5 Best Solar Companies in Tennessee (2023 Guide)
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According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Tennessee currently ranks No. 27 for solar installations in the United States. It receives 207 sunny days annually, making it an ideal place to harness the sun’s energy to power your home.
Our team spent 50 hours vetting leading solar installers to find the best providers for Tennessee homeowners. We compared product specifications and warranties, spoke to customer service representatives, and read hundreds of reviews. Below is a roundup of our recommended solar companies, including regional and local options, plus guidance about what to expect during a solar consultation.
Review the key features of Tenneesse’s best solar installers.
|Star Rating||Best For||Location Presence||Link|
|SunPower||Best High-Efficiency System||50 States||Get Quote|
|ADT Solar||Best Solar Warranty||23 States||Get Quote|
|Tesla Solar||Best Solar Tech||50 States||Get Quote|
|Shine Solar||Best Local Installer||5 States||Get Quote|
|LightWave Solar||Most Experienced Tennessee Installer||Local||Get Quote|
|Best For||Best High-Efficiency System|
|Location Presence||50 States|
Tennessee’s Top Solar Energy Companies
- SunPower:Best High-Efficiency System
- ADT Solar: Best Warranty
- Tesla: Best Solar Tech
- Shine Solar: Best Local Tennessee Installer
- LightWave Solar: Most Experienced Tennessee Installer
SunPower: Best High-Efficiency System
SunPower builds custom solar systems using the residential market’s most efficient panels and in-house components for optimal performance.
Learn more: SunPower Review
ADT Solar: Best Warranty
ADT Solar (formerly Sunpro Solar) offers the most comprehensive warranty coverage available, along with a performance guarantee that covers poor panel performance.
Learn more: ADT Solar Review
Tesla: Best Solar Tech
Tesla provides some of the best solar tech available, including high-performance solar panels, advanced solar roof technology, and the popular Tesla Powerwall battery.
Learn more: Tesla Solar Panels Review
Shine Solar: Best Local Tennessee Installer
Shine Solar offers the most extended performance warranties of any local provider, plus a unique buyback program to help customers upgrade their panels for 50% less.
LightWave Solar: Most Experienced Tennessee Installer
LightWave Solar has nearly 20 years of industry experience, offering Tennessee homeowners a wealth of solar knowledge and expertise.
All BBB ratings are current as of June 2023.
Solar Incentives in Tennessee
Tennessee offers fewer incentives compared to states with set clean energy goals. However, residents should still take advantage of available rebates, incentives, and credits to save money.
The federal solar tax credit allows you to claim 30% of your solar panel system costs on your federal taxes. This credit applies to several solar technology types, such as photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar roofing and shingles, and stand-alone solar batteries. All related racking, wiring, and system components are also eligible. Homeowners must legally own their solar energy system to qualify for this incentive.
Tennessee offers the Green Energy Property Tax Assessment to reduce the additional property tax that typically comes with installing a solar system. Installing solar panels raises your home value, so your property taxes also increase. Under Tennessee law, this added home value is capped at 12.5% of the total system. This law differs from other states that eliminate added property tax entirely. It’s still a great benefit and is applied to your property tax bill automatically.
Many states offer net-metering programs, allowing customers to send their excess energy to the grid in exchange for utility bill credits. Unfortunately, Tennessee doesn’t have a mandated statewide net-metering program, and most statewide utility companies don’t offer them. However, many utility companies offer rebates and credits for other energy efficiency upgrades. For example, the Knoxville Utilities Board provides an electric vehicle (EV) charger rebate of up to $400 for installing a level 2 EV charger.
You can review a complete list of available solar incentives on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) website.
What To Look For in a Solar Company
Consider the following features when comparing Tennessee’s top solar companies.
Solar panel installations are completed by either in-house installers or third-party contractors. In-house teams have better communication and installation quality than third-party installers that may provide varied experiences. Third-party installers also create additional contact points, since they don’t work for the company directly. We recommend using solar companies that employ in-house teams to ensure a reliable and smooth installation process.
Warranties and Power Production Guarantees
Most solar equipment includes two kinds of warranties: manufacturer and workmanship. A manufacturer (or product) warranty protects against manufacturing defects. A workmanship warranty protects against a poor or faulty installation. Most solar panels last 25 years, so consider solar installers that offer long-term warranties. Other equipment, such as inverters and solar batteries, also include warranty coverage, but it varies by manufacturer.
Additional system protections include power production guarantees. This outlines your expected energy production and accounts for the panels’ gradual decline. Solar panels decline in output and efficiency by 0.5% annually. Some solar installers account for this panel degradation by creating production guarantees. If your panels fall below these outlined levels, the company will repair or replace the panels, or else offer monetary compensation for their poor performance. Coverage varies between companies, but top-rated panels include production guarantees of 25 years or longer.
Your selected solar financing option impacts your long-term savings. Cash payments and solar loans have the best benefits. Both offer an excellent return on investment (ROI) and qualify you for incentives because you own the system. Loans require you to pay more overall due to interest rates, but you’ll reduce your up-front investment.
