Best Solar Companies in North Carolina

We compared 87 brands and chose the top solar energy companies

    • SunPower
      3.5(2,282)
    • Blue Raven Solar
      4.8(232)
    • Freedom Solar Power
      4.5(234)

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      Best Solar Companies in North Carolina

      If you've been thinking about going solar in North Carolina but aren’t sure where to start, you’re not alone. ConsumerAffairs is here to help you compare your options and get the best deal.

      To choose our top picks for this guide, we compared popular solar installation companies on ratings and reviews, equipment options, warranties, availability and other factors. Our picks may be Authorized Partners that compensate us — this does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

      Our top solar company picks

      1. SunPower
      2. Blue Raven Solar
      3. Freedom Solar Power
      4. Green Home Systems
      5. ShopSolar
      Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
      • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
      • 4,482,017 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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      The 5 best solar companies reviewed

      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 top national company with high-efficiency solar panel technology and storage battery systems for maximizing energy savings during peak rate times. What really sets SunPower apart, though, is its seamless solar panel installation process.

      It also has great local reviews from verified customers. “Installation was a breeze and financing was not nearly as scary as expected,” according to a Johnny in Kinston. Nicole also had good things to say: “The workers were very helpful. I also felt very informed about the product I was purchasing and the impact it would have on me.”

      Dick in Lewisville told us: “Based on everything I read and people I talked to, SunPower seemed like the best of all the choices I had. They didn't try to sell me anything other than solar power. There were no gimmicks, no batteries and no crazy financing. Their support was excellent and so was their follow through and keeping me informed of everything.”

      Dick did have some problems in the beginning with the online portal, but that was resolved. “I've had the panels for almost two and a half months now and I love them,” he said.

      SunPower benefits

      • 35+ years of experience
      • Comprehensive 25-year warranty
      • Battery storage options
      • Ongoing support

      Quality solar equipment comes at a premium price, and some SunPower customers have reported higher prices working with the company than with smaller, local installers. On the bright side, SunPower offers financing and leasing options with $0 down in some cases.

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

      Payment options

      • Cash: Pay upfront to get immediate ownership of the system (and potentially better long-term savings).
      • 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.

      Blue Raven Solar

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease, PPA
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2014
      1x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best for Installation

      Blue Raven Solar reps 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.

      North Carolina reviewers have great things to say about Blue Raven’s customer service. One verified buyer, Ryan in Lumberton, had 43 solar panels installed. “The crew was on time every morning, finished the job in the 3-day timeframe that was expected, and everyone was very courteous and respectful,” Ryan told us.

      Stacy in Clayton said that Blue Raven “did a wonderful job and were very efficient in their work” and “are willing to work with you in any of your situation[s].”

      “I am happy with the quality of the panels and the interactive app that shows how much the panels are producing and how much I'm saving off my electric bill,” Christine in Lumber Bridge told us.

      Blue Raven has overall positive reviews from North Carolina customers. However, some mention equipment issues after installation is complete.

      For example, Mark in Raleigh had production issues. “After a very long process, and not a few frustrations, Blue Raven Solar honored all of their commitments. I was having difficulty getting them to perform a retrofit to bring my solar capacity up to the promised amount,” Mark said.

      Blue Raven Solar has a standard 25-year warranty. Storage battery warranties vary by manufacturer. It offers the FranklinWH aPower Battery (12-year warranty), SunPower SunVault (10-year warranty), Enphase IQ Battery 5P (15-year warranty) and Tesla Powerwall 2 (10-year warranty).

      Payment options

      • Cash: You can pay upfront and get immediate ownership of the solar panel system.
      • 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.
      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      22.8%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2007
      2x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service and Best for Installation

      Freedom Solar Power is a solar installer in the Raleigh–Durham and Charlotte areas. It specializes in residential and commercial installations. SunPower is its primary equipment partner for solar panels and backup battery systems. The company also offers the Tesla Powerwall.

      We like that it offers ground-mounted panel options, which is especially good if you don’t have a south-facing roof or if your roof can’t support panels.

