federal tax credit. Some solar companies assist you with finding and applying for solar incentives.

We also suggest you visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to view your area’s state and local incentives.

We surveyed 1,000 solar customers about their experiences getting quotes and installing solar panels. Most respondents (78.4%) used solar incentives to reduce their overall costs. A little over 75% of those respondents said the incentives they used were easy to access.

What solar energy terms should I know?

There are a lot of solar energy terms you should know, such as active monitoring and inverter. Here’s a quick breakdown of key terms and their meanings.

  • Active monitoring: Active monitoring means tracking and analyzing various performance metrics for your solar energy system, such as electricity production, system health, and environmental conditions. This continuous monitoring helps you to detect issues promptly, optimize system efficiency, and get proactive maintenance to ensure reliable and optimal operation.
  • Inverter: This is a component that converts the direct current (DC) power your solar system gets from the sun into the alternating current (AC) power that runs your home. 
  • Solar panel efficiency rating: This indicates the percentage of sunlight that solar panels convert to usable electricity. The higher the efficiency rating, the better the energy production. Note that 100% efficiency isn’t scientifically possible. Most solar panels have efficiency ratings between 15% and 22%.
  • Solar battery backup: A solar battery backup system stores excess energy generated by solar panels, enabling you to use that stored energy when the sun isn’t shining, such as at night or during power outages. This product allows for greater energy independence and resilience against grid failures.

How do I pay for solar panels?

You can choose from various solar financing options to fit your budget. Many companies offer two or more payment choices. A full purchase or loan is typically the most cost-effective option. “When you lease solar panels, you miss out on the substantial federal tax credit because it instead goes to the leasing company,” explains Matt Johnson, co-owner of Namaste Solar. “If you own your own solar panels, you will be the one to reap the financial benefits of the tax credit.”

Johnson adds that leasing your panels could also make selling your home cumbersome and expensive because you have to ensure the new owner wants to take over the lease or buy out the rest of your contract—potentially costing thousands of dollars.

Here is a list of the most common payment options:

  • Full purchase: A full cash purchase gives you full system ownership, qualifying you for all tax incentives and rebates. 
  • Solar loan: This option requires smaller monthly payments for a set time frame and grants you full ownership.
  • Solar lease: Homeowners lease the system from the solar provider and make monthly payments for its use. Check out our guide to solar leasing to determine if this option is worth it.
  • Power purchase agreement (PPA): The solar company retains system ownership and only charges you for the solar energy you use each month.

What warranties come with solar panels?

Warranties can differ based on each company’s products. You could have multiple warranties for one system if the company works with several manufacturers. Alternatively, a solar provider could offer all-inclusive warranty coverage for its in-house products, making the claims process much easier. 

The top companies offer 25-year warranties in most cases, but some limit their workmanship warranty to 10 years. We recommend finding a company that provides 25-year warranties for coverage throughout your system’s lifetime.

Here are the three most common warranties and what they cover:

  • Manufacturer’s warranty (or product warranty): Protects the individual solar system components in case of defects.
  • Workmanship warranty: Covers installation in case of poor workmanship or faulty installation materials.
  • Performance (or power production) guarantee: Certifies the solar system’s output as outlined in your contract.

What Should You Look for in a Solar Company?

First, ensure the installer you’re interested in provides high-quality, monocrystalline solar panels to maximize your solar investment. Also, check that it offers at least a 25-year product warranty and holds the proper certifications to operate in your area.
Here are the key qualities to look out for as you search for a solar company:
Certification: Solar installers may have certifications from specific solar panel and inverter manufacturers. Verify these certifications by checking the official websites of the respective manufacturers. You should also check that the installer is certified by the NABCEP.
Cost and financing: Every solar company in our review offers full purchase and loan financing options. Some also provide leases and PPAs. A full purchase or loan qualifies you for the federal solar tax credit and other cost-saving incentives. A lease or PPA reduces how much you pay up-front, but the solar company still owns the panels, so you can’t qualify for incentives. We recommend you pursue only full purchases and solar loans because of this limitation.
Installation process and services: Some companies offer a completely streamlined installation process, including in-house design, installation, and whole-home energy audits. Other companies use third-party installers, which can make communication and warranty issues more complicated. You should prioritize companies with in-house installers before considering providers that use third-party contractors.
Solar panel quality: Customers can usually choose between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels. Monocrystalline panels are more efficient, so you should consider companies that specialize in these panels.
Warranty options: Each company on our list offers 25-year manufacturer warranties, but some companies’ workmanship warranties are only 10 years. The coverage specifics vary by the installer. A good general rule is to seek out companies offering baseline 25-year product warranties.

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Though expensive to install, solar panels are worth the investment. They offer several benefits, including long-term cost savings and increased home value. Going solar also allows you to rely less on external electricity sources and gain protection from unforeseen disruptions in the power supply. Federal and state solar incentives help reduce initial installation costs, resulting in a better return on investment.

