Best Solar Companies in Pennsylvania

We compared 107 brands and chose the top solar energy companies

    • Top overall
      SunPower
      3.5(2,280)
    • Payment options
      Sunrun
      4.2(2,895)
    • Simple process
      Green Home Systems
      3.2(51)

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      Best Solar Companies in Pennsylvania

      Solar panels are a big investment, typically $10,000 to $30,000. 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 who compensate us — this does not affect our evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear. Read our full methodology for all the details on how we make solar company recommendations.

      Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
      • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
      • 4,479,812 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

      Our top solar company picks

      1. SunPower: Best overall
      2. Sunrun: Great leasing plans
      3. Green Home Systems: Easy to get started
      4. CleanChoice Energy: Community solar options
      5. ShopSolar: Wide equipment selection

      SunPower

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

      SunPower has an excellent reputation from an equipment standpoint. It won two 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 are based on sentiment analysis of reviews by verified customers.

      SunPower uses Maxeon panels, which are known for reliability, efficiency and durability. Compared to conventional solar panels, Maxeon cell technology generates more power over a smaller area and with less degradation over time. But what really sets SunPower apart is its seamless solar panel installation process.

      • “... During the summer when the central air is going full blast, my electric bills are either $0 or less than $10.00. I have had solar since 2015. Your customer service is excellent. Mary is a real asset to your company. I appreciate her patience in helping me access my account.” — Diane in Dubois, Pennsylvania

      • “SunPower was the company for me. They have thoughtful, courteous, prompt service, technicians knew their job well, explained in detail what they were doing and were able to address all questions and concerns I had. Also, set up and installation was so easy… I was also able to choose a pay per month plan that fit my budget. This made it easier to get the work done that I wanted. Some other companies did not offer this option. The value I received was great too!” — Lynann in Quakertown, Pennsylvania

      • “… SunPower kept me up to date on everything. Anytime I ever had a problem with connecting online with it, I would call and they would talk me through everything. I never had a problem. They were always there whenever I called. They would call back within an hour and would not make you wait long. It’s a good company.” — Nicholas in Easton, Pennsylvania

      Miscommunication is a somewhat common theme when you read enough SunPower complaints. Most conversations happen over email — if direct, in-person talking is important to you, consider working with a small local operation. The company could also be more transparent in its quote process, according to Ryan in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, who told us that “they make you jump through 100 hoops to get a price.”

      SunPower specializes in professional solar panel installations on residential properties. The company has a broad dealer network with certified installers handling all Pennsylvania jobs. Local reps evaluate your home energy needs, design a custom system, help secure any necessary permits and work out financing options. 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 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

      • Great professional installation services
      • Highly efficient equipment
      • Comprehensive transferable warranty
      • Variety of payment options

      Cons

      • Some installation delays
      • Some communication issues
      Our pick for payment options

      Sunrun

      Max. panel efficiency
      22%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease
      Year founded
      2007

      Sunrun takes a personalized solar design approach. Reps start by looking at your past electricity bills to estimate your energy needs. Then, they use a specialized computer tool to create the optimal solar system design for your roof.

      Its leasing program is a great way to get solar panels without the huge upfront investment. You don't have to pay for the equipment, installation, permitting or financing costs. Sunrun technically owns your system if you choose to lease, and you pay a fixed monthly fee to use it. Lease agreements typically last 25 years.

      • “Sunrun seemed to have the best things going on for them. Levi was my rep and he was awesome. I still talk to him and ask him a couple of questions here and there. I talked to the installers briefly and they were decent and fast. We're still in the new phases of this solar thing but I have nothing bad so far. There is benefit to it price-wise. To anyone asking about working with Sunrun, go to Levi because he made the process seamless.” — Stephen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

      • “When the installers came, they put it up and showed us how to use it. There were no hitches. I had a great experience.” — Robert in York Haven, Pennsylvania

      • “... Going solar has been really good. Our electric bills have only been $7 a month. We try to use as little power as possible. We're still making the payments now but all in all, it's saving us money. All the Sunrun in Pennsylvania were closed but techs will still so come out and do the work. Everybody that we dealt with was super nice and helpful.” — Barry in Blandon, Pennsylvania

      Sunrun customers are generally satisfied, but some have told us about communication issues. For instance, Kerri and Ron in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, were initially promised 99% efficiency but only achieved 60%. They also said there was a communication about tree height and additional panels needed, which understandably led to frustration with the installation coordinator.

