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5 Best Solar Companies in Tennessee (2024 Guide)

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Default Author Icon Written by Tamara Jude Updated 04/25/2024

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. 

Company Star Rating Warranties Payment Options Link
10–25 years Full purchase, loan, lease, PPA GET QUOTE
10–25 years Full purchase, loan GET QUOTE
10–25 years Full purchase, loan, lease, PPA GET QUOTE
25 years Full purchase, loan, lease, PPA GET QUOTE
25 years Full purchase, loan GET QUOTE
25–30 years Full purchase, loan, lease, PPA GET QUOTE
25 years Full purchase, loan, lease GET QUOTE
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Tennessee’s Top Solar Energy Companies

SunPower: Best High-Efficiency System
Shine Solar: Best Local Tennessee Installer
LightWave Solar: Most Experienced Tennessee Installer
Tesla: Best Solar Tech

Our Top Picks for Solar Panel Installation in TN

Learn more: SunPower Review

Shine Solar Best South Central Installer
Pros and Cons
Pros Extensive 30-year performance warranty Home energy efficiency upgrades Rooftop panel and solar shingle options Cons Less solar industry experience than other reviewed installers No NABCEP certification Only two financing options
Why We Chose Shine Solar

Shine Solar is an excellent option for residents looking for long-term warranties and regionally focused servicing. The company has rooftop panels and solar shingles, offering homeowners more solar project options. Shine Solar also provides home energy efficiency upgrades and free lifetime system monitoring. 

Shine Solar backs each installation with a 25-year product and 12-year workmanship warranty. You’ll also receive a 30-year performance warranty, one of the longest protections in this review. The company has a buyback guarantee, offering 50% off panel costs when you upgrade your solar arrays.

Warranty and Financing

Shine Solar offers a 25-year product warranty, a 12-year workmanship warranty, and a 30-year performance warranty. Additional protections include a five-year roof replacement guarantee and a panel buyback guarantee.

Financing Options
✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan

Reputation and Awards

Shine Solar has an A+ rating from the BBB and is accredited by the organization. While analyzing customer reviews, we learned that homeowners appreciated the timely installation process and knowledgeable staff but had issues with the company’s third-party lender options.

LightWave Solar Most Experienced Tennessee Installer
Pros and Cons
Pros Rooftop, ground-mounted, and canopy installations Three rooftop solar systems designs, including off-grid options Transparent solar quote details Cons 75% system payoff required before activation No virtual consultations offered Workmanship coverage only lasts five years
Why We Chose LightWave Solar

LightWave Solar is an excellent choice for homeowners seeking an experienced installer with a smaller service area. The company offers rooftop, ground-mount, and canopy installations, providing more solar conversion options. LightWave Solar works with leading solar brands, such as REC, SunPower, and LG, plus top battery storage options like the LG Chem and Tesla Powerwall. The company also offers off-grid installations for homeowners seeking more energy independence. 

LightWave Solar provides a detailed overview of its solar quote process on its website, including an itemized list of all included costs. The company uses in-house installers and provides system and Powerwall servicing to both internal and external customers.

Warranty and Financing

LightWave Solar includes a 25-year manufacturer and power production warranty with each system. You’ll also receive five years of workmanship coverage. Warranties for inverters and solar batteries vary by manufacturer.

Financing Options
✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan

Reputation and Awards

LightWave Solar won Solar Power World Magazine’s Top U.S. Solar Contractors Award in 2022, its 11th time receiving the recognition. The company is a founding board member of Amicus Solar Cooperative and Amicus O&M Cooperative, organizations that support independently owned solar energy companies throughout North America.

LightWave Solar has an A+ rating from the BBB but is not accredited by the organization. The company has mainly received positive reviews, with customers praising its professionalism, installation speed, and staff. The few negative reviews available mentioned installation delays.

Tesla Solar Best Solar Tech
Pros and Cons
Pros Low-profile rooftop panels and solar roofing options Popular Tesla Powerwall available with all installations Transparent pricing online Cons Installations completed exclusively by third-party installers Solar loans offered only in select areas Customer reviews call out difficulty with scheduling repair work
Why We Chose Tesla

Tesla offers high-tech solar solutions for residential customers, from advanced solar roofing to the powerful Tesla Powerwall. It stands out as one of the only companies to offer full, transparent pricing online before ever speaking to a representative. Whereas most solar companies require a consultation before revealing any pricing, Tesla has an online system that analyzes your home’s design and average energy bills to provide a custom quote. You can adjust your system’s configuration to add more panels and up to 10 Tesla Powerwall batteries.

Warranty and Financing

Tesla includes 10-year comprehensive warranty coverage for product and workmanship and a 25-year performance warranty.

Financing Options
✔ Full purchase
✔ Loan (in select areas)

Reputation and Awards

Tesla began developing innovative solar products based on its successful automotive technology in 2003. It ultimately created the Tesla solar roof and Tesla Inverter in addition to providing traditional solar panels.

Tesla is not accredited by the BBB but holds an A+ rating. We noticed while reading reviews that many customers praised Tesla’s panel technology and the Powerwall’s performance but called out scheduling issues for service and repair.

Learn more: Tesla Solar Panels Review

What Are the Solar Incentives in Tennessee?

Tennessee offers fewer solar 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 Should You Look For in a Solar Company?

Consider the following features when comparing Tennessee’s top solar companies. 

Solar Services

Warranties and Power Production Guarantees

Payment Options

Customer Support

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 and 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. 

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. 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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 preferences and needs. 
  6. 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.

Our Conclusion

We chose SunPower as Tennessee’s top solar installation company due to its commitment to quality and highly efficient solar panels. Although some customer reviews mention higher-than-average costs, you’ll be investing in high-quality equipment. 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.

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

We are 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.

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