Best Solar Companies of 2024

We compared 19 brands and chose the top solar energy companies

    • Top overall
      Sunlux
      4.5(569)
    • Ongoing support
      SunPower
      3.6(2,273)
    • Long-term savings
      Freedom Solar Power
      4.5(232)

    Top Picks

    See who reviewers like

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      Best Solar Companies of 2024

      19
      Companies considered
      6
      Companies selected
      108k+
      Reviews analyzed
      6
      Features compared

      Sunlux, Project Solar and Freedom Solar Power are our top picks.

      If you’re ready to go solar but aren’t sure where to start, you’re not alone. ConsumerAffairs is here to help you evaluate your choices and get the best deal on residential solar panels.

      We’ve heard from over 100,000 verified solar customers since 2018. A couple of things we know for sure: People like powering their homes with a reliable cheap, clean energy source. They don’t like getting into solar contracts that don’t meet their expectations.

      Our editor’s top solar company picks

      1. Best overall: Sunlux
      2. Best for monitoring app: SunPower
      3. Best for long-term savings: Freedom Solar Power
      4. Best for financing options: Blue Raven Solar
      5. Best for value: Project Solar
      6. Best for DIY and off-grid systems: ShopSolar

      Our research team compared popular solar companies on ratings and reviews, equipment quality, warranties, availability and other factors to select the top picks for this guide. Top picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us. This does not affect our recommendations or influence evaluations but may impact the order in which solar companies appear. Read our full methodology for all the details on how we make recommendations.

      Key insights

      • Compare your options: Getting proposals from at least three or four solar companies lets you evaluate pricing, financing terms, equipment options and overall company fit.
      • Price isn’t everything: Cost is important, but so is equipment quality, customer service, transparent pricing and robust warranties. The cheapest option might not be the best long-term solution.
      • Location matters: National installers have a broader reach, but local and regional companies often have better knowledge of the regulations and incentives in your area.
      Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
      • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
      • 4,466,033 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
      • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
      • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
      • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.

      Compare our top 6 solar companies

      Find a Solar Energy partner near you.

      Find a match

      Our 6 best solar companies, reviewed

      Our top pick overall

      Sunlux

      Max. panel efficiency
      19.7%
      Panel warranty
      25 years
      Workmanship warranty
      25 years
      Payment options
      Cash, loan and lease

      Sunlux stands out for its competitive pricing, good customer service and quality solar panels. Its 24/7 monitoring app lets you easily track your system’s performance, and tech support is on standby if anything goes wrong. We also like that Sunlux can take care of any necessary roof repairs or replacements before installing your system (for an additional charge).

      The process with SunLux was quick, easy and painless.”
      — Robert, A SunLux customer in California

      We’ve heard from over 560 verified Sunlux customers since 2017. Compared to industry averages, Sunlux reviewers are more likely to give positive feedback on customer service. They have good things to say about the app and online experience.

      • “My experience with the SunLux reps was fantastic. They were knowledgeable and professional. We were going with another solar company, but they were horrible. The process with SunLux was quick, easy and painless. We had a flat roof with a foam top, which was a problem for the other company. But Sunlux was able to do it. It has rained, but there had been no leaks.” — Robert in California

      • “Their presentation was much better than some of the other folks we talked to. They had a better sense of what they were talking about and were able to portray that to me, who did not know anything about solar. The installation went really well, and really, really quickly … The project manager, Bonnie, was really good. Bonnie and the salesman, Mike, were super great at everything and helping out and helping me understand.” — Jeremy in Texas

      • “… All of them through every step of the way were very helpful and answered any questions I asked. I track what I produce with an app. It's linked to all the panels and I have access to it. I can see what I'm producing every hour of the day. It's nice and there's a lot of information on there. It's a total positive experience with Sunlux and I've been telling people it's gonna save them money.” — David in California

      If direct, in-person communication is important to you, consider working with a small local operation. Keone in California, who still recommends Sunlux overall, told us, “The only thing is I'm old school so I don't always like email stuff but everybody goes through email. I would rather they call me. But for the most part, I'm fine with it.”

      Sunlux is a solar company in California and Texas. It offers Panasonic and Qcells for solar panels; Tesla Powerwall, Enphase AC Battery and LG Chem RESU for batteries; and SolarEdge inverters and Enphase microinverters. Additional services include EV charging and smart home solutions.

      Sunlux services

      • Solar panel installations
      • Storage batteries
      • EV charging
      • Roofing 
      • Smart home solutions

      Sunlux has two tiers of warranty options. The standard warranty covers installation, parts and maintenance for 25 years. With Platinum Protection, Sunlux also covers labor for repairs and guarantees the amount of energy your system generates.

      • Standard warranty: Covers the physical components of your system (panels, inverter and racking) for 25 years.
      • Platinum Protection: Guarantees your system will generate a specific amount of energy over 25 years. Sunlux will cover the difference for any reason. It also covers equipment degradation plus parts and labor costs for maintaining your system during this time.

      Sunlux accepts cash and third-party loans. It also has leases and prepaid leasing plans.

      • Loan: Sunlux offers unsecured loans through third-party solar loan partners. You own the system and are responsible for any maintenance or repairs.
      • Lease: There’s no upfront cost but a locked-in rate that you pay over 25 years. Sunlux owns the system and takes care of all maintenance.
      • Prepay lease: With this option, you pay for your home's energy before you use it. When your balance reaches zero, you can either recharge or add more funds to the account.

