Best Solar Companies in Tennessee

We compared 62 brands and chose the top solar energy companies

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

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      Best Solar Companies in Tennessee

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

      Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
      • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
      • 4,481,718 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

      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 that uses 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 can evaluate your home energy needs, design a custom system, help secure any necessary permits and work out financing options.

      One local customer, Tammie in Lebanon, told us that customer service was very helpful and that the installation workers were knowledgeable and friendly.

      Tammie also mentioned getting a “great deal” on financing. “We save a lot of money using solar. It has paid for itself,” she said. “Especially this summer. It's been so hot and we are just very pleased with our purchase of solar energy.”

      SunPower benefits

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

      SunPower is a reliable solar company with comprehensive services, but it’s not the cheapest option. Your upfront costs tend to be a little higher than other companies. After all, you get what you pay for.

      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.

      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 a great option if you need to buy solar equipment for do-it-yourself projects. You can find new and used solar panels, solar storage batteries, inverters, charge controllers, cabling and hardware, mounts and racks — everything needed for an off-grid or hybrid setup. The online store has brands like Panasonic, REC, Renogy, Canadian Solar and EcoFlow.

      The company also sells custom solar kits. Orders typically arrive within 10 business days.

      We like that ShopSolar has positive reviews from customers in Tennessee and other states. One verified customer, Clyde in Sparta, told us, “The kit came with sufficient instructions, and I didn't have any problem at all. I used the helpline a couple of times for questions I had and they were very quick to answer and very thorough.”

      ShopSolar benefits

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

      The important thing to keep in mind is that ShopSolar doesn’t offer professional installation services. It’s best to know a little about solar panels and electrical work. For instance, Peter in Seymour said ordering his solar kit and backup battery was simple, but installing it himself has "been a chore."

      Additionally, some reviewers 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, the company’s representatives can help you contact the equipment manufacturer.

      Payment options

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

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        Tennessee solar panel buyers guide

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

        • A professional solar panel installation can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more.
        • The federal solar tax credit is the most significant way to lower the cost of buying solar panels. Tennessee has some financial incentives to make going solar even more affordable.
        • Leasing your solar equipment can minimize the initial cost. But you won’t be eligible for the federal solar tax credit because you won’t own the system.

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

        For a professional residential installation, the average solar panel costs in Tennessee are comparable to the national average of around $18,000 for a 6-kilowatt (kW) system (that price drops to $12,600 after factoring in the full federal solar investment tax credit). On the higher end, John in Smithville said his system was $50,000, and Billy in Brush Creek said they paid $80,000.

        The size of your 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. Storage batteries are 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’ll be disqualified from some of the best financial incentives, including the federal solar investment tax credit.

        » SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

        What solar incentives are available in Tennessee?

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

        Tennessee homeowners may also take advantage of tax breaks and special financing options to make the upfront cost of investing in solar panels more affordable.

        » EXPLORE: Tennessee solar incentives

        How do I choose a solar company in Tennessee?

        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.

        • 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.
        • Long time in business: Look for companies with plenty of experience installing solar panels in Tennessee. It makes it easier to navigate regulations, permits and available financial incentives.
        • 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 Tennessee.
        • 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.

        » TIPS: Getting the best solar quotes

        Are solar panels worth it in Tennessee?

        Solar panels are not as popular in Tennessee as in some other states. But with electricity costs on the rise, more and more homeowners are finding solar power is financially worth it in the long run.

        Solar panels are expensive, and the upfront costs of going solar are the biggest deterrent for many. If you finance solar panels, it makes sense as long as the solar loan payment is lower than what you would be paying in regular electric bill payments (plus the cost of the energy you use from the grid, if any).

        Tennessee gets an average of 3.5 to 4.5 peak sun hours a day.

        A common misconception is that homeowners with solar panels don’t get electric bills at all. This is not always the case. On the bright side, you’ll still probably save money in the long run.

        Plenty of Tennessee solar customers are happy with the results. However, it doesn’t work out for everyone. One solar customer we talked to, AJ in Knoxville, has some advice for other residents considering making the switch: “This is a major decision when purchasing these products. I would suggest studying the (financial) aspect and your budget to see if this is the right decision for you and your family.”

        » STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

        FAQ

        Can I get free solar panels in Tennessee?

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

        » FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

        How does net metering work in Tennessee?

        Net metering lets homeowners earn credits or receive payments for any extra electricity their solar panels generate that is sent to the local power grid. Tennessee doesn't have a statewide net metering policy in place, but some electric companies might still offer net metering programs. For example, Appalachian Power runs its own net metering program.

        How are solar costs trending in Tennessee?

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

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

        A solar broker is a middleman or intermediary who helps connect homeowners with solar installation companies. A solar installer specializes in designing, procuring and installing solar panels and related components. Ultimately, deciding between a solar broker and a solar installer depends on how much you want to be involved in the process.

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

        Should I replace my roof before installing solar panels?

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

        » SHOULD YOU: Replace your roof before going solar?

        Methodology: How we picked the best solar companies in Tennessee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Our pick for professional installation: SunPower
        • 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, “Tennessee Solar Programs.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.
        2. EnergySage, “The cost of solar panels in Tennessee.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.
        3. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Tennessee Solar.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.
        4. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed Jan. 17, 2024.

        Not sure how to choose?

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