      Customers are overall satisfied with Freedom Solar’s equipment and installation services. For instance, Teresa in Smithfield told us, “Everybody's been super nice and working diligently to get everything done.”

      Freedom Solar Power benefits

      • Roofing services available
      • Ongoing energy monitoring
      • Support for repairs, maintenance and upgrades
      • 15+ years of experience

      We’ve heard some grumblings about installation delays and contractors who come in from other states. Teresa in Smithfield also told us that she’s been waiting for approval from the city and her homeowners association, which takes at least three weeks.

      Freedom Solar Power has a 25-year transferable warranty on equipment and installations. If any issues come up, it replaces your equipment on behalf of the manufacturer. The Tesla Powerwall and SunPower SunVault backup power systems both come with 10-year warranties.

      Payment options

      • Cash: You can pay for the system in full upfront.
      • Loan: Freedom Solar works with solar loan companies to help homeowners get financing. Interest rates start at 0%, and there are $0 down payment options.
      Our pick for easy process
      Max. panel efficiency
      20%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2017

      Green Home Systems offers a wide range of solar energy solutions, from panels and inverters to batteries and additional accessories. We like that it has a physical location in Raleigh. It also has positive local reviews highlighting cost savings and financing options.

      Green Home Systems sources solar panels from brands we trust, like Panasonic, Qcells, LONGi, Mission Solar and URE. Batteries come from Enphase, Tigo, SolarEdge, FranklinWH or LG??; inverters are made by Enphase, SolarEdge, Tigo or Solis. You can also get Generac backup generators, IronRidge racking systems and SPAN electrical panels.

      The process starts with a free quote. During the consultation, reps look at your property and analyze current electricity bills. Green Home Systems then designs a solar panel system to meet your household energy needs.

      Green Home Systems benefits

      • PERC (passivated emitter and rear cell) technology
      • Financing available
      • Energy storage options
      • 25-year guarantee

      Green Home Systems might not be the best fit if you’re on a tight deadline. Some customers have told us about installation delays, especially in rural areas.

      For example, Cindy in Boomer told us she lives “way out in the mountainous area of North Carolina and we're not close to any of the big companies that install. Green Home Systems hired a company that would come out here and install. They wouldn't get here till 11:00 in the morning and leave at 3:00. It took them over seven months.”

      Cindy mentioned she is overall “very happy with the product,” however.

      Green Home Systems provides a 25-year warranty on solar panels and inverters. Batteries come with a 10-year warranty.

      Payment options

      • Cash: You can pay for your solar energy system upfront, which gives you immediate ownership and potentially better long-term savings on electricity costs.
      • Loan: You can finance through a solar loan with annual percentage rates (APRs) starting at 0.99% (on approved credit).

      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. It’s great if you need to install solar panels on 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.

      Reviewers like that ShopSolar has a nice selection of equipment and fast deliveries. The online company stocks brands like Panasonic, REC, Renogy, Canadian Solar and EcoFlow, plus it sells custom solar kits. Orders typically arrive within 10 business days.

      ShopSolar also gets good feedback on its prices and customer service. “They had really good prices and it looked like they had good service on the first order,” one verified customer, David in Charlotte, told us. “I also liked that there was no tax and no shipping at that time.”

      David did have an issue with one of the units he bought. But reps got everything straightened out, and everything works properly now, he said.

      ShopSolar benefits

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

      One ShopSolar customer, RM in Concord, has an “important statement” for anyone doing a DIY-permitted installation: “Never purchase any components before first completing your designs to ensure they align with your AHJ's specs and requirements.” AHJ stands for “Authority Having Jurisdiction,” which is responsible for solar panel installation licensing and permitting.

      RM ran into a situation where they purchased and installed most of their equipment before signing up for a ShopSolar kit to complete the project. “I had no idea that all my labors and spending would collide with the AHJ for my project. Thus I ended up holding non-certified DIY solar components,” they told us.

      ShopSolar tried to help RM find a solution, but “when it became apparent that I couldn't end this jam without investing lots more funds, Shop Solar quickly and without charge, canceled my planning order by sending me a full refund against my investment for their services.”

