Best Solar Companies in Virginia

We compared 106 brands and chose the top solar energy companies

    • Blue Raven Solar
      4.8(232)
    • Freedom Solar Power
      4.5(234)
    • Sunrun
      4.2(2,900)

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      Best Solar Companies in Virginia

      Going solar in Virginia is a bright idea — the state gets plenty of sunlight, and there are hundreds of good solar installation companies to choose from.

      We compared popular solar companies on ratings and reviews, equipment options, warranties, availability and other factors to choose our top picks for Virginia. 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.

      Our top solar company picks for Virginia

      1. Blue Raven Solar
      2. Freedom Solar Power
      3. Sunrun
      4. ShopSolar
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      Virginia’s top 4 solar companies reviewed

      Blue Raven Solar, Freedom Solar Power and Sunrun are all worth considering for residential installations — we suggest comparing a few quotes to see who has the best deal in your area. If you already know what you need for a DIY project, skip down to ShopSolar.

      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 has excellent reviews and transparent pricing. It also stands out for affordable financing programs that can minimize out-of-pocket costs.

      Its solar advisors use proprietary software to design custom systems that maximize annual energy output. They take a technology-focused approach tailored to Virginia’s climate.

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

      Blue Raven Solar benefits

      • Quality solar equipment
      • Flexible payment options
      • No upfront cost options
      • Energy storage options

      Local customers appreciate that Blue Raven’s installation crews know what they are doing. They are informative, professional and friendly, according to Troy in Yorktown.

      “The crew showed up on time, and you can tell they worked very close as a team,” Troy told us. “The [installation] of the panels seem to go very quickly and neatly. I was very impressed of how easily they were installed and how well they looked once installed.”

      Another customer, William in Norfolk, was very satisfied: “My dealings with Blue Raven [have been] outstanding thus far. They came when they said they would, they answered all my questions and I like the deal they gave me.”

      Blue Raven doesn’t have as wide of a range of brand partners as some of our other top picks, and some customers have issues getting help with problems after their solar energy system is installed.

      Blue Raven Solar provides 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 Blue Raven upfront, giving you immediate ownership of the solar equipment.
      • BluePower: This fixed, low 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+: This financing option combines aspects of a solar lease (or PPA) with the flexibility of solar panel ownership. Eligible customers can pay $0 upfront, get 18 months of free solar power and make fixed monthly payments after that. You own the system and are responsible for maintenance.
      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      22.8%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2007
      2x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service and Best for Installation

      Freedom Solar Power is a solar installer in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area that specializes in residential and commercial installations. Its primary panel partner is SunPower. The company also sells Tesla Powerwall and SunPower SunVault backup battery systems.

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

      Freedom Solar Power benefits

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

      Local customers tell us Freedom Solar has helpful reps. The process was “very personable, while other solar guys I had gone through were a little more pushy,” Todd in Virginia Beach said. “The installers did great, too. They showed up, got the job done within a day and a half or so, and went on their way.”

      Another customer, James in Hampton, had a similar experience: “Freedom Solar is outstanding. The rep had the best presentation and he knew what he was talking about. The installation process was fairly lengthy but other than that, it was a terrific job.”

      James was also impressed with everyone involved during planning and installation. “They're very professional and honest. Compared to other companies who have come to show their product, Freedom was hands down the best,” he said.

      We’ve heard some grumblings about installation delays and contractors who come in from other states. For instance, Chong in Arlington hired Freedom Solar Power “when it was a busy period for the company, and they had to bring somebody from a different city. They installed the equipment not standard for the city I was living in, so they had to send another person to fix that issue.”

      Chong also noted that “everything got resolved in a couple of days,” and he’s still “very satisfied” going solar overall.

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

      Financing option

      • Cash: You can pay for the system in full upfront.
      • Loan: Freedom Solar works with solar loan companies to help homeowners get financing. Interest rates start at 0%, and there are $0-down payment options.
      Our pick for solar leases

      Sunrun

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

      Sunrun's 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, and you pay a fixed monthly fee to use it. Lease agreements typically last 25 years.

      Sunrun benefits

      • Custom solar designs
      • Solar storage battery options
      • Daily system monitoring
      • EV charging solutions

      Sunrun customers generally like the company’s solar equipment options. Nicole in Bealeton hired Sunrun for a large solar panel project.