Panel ownership remains with the solar company for leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs), so you won’t qualify for incentives or increase your home value. These options only benefit homeowners who want electric bill savings without the commitment of system ownership. We recommended choosing a cash payment or solar loan to maximize your solar benefits.
A solid customer support team is crucial. These teams help customers throughout the solar process and provide post-activation support.
You can gauge the quality of a company’s support team in several ways. First, check each company’s website for their communication methods. Phone and email are the most common, but other options, such as online chat or text, are a plus. Some companies also include in-app correspondence to customer support and tech teams. In addition, check online reviews for mentions of delayed responses, unanswered calls, or poor communication.
How To Get a Solar Quote in Tennessee
We recommend requesting multiple quotes from potential companies to compare their services. We’ve outlined the typical steps to get a quote based on our mystery shopping experiences and conversations with solar installers.
- Reach out to each company: Most installers offer online forms or phone numbers to begin the quote process. When using online forms, check for any agreements for automated calls or text messages before submitting. Based on our experience, some companies continue making automated calls for months after the initial form completion. If you decide to call in, you may speak with one or two reps before scheduling your appointment. We often spoke with one initial rep that verified our service area before being transferred to the sales department.
- Set a consultation appointment: Depending on the company, you may have an in-person or virtual consultation. In-person appointments require a home visit and inspection. With online meetings, the rep will connect via video call to deliver their presentation. We recommend checking any system requirements for video calls and ensuring your smartphone, tablet, or computer meets the minimum requirements.
- Have your utility bills ready: You’ll need your most recent energy bills available for consultations. Solar companies build their systems to meet your energy needs. As such, they’ll need to analyze your typical electricity use. Some companies request a recent bill, while others review several months to determine your annual energy fluctuations. We recommend having several monthly bills on hand for your consultation.
- Assess your roof space: Consultants must review your roof design and available space to determine your solar project size. In-person inspections include checking for complex roof designs, gauging structural integrity, and mapping around any design elements, such as skylights or chimneys. The rep will also check for surrounding shading from tall objects or trees. Because solar panels require direct sunlight to function, panels must be placed in an obstruction-free area. If your property has too many trees, the rep may recommend tree removal before installation can begin.
- Design your solar system: Using the information from the previous assessments, the solar company will design a system to match your needs. During this step, you’ll select your solar panel types, desired components, and add-on solutions, such as EV chargers and solar batteries. These choices will impact your final system costs. For example, higher-quality solar panels cost more but fewer are required. On the other hand, cheap solar panels have a lower price tag but produce less energy and require a larger installation. Your solar provider will offer recommendations based on your preference and needs.
- Review your final quote: The final quote and contacts will detail all system components and their associated costs. Your quote will also include any fees for permits, labor, and other paperwork needed for system approval. The solar installer should also include warranty coverage, financing options, and your estimated solar panel payback period. When we spoke with professional solar installers, they advised that all quotes should be very detailed and leave no room for hidden charges. We recommend asking your rep for an updated version if your initial quote is too vague.
We chose SunPower as Tennessee’s top solar installation company due to its powerful, high-efficiency solar systems. Although some customer reviews mention higher-than-average costs, you’ll be investing in high-quality equipment with more than two decades of warranty protection. In addition, the company’s power production guarantee ensures the panels will continue to produce clean energy throughout their life span.
We recommend requesting at least three quotes from potential companies and comparing their included warranty coverage, products, and solar services.
Other Tennessee Home Service Resources
- Home Warranty Tennessee
- Pet Insurance Tennessee
- Moving Companies Tennessee
- Homeowners Insurance Tennessee
FAQ About Solar Companies in TN
Can you get solar panels for free in TN?
No, you cannot get free solar panels in TN. However, residents can use federal and state solar incentives to reduce installation costs, making a move to solar more affordable.
Does Tennessee offer a solar tax credit?
No, Tennessee does not offer a state-level solar tax credit. However, homeowners can apply for the federal solar tax credit to receive up to 30% back from solar installation costs.
Is it worth going solar in TN?
Yes, going solar is worth it in Tennessee thanks to the state’s solar incentives and the federal tax credit. The state property tax exemption allows homeowners to benefit from increased property value while reducing some of the property tax burdens.
What is Tenensse’s rank in solar energy?
Tennessee ranks No. 27 in the nation for solar installations, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The state had 77,880 homes powered by electricity in 2022, with 0.97% of the state’s electricity use coming from solar power.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. After over a thousand hours of research on solar companies, interviews with experts, and common customer needs, we’ve created a detailed rating system for solar providers based on six factors:
- Solar equipment, installation, and services (25%)
- Warranty and performance guarantees (25%)
- Brand reputation and certifications (15%)
- Financing options (15%)
- Experience (10%)
- Availability (10%)
Total scores are divided by 20 for a final 5-point rating scale.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at firstname.lastname@example.org.