Best Solar Companies in Ohio

We compared 77 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 Ohio

      If you’re ready to go solar in Ohio 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.

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

      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 best solar companies, reviewed

      SunPower, Blue Raven Solar, Freedom Solar Power and Project Solar are all solid options for professional residential solar panel installation. We recommend comparing a few quotes to see who can get you the best deal.

      CleanChoice is unique in that it can provide renewable energy options that our other top picks can’t — particularly for renters or anyone with a house that can’t support solar panels. If you know what you need and want to do it yourself, ShopSolar is our top pick for DIY projects.

      Our top solar company picks

      1. SunPower: Top overall
      2. Blue Raven Solar: Low upfront costs
      3. Freedom Solar: Ground-mounted options
      4. Project Solar: Good value
      5. CleanChoice Energy: Community solar option
      6. ShopSolar: Great for DIY and off-grid projects

      SunPower

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      22.8%
      Workmanship 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 an excellent option if you’re not a solar expert. The team can take care of everything: evaluating your energy needs, creating a customized system, helping you with permits and coordinating the installation.

      Reps are very accommodating, nice and respectful, according to Victoria in Columbus, Ohio. “They have very above average customer service from my experience, in my honest opinion, so props to them and their company for being so above average,” she told us.

      Another customer we talked to, Michelle in Westerville, Ohio, said, “The customer service was excellent and buying options were easy and convenient.” Others in Ohio appreciate the ease of installation and long term cost-saving benefits.

      Upfront costs tend to be a little higher than other companies offer. “It is a little on the expensive side, but I was above-average satisfied,” Victoria in Columbus told us. After all, you get what you pay for.

      Most conversations happen over email — if direct, in-person talking is important to you, consider working with a small local operation. We’ve also heard about issues with customer service after installations are complete.

      SunPower offers Ohio homeowners premium equipment and full-service installation. You can choose between front- or back-contact panels with low-profile and solar roofing tile options. The company sells Maxeon 5 series solar panels — known for durability, reliability and efficiency — that are built on a solid copper foundation. The mySunPower app tracks your energy production and consumption once everything is complete.

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

      SunPower’s “Complete Confidence Warranty” covers your entire solar energy system for 25 years, including the panels, inverter, racking and monitoring. There’s also a 10-year warranty and unlimited cycles for SunVault storage. During this period, the company repairs or replaces equipment at no cost to you (including labor and shipping). Solar panel models have varying power output protection for 25 years:

      • M-Series (SPR-M), A-Series (SPR-A), X-Series (SPR-X), E-Series (SPR-E): All have a maximum annual decline of 0.25%, with a minimum of 92% energy performance.
      • The U-Series (SPR-U): Has a maximum annual decline of 0.55%, within a minimum of 84.8% energy.
      • Cash: You can pay for the system in full upfront.
      • Loan: Qualified customers can find reasonable rates with no money down. All financing processing and approvals are handled through the mySunPower portal.
      • Lease: You pay a monthly fee to use solar panels that SunPower owns. The company reimburses you if the system doesn’t perform as guaranteed. Agreements are transferable if you ever sell your home.

      Pros

      • Long time in business
      • Highly efficient equipment
      • Comprehensive transferable warranty
      • Good monitoring app
      • Ongoing support

      Cons

      • Some installation delays
      • Some communication issues

      Blue Raven Solar

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Workmanship warranty
      10 years
      Year founded
      2014
      1x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best for Installation

      Blue Raven Solar installs top-tier panels and microinverters to maximize energy production. Its sleek, low-profile solar systems are designed to withstand the state’s variable climate. We also like that you can go solar with no money down.

      The company gets overall positive feedback from Ohio customers. Zach in Sunbury, Ohio, said the installation crew was “fantastic” and that the entire process was seamless. “Nothing less than excellent in all areas from a customer service perspective. You can truly sit back as they complete all the work and keep you informed,” he told us.

      Tom in Westerville, Ohio, also had a great experience with Blue Raven. “From sales through installation, it has been a smooth ride,” he told us. Installation crews do a good job and are really professional, according to Eric in Columbus, Ohio.

