If you’re just beginning your search for the best solar companies in North Carolina, you may be overwhelmed by the number of choices. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are more than 213 solar power companies in the Tar Heel State. This is largely thanks to federal and state solar incentives that have made solar panels more affordable. Currently, North Carolina ranks fourth for solar installations in the United States.
Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner in Charlotte or a new homebuyer in Wilmington, the This Old House Reviews Team is committed to helping you find the right solar company for your home. Read on for details about the best providers in North Carolina based on our extensive research.
North Carolina’s Top Solar Energy Companies
These are our top picks for solar companies in North Carolina.
Score: 83 out of 100
Blue Raven tops our list because of its unique perks and benefits. It offers a year and a half of free solar energy and $0 down for a new system, making the switch to solar as affordable as possible.
Pros and Cons
✔ Has no up-front costs for your system design, permits, or installation
✔ Includes 18 months of free solar energy with its BluePower Plus+ plan
✔ Provides a 25-year manufacturer warranty
✘ Doesn’t provide cost details online
✘ Limits financing options to total purchase or loan
Blue Raven Details
Blue Raven uses all-black monocrystalline panels from companies such as Trina and Canadian Solar. Monocrystalline panels are some of the most efficient types of solar panels available. The brands Blue Raven uses tend to have lower power outputs, but they’re still reliable. Blue Raven doesn’t provide any energy storage options, unlike other providers.
Blue Raven offers two financing options: full payment or loan. Loan customers receive 18 months of free solar service with no money down through the company’s BluePower Plus+ program. They then enter the SmartStart program and pay a fixed interest rate for five years.
The company offers several low APR loan options and will not penalize you for paying off your loan early. Both the full payment and loan options ensure you own your system and can take advantage of cost-saving solar incentives.
Blue Raven backs its systems with several warranties:
- 25-year manufacturer warranty: This includes free replacement for defective components in your solar system.
- 10-year workmanship warranty: Blue Raven will cover any issues that arise from installation.
- Two-year power production guarantee: Your system will be upgraded for free if it falls below its projected energy output level at any time during the warranty.
Learn more: Blue Raven review
Score: 82 out of 100
North Carolinians looking for the most high-end, energy-efficient solar panels should consider SunPower. The company uses in-house solar products that are optimized to work together, resulting in one of the most streamlined home solar solutions on the market.
Pros and Cons
✔ Offers custom-made solar products
✔ Provides a 25-year comprehensive warranty for performance, defects, and production
✔ Uses top-rated, high-efficiency Maxeon solar panels
✘ Is more expensive than other companies
✘ Limits customization by only using in-house products
SunPower offers some of the most efficient solar panels available: Maxeon monocrystalline panels. The company’s all-inclusive approach enhances the effectiveness of these panels. Instead of using various brands for its internal components, SunPower manufactures its parts in-house to create solar energy systems custom-built to meet each homeowner’s energy needs.
Customers can pair their system with SunPower’s in-house solar battery, the SunVault Storage system.
SunPower provides three financing options:
- Full payment: You pay for the system at full price.
- Solar loan: You apply for a loan program with $0 down and fixed monthly payments.
- Solar lease: You pay a monthly rate to use solar energy. Though you don’t have to commit to owning your system, this option disqualifies you from cost-saving solar incentives.
The company offers a comprehensive 25-year warranty for its systems. Here’s a breakdown of the types of coverage provided:
- Service warranty: Your panels will be repaired, replaced, or refunded if you experience any issues.
- Workmanship warranty: This covers workmanship or material defects, such as problems with installation.
- Power guarantee: SunPower guarantees that its panels will generate at least 92% of their original power output for 25 years.
The company also offers a 10-year warranty for its SunVault Storage system.
Learn more: SunPower review
Score: 98 out of 100
Palmetto Solar offers extensive customer support. Its tiered service plan packages allow customers to choose the best level of support for their system. Palmetto Solar’s customer service team can be reached through online chat, email, phone, or the dedicated app. You can also schedule additional service appointments at your convenience without speaking to a representative.
Pros and Cons
✔ Is one of the few companies to provide a 25-year warranty
✔ Offers four financing options
✔ Provides customer service via email, phone, chat, and app
✘ Doesn’t include financing details online
✘ Doesn’t include proactive system monitoring in its free coverage plan
Palmetto Solar Details
Unlike other solar providers that limit service coverage to their customers, Palmetto Solar offers service plans to any homeowner with a solar panel system. The free version of its Palmetto Protect plan provides real-time system monitoring, access to its service network, and analysis of your monthly energy consumption.
Customers can move to one of the following tiers for a monthly fee:
- Essentials Plan: Benefits of the free plan plus 24/7 proactive monitoring, prioritized customer service, and monthly system reviews.
- Standard Plan: Benefits of the Essentials Plan plus in-person, annual checkups and discounts from service providers.
- Premium Plan: Benefits of the Standard Plan plus appointment confirmations with a 24-hour turnaround, the choice of an annual panel clean or free service visit, and additional savings on solar storage, smart devices, and electric vehicle (EV) accessories.
Palmetto uses Q CELLS monocrystalline panels backed by a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty. The company also provides a 10-year warranty for its inverters.
The company offers four payment options: full purchase, solar loan, solar lease, and power purchase agreement. With a PPA, you pay only for the solar energy you use each month, similar to an electric bill. However, you don’t own your system or qualify for incentives.