      None of this was ShopSolar’s fault, RM said. “The mistakes fell upon my rush to get into DIY solar,” RM said. “I give Shop Solar Kits five stars for going out of their way to ease the burden I had placed on myself. Great service, guys. Here's hats off to Shop Solar.”

      » DIY SOLAR PANELS: Pros, cons and installation guide

      ShopSolar is an authorized distributor of all the brands it sells, so all solar equipment is covered by individual manufacturer warranties. If you run into a warranty issue, the company’s representatives 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. APRs range from 0% to 36%.

      North Carolina solar panel buyers guide

      North Carolina has a good climate for solar panels, and several financial incentives can help make the upfront investment more affordable. For many, solar panels are worth it for the long-term cost savings and environmental benefits. For others, it’s more about gaining energy independence.

      • A professional solar panel installation can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more.
      • The federal solar tax credit is the most significant way to lower the cost of buying solar panels. You won’t be eligible if you lease the equipment.
      • The best solar energy companies have a few things in common: fantastic reviews, transparent pricing, reliable equipment and comprehensive warranties.

      How much does it cost to install solar panels in North Carolina?

      A professional solar panel installation can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more. Solar panel costs in North Carolina are comparable to the national average of around $18,000 for a 6-kilowatt system (that price drops to $12,600 after factoring in the full federal solar investment tax credit).

      The size of your system plays a big role in how much it costs overall. It also depends on how you pay, if you want a solar storage battery and other factors.

      » COMPARE : How much do solar panels cost in 2024?

      How can I pay for solar panels?

      You get a better return on investment if you can pay the full cost upfront. But that’s not an option for many North Carolina homeowners. Instead, a lot of people finance their systems through a solar loan. It works like most other types of loans — there is an application process, and you pay the loan back over time with interest.

      You can also lease solar panels. Leasing is sometimes cheaper in the short term, but you’ll be disqualified from some of the best financial incentives, like the 30% federal solar investment tax credit. It could also (potentially) make it harder to sell your house.

      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?

      What solar incentives are available in North Carolina?

      The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the most significant way to make installing panels more affordable. The ITC is a federal income tax credit worth 30% of the total cost of installing your solar power system, including equipment, labor and permits. The credit is not a rebate or a refund, and any unused amount rolls over into the next tax year.

      North Carolina homeowners may also take advantage of additional solar tax breaks, local rebates and loan programs.

      » EXPLORE: North Carolina solar incentives, tax credits and rebates

      Net metering work in North Carolina

      Net metering is a billing system that rewards North Carolina homeowners with solar panels for the extra electricity they generate. Here's a step-by-step explanation of how it works:

      1. Solar panels on rooftops produce electricity during sunny days. Sometimes they make more power than the home needs.
      2. The extra electricity goes into the local electrical grid to help power nearby homes and businesses.
      3. The utility company calculates how much excess power the homeowner contributed. They get credits equal to the value of that electricity.
      4. At night or on cloudy days, the home purchases electricity from the utility company as usual. But the net metering credits built up on sunny days help lower the bill.
      5. So, instead of just buying electricity, homeowners can earn it back through solar panel credits. This saves money over time.

      North Carolina made some changes to net metering in 2017. Homeowners now get paid slightly less for their extra electricity. The value of net metering credits remains close to the full retail rate in most cases. So, you can still use net metering to save money on utilities through home solar power.

      Are solar panels worth it for me?

      Solar panels end up being worth it for many homeowners in North Carolina, despite recent changes to its net metering policy.

      We analyzed dozens of reviews from solar customers in North Carolina. For many, like David in Concord, the savings on electricity make solar panels a worthwhile investment in the long term.

      “I've never been more excited to get an electric bill in my life, which is really weird,” David told us. “My first electric bill was $22. It had cost me $14 just to be a customer of Duke Energy, so I only paid $8 for electric for October. And November is looking right around the same track, so it's great.”

      For others, like Dolly in Asheville, going solar is worth it for the environmental benefits. “An overall reduction in utility bills certainly was a draw but payback was at least 13-14 years, so it wasn't the primary motivation,” Dolly said.