      We’ve heard some complaints about Blue Raven not being very helpful when it comes to working with local utility companies. “Our city was tough in getting our solar panels approved, but Blue Raven dropped the ball,” Nancy in Columbus, Ohio, said.

      Blue Raven Solar installers use various monocrystalline, black-on-black solar panels and Enphase microinverters. For storage batteries, there are lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) batteries from Enphase, FranklinWH, Tesla and SunPower.

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

      Blue Raven Solar solar panel installations come with a standard 25-year manufacturer and 10-year workmanship warranty plus a roof penetration warranty. Power production is guaranteed for two years. Within that time, Blue Raven will reimburse you for lost energy.

      Storage battery warranties vary by manufacturer. The company 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).

      You can pay upfront and get immediate ownership of the solar panel system. It also has zero-down financing with fixed interest rates and predictable payments through 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
      • Zero-down financing
      • Fixed interest rates and payments
      • Production guarantee
      • Referral cash bonus

      Cons

      • Occasional installation delays
      • Some complaints about miscommunication
      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      22.8%
      Workmanship 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 with locations in Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus. It offers rooftop panels and ground-mounted systems. The ground-mounted option is especially good if you don’t have a south-facing roof. We also like that it has a 25-year transferable warranty on equipment and installations.

      Happy customers often tell us about amazing customer service and smooth installations. Customers like Michael in Clearwater, Ohio, like getting cheaper bills since installing solar panels. “They're saving us money and I'm satisfied with Freedom,” he told us. “If you're interested in solar, they're a good company to get the job accomplished fast.”

      We’ve heard some grumblings about installation delays in other states. This is a common theme in many solar companies’ reviews — installation timelines typically change with the seasons.

      Freedom Solar's primary panel partner is SunPower, a national installer (and also one of our top picks). The company also sells Tesla Powerwall and SunPower SunVault backup battery systems.

      • Residential and commercial solar installations
      • Battery backup systems
      • Energy monitoring
      • Roof repair services

      Freedom Solar Power’s 25-year warranty covers the product, performance and workmanship. If any issues come up, the company replaces your equipment on behalf of the manufacturer. The Tesla Powerwall and SunPower SunVault backup power systems both come with 10-year warranties.

      You can pay for the system in full upfront. Freedom Solar works with solar loan companies to help homeowners get financing.

      Pros

      • Great customer service
      • NABCEP-certified team
      • Ongoing energy monitoring
      • Support for repairs, maintenance and upgrades

      Cons

      • Some installation delays
      • Some communication issues
      Our pick for value

      Project Solar

      Max. panel efficiency
      20.9%
      Workmanship warranty
      10 years
      Year founded
      2016

      Project Solar reps focus on a simple, streamlined customer experience. We like the fact that they don’t work on commissions. This no-sales-gimmicks approach appeals to more budget-conscious solar clients who want either professional or do-it-yourself installation.

      We also appreciate the price transparency. As of publishing, full-service installations start at $1.61 per watt. DIY projects are cheaper, starting at $1.26 per watt, and power purchase agreements are between 10 cents and 15 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Anything over 13 kilowatts is a flat rate.

      Project Solar is an all-around good deal, according to many existing customers. “I'm very thrilled with their customer service. I'm also very satisfied with the product,” Fred in Columbiana, Ohio, told us.

      Customers in other states have told us about installation delays and inconsistent communication. The focus on streamlining might mean fewer customization options or solutions for complex roof situations. There might also be some room for improvement when it comes to quality control.

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

      • 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:

      • Short-term loan: 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.
      • Long-term loan: Designed for those 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.

      For DIY solar projects, Project Solar's financing partners cannot provide loans. DIY customers need to pay cash or finance their project through a third-party lender, such as LightStream or a home equity loan/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
      Our pick for community solar
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Workmanship warranty
      N/A
      Year founded
      2012

      CleanChoice Energy isn't a solar panel installer, but the company works with American Electric Power Ohio to help residents switch to solar power. It purchases renewable energy on your behalf in the form of grid power and renewable energy certifications, which makes it a good option for those who rent or otherwise can't install a solar panel system.