      Additionally, leasing a system could make it harder to sell your house, according to Erika in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

      Sunrun sells and leases customized residential solar energy systems and its battery storage service in 20 states and two U.S. territories. Customers can own or lease a system with $0 down. Sunrun offers free energy consultations and quotes. Over 830,000 homes across the U.S. have gone solar with Sunrun, according to the company.

      • High-efficiency solar panel installations
      • Battery storage solutions
      • Monitoring and maintenance
      • EV charging solutions

      Sunrun has warranty coverage, system maintenance and a performance guarantee. The warranty covers workmanship and equipment for 10 years. The performance guarantee lasts 25 years. Leased systems typically come with free maintenance and repairs. It also has a 95% system performance guarantee. Its terms and conditions focus on service use, including account registration and payments, with a general "as is" disclaimer without detailed warranty specifics in the provided sections.

      You can also pay for your system upfront or take out a loan, but Sunrun’s leasing plans are what really sets it apart from other solar options in Pennsylvania.

      • Solar lease: Rent the solar system for $0 or little down. Then, you pay a fixed monthly payment for the term of your leasing contract, typically 25 years. You can also prepay for up to 25 years of solar energy.
      • Power purchase agreement: Purchase the electricity generated by the system at a fixed, predictable rate without worrying about upfront equipment costs.
      • Solar loan: Financing options with competitive rates to purchase the system for long-term ownership and potential for greater savings.

      Pros

      • Long time in business
      • Flexible payment options
      • Comprehensive warranties
      • Daily system monitoring

      Cons

      • Limited price transparency
      • Some communication issues
      Our pick for simple process
      Max. panel efficiency
      20%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      Year founded
      2017

      Green Home Systems has experience with a wide range of solar energy solutions, from panels and inverters to batteries and additional accessories. Pennsylvania customers tell us about smooth installations and significant savings on their electric bills.

      We also like that it sources equipment from trusted brands, including Panasonic, Qcells and Enphase. You can also get Generac backup generators, IronRidge racking systems and Span Smart electrical panels.

      • “This was a great experience overall. From the first call to turning on the new Solar Panels. I would highly recommend this company if you are interested in going solar. I specifically thought the salespeople were the best. They knew what they were talking about.” — Duane in Clairton, Pennsylvania

      • “My last energy bill showed a $50 credit in my favor. The process was simple with Green Home Systems. They helped in working out the placement and number of units… ” — Scott in Wexford, Pennsylvania

      • “I called Green Home Systems and asked questions. I talked to somebody then waited a while. I called back and the guy talked to me some more. He was very polite. A couple of times, he called me in following up things.…” — Ted in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

      • “The installers were fantastic. They got everything done when it was supposed to be. They had Duquesne Light okay the system and it was turned on three weeks after I started the process... “ — George in Homestead, Pennsylvania

      Pennsylvania customers are generally satisfied with the performance of their solar panels, but some have issues with the battery backup system (in other words, they can’t run their entire house as expected). Others weren’t satisfied with the cost and savings of the solar panels, even though the installers were great.

      We’ve also heard some grumblings about reps not explaining financing terms or incentives very well. “Green Home's sales rep screwed me around,” Daniel in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, told us. “But the installers were great and I talked to them quite a bit out there about it.”

      Green Home Systems is a solar installation company specializing in renewable energy. It installs residential and commercial solar panels, backup batteries, generators and inverters. Mounting options include rooftop, ground and carport/shade structures. The company has a location in Lancaster and services customers in surrounding areas.

      • Custom solar system design
      • Energy storage options
      • Monitoring app
      • Financing available

      Green Home System customers can purchase the system outright or finance it through a solar loan:

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

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

      Pros

      • High-efficiency solar technology
      • 25-year guarantee
      • In-house financing
      • Physical location in Lancaster

      Cons

      • Some communication issues
      • Possible delays or rescheduling
      Our pick for renters
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Payment options
      Varies
      Year founded
      2012

      CleanChoice Energy isn't a solar panel installer. Instead, the company purchases renewable energy on your behalf in the form of grid power and renewable energy certifications. This makes it a good option for people who rent or otherwise can't install a solar panel system.

