Best Solar Companies in Alabama

We compared 54 brands and chose the top solar energy companies

    • SunPower
      3.5(2,281)
    • ShopSolar
      4.7(149)

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      Best Solar Companies in Alabama

      If you've been thinking about going solar in Alabama but aren’t sure where to start, we’re here to help you compare your options and get the best deal.

      We compared popular solar companies on ratings and reviews, equipment options, warranties, availability and other factors to choose our top picks for Alabama. Read our full methodology below for all the details. Our picks may be Authorized Partners who compensate us — this does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

      Our editor’s top picks

      • Our pick for professional installation: SunPower
      • Our pick for DIY solar projects: ShopSolar
      Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
      • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
      • 4,480,424 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.

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      More details about Alabama’s top-rated solar companies

      SunPower

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      22.8%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      1985
      2x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service and Best for Installation

      SunPower is a national provider with high-efficiency panels and excellent warranties. We also like SunPower’s low-profile mounting techniques that result in minimal roof impact, and the SunVault storage battery maximizes energy savings during peak rate times.

      But what really sets SunPower apart is its seamless solar process. Local reps evaluate your home, design a custom system, secure any necessary permits and help work out financing if needed. After installation, the monitoring app lets you track the system’s performance.

      SunPower benefits

      • Comprehensive warranty
      • Reliable monitoring app
      • Battery storage options
      • Ongoing support

      Happy SunPower customers often tell us about helpful reps, fast installations, affordable financing options and long-term savings.

      “They explained everything in simple upfront terms, which is needed because I have a family and we budget our money so the plan worked for us,” Carrie in Leeds told us. “The installation people were quick and helpful in explaining all the ins and outs of using the products and troubleshooting problems so we liked that about them.”

      Another verified customer, HI in Birmingham, said that reps were friendly, helpful and proactive: “Overall, the company provided a good value taking into account (the) service they provided and the cost. I am very satisfied and pleased with the service. The setup and installation was a very good experience. The technician was very knowledgeable, professional and work was done quickly and without any issues.”

      One customer we talked to, Chiho in Rainbow City, told us about two “major issues” with SunPower: “The first issue was their delays in getting our system to operate safely” because of bad wiring.

      The other issue is that the lease agreement “states if you sell your lease then any performance guarantee money that would be due to you actually goes to the new owner.” Chiho told us it “would be quite simple for SunPower to split the values according to old and new owners.”

      The SunPower warranty covers your entire solar energy system for 25 years, including the panels, inverter, racking and monitoring. The company repairs or replaces equipment at no cost to you (including labor and shipping). It also covers rust damage for seaside installations.

      Financing options

      • Loans: Qualified customers can find reasonable rates with no money down. All financing approvals and processing happen 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, and the agreement can be transferred to a new buyer if you sell your home.

      ShopSolar

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      Warranty
      Varies
      Year founded
      2018
      1x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service

      ShopSolar is an awesome place to buy solar equipment for do-it-yourself projects. 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.

      The online company stocks brands like Panasonic, REC, Renogy, Canadian Solar and EcoFlow, plus it sells custom solar kits. Its selection is great for homes, RVs and outbuildings. Orders typically arrive within 10 business days.

      ShopSolar benefits

      • Complete solar packages
      • Free shipping
      • Lifetime customer support
      • Price-match guarantee
      • 30-day return policy

      People like that ShopSolar has a range of equipment, fast deliveries and effective communication.

      “The reps were very attentive. I got the thing really quick. The quality is very good and the cost is very reasonable,” Mark in Wetumpka told us.

      ShopSolar is also a cheaper alternative to professional solar installation companies, according to Steve in Estillfork. “ShopSolarKits makes it where you're not at the mercy of people who make $25k off of four days' worth of labor and end up netting $18,000 off of you,” Steve said. Plus, the reps are “super cool, knowledgeable and patient.”

      ShopSolar doesn’t offer professional installation services. This kind of DIY approach works out best if you already know a bit about solar panels and electrical work.

      Of course, sometimes, it’s tricky to explain technical issues over the phone. “A couple of times, I had technical questions, and the person I talked to didn't sound like they knew what was going on,” Rick in Gallion told us. “But most of the time, I talked to someone who was very helpful.”

      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.

      Payment options

      • 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. Annual percentage rates (APRs) range from 0% to 36%.