      “The guys said they never do that many but they did it all in one day. It was amazing,” she told us. “They were so professional and so efficient. They just knocked it out. It was really impressive. Dealing with Sunrun so far has been super easy.”

      Sunrun gets overall positive feedback from customers in Virginia and other states. However, some recent reviews mention issues with billing or customer service.

      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.

      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 has plenty of equipment for off-grid, hybrid and mobile lifestyles. You can buy new and used solar panels, storage batteries, inverters, charge controllers, cabling and hardware, mounts and racks — everything you need for an off-grid or hybrid setup. It’s also a solid option for Virginians looking for a reliable emergency backup power source.

      The online store sells brands like Panasonic, REC, Renogy, Canadian Solar and EcoFlow and also sells custom solar kits. Orders typically take five to 10 business days to ship.

      ShopSolar benefits

      • Complete solar packages
      • Lifetime customer support
      • Price-match guarantee
      • 30-day return policy
      • Free nationwide shipping

      Satisfied customers like how easy it is to buy from ShopSolar. “The process with ShopSolarKits was efficient,” Deana in Clintwood told us. “Everything seemed streamlined. I had everything I needed online. They have a great product and it's good value.”

      Mike in Glade Spring also had a good experience getting a hybrid system through with ShopSolar. “The reps were very knowledgeable, courteous and professional,” he said. “It’s DIY. It's easy to install. They provided good instructions.”

      ShopSolar sends detailed installation instructions, but it doesn’t provide professional installation services. Some customers have difficulties with the process, especially if they have little experience with solar or electrical systems.

      Individual manufacturers’ warranties cover all solar equipment. You’ll get the full manufacturer warranty since ShopSolar is an authorized distributor of all the brands it sells. If you run into a warranty issue, reps can help you contact the equipment manufacturer.

      Payment options

      • 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.
      • Online payments: ShopSolar accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, Shop Pay and Diners Club International.

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        Virginia solar panel buyers guide

        If you've been thinking about going solar in Virginia but aren’t sure where to start, we’re here to help you compare your options and get the best deal. Our team has talked to dozens of solar customers in the Old Dominion — here’s what to expect and what to look out for.

        Key insights

        • Residential solar panel installations cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more. The size of your solar panel system is the biggest factor in total costs.
        • The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the most significant way to lower the cost of installing solar panels. Virginia also has several state and local financial incentives to make going solar more affordable.
        • 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.

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

        A typical residential solar panel installation costs $30,250 in Virginia. That price drops to $21,175 after the full federal solar investment tax credit (ITC).

        Not surprisingly, the smaller your system, the less you pay. A typical Virginia household needs an 11 kilowatts (kW) system to offset enough energy costs to make solar viable. Here are the average costs by system size in the state.

        Average solar panel cost by system size in Virginia

        Source: EcoWatch

        This doesn’t include the cost of a solar storage battery. Sometimes, those are almost 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 panels?

        There are a few ways to pay for a residential solar energy system in Virginia. You have the option to pay the full cost upfront, but many people choose to finance their system through a solar loan.

        You can lease your equipment to minimize your initial cost. However, you won’t be eligible for the federal solar investment tax credit because you won’t purchase or own the equipment.

        If you’re considering a solar loan or lease, always ask:

        • Is there a down payment?
        • How much will I pay per month?
        • Will my monthly payments increase, and if so, by how much?
        • Do you put a lien on my house?

        » COMPARE: Solar costs in other states

        What solar incentives are available in Virginia?

        The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the biggest factor in reducing the cost of going solar in Virginia. If you install a residential solar panel system by the end of 2032, you will receive a federal income tax credit equal to 30% of the system's total cost, including equipment, labor and permits.

        For example, an average system in Virginia costs around $30,250. At that price, you can get a $9,075 credit when you file your taxes.

        Virginia has a property tax exemption for the value added to your home by solar panels and a statewide solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) program. There are also Charlottesville solar tax credits, Fairfax County solar energy equipment tax exemptions and other local incentives.

        » EXPLORE: Virginia solar incentives

        Net metering in Virginia

        Some people store extra solar energy in batteries to use later. Others use net metering. With net metering, you sell excess energy back to the electric company. The company pays you back with bill credits.