      Pros

      • Great equipment options
      • 24/7 monitoring app
      • Helpful sales reps
      • Lifetime customer support
      • Flexible financing options

      Cons

      • Limited availability
      • Not usually the cheapest option
      • No in-house financing

      SunPower

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      22.8%
      Panel warranty
      25 years
      Workmanship warranty
      25 years
      Payment options
      Cash, loan and lease
      2x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service and Best for Installation

      SunPower is a top national company that uses high-efficiency solar panel technology. We like that the mySunPower monitoring app and SunVault storage battery let you optimize your solar investment while enhancing energy savings. The app provides real-time data on overall performance, individual panel outputs and energy consumption. The SunVault battery’s self-supply mode helps reduce reliance on the utility grid by prioritizing solar energy.

      What really sets SunPower apart, though, is its seamless solar panel installation process and ongoing support. It won two of our 2024 Buyers Choice Awards for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service and Best for Installation in the solar category. These awards from ConsumerAffairs are based on sentiment analysis of reviews by verified customers.

      SunPower has exceeded my expectations in quality and customer service for the last year.”
      — Jorge, A SunPower customer in California

      We’ve heard from over 2,000 SunPower customers since 2010. Most describe positive experiences and would recommend the company to others. Many highlight helpful reps, quick installations, significant savings on energy bills and industry-leading guarantees.

      • “Went solar because it’s something we could do to help with climate change, and it seemed like a reasonable investment … I found all of the people I dealt with at Sunpower to be very straightforward, pleasant and easy to work with. The installation went very smoothly and on schedule. The system is up and running. I get a kick out of checking it out on the app.” — Carl in New Jersey

      • “Got solar to do some good for the environment. Absolutely hooked on watching the Sunpower app and seeing how much power we are generating and saving on electricity. Have numerous friends and neighbors with solar and they are jealous of the app. Friends without solar are jealous that we no longer have a monthly electric bill.” — Gary in Connecticut

      • SunPower has exceeded my expectations in quality and customer service for the last year. They have been proactive in remedying any issues that have come up and there's only been a few minor ones. The price was affordable especially for the quality panels you get. Their installers and maintenance crew are very professional… SunPower is consistently one of the top providers for good reason…” — Jorge in California

      • “I like the quality of the solar panels of SunPower and the ability to own the system… Overall, I liked it a lot. They've also updated the app that they use for metering, which is really great. It was a lot more simplified and easy to understand.” —  Michael in Nevada

      Most SunPower customers seem genuinely satisfied with their decision to go solar, but some tell us about problems with roof leaks or inverter failures and difficulties in getting them replaced under warranty. Particularly, reviewers have issues in reaching subcontractors hired through SunPower when something goes wrong.

      For instance, when Richard in Florida realized his microinverters stopped working and he called SunPower to get warranty replacements, he got different reasons why the repairs couldn’t be completed. “SunPower then told me they had the parts but did not have a contractor in the area and were having problems finding someone to do the work,” Richard told us. “The latest excuse is that the parts are out of stock, and they do not know when they will receive them.”

      SunPower specializes in professional solar panel installations on residential properties. Reps can evaluate your home energy needs, design a custom system, help secure any necessary permits and work out financing options. Once everything is complete, the mySunPower app tracks your energy production and consumption.

      SunPower services

      • Battery storage options
      • EV charging
      • Energy monitoring services
      • Leasing and financing

      SunPower systems come with a solid warranty. The Complete Confidence warranty covers your entire solar energy system, including the panels, inverter, racking and monitoring, for 25 years. Warranty terms allow for beachside installations and system relocations.

      • Performance guarantee: M-Series, A-Series, X-Series and E-Series panels all have a maximum annual decline of 0.25%, with a minimum of 92% energy performance. The U-Series panels have a maximum annual decline of 0.55%, within a minimum of 84.8% energy. Storage systems will have at least 70% of their initial energy capacity.
      • SunVault storage warranty: Storage batteries are covered for 10 years and unlimited cycles. During this period, the company repairs or replaces equipment at no cost to you (including labor and shipping).

      SunPower offers in-house financing to customers needing a solar loan. You can also lease or pay in full upfront.

      • Loans: Qualified customers can find reasonable rates with no money down. All financing approvals and processing happen in-house through the mySunPower online portal.
      • Leases: Customers pay a monthly fee to use solar panels that SunPower owns. SunPower reimburses you if your solar system doesn’t perform as guaranteed. You can transfer the agreement to a new buyer if you sell your home.

      Pros

      • Nationwide professional installation services
      • Highly efficient equipment
      • Comprehensive transferable warranty
      • In-house financing

      Cons

      • Some installation delays
      • Some customer service complaints
      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      22.8%
      Panel warranty
      25 years
      Workmanship warranty
      25 years
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      2x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service and Best for Installation

      Freedom Solar Power installs American-designed solar panels that are built to last at least 25 years. We like that it has an in-house staff of NABCEP-certified installers and licensed electricians. It doesn’t subcontract work out to local companies like some of the big national solar energy providers.

      They're saving us money, and I'm satisfied with Freedom.”
      — Michael, A Freedom Solar customer in Ohio

      We’ve heard from over 200 verified Freedom Solar Power customers. They have generally good things to say about the company’s technology and overall installation services. Many tell us about significant savings on energy bills after their installations are complete.

