Best Solar Companies in South Carolina

We compared 93 brands and chose the top solar energy companies

    • SunPower
      3.5(2,282)
    • Sunrun
      4.2(2,899)
    • Blue Raven Solar
      4.8(232)

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      Best Solar Companies in South Carolina

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

      The ConsumerAffairs Research Team compared popular solar companies on ratings and reviews, equipment options, warranties, availability and other factors to choose the top picks for this guide. Read the full methodology for all the details. 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. Sunrun 
      3. Blue Raven Solar
      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. We like that its SunVault storage battery is excellent for maximizing energy savings during peak rate times.

      But what really sets SunPower apart is its seamless solar panel installation process. Local reps evaluate your home energy needs, design a custom system, help secure any necessary permits and work out financing options.

      The company typically works with local installers, and SunPower’s monitoring app lets you track the system’s performance once the project is complete.

      SunPower benefits

      • Available nationwide
      • 38 years in business
      • Comprehensive 25-year warranty
      • Energy monitoring app
      • Battery storage options
      • Ongoing support

      Many local customers express satisfaction with the installation process, customer service and energy savings.

      “The sales rep did a really good job and got everything real smooth,” David, a South Carolina resident, told us. “They handled everything and I didn't have to do a whole lot of anything. I was happy with the sales rep and the installation people. So far, I'm happy with how I'm saving money and energy. Everything is going good.”

      Another verified customer, Ken in McCormick, “couldn’t be happier” with the SunPower system he got through South Coast Solar. “Top quality equipment at reasonable prices, and the wait times weren't too bad considering the supply chain problems we are all dealing with,” he said. “If you're on the fence for solar, this is the company to go with!”

      Some South Carolina customers have told us about issues with billing or not getting the gift cards that they were promised to them. For example, Carole in Simpsonville told us, “I enjoyed working with SunPower. The sales rep was very informative. The only thing that I didn't like was they said you can get a $1,000 gift card, but I didn't get it.”

      SunPower’s “Complete Confidence Warranty” covers your entire solar energy system for 25 years, including the panels, inverter, racking and monitoring. The company repairs or replaces equipment at no cost to you (including labor and shipping).

      Financing options

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

      Sunrun

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

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

      Sunrun customizes home systems based on your energy usage history, roof space and design preferences. The company uses an automated site modeling tool that profiles roof characteristics like shading, pitch and sun exposure.

      Unlike some of its competitors, Sunrun contracts have a roof warranty that covers leaks and holes. The company also has options for community solar. As of publishing, the company's available discounts include $0 down for some financing and loan plans.

      Sunrun benefits

      • Flexible payment options
      • Custom solar designs
      • Comprehensive warranty coverage
      • Daily system monitoring
      • Solar storage battery options
      • EV charging solutions
      • 15-plus years of experience

      Happy Sunrun customers in South Carolina tell us about helpful reps and significant savings on electric bills. “Sunrun's installation crew were really good and knowledgeable,” Myron in Columbia said. “I'm really satisfied with my system so far. My bill went down from $560 and I got a bill that was $88. It's been going down ever since.”

      Another customer, Gregg in Columbia, hired Sunrun “because of the cost, the customer service and understanding and the actual follow-up with their rep.” He said that “the tech and electrician that came out were very skilled and executed skilled craftsmanship in their job.”

      One customer, Jim in Columbia, said there was “a little hiccup” during the installation: “I have a metal roof, and they weren't hitting the purlins underneath. They were denting up the roof. They had to go back and reengineer things and got them trimmed out.”

      We’ve also heard some complaints related to customer service and issues with performance after installation is complete.

      For those who purchase a solar system, Sunrun's comprehensive warranty covers equipment replacements and repairs, including parts and labor, for 25 years. The company provides free maintenance and repairs on leased solar systems.

      Financing options

      • Loans: As of publishing, available discounts include $0 down for some financing plans.
      • Leasing: You can lease solar equipment for a minimal upfront payment.

      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 is one of the best-reviewed solar installers on ConsumerAffairs. Its solar advisors use proprietary software to design custom systems that maximize annual energy output. They take a technology-focused approach tailored to South Carolina’s climate.

      We also like Blue Raven’s low-profile panel mounting and sleek cabling for their visual appeal. Plus, the 25-year warranty and productivity guarantee give you peace of mind after the system is up and running.