More than 3 million homes have reaped these benefits by converting to solar energy, with one million installations taking place in the last two years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Our survey of 1,000 customers showed that 94.6% of respondents felt installing solar panels was worth it. A majority of respondents said the transition reduced their energy bills.

How Do I Find The Best Solar Company in My State?

Some companies are available nationwide, while others have smaller service areas. Use our tool below to find which solar companies service your area.

Find a Solar Installation Company in Your State

What Should You Know About Solar Panel Equipment and Efficiency?

The solar equipment you choose plays a major role in your system’s performance and energy savings. Most homeowners choose rooftop installations to position their panels closer to the sun for optimal performance. You can add system upgrades, such as solar batteries, to extend your system’s functionality. Investing in high-efficiency solar panels will also help maximize your energy production. 

Solar Panel Equipment

Below is an overview of typical installation options and upgrades. 

  • Traditional solar panels: Monocrystalline solar panels are the most common among homeowners. These panels offer the best efficiency and power output but are the most expensive. Polycrystalline panels cost slightly less but are also less efficient, so you must buy more panels to power your home. 
  • Solar shingles and roofing: Solar shingles and roofing provide the same structural protection as traditional roofing while also powering your home with solar energy. They offer a sleek, integrated design at a much higher price than traditional panels. For example, the Tesla Solar roof costs more than its traditional solar panels coming in at roughly $38,400 for a standard-sized system
  • Solar batteries: Most homeowners add solar batteries to their systems to maximize energy production and store backup power. You can use this stored energy when the power grid is down to keep your home running. We recommend considering a solar battery if you experience frequent outages or have medical equipment that requires power.
  • EV chargers: Electric vehicle (EV) chargers offer a convenient at-home solution for EV owners. They use energy generated from solar panels to charge your vehicle at a lower rate than public charging stations.
Solar panels’ efficiency has improved significantly in recent years, with high-efficiency solar panels reaching rates of nearly 25%. We recommend focusing on solar panels with more than 20% efficiency to get the most out of your system.

How Do You Avoid Solar Scams?

Here are some tips for avoiding solar scams as you navigate the solar panel system buying process:

  • Avoid individuals offering “free” solar panels: If you encounter a salesperson who claims you can receive free solar panels, this is a misleading sales tactic that is most likely trying to get you to lease a system.
  • Don’t agree to pay up-front: Deposits are standard, but never pay in full until your system is installed, functioning properly, and has passed inspections.
  • Purchase your system if possible: Scammers may highlight low costs by leasing the system, but they get the financial benefits. Paying in full typically provides the most long-term savings and helps you avoid untrustworthy providers.
  • Read reviews: It’s important to conduct thorough research on each company you’re considering by checking third-party online reviews. Be cautious of any service provider with widespread negative reviews, complaints, or legal issues.
  • Watch for aggressive sales tactics: High-pressure sales tactics, unsolicited calls, and door-to-door pitches are all warning signs of pushy salespeople who aim to persuade you to make impulsive decisions.

What Should You Expect During a Solar Installation?

You’ll typically meet with a representative to begin the installation process after you choose a solar provider. Here’s what to expect from this process based on our conversations with various installers.

  1. Initial consultation: A company representative will assess your property’s solar potential and determine your energy needs. Many companies offer in-person or virtual consultations. You’ll need your most recent utility bill to help determine your average energy usage. We recommend analyzing bills from several months to get the most accurate estimate. 
  2. Site survey: The company rep will review your roof’s structural integrity, available space, slope, and shading. This helps determine the best location for your solar panels. 
  3. Design and permitting: The rep will design a solar system to fit your needs with panels, components, and add-on accessory options. You’ll receive a finalized, detailed quote to approve. Most installers handle all necessary permitting and paperwork. The permitting process varies among areas but typically takes two to four weeks to complete. We recommend getting an estimated timeline for the entire installation process. 
  4. Installation day: The solar company may use an in-house staff or third-party installers. To help avoid communication issues, we recommend asking for your project’s main point of contact. Most installations take one to two days, sometimes longer for complicated jobs. 
  5. Final inspection: Your solar company will coordinate with local officials for final activation approval. All installations must meet local codes and match the approved project designs. This process could take two to four weeks and depends on all parties’ availability. 
  6. Activation: Your system will receive permission to operate (PTO) once all parties approve the installation. The longest part of the installation is activation because you have to wait for local utilities to come out and put in a new meter. “That’s something that can take a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on how backed up the utility is … [so] that can be kind of annoying to the customer,” says Matt Johnson, co-owner of Namaste Solar. Your installer will connect the system to the grid and get final approval from the utility company for activation.

Which Solar Panel Installation Company Should You Choose?

SunPower is our top-rated solar company due to its customized, high-performance, high-quality panels. You should consider Sunrun if you want excellent solar savings without committing to system ownership. We also like Blue Raven Solar because it provides competitive rates on high-efficiency systems and has one of the best financing programs for solar.

Consider your energy needs, budget, and local climate to determine the best solar energy company for you. We recommend getting multiple free quotes to compare costs, services, and warranty options.