Palmetto Solar offers several additional home services, including the following options:
- Pest abatement
- Panel cleaning
- Panel removal and reinstallation
- Panel maintenance
- Roof inspection and servicing
- Battery and storage installation
Learn more: Palmetto Solar review
Score: 79 out of 100
Tesla provides high-tech solar panels with a minimalistic look, including traditional panels and solar roof options. The company ensures customers have easy access to service by offering installation directly through Tesla or a trusted third-party installer in all 50 states.
Pros and Cons
✔ Includes a 25-year performance guarantee
✔ Offers a minimalist panel design that doesn’t change the look of your home
✔ Provides instant quotes online
✘ Limits payment options
✘ Only provides a 10-year comprehensive warranty
On Tesla’s website, you can choose from a selection of monocrystalline panels in small (12 photovoltaic panels) to extra large (48 photovoltaic panels) bundles. Customers can pair their system with the Tesla Powerwall storage battery, one of the most popular solar storage options available. You can also add EV chargers. If you prefer more advanced solar solutions, Tesla offers technology that replaces your existing roof with solar tiles.
Tesla provides the most transparent pricing information of all the solar installation companies we reviewed. Homeowners can get a full quote for their solar system, batteries, and EV chargers on the website. You can pay for your system in full or with a solar loan.
Tesla provides a 10-year comprehensive warranty and a 25-year performance guarantee.
With the company’s app, you can monitor your panel system, Powerwall battery, and Tesla EV vehicles 24/7.
Learn more: Tesla review
Score: 78 out of 100
ADT Solar (formerly Sunpro Solar) offers one of the best protection plans. With three 25-year warranties and guarantees, homeowners can rest assured an ADT Solar system will withstand time.
Pros and Cons
✔ Includes referral rewards up to $1,000 for qualified leads
✔ Provides 25-year warranties for the system, power production, and labor
✔ Offers a variety of name-brand options for microinverters and solar storage
✘ Doesn’t provide pricing information online
✘ Offers only one panel brand
ADT Solar Details
ADT Solar is one of the only large companies that handles its entire installation process in-house instead of relying on contractors or third-party workers. The company also has its own roofing company to prepare homes for a new solar project.
ADT Solar uses LG monocrystalline panels. You can choose from various solar batteries, including the Enphase Encharge 10 and the Tesla Powerwall 2, to add energy storage to your system.
ADT Solar offers three payment options: total payment, solar loan, and solar lease.
ADT Solar’s hallmark is its three comprehensive warranties covering your entire system. These warranties are much higher than the industry standard of around 10 to 12 years:
- 25-year warranty for the panels and inverter
- 25-year warranty production guarantee
- 25-year labor warranty that includes parts and system efficiency
Learn more: ADT Solar review
Solar Incentives in North Carolina
Several states have solar incentive or rebate programs to encourage residents to convert to solar energy. North Carolinians have two statewide incentives designed to make solar panels worth the investment.
The first is North Carolina’s revolving loan program, which stipulates that loans cannot exceed 8% interest rates or be longer than a 20-year term. The second is the Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems, which exempts you from paying property taxes for the added value of your solar system.
Local governments and utility companies offer additional incentives to certain North Carolina residents. Asheville’s Building Permit Fee Rebates give homeowners a $50 rebate for building permits and plan reviews associated with their solar system.
Duke Energy customers can apply for the NC Solar Rebate Program, which offers a $0.40/watt rebate for systems up to 10 kilowatts. For example, if you own an 8 kilowatt (kW) system, you’ll be eligible for a rebate of $3,200. There’s a waitlist for new applications due to the program’s popularity. However, interested residents can still apply and check their updated status on the first Friday of every month.
North Carolina residents can also take advantage of the federal solar tax credit, which provides a tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of a new solar system. This rate is available from 2022 to 2032. The tax credit will decrease to 26% in 2033.
Blue Raven is our top choice for solar companies in North Carolina. Its one-of-a-kind benefits help homeowners transition to clean energy with minimal initial costs and free solar energy for 18 months. You’ll also benefit from low, fixed monthly rates and financing options that ensure you own your solar panel system.
If you want to invest in the highest-efficiency panels on the market, SunPower is your best option. Homeowners wanting extensive customer support and the convenience of scheduling service requests online should consider Palmetto Solar.
How to Choose a North Carolina Solar Company
Compare quotes, benefits, and payment options from at least three solar companies before deciding. You should research each provider’s reputation, customer reviews, type and cost of solar panels, and any additional solar accessory options.
Verify that you fall within the service area of any potential company. Just because a company offers services in North Carolina does not mean it covers the entire state. For example, the company may offer solar panel installations in Raleigh, Durham, and Cary but not Chapel Hill.
FAQs About Solar Companies in North Carolina
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for solar service providers is on a 100-point scale based on five factors:
- Payment options (40 points): Options include purchase, loan, lease, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Companies receive points for each of the four options it provides.
- Solar services (30 points): Does the company provide in-house installation of solar panels and battery backups? Can the company monitor energy production and perform energy-efficiency audits to ensure system performance? The more options available, the higher the score.
- Warranty options (10 points): The success of a residential solar system depends on the workmanship, performance guarantees, and length of product coverage. We score companies based on the number of warranty options available. The more warranties a company offers, the higher the score it receives.
- State Availability (10 points): We award the most points to companies with the broadest service area and state availability.
- Reputation (10 points): We factor in how the Business Better Bureau (BBB) scores each company. We deduct points for any alerts or pending lawsuits.
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