      However, some customers felt misled about the savings they would receive or had difficulties in getting issues resolved.

      David has some advice for other residents considering solar: “The main thing is you just have realistic expectations. … Just make sure you're dealing with real numbers and know where the money comes from, especially these guys that are going to sell you this 20-year or 30-year loan, and it's only a couple of bucks a month and it's super cheap, but you're paying a lot more for it than you really need to.”

      It also depends if your house is a good candidate for solar panels. If your home doesn’t receive much sunlight or doesn’t have an installation site that lets the panels face south, you might have to install so many panels to meet your energy needs that the costs aren’t worth it.

      » STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

      How do I choose a solar company in North Carolina?

      The best solar energy companies have a few things in common. When hiring a solar installer in North Carolina, you'll want to look for:

      • Experience: Extensive experience installing solar in North Carolina specifically, since local building codes and incentives matter
      • Reputation: Positive reviews from past North Carolina customers
      • Estimates: Free consultations to compare multiple quotes
      • Equipment: Options like battery storage or electric vehicle (EV) chargers if desired
      • Warranty: At least 10- to 25-year workmanship warranties and performance guarantees
      • Credentials: Proper licensing, insurance and NABCEP certification for installers
      • Transparency: Clear explanations of all proposals, costs, legal terms and maintenance needs
      • History: An established company that will be around long-term to service your system

      Questions to ask

      Vetting solar providers thoroughly upfront is important since solar panels are supposed to last 25 to 30 years. Make sure to understand all terms and get any concerns addressed before signing an installation agreement. It's also wise to ask potential solar companies these questions:

      • Are you familiar with North Carolina net metering policies and solar incentives?
      • Do you have experience securing local utility permits?
      • What common critter guard additions can prevent squirrel and raccoon damage?

      » TIPS: Getting the best solar quotes

      FAQ

      Can I get free solar panels in North Carolina?

      We are not aware of any legitimate programs for free solar panels in North Carolina. However, you can lease a solar energy system with little to no upfront costs. Just look out for scams that promise free solar panels — they can end up costing you quite a bit of money.

      » FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

      How are solar costs trending in North Carolina?

      The cost to go solar in North Carolina has fallen 42% over the last 10 years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

      What’s the difference between a solar broker and a solar installer?

      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, deciding between a solar broker and a solar installer depends on how much you want to be involved in the process.

      A broker can be helpful if you value convenience. If you want more control and potentially lower costs, it’s best to work directly with a solar installer.

      Should I replace my roof before installing solar panels?

      As a rule of thumb, if your roof is more than 10 years old, consider fixing it before going solar. Installing solar panels on an old roof might mean you have to remove the panels, replace your roof and then reinstall the panels again. This will cost around $5,000 for a 19-panel setup.

      » SHOULD YOU: Replace your roof before going solar?

      Methodology: How we picked the best solar companies in North Carolina

      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 a list of popular providers. First, we narrowed it down to the ones available in North Carolina. We then weighted several key features to get our final rankings:

      Reviews, ratings and testimonials: 50%
      We analyzed verified customer reviews and ratings to gauge real-world satisfaction.

      Equipment selection: 20%
      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.

      Warranties: 20%
      We compared product and craftsmanship warranties as well as performance guarantees. All of our top picks have warranties that last at least 10 to 25 years.

      Overall reputation: 10%
      We considered each company's history, mission and value. Companies with generally positive feedback on our site scored highest in this aspect.

      To recap, our top picks for the best solar companies in North Carolina are:

      • Our pick for customer service: SunPower
      • Our pick for low upfront costs: Blue Raven Solar
      • Our pick for ground-mounted systems: Freedom Solar Power
      • Our pick for easy process: Green Home Systems
      • 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, “North Carolina Solar Programs.” Accessed Jan. 24, 2024.
      2. EnergySage, “The cost of solar panels in North Carolina.” Accessed Jan. 24, 2024.
      3. North Carolina Utilities Commission, “Net Metering.” Accessed Jan. 24, 2024.
      4. Solar Energy Industries Association, “North Carolina Solar.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.

      Not sure how to choose?

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