      Happy customers often praise the efficiency and professionalism of installation crews. People really seem to appreciate the thoroughness and responsiveness of the customer service team — they are good at answering questions and keeping you informed throughout the process.

      Blue Raven benefits

      • Sleek, durable systems
      • Warranty on all installations
      • Quality solar equipment
      • Flexible payment plans
      • Energy storage options

      We haven’t talked to verified Blue Raven Solar customers in South Carolina. However, nearby, Ryan in Lumberton, North Carolina, hired them to install 43 solar panels.

      “The crew was on time every morning, finished the job in the three-day timeframe that was expected, and everyone was very courteous and respectful,” Ryan told us. “The electrician gave me a thorough rundown of the system when everything was completed and they left the job site spotless!”

      Another customer in North Carolina, Christine in Lumber Bridge, recently had solar panels installed by Blue Raven Solar. “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,” she told us.

      Christine also said that the staff is exceptional, and she’s been saving money since the installation was complete.

      Some customers have told us about delays and issues with their installations, though these are common themes for almost all solar companies. There have also been complaints about poor communication after installations are complete.

      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.
      Our pick for easy signup process
      Max. panel efficiency
      20%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2017

      Green Home Systems makes it quick and easy for homeowners to switch to solar. The process starts with a free quote. During the consultation, the company’s reps look at your property and analyze your current electricity bills. Green Home Systems then designs a solar panel system to meet your household energy needs.

      We like that Green Home Systems offers a wide range of solar energy solutions, from panels and inverters to batteries and additional accessories, from brands we trust. The company sources solar panels from Panasonic, Qcells, Longi, Mission and URE. Batteries come from Enphase, Tigo, SolarEdge, FranklinWH or LGchem Battery; inverters are made by Enphase, SolarEdge, Tigo or Solis.

      You can also get Generac backup generators, IronRidge racking systems and Span Smart electrical panels.

      Green Home Systems benefits

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

      Happy Green Home Systems customers often tell us about clear communication, knowledgeable representatives and smooth installations. The company generally gets positive feedback on the service and ongoing cost savings.

      “The sales rep of Green Home was very helpful and explained all the numbers and that was what I needed to hear,” one local customer, Maria in Pickens, told us.

      “They did a good job and it's been working really great, overall. I'm happy with it. I get a credit on the next bill. And I used to have, on average, during the summer months with the AC running full time, $500 bills,” Maria said.

      Solar panel installations are pretty complicated, and not everything goes smoothly 100% of the time. For example, Maria in Pickens told us about a minor issue with her installation: “The installation crew hit a waterline that I didn't know was there that went to a neighbor's property. I had to get in contact with the sales rep because I didn't have a contact directly with the contractor that was answering a phone call and the people needed their water back.

      “That was a little bit of a hassle. But the sales rep was able to get in contact with whoever they needed to. Once they did, they came back out here and got it fixed within 24 hours.”

      Green Home Systems also might not be the best fit if you’re on a tight deadline. We’ve heard complaints about installation delays from customers in other states.

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

      • Cash: You can pay the full cost 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. We like that ShopSolar has a nice selection of equipment, fast deliveries and good communication. The online company stocks brands like Panasonic, REC, Renogy, Canadian Solar and EcoFlow. It also sells custom solar kits.

      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. Orders typically arrive within 10 business days.

      ShopSolar benefits

      • Complete solar packages
      • Great for homes, RVs and outbuildings
      • Free shipping
      • Lifetime customer support
      • Price-match guarantee
      • 30-day return policy

      John in Hopkins and many others have had good experiences with ShopSolar. “Their price is fair. They delivered what they said they would when they would and it was at a market price,” John said. Others give the company praise for its efficient shipping and customer support.

      One customer, Mark in Lancaster, got the EcoFlow Delta 1800 to use for backup power. “I've used the solar panels to make sure that the battery backup is fully charged, and it's worked out fine,” he told us.

      The important thing to keep in mind is that ShopSolar doesn’t offer professional installation services, so it’s best to know a little about solar panels and electrical work. Otherwise, you might get frustrated with the process or install something incorrectly.

      Some customers experienced problems with their purchases, such as damaged or faulty equipment, but ShopSolarKits generally resolved these issues with refunds or replacements.

      » 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 the individual manufacturers’ warranties. If you run into a warranty issue, reps can help you contact the equipment manufacturer.

