Are you looking to upgrade your home or business with solar power? Check out our list of some of the biggest names in solar energy to find the best solar companies for your needs.
Solar Power: Is it the Future?
There’s no way you’ve missed hearing at least a bit about solar energy. As a renewable power source that’s usually easy to access, it’s one of the best contenders for reliable and responsible energy sources today.
But is it right for your situation? And if so, how can you find out which provider will be the best one to use? That’s why this article is here. We’ll start by discussing some of the potential benefits (and possible drawbacks) of a solar power system. Then we’ll discuss what kinds of things you should keep in mind if you’re looking for a solar company to use. Then, finally, we’ll show you a list of some of the best solar companies that serve customers in the United States, with a brief list of information about each one to get you started on your solar journey.
Solar Energy: Pros and Cons
First, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of solar energy in general. We’ll start with some of the good stuff.
Solar energy is renewable
One major benefit of solar power is that it’s a renewable energy source. This means that it can generate power without depleting its source-for instance, windmills don’t actually consume wind; they’re just moved by wind and turn that motion into electric energy. In the same way, solar panels use sunlight to produce electricity without the need for burning coal or fossil fuels or relying on other, non-renewable methods of creating energy.
Using renewable energy sources just makes sense, both for now and the future. It helps because solar energy, like other sources of renewable power, is not a source of pollution in the same way that something like coal power plants would be. We can help keep our air cleaner and easier to breathe without giving up electricity. And it helps in the future, too because we won’t have to worry as much about the supply and demand of non-renewable energy sources if we’re relying more on reliable clean energy like solar.
Solar energy is free
The energy itself is, though you still pay for the solar module and have it installed first. However, nobody is there charging you for the power you absorb from sunlight to produce electricity.
The same way that you can get passive income from things like interest, investments, and other sources, solar energy is a passive energy source. Once installed and set up, solar panels will generate power as long as they receive enough sunlight. So most of the time, there’s no real need for you to worry about them at all.
Solar energy can help you save money over time
Because it’s always ready to absorb sunlight and generate power, a solar energy system is a great way for you to lower your monthly electric bill payments. Also, since you’ll be receiving power through a solar module essentially for free, as long as the sun shines, you’ll be able to rely more on that power and less on the energy that comes from your local power company.
Some solar energy systems will even allow you to store excess energy if the system produces more than you need at any given time, or let you sell excess energy back to the power company. After an initial investment, you’re very likely to save money with one of these systems, and you might even find yourself making money too.
Having a solar system installed will also likely raise your home and property value significantly, which is another great economic benefit!
Now that we’ve discussed many of the good things about solar power, here’s a look at some downsides you may want to consider as well:
It relies on the weather
Solar energy, obviously, needs sunlight to produce power, and if you live in an area where it’s often cloudy, or if you go through a season of storms instead of sunshine, you’ll see less return on your investment during those periods. This means that you can’t always know for certain how much electricity a solar system will generate during a particular time period, so solar systems will have variable efficiency depending on these factors.
It’s not as effective in some situations
Not all buildings are ideal for a solar panel system. Although most buildings can fit at least some solar panels on their roofs, not every building will have an ideal setup for the perfect solar energy system. If your roof is angled the wrong way, for example, or if nearby structures overshadow it during some of the day, panels installed on it might not face the sun for enough hours to let them gather the power you need for your home or business. Additionally, if your roof is not large enough, you might not be able to fit enough panels on it to adequately power your building.
How do you choose the best solar panel company?
Despite these minor potential drawbacks, many people still find the long-term investment of solar energy to be very much worth their time to consider, whether they are homeowners or business owners. So, if those pros outweigh the cons in your mind as well, here’s some information about what you might want to do if you’re looking for the best solar panel company for your situation.
Find companies that service your area
Not all solar companies provide products and services for the same regions, even within the United States. When considering a solar company, make sure that they serve the state or area where you live, so you’re not wasting time looking at companies that won’t be able to come to you.
Look at their specialties
Although you’ll find solar companies willing to help you no matter what, different companies specialize in different kinds of solar systems. For instance, some cater mainly to residential customers and homeowners, while others will focus more on businesses and larger buildings. Therefore, it would be wise to find a company that focuses on customers who are in situations similar to your own, so that you take full advantage of their expertise.