        To qualify for net metering in Virginia:

        • Homes can have systems up to 25 kilowatts.
        • Businesses can have systems up to 3,000 kilowatts.
        • Credits carry over from year to year, but they cannot exceed what you paid the company for power.

        The time of year you install panels can affect how much you can get out of credits. Residents have 12 months to build credits. So, installing in lower-use months like September maximizes credits for next year’s high-use summer months.

        Solar installers often help with permitting and paperwork for different utility companies. For instance, Dominion Energy charges fees to net metering customers, while Danville Utilities has its own net metering program.

        How to choose a solar company in Virginia

        Finding the right Virginia solar company to install your system is key to maximizing the benefits. These hiring best practices will help you choose an installer that delivers top-quality system performance. With the right solar partner, you’ll be on your way to reaping the many short- and long-term rewards of switching to solar energy.

        What to look for in a solar installation company

        We’ve talked to thousands of solar customers across the country. The best solar energy companies have a few things in common: experience, licensing and certifications, detailed project quotes and warranties. Here are a few more things to look for.

        • Long time in business: Choose a company with plenty of experience installing solar panels in Virginia. 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.
        • Licensed, insured and certified: Ensure the company is appropriately licensed and insured and has NABCEP-certified installers. This protects you and shows the employees take their business seriously.
        • 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. Honest communication is essential before, during and after the installation process.

        » MORE: Tips for getting the best solar quotes

        Solar brokers vs. solar installers

        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, the decision to use a broker or an installer comes down to how much you want to be involved. A broker is helpful if you value convenience. If you want more control and potentially lower costs, working directly with a solar installer is best. Just be sure to thoroughly research your options and vet installers before hiring anyone.

        Are solar panels worth it in Virginia?

        For many, going solar in Virginia is worth it for reducing energy bills and reliance on local power companies. On average, Virginia homeowners with solar panels get an estimated net savings of $21,692 over 25 years. Your actual savings will depend on various factors, such as the size of your solar system, your energy consumption and the local electricity rates.

        You get the most savings from going solar if you purchase your system upfront, but the significant initial investment leads many people to finance their equipment through a solar loan. If you finance, installing solar panels is worth it if your loan payment is cheaper than your current utility bill.

        For example, Dustin, who went solar in Virginia, only pays $200 per month for his solar loan, which is about $100 cheaper than what he was paying for electricity before.

        In the best-case scenario, you save enough to justify the expense and feel good about reducing your carbon footprint. As electric rates continue to rise, there’s more long-term financial stability and sustainability with solar panels.

        » STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

        FAQ

        Can I get free solar panels in Virginia?

        We’re not aware of a totally free solar option in Virginia. Unfortunately, scams that promise free solar panels can end up costing people 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.

        » SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

        Is my HOA allowed to restrict solar panel installations?

        In Virginia, homeowners associations (HOAs) are allowed to limit the size and location of your solar panels.

        How many solar panels do I need for my house?

        How many solar panels you need depends on how much energy your house typically uses and the power output of each panel. In general, the typical 2,000-square-foot home would need approximately 19 solar panels to fully power it. On the higher end, we talked to a solar customer in Arlington who got 42.

        Do I really need a solar storage battery?

        A solar battery helps you increase your energy independence and is essential if you want to go off-grid. Solar batteries let you store the solar energy you produce to use when your system is not generating power.

        Methodology: How we picked the best solar companies in Virginia

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

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

        Warranties: 20%
        A good 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: 15%
        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.

        Overall reputation: 5%
        We considered each company's history, mission and value. Companies with generally positive feedback on our site and elsewhere on the internet scored highest in this aspect.

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

        • Our pick for low upfront cost: Blue Raven Solar
        • Our pick for customer service: Freedom Solar Power
        • Our pick for solar leases: Sunrun
        • 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. EcoWatch, “Solar Panel Cost in Virginia.” Accessed Jan. 5, 2024.
        2. EnergySage, “Virginia solar panels: local pricing and installation data.” Accessed Jan. 5, 2024.
        3. DSIRE, “Virginia Solar Programs.” Accessed Jan. 5, 2024.
        4. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Virginia Solar.” Accessed Jan. 5, 2024.
        5. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed Jan. 5, 2024.

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