      People like that it’s affordable and easy to get started. Reps are friendly and helpful, according to James in Northfield, Ohio. Another resident, Nancy in Lewis Center, Ohio, said CleanChoice is reliable, and she very much likes getting lower electric bills since making the switch.

      “CleanChoice is transparent and it works. It's the lowest-priced energy available to us,” Gene in Enon, Ohio, told us.

      If you’re a renter and currently pay your own electric bill, you need your landlord’s approval to enroll with CleanChoice Energy. If you live in an apartment or condo where units’ electricity usage is bundled into one bill, you have to convince the person who actually pays the utility bill to make the switch.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that energy prices can fluctuate. CleanChoice generally buys the cheapest clean energy available in your area. But, if renewable energy prices go up or down, so will your monthly payments.

      CleanChoice Energy acts as an alternative energy supplier in Ohio. Instead of getting your electricity from the default utility company in your area, it can provide electricity sourced from wind and solar power that is generated in the region. Your local utility still handles the poles, wires and infrastructure that brings power into your home.

      • Renewable energy supply
      • Community solar programs
      • Carbon offset options
      • Custom sustainability plans

      CleanChoice doesn’t provide a warranty since you won’t actually own your panels. If something goes wrong and your power is out, you have to contact AEP. When you switch to CleanChoice Energy, you’ll keep getting a normal utility bill, but CleanChoice Energy appears as your energy supplier after service begins.

      CleanChoice Energy has monthly, quarterly and annual memberships. Pricing plans may vary depending on the market conditions. It’s best to contract the company directly for the most accurate rate information in your area. There are no cancellation or early termination fees for residential customers, so you can stop at any time without penalty.

      Pros

      • 100% clean energy from local sources
      • Variable and fixed payment plans
      • No termination fees
      • Referral bonuses

      Cons

      • Services vary by location
      • Prices are dependent on market

      ShopSolar

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Workmanship 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 DIY projects. We like that ShopSolar has a nice selection of equipment, fast deliveries and good communication. 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’s great for homes, RVs and outbuildings.

      ShopSolar reviews often mention quality equipment, reasonable prices and helpful customer service.

      “I was very impressed with the sales reps' knowledge. I bought my solar panels locally, but everything else, I bought through ShopSolarKits,” Phil in Akron, Ohio, told us. Another customer, Kurt in Chardon, Ohio, told us that reps were easy to contact. When one of his panels broke, ShopSolar replaced it within a week.

      ShopSolar sends detailed installation instructions but doesn’t provide professional installation services. Some have difficulties with the installation process, especially if they have little experience with solar or electrical systems. Installing your own solar energy system can also be dangerous if you don’t have any experience.

      » DIY SOLAR PANELS: Pros, cons and installation guide

      ShopSolar is an online retailer that sells custom solar kits and other equipment, such as generators, batteries, cables and racks. You can find top-quality brands like Panasonic, REC, Renogy, Canadian Solar and EcoFlow. Orders typically arrive within 10 business days.

      • New and used solar panels
      • 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

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

      Cons

      • Some shipping and delivery delays
      • Occasional issues with defective or damaged products

      Ohio solar panel buyers guide

      We’ve heard from more than 100,000 verified solar customers since 2018. A couple of things we know for sure: People like powering their homes with a reliable source of cheap, clean energy. They don’t like getting into solar contracts that don’t meet their expectations. Here’s what to expect and what to look out for when buying solar panels in Ohio.

      Key insights

      • In Ohio, a typical residential solar panel system costs $9,461 to $27,031, depending on the size of your system and what financial incentives you qualify for.
      • The federal investment tax credit (ITC) is the most significant financial incentive for buying solar panels in Ohio. You can also lease a system with little upfront cost, but you aren't eligible for the ITC.
      • 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.

      Going solar in Ohio

      Many solar customers are happy with the service, installation and cost savings. Others feel misled by pushy sales tactics and end up with monthly bills higher than expected. Watch out for door-to-door solar scams that attempt to gather your personal information, misleading claims, false advertising and aggressive sales tactics.