      People like that the simplified enrollment process, which you can start either online or through the mail. Pennsylvania customers also appreciate the competitive rates and environmental commitment. They generally recommended CleanChoice Energy as a reliable and affordable option.

      • “Enrolling with CleanChoice Energy was fabulous. I just went online, put in my information, hit enter, and it was taken care of. I can see my electric bill is going down.” — Debra in Tyrone, Pennsylvania

      • “I felt impressed with the way that Clean Choice is working or trying to save the environment or do some good stuff. I immediately joined it. Enrollment was quick and easy. When I called customer care, they immediately switched me from one other carrier to this carrier, which was very smooth and easy. I only had to give my account number from the previous carrier and that was all and they took it. Their service has been very good. I'm very satisfied. They're an awesome company.” — Suman in Erie, Pennsylvania

      • “CleanChoice Energy is good as far as customer service goes. If I have any problems, they got answers for me. If I wanna know anything, they let me know about it. I like the service. It's a whole lot cheaper than the other provider. CleanChoice is worth switching over to.” — Ronald in Washington, Pennsylvania

      Some Pennsylvania customers seem annoyed by a lack of notification for contract expiration. For instance, Leland in Havertown, Pennsylvania, mistakenly thought the contract would automatically renew. “It screwed me one year because all of a sudden, I was back paid the full cost of power directly from PECO, which is higher than the CleanChoice,” Leland told us. “Other than that, it's a great deal. See if you can get CleanChoice in your neighborhood.”

      Another customer, Faulk in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania, told us, “They give you good deals to start out. But when they raise it and it's understood that they have the right to do that, you can negotiate with them.”

      CleanChoice Energy acts as an alternative energy supplier in New York. Instead of getting your electricity from the default utility company in your area, CleanChoice 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 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.

      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
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      Year founded
      2018
      1x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service

      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.

      • “I'm building an off-grid RV out of an old bus and solar is the only way to go for that. I've been researching this for a while and ended up with ShopSolarKits. What I liked about them was they were the only place I found that was all-inclusive… On the whole, things went went about as smooth as they could go. ShopSolarKits made me confident in my purchase and the pricing was good. They turned me into a confident solar installer and I didn't know anything about it. If a friend of mine heard me say that, they would trust what I said.” — Carmen in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

      • “The nice thing was I could pick what I needed and ShopSolar sent me everything all in one package. It's a 2,400-watt inverter, 800 watts of solar, and I have it out on my garage. I'm just using it to power stuff up there. I have a small air compressor, LED lights, chargers, soldering irons. During the winter, we don't get as much sunlight. So, I would watch my battery slowly keep going down. Thankfully, I have it set up correctly so that it would turn off before the battery would tell it to turn off. And it would wait until it gets sunlight again and build back up. So, it's not terrible. But if I had done more research, I would have got a bigger capacity and figured out a way to insulate around that battery. Other than that, I've already recommended ShopSolar to a couple of co-workers here.” — Erik in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania

      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.

      » 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

      Pennsylvania solar panel buyers guide

      If you've been thinking about going solar in Pennsylvania but aren’t sure where to start, you’re not alone. Our team has talked to thousands of solar customers across the country. Here’s what to expect and what to look out for when buying solar panels in Pennsylvania.

      Key insights

      • A typical Pennsylvania household needs a 10.17 kW system to offset enough energy costs to make solar viable. Depending on your household energy usage, you might need a smaller or larger system.
      • The federal Pennsylvania investment tax credit (ITC) is the most significant financial incentive for buying solar panels in Pennsylvania. You can also lease a system with little upfront cost, but you aren't eligible for the ITC.
      • Many solar customers are happy with the service, installation and cost savings. Others felt misled by pushy sales tactics and ended up with monthly bills higher than expected. We recommend thoroughly researching and comparing different providers before making a decision.

      Going solar in Pennsylvania

      The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission recommends residents choose a reputable solar contractor or installer that is registered with the PA Attorney General, as well as either the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) or UL PV certification. The commission also recommends getting at least three quotes or proposals with references before choosing your best option.