      • “Since getting the solar panels installed, we've gotten cheaper bills. They're saving us money, and I'm satisfied with Freedom. If you're interested in solar, they're a good company to get the job accomplished fast.” — Michael in Ohio

      • “They handled all of the stuff with the enrollment process. We just filled out whatever the forms were, and it all worked out perfectly. They did the installation really quick. It all went pretty well. Our electric bill has been about $3. It's been great. It worked out exactly what we expected. It was well-managed. The customer service was great. They checked on us. I couldn't ask for anything more.” — Lynda in Texas

      • “When I first reached out to Freedom Solar, the rep was very nice, explanatory, and respectful and he had answers to any question I had… Since having the system, I'm glad with the dollar amount that comes in my bill. In the summer, I would get $400 and $500 bills but now, I'm getting $30. The most I've gotten is a $50 bill. It's a big difference, and I'm 100% satisfied with going solar.” — Virginia in Texas

      The installation process is generally smooth and efficient, though a few customers seemed annoyed by supply chain delays (a common theme in many solar company reviews). “Freedom Solar Power is not 100% flawless,” Russell in Texas told us, “but I am very satisfied with what I have.

      It’s also not always the cheapest upfront — Russell spent over $120,000 on a system, including the Tesla battery. However, he said, “If you’re looking to enhance the value of your house long-term for resale, Freedom Solar Power is top of the line.”

      Freedom Solar Power is a solar installer in Texas, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The company specializes in rooftop solar panels and ground-mounted systems. SunPower, a top national installer (and also one of our top picks), is its primary equipment partner, along with REC and Mission Solar. Battery options include SunVault backup power systems and Tesla Powerwalls.

      Freedom Solar Power services

      • Residential and commercial solar panel installation
      • Deinstallation and reinstallation for roof repairs
      • Energy monitoring
      • Repair, maintenance and upgrades

      Freedom Solar Power has a 25-year lifetime warranty on equipment and installations. If problems arise, the company replaces equipment on behalf of the manufacturer and covers 100% of repair or replacement costs.

      • Product warranty: If problems arise, the company replaces equipment on behalf of the manufacturer and covers 100% of repair or replacement costs.
      • Performance guarantee: System performance is guaranteed between 84% and 92% of original production for 25 years.

      Freedom Solar systems are available for cash purchase. There are also financing options with low interest rates, no money down and 12 months same-as-cash, which end up costing around $1 per day. It does not currently offer a leasing plan.

      Pros

      • Excellent customer service
      • 24/7 performance monitoring
      • Transferable warranty
      • In-house, NABCEP-certified installation crews

      Cons

      • Somewhat limited availability
      • No in-house financing

      Blue Raven Solar

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Panel warranty
      25 years
      Workmanship warranty
      10 years
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease
      1x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best for Installation

      Blue Raven Solar takes a technology-focused approach tailored to different across the country. The company’s solar advisors use proprietary software to design custom systems that maximize annual energy output, and its installers employ low-profile panel mounting and sleek cabling for visual appeal.

      We like that Blue Raven also has affordable financing programs to minimize out-of-pocket costs. It also has a good mobile app that lets you monitor your system’s energy production and usage from anywhere.

      They gave us top rated materials, good price, honest timeline that was fair and quality installation.”
      — Terry, a Blue Raven customer in Illinois

      We’ve heard from over 180 verified Blue Raven customers since 2022. Compared to industry averages, Blue Raven gets more positive feedback on financing, pricing and customer service.

      • “Blue Raven has been 5 star all the way since we had our first meet! They are punctual, informative, patient, and experienced! I am so happy we were referred to them and would refer them to any and everybody who is even thinking about adding solar panels to improve their home. Excellent service and knowledge!” — Jim in Colorado
      • “Blue Raven did a great job laying out the cost/benefit analysis and return on investment. And they have made it really easy to get going (paperwork, etc.) and installation went great. Everybody has been really friendly and nice to work with. And, there’s been very limited work on my end throughout. Certainly recommend!” — Anthony in Michigan
      • “When we first had a representative at our door about the solar system, we knew it would be a good purchase. Everything was explained very professionally, and nothing felt like it was being forced towards purchase. When we decided to go for it, everything from the contract to the installation was very fast and on time! Everybody did an awesome job!” — Doug in Michigan

      Some Blue Raven Solar customers have issues getting help with problems after their solar energy system is installed. For instance, Kevin in Minnesota said his only issue was that there wasn’t a clear timeline to get the system activated after installation, and it ended up taking several months.

      “Also, there was no communication on the ‘consumption meter,’ which tells you on the app how much power your household is consuming versus how much the solar panels are generating,” Kevin told us. “Other than that, it’s been a great experience.”

      Blue Raven Solar offers homeowners a simple and affordable way to go solar. It has zero-down financing with fixed interest rates and predictable payments. The company installs some of the latest solar technology. All systems come with a 25-year panel guarantee and a two-year production guarantee. The company is currently available in 21 states.

      Blue Raven Solar services

      • Consulting and design
      • Professional installations
      • Financing solutions
      • System monitoring

      Blue Raven Solar solar panel installations come with a manufacturer workmanship warranty plus roof penetration coverage.

      • Manufacturer’s warranty: Solar panels have standard 25-year coverage. Storage battery warranties vary: SunVaults and Tesla Powerwalls are covered for 10 years, FranklinWH aPower batteries are covered for 12 years and Enphase IQ 5P batteries are covered for 15 years.
      • Workmanship warranty: Installation work is guaranteed for 10 years. Coverage includes waterproof roof penetrations and error-free system operation. It also includes roof damage caused by the solar panel installation.
      • Production guarantee: Power production is guaranteed for two years. Within that time, Blue Raven will add more panels or reimburse you for the shortfall in production.