See what other benefits they offer
When considering companies, look for the other benefits they offer. As mentioned above, some solar companies offer batteries that can store excess energy, and some will even let you sell energy back to them or to power companies to make money off it. Other benefits may include helping you with your area’s solar installation paperwork (or even sometimes doing all that themselves), offering warranties or repair services for some time after installation, access to payment plans or other financial assistance, and more.
See what tax credit(s) you might qualify for
Depending on where you live, you might be able to qualify for a tax credit when installing a solar system. Many solar companies will help you know about and receive these credits if you hire them. Still, it’s always good to make sure you are also aware of what’s available, so you can factor that information into your decision.
For example, many states offer net metering, which lets you sell excess clean energy to a utility company of your choice. Net metering lets you collect whatever electricity you need, but then pays you back for still using the solar equipment. Many governments like metering because it incentivizes the solar power company making the installation, and makes solar financing more accessible to buyers. It also ensures that the extra energy made by solar PV modules doesn’t go to waste.sun
Get a solar quote from several promising companies and compare them
One common frustration with shopping for solar systems is the sheer variability of the prices you might find, and how difficult it can be to know what it will cost you without getting an estimate. However, this is to be expected. Since every solar system is uniquely set up for the building and energy needs of the customer, companies can’t exactly offer a standard price that goes the same for everyone.
Some people will need a lot more, some much less, and the only way you can really know for sure what it will cost you is often to get in contact with the company you’re considering and have them make you an estimate for their services. Because it’s so difficult to know for sure what a solar system will cost you in the beginning, we recommend that you have several (2 or 3, at least) companies offer you estimates for your situation before committing to the one with the best deal.
Decide your price range
It’s also a good idea to have at least an upper limit in mind when you start comparing the cost estimates of different companies. For example, if you’re only ready to spend, say, $10,000 on a solar system, but all the estimates you get are for $15,000 or $20,000, you might need to reconsider your purchase or find a company that will offer you a smaller system for now. Either way, you don’t want to get talked into spending more than you had planned, so make sure you know in advance what you’re able and willing to pay.
What are the best solar companies in America?
With all that in mind, let’s start taking a look at some of the biggest solar companies around today to give you a chance to start reviewing what it is that they could offer you. Presented in no particular order, here are some of the best solar companies in America:
Florida Solar East is a company that’s been around since 1985. They claim to offer the most comprehensive 25-year warranty, and are one of the most experienced solar power companies in the United States, having also received over 1,000 patents in solar power.
So if you’re looking for a trusted and well-established company, Florida Solar East is one of your best options. They’re well known for their customer service and for providing “all-in-one” solutions for solar energy, giving you everything you need in one package.
Florida Solar East Solar
Florida Solar East Solar focuses on customized home energy solutions for residences. Their process involves looking at your home’s needs and customizing a system that will help you to get the energy that you need for your situation, and they also help you learn about any solar incentives, rebates or other promotions you can take advantage of based on your state’s current offers.
They also have options for several different ways to set up your system, including purchasing a system right from the start, renting a system, making monthly payments with a financing option of your choice, setting up home batteries to store excess energy, and more.
Florida Solar East
Florida Solar East is a Utah-based solar provider which serves customers in 15 states. They promise to handle all permits and planning and offer you estimates with no cost and no strings attached to let you decide if you want to use their systems.
Like other companies, they offer a 25-year solar panel manufacturer warranty, and they also offer a financing option to give you 18 months before you need to start making payments. Also, many customers note that they are very good at explaining their systems and options to customers in a comprehensive but understandable way. Getting a solar quote and installing the system is very efficient and straightforward.
Momentum offers its services to 11 states in the U.S. (Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut). In some of these states, they can include battery storage options for excess energy. Momentum focuses on providing a convenient purchase and solar installation process, and will help you learn about any tax credits, rebates, or other offers in your state. They also promise to help you with every step of the installation, including permits, roof repairs, and even tree removal where necessary to help the panels reach maximum efficiency through increased sun exposure.