      Payment options

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

      South Carolina solar panel buyers guide

      Our team has talked to thousands of solar customers across the country — here’s what to expect and what to look out for.

      Key insights

      • 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: great reviews, transparent contracts, reliable equipment and comprehensive warranties.

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

      Solar panel costs in South 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 cost to go solar in South Carolina has fallen 47% over the last 10 years.

      The size of your solar system plays a big role in how much it costs overall. The price also varies depending on which installer you hire and if you need a solar storage battery. Solar storage battery costs are sometimes almost as much as the panels, but they’re a must if you want real energy independence and essential if you go off-grid.

      » COMPARE: Solar costs in other states

      How can I pay for solar panels?

      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 won’t be eligible for some of the best financial incentives, including the federal solar investment tax credit.

      » SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

      What solar incentives are available in South 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 your solar system’s total cost, including equipment, labor and permits. ITC is not a rebate or a refund, and any unused amount rolls over into the next tax year.

      Homeowners may also take advantage of state tax credits, property tax exemptions, and other incentives offered by Santee Cooper Electric in South Carolina.

      Net metering in South Carolina

      Net metering lets homeowners get credits for extra electricity their solar panels generate. In South Carolina, how much each credit is worth varies depending on the time of year and your current electric rate. The credit goes toward your next month’s utility bill. At the end of the year, your utility company will pay you for any leftover credits.

      » MORE: South Carolina solar incentives

      How do I choose a solar company in South Carolina?

      The best solar companies have a few things in common: high-efficiency equipment, transparent contract terms and long warranties (at least 10 to 25 years). Here’s what else to look for.

      • A long time in business: Look for companies with plenty of experience installing solar panels in South Carolina. It makes it easier to navigate regulations, permits and available financial incentives.
      • A good reputation: Research the company's track record and read reviews. Look out for red flags — complaints about misleading sales tactics, equipment failures, billing issues and lack of communication are common themes in negative solar company reviews.
      • Comprehensive service: Consider if you want a solar storage battery, electric vehicle (EV) charger or a monitoring system to ensure optimal output. It’s also smart to ask about critter guards in South Carolina.
      • 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.
      • Licensed, insured and certified: Ensure the company is appropriately licensed, insured and has NABCEP-certified installers. This protects you and shows the employees take their business seriously.
      • Transparent terms: Carefully review proposals and financials, understand legal considerations, and ask about maintenance before signing an agreement with any solar company. If you don’t understand something about the payment terms, warranty or ongoing services, ask.

      » TIPS: Getting the best solar quotes

      Are solar panels worth it in South Carolina?

      Going solar isn’t just a green move; it's often a smart money move. Solar panels are worth it if you like the idea of helping the environment, lowering your monthly utility bills, and gaining more energy independence.

      However, not everyone benefits from solar panels in the same way. Factors to consider include the age of your appliances, the amount of sunlight you get, the condition of your roof and the space you have available. The cost of solar panels can vary, but the average estimated net savings over 25 years range from $10,000 to $25,000.

      Like a lot of solar customers we’ve talked to, Johnny in Williamston is satisfied with the decision to go solar. “My carbon footprint has been reduced. My monthly electric bill has been reduced,” he said. There’s practically no downside.

      Another South Carolina resident, Jana in Donalds, said her power bill went from $200 to $36 after she switched to solar.

      » STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

      FAQ

      Can I get free solar panels in South Carolina?

      We are not aware of any legitimate programs for free solar panels in South 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?

      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?

      If your roof is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it before going solar. Installing solar panels on an old roof might mean you have to remove the panels, fix 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 South 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 31 popular providers. First, we narrowed it down to the ones available in South Carolina. We then weighted several key features to get our final rankings:

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

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

      Warranties: 20%
      A long warranty is important. We compared both product and craftsmanship warranties available from our top picks. All of our top picks have warranties of at least 10 to 25 years.

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

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

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

      • Our pick for customer service: SunPower
      • Our pick for solar leases: Sunrun
      • Our pick for low upfront costs: Blue Raven Solar
      • Our pick for easy signup process: Green Home Systems
      • Our pick for DIY 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, “South Carolina Solar Programs.” Accessed Feb. 1, 2024.
      2. EnergySage, “The cost of solar panels in South Carolina.” Accessed Feb. 1, 2024.
      3. Solar Energy Industries Association, “South Carolina Solar.” Accessed Feb. 1, 2024.
      4. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed Feb. 1, 2024.

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