      You can pay upfront and get immediate ownership of the solar panel system. Blue Raven also has some unique in-house payment options:

      • BluePower: This fixed monthly payment option lets you go solar without a significant upfront cost. There’s no prepayment penalty, and the plan is transferable to a new homeowner if you ever sell your house.
      • BluePower Plus+: Eligible customers can pay $0 upfront, get 18 months of free solar power and make fixed monthly payments after that. You own the system and are responsible for maintenance.

      Pros

      • Sleek, durable systems
      • Referral cash bonus
      • In-house financing
      • Zero-down loans

      Cons

      • Occasional installation delays
      • Some complaints about miscommunication
      • Short production guarantee
      Our pick for value

      Project Solar

      Max. panel efficiency
      20.9%
      Panel warranty
      25 years
      Workmanship warranty
      10 years
      Payment options
      Cash, loan

      Project Solar reps don’t work on commission. Instead, they focus on a simple, streamlined customer experience. This no-sales-gimmicks approach appeals to more budget-conscious solar clients who want either professional or DIY installation.

      We also appreciate the price transparency. The website provides clear information on pricing models and potential savings. As of publishing, full-service installations start at $1.61 per watt. DIY projects are cheaper, starting at $1.26 per watt. Power Purchase Agreements range from 10 cents to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Anything over 13 kilowatts is a flat rate.

      The main reason I went with them was the price. They're not paying overhead or for salespeople.”
      — Stan, a Project Solar customer in California

      We’ve heard from over 50 verified Project Solar customers over the last year. Compared to solar industry averages, reviewers have more positive feedback on pricing and equipment quality.

      • “The price of the product considering the brand name, the kind of materials that they use for their products, and the quality was considerably better value than other options available. It's really good value for really good components. Also, I liked their no-salesperson sign-up process. It was easy and simple. My questions were mostly about the components and materials used for the working parts of the panels and it was very transparent.” — Franklin in Texas

      • “My experience has been excellent. And I don't feel the need to shop around for any other company. Project Solar is practical. They're well-priced, and they work with their customers … It performed like they said or better than what they claimed that it would. We are so satisfied with this thing. That's why I have recommended it to many of my friends. For people that are seriously interested in getting something like this, I cannot recommend it more highly.” — Janet in Wyoming

      • “There was no sales pressure with Project Solar … The system gives the same features that other big companies give, and it's cost-efficient. For the same amount of kilowatts, my friend installed a higher rate, whereas I am done with $13,000 and he paid $24,000. We both are producing the same amount of energy now. If you know how to install things, it's even cheaper.” — Praveen in Florida

      The focus on streamlining might mean fewer customization options or solutions for complex roof situations. For instance, John in Arizona said no one mentioned getting critter guards, which is fencing that keeps animals from nesting in solar panels. He had to have contractors come back and add them later on.

      Another customer, Stan in California, mentioned installation delays and inconsistent communication. His initial system design didn’t account for the electricity needed for his pool pump, and there was a delay in relaying that information to the installers. “But with everything else, the job was good,” Stan told us. The main reason he went with Project Solar was the price.

      » MORE: DIY solar panels: pros, cons and installation guide

      Project Solar specializes in professional and DIY solar panel installations. Systems incorporate equipment from reputable brands like Q-Cell, Canadian Solar, Jinko and Enphase. As part of the full-service installation, it offers Enphase IQ 5P batteries or Tesla Powerwall batteries. DIY projects only have the Enphase IQ 5P option. It currently operates in multiple states across the U.S.

      Project Solar services

      • System design
      • Equipment procurement
      • Pro and DIY installations
      • Financing solutions

      Project Solar partners with a few lenders to offer two main financing options for professional solar installations:

      • Option A is cheaper overall: Ideal for customers who plan to pay off their solar loan in a shorter period, typically around seven years. It has a higher interest rate, but any extra payments go directly towards reducing the principal amount. This can save you from paying excess interest if you pay off the loan early, as many homeowners tend to move within 13 years on average.
      • Option B has a lower monthly payment: Designed for customers who plan to stay in their current home for at least 20 years and prioritize a consistent, low monthly payment over the long term. While the interest rate is lower, there may be additional costs that cannot be avoided by paying off the loan early.

      Project Solar's financing partners cannot provide loans for DIY solar projects. DIY customers need to pay cash or finance their project through a third-party lender, such as LightStream or a home equity loan or line of credit.

      Project Solar provides two main warranties: a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty and a 10-year workmanship warranty. Both are limited and have exclusions like weather damage or misuse.

      • Manufacturer’s warranty: Covers defects in materials of solar panels, inverters and other equipment for 25 years.
      • Workmanship warranty: Covers issues like faulty wiring or improper mounting for 25 years if you pay for full installation services.
      • Performance guarantee: There’s an 84% production level guarantee for 25 years, and it provides reimbursements if production levels are not met during this time.

      Pros

      • Transparent pricing
      • Streamlined installations
      • Great for cost savings
      • Roof-leak warranty

      Cons

      • Less equipment options
      • Subcontracted installers
      • No in-house financing

      ShopSolar

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Panel warranty
      Varies
      Workmanship warranty
      Varies
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      1x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service

      We like that ShopSolar has a nice selection of equipment, including complete solar packages, fast deliveries and good communication. It’s a great option if you need solar equipment for homes, RVs or outbuildings.

      You can find new and used solar panels, solar storage batteries, inverters, charge controllers, cabling and hardware, mounts and racks — everything needed for an off-grid or hybrid setup. It also sells different monitoring systems that connect through Bluetooth or manufacturer apps.