      » BEST STATES FOR SOLAR: Pennsylvania ranks 15th

      What to look for in a solar company in Pennsylvania

      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:

      • Local experience: Look for installers with lots of experience in Pennsylvania. They are better at navigating regional incentive programs, permit processes, utility policies and designing systems to maximize energy production given the state’s climate and weather patterns.
      • Good reputation: Research the company's track record and read reviews. Look out for red flags: recurring complaints about misleading sales tactics, equipment failures, billing issues and lack of communication are common themes in negative solar company reviews.
      • Free consultation: 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.
      • Complete services: The best solar companies provide end-to-end services, from system design and engineering to permitting, installation, inspection, monitoring and maintenance. Also consider if you want a solar storage battery, electric vehicle (EV) charger or critter guard.
      • Transparent terms: The contract should be easy to understand. If anything about payment schedules, warranties, monitoring services or system maintenance doesn’t make sense — ask for clarification. Warranties and productivity guarantees provide peace of mind once your system is up and running.
      • Industry credentials: Legitimate solar companies have proper licensing, insurance and NABCEP certification for installers. Bonding is also important as it protects you if the contractor fails to meet certain financial obligations, like paying for permits or subcontractors. The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA) has a free directory that includes information on installers across the state. The Philadelphia Energy Authority connects residents with city-approved solar installers through its Solarize Philly program.

      One resident, Brandi in Indiana, Pennsylvania, is usually cautious when something seems “too good to be true” but admitted that a solar sales team got the best of her: She didn’t get the tax credit the rep said she would and customer service was unreachable after installation. “I'm left with an expensive set of roof ornaments to the tune of $300+ per month and limited to no return in expense for energy costs,” she told us.

      That’s why it’s so important to thoroughly research and verify claims made by sales teams before making a decision. 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.

      » TIPS: Get the best solar quotes

      How much does it cost to go solar in Pennsylvania?

      Pennsylvania solar panel costs. typically range between $10,229 to $29,225. 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 higher end, one solar customer in Pennsylvania told us they paid $100,000 for a system, including for a $23,000 battery.

      Most installers set the price according to the system's wattage, with a typical cost between $2.50 and $5 per watt. In Pennsylvania, the average cost per watt is $3.05.

      Average solar panel installation cost by system size in Pennsylvania

      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?

      You could pay the full cost upfront, but many choose to finance their system 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.

      Alternatively, you can lease solar panels. There are pros and cons to leasing. It’s sometimes cheaper in the short term, but you’ll be disqualified from some of the best financial incentives, including the federal solar investment tax credit.

      Pennsylvania 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.

      Some solar companies suggest using a home equity line of credit or loan to finance a solar installation. This can be a financially beneficial option — home equity interest rates are relatively low, and it lets homeowners take advantage of the federal solar tax credit.

      » SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

      Solar incentives in Pennsylvania

      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 equal to 30% of the cost of your solar energy system, including equipment, labor and permits. The credit is nonrefundable, so any unused portion rolls over into the next tax year.

      The ITC is not a rebate or a refund.

      Homeowners may also take advantage of solar renewable energy credits (SRECs), rebates and loan programs in Pennsylvania. For example, a program in Philadelphia has put solar on more than 2,000 rooftops, and there are plans to expand its efforts.

      » MORE: Pennsylvania solar incentives

      Net metering in Pennsylvania

      Net metering lets homeowners get credits for extra electricity their solar panels generate. To qualify for net metering in Pennsylvania, residential solar systems must be 50 kilowatts or less in size, which covers the vast majority of installations. Homeowners must submit an interconnection application to their utility to connect to the grid and establish the terms of the net metering agreement.

      Under state law, utilities must compensate solar customers for their excess generation at the full retail electricity rate. This policy, mandated by the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, ensures that solar power is fairly valued and incentivized.

      Still, the goal of net metering is to let you produce enough renewable electricity for your own home's needs but not drastically more than what you use.

      » EXPLORE: Where solar savings go the furthest

      Are solar panels worth it in Pennsylvania?

      We’ve talked to dozens of solar customers in Pennsylvania. With electricity costs continuing to rise, many tell us it’s financially worth it for the long-term savings on monthly bills. On average, homeowners with solar panels in Pennsylvania avoid $58,076 total utility costs over 25 years.