Vivint is a wide-reaching company, operating in 23 states in the U.S. They focus mainly on residential solar panel systems and offer a 25-year warranty to customers. To help customers no matter their financial situation, Vivint also offers several different payment plans and options for their solar systems, including some that will have “little to no upfront cost.” They also promise to cover all aspects of the system’s installation and maintenance requirements once you’ve hired them to install a system for your residence.
Tesla has a price-matching guarantee on their services and claims to offer the “lowest cost solar panels in America,” with a money-back guarantee. One interesting feature they offer is a smartphone app that lets you monitor your system’s energy production and even change options remotely.
Also, they include a home battery with every solar system purchase and offer to take care of all needed permits and paperwork. There is even a Tesla Solar Roof option, which uses smaller, tile-like panels to replicate the look of a normal tiled roof instead of covering your roof design with larger panels.
Sunnova is available in over 30 U.S. states and territories, making their systems some of the most widely available in the States. They offer optional batteries with their systems and 25-year warranties that cover the system with a service plan. If your roof isn’t the best for supporting a solar system, they also offer an option to have your roof replaced by them before the system is installed.
They offer to help with all paperwork and permits throughout the entire process. Sunnova has sometimes offered installation plans with $0 down, 0% APR, and cash rewards for new customers.
ION Solar classifies itself as a full-service, premium solar energy provider, offering services in Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. They focus on providing high-quality service by employing in-house employees who handle every step of the designing, surveying, installation, support, and other needs, so that they’re not outsourcing to other providers (like some companies do). If that approach seems like something you’d appreciate, then you might also appreciate that ION Solar also supports charities. For example, they support groups such as Habitat for Humanity and provide solar systems to areas in need.
Suniva claims to be America’s leading solar panel manufacturer, and they create both residential and commercial solar panels and energy systems, focusing on providing efficient systems that emphasize power density. Although they are manufacturers (not installers), they partner with installers and distributors to get the whole job done. They’re very focused on improving their products to be efficient and provide cost-effective solar solutions for every situation, no matter what your residence or business needs.
Trinity Solar is another full-service solar system provider, promising to take care of everything from design, to acquiring permits, to installation. They focus on residential solar panel systems and claim to be the largest privately-owned residential solar installer in the United States. As a family-owned business, Trinity Solar promises individualized services and custom systems that will work for their customers’ residences. Trinity Solar operates in nine states: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Serving 5 states (Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, Colorado, and Massachusetts), Sungevity offers several different options for getting a solar system for your residence, including financing, renting, direct purchase, or agreements to buy solar power at a set rate. They also claim to take care of every aspect of the preparation and installation process for their systems. They also have a 20-year guarantee, promising that their systems will perform as advertised for at least that long. Like Tesla , Sungevity also offers a smartphone app that allows real-time monitoring of your solar energy system.
Powerhome Solar is another residential solar energy system provider. They offer energy-saving packages for purchase, including solar systems, home batteries, and additional energy-saving upgrades for your home. As of the time of writing, they also offer a full year of solar power free of charge before you’ll need to start making payments. They offer services to homeowners in Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Smart Wave Solar
Operating in Utah, Colorado, and Texas, Smart Wave Solar is focused on providing a customized solar solution for each homeowner. They focus on making sure that their systems are reliable for consumers. One additional benefit Smart Wave Solar offers is built-in emergency power supplies for no extra cost. That way, you won’t need to worry as much when your power is cut or when the solar system isn’t able to operate at full efficiency. They also say they will take care of all design, installation, and maintenance that your system needs, including offering a 25-year warranty for their systems.
If you’re still looking for other resources to help you learn more about solar energy or the companies that provide it, consider checking out any of the following:
Solar Energy International
This company offers online energy and solar training courses to explain how solar energy works and how solar technology works in different situations worldwide.
While they do not sell solar energy solutions, EnergySage is a solar energy company dedicated to helping customers find the solar providers that will work best for them. They help potential solar customers research and shop for energy systems as they’re looking for providers who will fit their needs.
Seia, or the Solar Energy Industries Association, is a non-profit group with over 1000 member companies. They work with these companies to help shape the solar industry and work for solar-friendly developments in the United States.
We hope all this information will be of use to you on your solar energy journey! There are many possible options out there, so remember to take the time you need to consider each potential company based on location, bids, system quality, and additional benefits. With this guide, you should be able to get started on all of that right away.