      We were looking for an off-grid solar kit deal and started looking around, and ShopSolarKits was the most reasonably priced.”
      — Kevin, a ShopSolar customer in Missouri

      We’ve heard from over 140 ShopSolar customers since 2022. They often tell us about a good online experience and helpful customer service, particularly on off-grid and DIY projects.

      • “We were looking for an off-grid solar kit deal and started looking around, and ShopSolarKits was the most reasonably priced… I put up everything myself. It was super easy.” — Kevin in Missouri

      • “Finding what I needed was easy. I use my Titan Solar Generator every day. I have it in an RV, and I run the air conditioner for six to eight hours. Also, customer support was great. We had trouble with the chargers, and we've had two that went bad. They covered them all. Also, one of the charges that were in the cigarette lighter went bad. They covered that as well. They were very attentive to that.” — James in Arizona

      • ”My experience with them has been fantastic. I'm very happy with them. The process was very easy. We told them what we were looking for, what we wanted the unit to do, and they did all the calculations and told us exactly what we needed, and that's what we went with…” — Gerald in Florida

      • “ShopSolar's reps were easily accessible and ready to talk. I got a solar generator with solar panels and I have an off-grid cabin that I use it in … it was attractive to me because I don't want to be purchasing new products every few years. It was a great purchase. I'd also suggest ShopSolar above other companies. I've done a lot of research, looked at a lot of companies, and was very pleased with what I found.” — Alan in Arkansas

      ShopSolar does not provide professional installation services. So, it’s best to know a little about solar panels and electrical work. You might get frustrated with the process or install something incorrectly otherwise.

      For instance, T. in Colorado said, “Installing the panels was initially not so easy ‘cause I didn't have experience, but having conversations with a couple of folks at ShopSolarKits, I was able to do it myself and it was easy. I bought a big battery, and I would have bought some higher wattage panels had I had a little more information. Other than that, their follow-up service was exceptional.”

      » DIY SOLAR PANELS: Pros, cons and installation guide

      ShopSolar is an online retailer that sells custom solar kits and stocks brands like Panasonic, REC, Renogy, Canadian Solar and EcoFlow. It offers a variety of solar solutions, including solar panels, generators, batteries, cables and racks for DIY and off-grid projects. Equipment is available in full kits containing everything you need for self-installation or professional setup. Orders typically arrive within 10 business days.

      ShopSolar products

      • New and used solar panels
      • Custom solar kits
      • Solar generator bundles
      • Batteries, inverters, mounts and racks
      • Additional hardware and accessories

      ShopSolar is an authorized distributor of all the brands it sells, so all solar equipment is covered by the individual manufacturers’ warranties. If you run into a warranty issue, reps can help you contact the equipment manufacturer.

      You pay for your order in full upfront through ShopSolar’s secure website. It also has financing options for as little as $0 down.

      • Online payments: ShopSolar accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, Shop Pay and Diners Club International.
      • Financing: ShopSolar partners with Affirm on financing. Customers can make payments every two weeks or once a month for up to 36 months. Rates range from 0% to 36% APR.

      Pros

      • Wide selection for off-grid and DIY projects
      • Price match guarantee
      • 30-day return policy
      • Lifetime customer support

      Cons

      • Shipping and delivery restrictions or delays
      • Occasional issues with defective or damaged products

      Complete guide to going solar

      If you’re curious about saving money investing in the future of renewable energy production this guide is for you.

      Learn what to consider when selecting a company, how to think about solar costs and what to expect during and after the solar panel installation process.

      Solar energy basics

      Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels work by harnessing the power of the sun and converting it into usable electricity. The three most common types of solar PV panels — monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film — are made of silicon cells, which easily absorb photons from the sun.

      If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, any excess energy your system generates during the day can be fed into the grid and credited to your account through net metering. At night, your system can draw energy from the grid to power devices and appliances in your home.

      What are the best states for going solar?

      The ConsumerAffairs Research Team analyzed data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Energy Information Administration, Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency and elsewhere. See our full methodology for more details on how we calculated each state’s Solar Score.

      Best states to go solar

      1. Hawaii
      2. Nevada
      3. Delaware
      4. Arizona
      5. California

      Worst states to go solar

      1. Indiana
      2. Kentucky
      3. Arkansas
      4. Tennessee
      5. Alabama

      See how your state stacks up

      Here’s a breakdown of the factors we used to calculate each state’s Solar Score. See how your state compares with others on residential electricity price, solar installation costs, solar potential and solar-friendly policies.

      What to consider before going solar

      Not every household benefits from solar panels in the same way. High levels of sunshine and minimal shading are ideal for maximum energy production. The other big factor is your roof. Here's what else to think about before you make the commitment:

      • How much sunlight your roof gets: Solar panels need regular exposure to sunlight to produce the most energy possible. If there's a lot of shade around your house — lots of tall trees or buildings, for instance — your solar panels won't be as efficient.
      • Your household's energy consumption: Look over your past electricity bills to understand your monthly energy consumption patterns. If you finance solar panels (many homeowners do), it might not be worth it if the loan payments for your solar panels are more expensive than your existing electricity bill.
      • The condition of your roof: Solar panels can last for 25 years or more, so your roof needs to last at least that long. It's a good idea to replace your roof before installing solar panels. Otherwise, you'll have to spend thousands to remove the panels, fix your roof and reinstall them again in the future.

        Devin in California told us that when the company "came to inspect our roof to make sure it was suitable to install the panels, they said everything was ok. One year later, with the recent rainstorms, we noticed several leaks in our roof. We decided to replace our roof," and it cost $5,000 to remove the panels and reinstall them again.