      “I went solar as an investment for now and in the future. I also wanted to produce my own energy, as well as to help the environment,” Steven in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, told us. “After the first month, it reduced my electric bill to just the minimum connection fee and the system produced power for the future.”

      Another resident, Stephanie in Philadelphia, said her electric bill is $0 in the summer and about half what it was in the winter since going solar. “It's definitely a good deal,” she told us. “On cloudy days or rainy days, you're not getting a heck of a lot of generation. But the way the summers have been around here, and warmer weather stretching out for longer in the seasons than they used to, you’re crazy not to try and recoup some of that.”

      I went solar as an investment for now and in the future.”
      — Steven in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

      There are a few potential downsides. Some residents have complained that utility companies’ fees related to rooftop solar systems are prohibitively high. Still, for many homeowners, going solar is worth it in Pennsylvania for the lower energy bills and less reliance on local power companies.

      Overall, electric rates throughout the United States have been increasing, and no one knows what the next few years will look like. The average homeowner in Pennsylvania uses quite a bit of power, which adds up to a lot of savings when you switch to solar.

      » STILL NOT SURE? Solar pros and cons

      FAQ

      Can I get free solar panels in Pennsylvania?

      We are not aware of any legitimate programs for free solar panels in Pennsylvania. However, you can lease a solar energy system with little to no upfront costs.

      » FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

      What solar scams are common in Pennsylvania?

      Beware of solar salespeople using high-pressure tactics like claiming free installation offers that will expire if you don’t sign up now, warns the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Pennsylvania. These scammers might steal your personal and banking information under the guise of checking your eligibility qualifications. Representatives making promises about zero upfront costs or claiming a government program will cover the cost of your new solar panel installation are likely running a solar scam.

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

      A solar broker is a middleman or intermediary who helps connect you with a solar installation contractor. 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 going solar?

      As a rule of thumb, consider fixing your roof before going solar if it’s more than 10 years old. 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 permits do I need to go solar in Pennsylvania?

      Each municipality in Pennsylvania handles permitting in its own way. Many municipalities treat the installation of small residential solar panels as an accessory use (like adding a pool or shed) to your home rather than as principal or condition uses (meant for larger utility-scale projects).

      You may also need an environmental permit on top of an electrical permit, as well as a building permit under the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) for solar. Local code officials have the discretion to waive certain documentation requirements. Even if a UCC permit is not required, you may have a different solar permitting ordinance that applies.

      Do I really need a solar battery?

      A solar battery system protects against fluctuating energy costs and policy changes while maximizing the benefits of your solar panels. As regulations change, batteries can insulate you from unfavorable policies and offer opportunities for future financial benefits, like participating in demand response programs or selling stored energy to the local grid. Solar batteries are also a must if you want real energy independence and are essential if you go off-grid.

      How many solar companies are in Pennsylvania?

      As of publishing, there are 467 solar energy companies in Pennsylvania, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

      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 lower rate 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 Pennsylvania. 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 Pennsylvania:

      1. SunPower: Top overall
      2. Sunrun: Flexible payment plans
      3. Green Home Systems: Simple process
      4. CleanChoice Energy: Community solar options
      5. ShopSolar: Good for DIY projects

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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, “Pennsylvania Programs.” Accessed March 10, 2024.
        2. EnergySage, “Pennsylvania solar panels: local pricing and installation data.” Accessed March 10, 2024.
        3. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Pennsylvania Solar.” Accessed March 10, 2024.
        4. SolarReviews, “How much do solar panels cost in Pennsylvania, 2024?” Accessed March 10, 2024.
        5. LancasterOnline, “New Pennsylvania solar customers face unexpected hurdles.” Accessed March 10, 2024.
        6. Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “High Performance Building Program (HPB) - PA Dept. of Community & Economic Development.” Accessed April 2, 2024.
        7. Pennsylvania Solar Center, “Zoning and Permitting Solar in Your Municipality.” Accessed April 2, 2024.
        8. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, “DEP Permit Application Consultation Tool.” Accessed April 2, 2024.
        9. Pennsylvania House Democrats, “Schweyer bill to create community solar program passes house.” Accessed April 2, 2024.
        10. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, “Renewable Energy Sources | PAPowerSwitch.” Accessed April 2, 2024.

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