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        Alabama solar panel buyers guide

        If you've been thinking about switching to solar power but feel overwhelmed by the options in Alabama, you're not alone. Residential solar panels are gaining popularity in Alabama and elsewhere. Our team has talked to thousands of solar customers all over the country. Here’s what to expect and what to look out for.

        Key insights

        • Residential solar panel installations cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more. The size of your solar panel system is the biggest factor in total costs.
        • The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the most significant way to lower the cost of installing solar panels. Alabama has some local financial incentives to make going solar more affordable.
        • Leasing your solar equipment can minimize the initial cost. But you won’t be eligible for the federal solar ITC because you won’t own the system.

        Understanding solar energy in Alabama

        Solar energy utilizes photovoltaic cell technology to convert sunlight into electricity. Most solar installations in Alabama are grid-connected systems. This means that solar panels power a home or business during the day, but they can still access supplemental energy from the grid as needed.

        The process typically starts with a free consultation. During this time, the solar company rep should answer any questions you have and set an overall timeline. The actual solar panel installation labor usually takes less than a week.

        How much does it cost to install solar panels in Alabama?

        A typical residential solar panel installation costs $28,176 in Alabama. That price drops to $19,723 after the full federal solar investment tax credit (ITC).

        The average solar panel cost per watt is $2.45 in Alabama.

        The size of your system plays a big factor in how much it costs overall. The average solar panel system in Alabama is 11.5 kilowatts (kW). Depending on your household energy usage, you might need a smaller or larger system.

        Average solar panel cost by system size in Alabama

        Source: EcoWatch

        These prices don’t include the cost of a solar storage battery, which sometimes cost almost as much as the panels. Solar batteries are a must if you want real energy independence and essential if you go off-grid. Permitting, utility fees and maintenance also add to the cost of going solar.

        How can I pay for solar panels?

        There are a few ways to pay for a residential solar energy system in Alabama. You have the option to pay the full cost upfront, but many people choose to finance their system through a solar loan.

        You can lease your equipment to minimize your initial cost. However, you won’t be eligible for the federal solar ITC because you won’t pay for or own the equipment.

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

        • Is there a down payment?
        • How much will I pay per month?
        • Will my monthly payments increase, and if so, by how much?
        • Do you put a lien on my house?

        » COMPARE: Solar costs in other states

        What solar incentives are available in Alabama?

        The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the biggest factor in reducing the cost of going solar in Alabama. If you install a residential solar panel system by the end of 2032, you will receive a federal income tax credit equal to 30% of the system's total cost, including equipment, labor and permits.

        For example, an average system in Alabama costs around $28,176. With a system of that price, you can get a $8,453 credit when you file your federal taxes. Some residents may also take advantage of local property tax exemptions when they go solar.

        » EXPLORE: Alabama solar incentives

        Net metering in Alabama

        Net metering is the process of sending excess energy your system produces back to the grid for compensation. There are no statewide net metering policies in Alabama, meaning no laws require utility companies to offer it. Your local electric company may still provide net metering, though. For example, Alabama Power does.

        Unless you install a battery to store excess energy your system produces during the day, you should enroll in net metering if possible.

        How to choose a solar company in Alabama

        With the right solar partner, you’ll be on your way to reaping the many short- and long-term rewards of renewable energy. Here are some hiring best practices to help you choose an installer that delivers top-quality system performance in Alabama.

        What to look for in a solar installation company

        We’ve talked to thousands of solar customers across the country. The best solar energy companies have a few things in common: experience, licensing and certifications, detailed project quotes and warranties. Here are a few more things to look for.

        • Long time in business: Choose a company with plenty of experience installing solar panels in Alabama. Local knowledge is valuable in navigating state-specific regulations and incentives.
        • Great local reviews: Research the company's track record and reputation. Look for positive customer reviews, ratings and testimonials.
        • Licensed, insured and certified: Ensure the company is appropriately licensed and insured and has NABCEP-certified installers. This protects you and shows the installers take their business seriously.
        • Free consultations: Get multiple quotes from different solar companies to compare prices and services. Be cautious of companies that provide significantly lower quotes than others — this may indicate lower quality.
        • Comprehensive service: Choose a company that provides the services and products you want, like battery storage, electric vehicle chargers or a monitoring system to ensure optimal output.
        • Solid warranty: A reputable company should offer comprehensive warranties to protect your investment. Look for warranties that last at least 10 to 25 years.
        • Transparent terms: Carefully review all proposals and financial documents, understand legal considerations and ask about maintenance before signing an agreement with any solar company. If you don’t understand something about the payment terms, warranty or ongoing services, ask.
        • Ongoing support: Quality solar panels last at least 25 to 30 years, so you want a company that’s still around if your system needs service after installation. Some of the newer, less reputable solar companies might not exist next year. Honest communication is essential before, during and after the installation process.