      • Your roof's angle, pitch and size: Roofs that face south, southeast or southwest are typically the best angle for solar panels. Generally, a roof pitch of 25 to 45 degrees is best in the United States.
      • How much space you have: Average dimensions of a solar panel are roughly 5.5 feet by 3.25 feet. Ideally, your roof is big enough to fit the number of panels required to meet your energy needs. Some homeowners install smaller systems that produce around 80% of the power they need. It's not an ideal solution, but it works for many people.

      How much does solar cost?

      The average home solar system costs $23,879. To calculate a more personalized number you’ll want to look at the average cost per watt in your state. Think about how much it costs to go solar the way you shop for a car.

      In 2023, the average home solar system costs $23,879 before the 30% federal solar tax credit.

      Just like car manufacturers use miles per gallon (MPG) to show how fuel-efficient their vehicles are, solar panels are measured by their cost per watt to show how much energy you get for each dollar you spend.

      A scenario where you would pay a higher total cost but get a cheaper cost per watt typically involves purchasing solar panels in bulk (or investing in a large commercial system).

      *When you pay upfront

      How to pay for solar panels

      You can pay for your system upfront, but most people finance solar panels. A solar loan works a lot like any other type of loan — there's an application and approval process, and you pay it back over time (with interest).

      Homeowners can also get a home equity loan. Home equity loans usually have lower interest rates, but you may need to have your house appraised. The tax credit is not available for people who lease their solar systems or enter a power purchase agreement (PPA).

      Most installers offer a variety of payment and financing options, including cash purchases, loans, solar leases or power purchase agreements. They should explain the pros and cons of each for your financial situation.

      If you're considering a solar loan, lease or PPA, always ask:

      • Is there a down payment?
      • How much will I pay per month?
      • When will monthly payments increase, and by how much?

      Taking advantage of solar incentives and tax credits

      The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) reduces your total solar installation costs by up to 30%. The solar ITC represents a dollar-for-dollar reduction in avoided tax payments worth 30% of your system cost, including labor and permit fees. The ITC is nonrefundable, so any unused portion rolls over into future tax years.

      For example, if your new system costs $18,000, you may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $5,400.

      Should I go solar?

      The primary benefit of going solar is the reduced cost of electricity. Most homeowners see significant savings on monthly bills even while making payments on the system. For example, a solar customer in Nevada said their bill went from over $300 per month to about $100, and that includes all their financing payments and connection fees. Solar panels can also increase your home’s value by 4.1%.

      But the high upfront cost and ongoing maintenance can be a drawback. "Based on my experience, people often overlook, when buying/installing solar panels, the importance of proper installation and maintenance of the panels," Matthews said.

      Going solar is a smart idea for many homeowners. Despite the high upfront costs, "the energy savings can offset the initial investment with a great (return on investment)," according to Warren Matthews, co-founder and head editor at Helius Hub.

      Like a lot of solar customers, Donald in Illinois told us they "went solar to save money, and to help keep our power bill down, and to also help our environment." It's a win-win.

      Pros and cons of solar power

      Pros

      • Lower monthly energy bills
      • Energy independence
      • Reduced carbon footprint
      • Little ongoing maintenance

      Cons

      • High initial cost
      • Can't move with you
      • Not a one-size-fits-all solution

      How to pick a solar company

      Here's how to narrow down your options and find a reputable solar energy company that can provide ongoing service at a competitive price.

      1. Do your research

      It's worth considering all your local options. Read lots of reviews and check for any complaints filed against the company.

      For instance, Carol in California said she did an "enormous amount of research" to find a solar installer. "The installer that we liked the most has a Ph.D. in physics, and that's why we picked him," Carol told us.

      Carol was smart to interview multiple installers before making a final decision. This is your chance to ask preliminary questions.

      Look out for pushy sales reps when you start these conversations. Unhappy solar customers often tell us about sales reps making false promises, particularly around rebates, credits and savings. 

      » BUYER BEWARE: Solar panel scams

      2. Compare a few quotes

      "The price of a system will depend on your electricity usage; there's not a fixed price but more of a range," Neil Gallagher, who owns a company in Tampa, Florida, told us. "Since COVID, the price of materials has gone up due to supply chain issues, mostly foreign panels. The cost of labor has also increased."

      There's also more to consider than just price. Megan in Texas got four quotes before going with Sunpro (now part of ADT Solar). She said it wasn't the cheapest but was a better fit for her needs.

      "Momentum Solar was the cheapest, but did not offer some of the perks I was inclined to take," she said.

      3. Check licenses and certifications

      Before you hire anyone, request their license number and any credentials they claim to have. You should also check that the company has liability insurance, especially since technicians will be on your roof.

      For credentials, reputable solar companies often have affiliations with organizations like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) or are certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC).

      Check if the company is a member of industry associations, such as the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) or local solar industry groups. Membership in these often requires adherence to certain standards and practices.

      4. Ask about solar panel efficiency

      When comparing solar panels, look for reliability, efficiency and durability. Higher-efficiency solar panels are more expensive but generate more electricity and require less space. Depending on where you live, the panels might need to be tough enough to withstand harsh weather conditions like hail, wind and snow.

      Solar panels last 25 to 30 years.

      Monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are the most common types of solar panels for residential installations. There are pros and cons to each — compare monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline solar panels for more information.

      5. Pay attention to the warranty and fine print

      Once you're satisfied with the proposal and financing method, it's time to sign a contract. This contract should detail the installation process, system specifications, warranty information and other terms.