      » BEST STATES FOR SOLAR: Ohio ranks 10th in 2024

      What to look for in a solar company in Ohio

      Solar panels last a long time — you want to hire a well-established company that will still be around for system support for at least 25 years. In our experience, the best solar energy companies have a few things in common:

      • Licensed, insured and certified: In Ohio, you don't need any special solar installation license to do the work. Contractors just need a regular electrical license. But you'll want to look for installers who have the NABCEP certification (that's the National American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners). They've got the right training and certification for solar power.
      • Long time in business: Choose a company with plenty of experience installing solar panels in Ohio. Local knowledge is valuable in navigating state-specific regulations and incentives.
      • Good local reviews: Research the company's track record and reputation. Look for positive customer reviews, ratings and testimonials.
      • 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 or electric vehicle chargers. Don't settle for less.
      • 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 the fine print before signing a contract with any solar company. If you don’t understand something about the payment terms, warranty or ongoing services, ask. Good communication is essential before, during and after the installation process.
      • Ongoing support: Quality solar panels last at least 25 years, so you want a company that’s still around if your system needs service after installation. Some newer, less reputable solar companies might not still be in business next year.

      » TIPS: Get the best solar quotes

      How much does it cost to go solar in Ohio?

      Average solar panel costs in Ohio typically range between $9,461 to $27,031.

      The size of your solar panel system is a big factor in your total cost. It also depends on what incentives you’re eligible for, the condition of your roof and how much sunlight exposure it gets. On the high end, Brian in Rocky River, Ohio, said he spent $65,000 on his system.

      Most installers set the price according to the system's wattage, with a typical cost between $2.50 and $5 per watt. In Ohio, the average cost per watt is $2.75.

      Average solar installation cost by system size in Ohio

      This doesn’t include the cost of a solar storage battery — which sometimes costs 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 panel installation?

      Getting solar panels is similar to buying a car. You could pay cash, but many people finance their system through a solar loan. If you have enough savings to pay upfront, the biggest advantage of paying upfront interest charges.

      Leasing solar equipment is an attractive option for people who don’t want to get a loan or be responsible for maintaining a system.

      Solar panels are designed to last 25 to 30 years.

      Ohio also has legalized power purchase agreements (unlike many other states). PPAs work very similarly to leases. The biggest downside to both is that you’ll be disqualified from many of the best financial incentives, like the 30% federal solar tax credit. It also might make your house harder to sell, since a new buyer will have to take over the lease agreement.

      » SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

      Solar incentives in Ohio

      The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) reduces your federal tax liability by 30% of the cost of your solar energy system. This tax credit applies to both residential and commercial installations, and it includes the cost of the solar panels and other equipment, labor and additional features for monitoring the system.

      For example, if you spend $10,000 installing a solar panel system, the ITC is worth $3,000. If you owe $15,000 in taxes, the ITC reduces what you owe to $12,000. You don’t get these benefits automatically, though. You have to claim your solar equipment, labor and permits on your federal taxes for the same year you started using your system on Form 5695.

      The ITC drops to 26% in 2033 and then 22% in 2034.

      Don’t get confused: The ITC is a credit, meaning it directly decreases the amount of taxes you owe. This is different from a deduction, which reduces your taxable income. It isn’t a rebate or a refund. It only offsets your tax liability; you can't take advantage of the ITC if you don’t owe taxes in the first place. However, the credit rolls over to the next tax year if you don’t use the full amount.

      Ohio residents may also take advantage of local tax exemptions and low-interest loan programs designed to make going solar more affordable.

       » EXPLORE: Ohio solar incentives

      Net metering work in Ohio

      Net metering is the process of sending excess energy your system produces back to the grid for compensation. Here’s a simple example of how net metering works in Ohio:

      Let’s say you produce 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar energy in a month but only use 50 kWh of electricity. That means 50 kWh gets fed back to the grid. Your utility company sees your meter spinning backward and builds up “solar credits” for you. When you pull power from the grid at night, it subtracts from credits earned earlier. At the end of the billing cycle, you pay or get reimbursed for the net difference.

      Solar renewable energy certificates

      You can also use solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), which work like net metering. Ohio power companies have to buy a set amount of SRECs each year from solar households. For each 1,000 kWh (1 megawatt-hour) of solar you generate yearly, you earn 1 SREC. Electric utilities then purchase your SRECs for at least $50 per megawatt-hour. You can apply for SRECs on the Ohio Public Utilities Commission website.