        » MORE: Tips for getting the best solar quotes

        Solar brokers vs. solar installers

        A solar broker is a middleman or intermediary who helps connect homeowners with solar installation companies. A solar installer specializes in designing, procuring and installing solar panels and related components.

        Ultimately, the choice between a broker and an installer comes down to how much you want to be involved. A broker is helpful if you value convenience. If you want more control and potentially lower costs, working directly with a solar installer is best. Just be sure to thoroughly research your options and vet installers before hiring anyone.

        Are solar panels worth it in Alabama?

        We talked to several solar panel customers in Alabama. Overall, they had positive feedback — for many, going solar in Alabama is worth the money for reducing energy bills and reliance on local power companies. Most are satisfied with their solar installations and feel they got a decent deal with the financing.

        For example, James in Round Rock has been getting $0 electric bills since making the switch. “It was expensive, but so far we enjoy it,” another Alabama solar customer, Carrie in Enterprise, told us. “And for the money, it is a good value because we use it often so can't complain about that.”

        Alabama homeowners with solar panels average $28,590 in net savings over 25 years.

        It’s a common misconception that solar panels always eliminate your monthly power bill — this is not always the case. On the bright side, your monthly bill will likely be less than what you’re paying for traditional utilities. For some, the environmental benefits make solar worthwhile, even if the cost savings are modest.

        » STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

        FAQ

        What is a solar array?

        A solar array is an interconnected system of solar equipment that works together to harness the power of the sun and convert it into electricity. Systems include solar panels, mounting equipment, wiring, one or more inverters and sometimes batteries.

        Can I get free solar panels in Alabama?

        We’re not aware of a totally free solar option in Alabama. Unfortunately, scams that promise free solar panels can end up costing people quite a bit of money.

        However, you can lease solar equipment to reduce your upfront cost. You won’t own your panels with these options, though, so you won’t be eligible for the federal solar investment tax credit.

        » SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

        Is my HOA allowed to restrict solar panel installations?

        Possibly. There are no state laws in Alabama that prohibit homeowners associations (HOAs) from restricting solar panels.

        Should I replace my roof before installing solar panels?

        High-quality solar panels last decades, which means that your roof should last just as long. You don’t want the expense of taking off your solar panels and then having them reinstalled to fix your roof. So, have your roof inspected before you install solar panels.

        » SHOULD YOU: Replace your roof before going solar?

        Methodology: How we picked the best solar companies in Alabama

        The ConsumerAffairs Research Team objectively evaluates solar providers to highlight those best equipped to meet most homeowners' needs. To choose our top picks for this guide, we started with 31 popular providers. First, we narrowed it down to the ones available in Alabama. We then weighted several key features to get our final rankings:

        Reviews, ratings and testimonials: 40%
        We analyzed verified customer reviews and ratings to gauge real-world satisfaction.

        Overall reputation: 20%
        We considered each company's history, mission and value. Companies with generally positive feedback on our site scored highest in this aspect.

        Warranties: 20%
        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.

        Equipment selection: 10%
        We evaluated each company’s selection of solar panels, storage batteries and inverters. Those with proprietary technology or a wide equipment selection from trusted brands ranked highest.

        Monitoring and maintenance: 10%
        We gave preference to companies that offer real-time monitoring, regular maintenance services and solid after-sales support.

        To recap, our top picks for the best solar companies:

        • Our pick for professional installation: SunPower
        • Our pick for DIY solar projects: ShopSolar

        Guide sources

        ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:

        1. DSIRE, “Alabama Programs.” Accessed Jan. 9, 2024.
        2. EcoWatch, “How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Alabama?” Accessed Jan. 9, 2024.
        3. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Alabama Solar.” Accessed Jan. 9, 2024.

        Not sure how to choose?

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