      Some unhappy solar customers told us they felt trapped in contracts or felt they were penalized unfairly for changes or breaches in the contract. Some had issues with early termination fees. Reading the contract carefully and asking questions about anything you’re not sure you understand helps reduce the likelihood of this happening to you.

      Understanding solar warranties

      Look for solar panel and inverter manufacturers and installers that stand by their service and products. The best local solar energy installers always offer warranties and service guarantees. They're also typically readily available for maintenance, system checks or addressing any concerns you might have after your system is installed.

      Panels typically come with a manufacturer's warranty that covers the panel's performance and materials. A good warranty should cover at least 25 years for panels. In some states, you need at least that to qualify for certain renewable energy incentives.

      Solar inverters are also a common source of maintenance issues, so check your warranty for the inverter you choose. A typical warranty for a solar inverter lasts between 10 and 25 years.

      Types of solar equipment

      You most likely need several other pieces of hardware, including wiring that connects the panels to the inverter and the wiring that connects the inverter to your home's electrical system. You may also choose to install a battery to store electricity for use at night or during power outages.

      It's not just about picking the best solar panels. A solar array is made up of many different components. Think about how your whole system will work together.

      • Inverters turn sunlight into usable energy. The solar inverter is what converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used to power your home or business.
      • Solar batteries store that sunny day for a rainy one. If you want to store the energy produced by your solar panels for use later, you need to install solar batteries. This is especially useful if you live in an area with frequent power outages or if you want to use solar energy when the sun is not shining. If you get a battery, you'll also need a charge controller. Solar generators are another option to get a sustainable source of backup electricity.
      • Mounting and tracking systems maximize sun exposure. This is what attaches the solar panels to your roof or another location on your property. The mounting system needs to be sturdy and weather-resistant.
      • Monitoring lets you keep track of your system through an app. Monitoring apps provide real-time data on the performance of your solar panels. You get an alert if there's a drop in performance. Some advanced monitoring systems let your solar installation company access performance data remotely, which facilitates quick repairs.

      What to know about solar installations

      "The sign-up part was easy and straightforward," Anthony in Texas said. "The hard part was the installation part. That took longer than expected. They were still running into some of those supply chain issues last year, which a lot of people were."

      We've talked to other solar customers with similar stories. It's important to understand the installation process to know what you should expect.

      1. Initial consultation: When you start contacting solar installers for quotes, some may show you satellite images of your home at different times of the day. They use these pictures to demonstrate which sides of your home get the most sunlight.
      2. Site assessment: The installer often conducts a physical or remote (using satellite imagery) assessment of your property. They evaluate your roof's orientation, size, shading and condition. These assessments provide an overview of your property's overall solar potential.
      3. Design and permitting: The installer then designs a solar system for your property and provides a detailed proposal based on the site assessment and your energy needs. This proposal should include the system size (in kilowatts), estimated energy production, cost, potential savings and return on investment.
      4. Panel installation: After you secure your permits, your solar company begins the installation process. Local installers often have in-depth knowledge of local building codes and practices that help ensure smooth installation. This process typically takes a few days but can vary based on the system's size and complexity.
      5. Final inspection: Once the system is installed, it needs to be inspected by local authorities and the utility company (if grid-tied) to ensure it meets all regulations. After inspections, the system can be commissioned, and you can start generating solar power.

      FAQ

      How much can I save going solar?

      On average, the estimated net savings after going solar range from $10,000 to $25,000 over 25 years. Solar panels save most people money over time.

      » EXPLORE: Where solar savings go the furthest

      How many solar panels do I need to power my house?

      The average American home ends up needing 15 to 30 panels to fully power their household. How many solar panels you need depends on your energy usage, roof and solar panels' efficiency. To figure out your energy usage, check your utility bill for "kWh used." To get your monthly average, look at bills for the past year, add up the stated kWh used and divide by 12.

      What is the output of one solar panel?

      In general, the output of a residential solar panel is anywhere from 100 watts to 500 watts, depending on the capacity of the equipment and its operating conditions. Most panels on homes are rated to output between 250 watts and 450 watts, meaning they produce 250 to 450 watt-hours of electricity for each hour they are exposed to direct sunlight.

      How long do solar panels last?

      Quality solar panels are designed to last 25 to 30 years, but the efficiency of solar panels decreases a bit each year.

      Why is solar so popular right now?

      In the solar industry, there's more competition, technology is improving and panels are cheaper than ever. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the costs to install solar have gone down more than 40% over the last decade.

      Rising electricity rates and the 30% federal solar investment tax credit have also led to more people choosing to go solar.

      » MORE: What is an off-grid solar system?

      Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

      Solar panels still work on cloudy days, but the electricity generation drops to about 10% to 25% compared to sunny weather. Direct sunlight definitely boosts energy output.

      » MORE: What are peak sun hours?

      Will hail damage my solar panels?

      Large hail can damage solar panels. Hail damage mostly happens in the Midwest and Great Plains. Your homeowners insurance might cover the cost of any needed repairs.

      Is my house a good candidate for solar panels?

      Not every household benefits from solar panels in the same way. For best results, you need plenty of sunlight and a strong roof that faces the right direction, like Dariusz in Connecticut.

      Dariusz, whose house gets sunlight from the east in the morning and the west in the afternoon, said: “I've been thinking about doing solar for a while and with the current energy prices, it was a no-brainer especially since my home has a good location.”

      What solar options are available for small businesses?

      Businesses, local governments and nonprofits of all sizes can benefit from commercial solar panel installation. Solar carports, ground-mounted systems and solar thermal energy systems are also options. The biggest difference between commercial and residential solar panels comes down to scale, financing options and tax incentives.