      Are solar panels worth it in Ohio?

      We’ve talked to dozens of residents who have already gone solar. The general consensus is that solar panels are worth it in Ohio. Donald in New Philadelphia, Ohio, said he likes saving money and also generating electricity back to the grid: “Great new source of energy.”

      It’s a common misconception that solar panels always eliminate your monthly power bill — this is not always the case. On the bright side, people who still have a bill after going solar typically pay significantly less than before. On average, Buckeyes with solar panels avoid $52,568 in total utility costs over 25 years.

      The return on investment of a solar panel installation depends on the efficiency and size of your system. Assuming an upfront purchase, it takes about 11.5 years to break even (when your savings with solar panels make up for the cost).

      Use NREL’s PVWatts Calculator to estimate how much electricity a solar panel can produce over a year on your house — just type in your address. Project Sunroof is a free solar savings estimator powered by Google Earth imagery.

      For many homeowners in Ohio and elsewhere, going solar ends up being worth it for the lower energy bills and reduced reliance on local power companies.

      » STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

      Great new source of energy.”
      — Donald in New Philadelphia, Ohio

      FAQ

      Can I get free solar panels in Ohio?

      We’re not aware of a totally free solar option in Ohio. And, unfortunately, scams that promise free solar panels can cost you 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.

      Is my HOA allowed to restrict solar panels?

      Your homeowners association (HOA) may restrict solar panel installations to an extent. HOAs “may establish reasonable restrictions concerning the size, place and manner of placement of solar energy collection devices,” according to Senate Bill 61, which went into effect in 2022.

      How do I know if my house is a good candidate for solar?

      Plenty of unshaded roof space that faces south or west is best for optimal sun exposure. Solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, more commonly known as solar panels, absorb sunlight and convert it into usable electricity. If you have a lot of shading around your house, they might not get enough sun to power your home.

      It’s also smart to upgrade any old, inefficient appliances first. Reducing your electrical loads now means you can get a smaller system, which will be cheaper.

      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. This will cost around $5,000 for a 19-panel setup.

      » SHOULD YOU: Replace your roof before going solar?

      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.

      What is the difference between a solar lease and a PPA?

      If you lease a solar system or enter a PPA, you don't own the panels, but you benefit from the cheap electricity they produce. The solar company that owns the system is responsible for maintaining it, so you don't have to worry about ongoing maintenance costs. The key difference is how you pay.

      • Lease: Entering a solar lease is basically renting a solar panel system. As with leasing a car, you pay a fixed amount every month over a set period of time, typically 25 years.
      • Power purchase agreement: With a PPA, you don't pay a fixed monthly price. You pay for the electricity the panels produce, usually at a fixed rate that’s lower than you would receive without a PPA.

      Methodology

      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 Ohio. We then weighted several key features to get our final rankings:

      Reviews, ratings and testimonials: 40%
      We analyzed solar company reviews by verified solar customers to gauge real-world satisfaction. Companies with the most positive recent ratings left by local reviewers on our site were given preference.

      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%
      A long warranty is important — it shows that a company stands behind its product and services. We compared companies on both equipment and craftsmanship warranties terms. All of our top picks have warranties or production guarantees of at least 10 to 25 years.

      Financing and payment options: 10%
      We gave preference to companies that offer multiple payment and financing options for transparent terms and conditions.

      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 Ohio are:

      1. SunPower
      2. Blue Raven Solar
      3. Freedom Solar
      4. Project Solar
      5. CleanChoice Energy
      6. ShopSolar

      Not sure how to choose?

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        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, "Ohio Programs." Accessed March 29, 2024.
        2. EnergySage, “The cost of solar panels in Ohio.” Accessed March 29, 2024.
        3. Solar Energy Industries Association, "Ohio Solar." Accessed March 29, 2024.
        4. SolarReviews, “How much do solar panels cost in Ohio?” Accessed March 29, 2024.
        5. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed Feb. 8, 2024.
        6. Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, “Electricity: Net metering.” Accessed April 10, 2024.
        7. pv magazine USA, “Community solar legislation introduced in Ohio.” Accessed April 15, 2024.

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