      How often do solar panels need to be cleaned?

      Hosing down solar panels once or twice a year should keep performance high. Otherwise, dirt, debris and other substances accumulate on panels over time, reducing their effectiveness. You can clean your panels yourself or hire a professional to do it. Hiring someone to clean your panels typically costs around $150 to $300 per visit.

      It's important to only clean panels yourself if you can do so safely, and to make sure not to damage the panels by scrubbing them.

      » GUIDE: Solar panel maintenance

      Methodology

      The Consumer Affairs Research Team used a research-backed, data-driven approach, which was informed by our expert editors, to choose the best solar companies. The team regularly evaluates customer reviews, company information and industry trends to update our top picks.

      To choose our six top picks for buyers with different priorities (like off-grid systems), as well as our top overall solar company, we used a weighted scoring system that took into account verified reviews and specific company offerings. The weightings for each pick were:

      • Top pick overall: Installation and setup satisfaction rate: 15%; Price satisfaction rate: 10%; Savings satisfaction rate: 15%; Contract and terms satisfaction rate: 10%; Customer service satisfaction rate: 10%; Online and app satisfaction rate: 5%; Solar battery satisfaction rate: 5%; Maintenance satisfaction rate: 5%; Warranty: 5%; Performance guarantee: 5%; Payment options: 5%; Monitoring capabilities: 5%; Qualifications and certifications: 5%.
      • Top pick for value: Installation and setup satisfaction rate: 5%; Price satisfaction rate: 25%; Savings satisfaction rate: 30%; Contract and terms satisfaction rate: 10%; Online and app satisfaction rate: 5%; Solar battery satisfaction rate: 5%; Maintenance satisfaction rate: 5%; Warranty: 10%; Payment options: 5%.
      • Top pick for long-term savings: Installation and setup satisfaction rate: 10%; Price satisfaction rate: 10%; Savings satisfaction rate: 40% Contract and terms satisfaction rate: 5%; Customer service: 5%; Online and app satisfaction rate: 5%; Solar battery satisfaction rate: 5%; Maintenance satisfaction rate:; 5%; Warranty: 5%; Performance guarantee: 10%.
      • Top pick for warranty coverage: Installation and setup satisfaction rate: 5%; Price satisfaction rate: 10%; Savings satisfaction rate: 5%; Contract and terms satisfaction rate: 10%; Customer service: 5%; Online and app satisfaction rate: 5%; Solar battery satisfaction rate: 5%; Maintenance satisfaction rate: 10%; Warranty: 35%; Performance guarantee: 10%.
      • Top pick for financing options: Installation and setup satisfaction rate: 10%; Price satisfaction rate: 15%; Savings satisfaction rate: 5%; Contract and terms satisfaction rate: 10%; Customer service:5%; Online and app satisfaction rate: 5%; Solar battery satisfaction rate: 5%; Maintenance satisfaction rate: 5%; Warranty: 10%; Payment options: 30%.
      • Top pick for off-grid systems: Installation and setup satisfaction rate: 10%; Price satisfaction rate: 10%; Savings satisfaction rate: 10%; Contract and terms satisfaction rate: 5%; Customer service: 5%; Online and app satisfaction rate:15%; Solar battery satisfaction rate: 30%; Maintenance satisfaction rate: 10%; Warranty: 5%.

      Our process for scoring each company was entirely statistical, based on an analysis of thousands of verified customer reviews and the most important real-world factors. This is how we did it:

      • Conducted sentence-by-sentence sentiment analysis of thousands of reviews on our site from March 27, 2020, to March 27, 2024, to identify the aspects that people care about most solar companies. We then decoded the reviews and star ratings to calculate the percentage of reviewers who are “happy” or “satisfied” with each aspect for each company, which we refer to as the “satisfaction rating” for that aspect. For solar energy companies these aspects include:
        • Installation and setup
        • Price
        • Savings
        • Contract and terms
        • Customer service
        • Online and app experience
        • Storage batteries
        • Maintenance

      • Carefully selected the most important offerings consumers should consider before choosing researched offerings at each company. For solar panels, these features included:
        • Warranty: A long warranty is important. We compared both product and craftsmanship warranties available from our top picks. All of our top picks have warranties of at least 25 years.
        • Performance guarantee: A performance guarantee offers protection, assurance and financial predictability to the buyer. It also reflects the manufacturer’s confidence in its product.
        • Payment options: We outlined how many payment options each company offers and what types (e.g., loans, leasing options or in-house financing)
        • Monitoring capability: We gave preference to companies that offer real-time monitoring, regular maintenance services and solid after-sales support.
        • Qualifications and certifications: Companies earned points for having certifications from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), certifications from the Solar Energy Industries Association, accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and Green Building certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

      • Calculated a normalized score ranging from 0 to 5 for each aspect and offering. The company with the best satisfaction rating or feature value was assigned a score of 10, and other company scores were based on their relation to the maximum satisfaction rating or best feature. For example, Blue Raven Solar has a 100% savings satisfaction rating, so it received a score of 10 for this aspect. Freedom Solar Power had a 92% satisfaction rating, so it scored a 9.2 for this aspect.

      • Created a unique percentage system to reflect how buyers with different priorities might weigh the importance of each aspect. We then added these weighted scores together to get a final score in that category for each company. Not all aspects or features were always factored into every score. You can review the weightings above.

      The company with the highest score in each category’s uniquely weighted formula was given the “Our pick for” designation. In some cases where a single company received the top score across multiple categories, a company with the next-highest score was named the winner.

      Not sure how to choose?

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