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Best solar companies in 2024

Young family with dog on a walk through the meadow near their family home with solar panels on the roof.
Family on a walk through the meadow near their home with solar panels on the roof. Getty Images

Interested in upgrading your home with solar panels? Aside from a reduced environmental impact and long-term savings that beat out rising and unpredictable energy bills any day, solar panels are more affordable now than they've ever been thanks to impressive incentives, tax credits, and a price drop of more than 40% over the last decade, according to leading solar installer Sunrun.

The solar power industry is currently on the rise: In 2023, more than 50% of electricity projects across the US were rooted in solar energy. If you don't want to be left behind, this summer may be the perfect time to invest in solar panels for your home. But with so many solar energy companies to choose from, where do you start?

We have the answer, and it's our in-depth look at the top solar companies of 2024 below. Take a look at what the best companies have to offer in terms of coverage area, installation expenses, purchase or leasing prices, and more to find the perfect fit for your home.

What are the best solar companies of 2024?

The best solar companies of 2024 offer quality equipment, budget-friendly financing options, and top-notch customer service. Take a look at our top picks below.

Review your options when it comes to solar panel installation from reliable and recognizable brand names like SunPower and Sunrun below.

All pricing information listed below is based on customer feedback, reviews, and general estimates for the average one-story, 2,000 square foot home. Your quote may differ. Learn more about pricing info and what to look for in a solar company below.


Best overall: SunPower

sunpower.png
SunPower
  • Areas served: SunPower serves homes across the US with available services in all 50 states | Price range: $15,000 to $36,0000 or around $3.30 to $4 per watt | Price matching: Yes | Warranties: 25-year workmanship and power output warranties that cover the whole system (not just individual panels), as well as hassle-free panel replacement or repair services; 40-year warranty on premium panels (which surpasses the industry standard of 25-year warranties for individual panels that most solar companies offer in addition their own warranties).

SunPower is one of the biggest names in solar energy today, and for good reason. With a 40-year track record and higher quality solar panels than most competitors (thanks to the solar company's patented SunPower® Maxeon® cell technology), SunPower easily earned its spot at the top of our list.

SunPower is more transparent than most when it comes to pricing. Customers can get an estimate by filling out an online form and uploading a recent energy bill, making it easy to see how much one could potentially save by switching to solar energy.

There are four types of solar panels to choose from with varying levels of energy output (measured in watts) per panel: the A series (400-watt panels), X series (370-watt panels), E series (320 to 435-watt panels), or M series (380 to 400-watt panels).

There is also a SunPower mobile app that allows customers to monitor their systems in real time.


Best high-quality solar panels: Palmetto Solar

Palmetto Logo
Palmetto logo Palmetto Solar
  • Areas served: Palmetto Solar currently services homes across 19 states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia | Price range: $13,000 to $26,000 or around $2.50 to $3.20 per watt | Price matching: No | Warranties: 10-year workmanship warranty; 5-year leak-proof warranty for your roof.

Palmetto Solar made our list due to the company's use of high-quality equipment. Outfitting your home with solar panels from Palmetto means getting either Qcells panels or REC alpha pure black panels, which are two of the most efficient, domestically available solar panel types today.

Qcells panels have a maximum efficiency rating (which measures how much usable electricity a panel can get from the sun) of 20.9% while REC panels clock in at an impressive 22.3% efficient – high marks when it comes to solar efficiency. Either type is said to last a minimum of 25 years, making them a good fit for homeowners looking for the right long-term solar energy investment.

Other benefits to going with Palmetto for your home energy needs include quality post-installation customer support and a number of financing options. Interested customers can easily browse loan and financing options from different lenders through Palmetto's financing marketplace, which could potentially offset high upfront costs for installation.


Best referral program: Blue Raven Solar

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Blue Raven Solar
  • Areas served: Blue Raven currently services homes across 21 states including Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington | Price range: $20,000 to $40,000 or around $4 to $5 per watt | Price matching: No | Warranties: 10-year workmanship and weatherization warranties.

A subsidiary of SunPower since 2021, Blue Raven Solar shares some equipment, such as SunPower's SunVault battery line for solar panel energy retention. This solar company still stands on its own, however, offering in-house labor, installation services, and a variety of solar panels to choose from to households across more than 20 US states.

One advantage of Blue Raven Solar is the care and expertise offered by the company's trained professionals. While many solar companies rely on third-party contractors, in part or in full, for certain work and services, Blue Raven instead sticks to the strategy of employing fully trained in-house employees for everything from sales and customer relations to home inspections and installation services.

One small downside is Blue Raven's business model that operates on an ownership basis. This means you cannot currently lease Blue Raven solar panels, but that may change in the future. 


Best financing options: Sunrun

sunrun-logo.jpg
Sunrun
  • Areas served: Sunrun services households across 21 states, plus Washington D.C., including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin | Price range: $16,000 to $36,000 or around $3.50 to $5 per watt | Price matching: No | Warranties: 10-year workmanship warranty.

If you would prefer to lease solar panels instead of buying them outright, you want a company like Sunrun, which offers a variety of appealing financing options. Buying is still an option, but other customer plans include: monthly leases with low upfront expenses, full-term leases for the life of your equipment (includes the same warranty and monitoring coverage as a monthly lease), and monthly financing through a third-party loan.

Sunrun also has an interesting partnership with Costco that translates into decent savings for active Costco members. If you have a Costco membership, don't forget to mention it while discussing solar energy solutions to receive a 10% shop card for use on qualifying Sunrun solar panels, inverters, and batteries. This can only be applied to purchases, not leases, and does not cover installation or labor expenses.

With over 15 years as a prominent player in the solar power industry, Sunrun is a reliable company to consider for your home energy needs.


Most affordable: Tesla

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Tesla
  • Areas served: Tesla serves homes across the US with available services in all 50 states | Price range: $9,000 to $33,000 or around $2.70 to $4.30 per watt for systems that include Tesla's Powerwall batteries ($2.10 per watt for installation without Powerwall) | Price matching: Yes | Warranties: 10-year workmanship and weatherization warranties; 10-year Powerwall battery warranty guaranteeing it will hold at least 70% of its capacity while covered.

Saving money on energy costs is likely a big motivator when it comes to adopting solar energy for your home, and we cannot recommend Tesla solar panels highly enough for solar solutions that are as affordable as they are effective. Customers across the US have access to Tesla's budget-friendly solar panels and the company's latest invention, the solar roof.

Tesla's solar roof option takes solar energy a step further with glass roof tiles that have built-in panels – essentially, customers get a new, solar power-enhanced roof instead of individual panels that need to be mounted. According to the company, this can mean a much longer lifespan than your average solar panel.

Tesla's online estimates are more forthcoming than many other solar companies, making it easier to get a general idea of how much one would end up paying for new solar panels. These include installation costs as low as $2.10 per watt (for a basic system without Tesla's suggested Powerwall batteries).


How to choose a solar company

So you've read up on the best solar companies. But how do you pick the right one for you and your home? Looking up "solar companies near me" can give you a headache once you start browsing solar companies that service your area. Here's what you really need to consider to whittle down your choices.

  • Is the solar panel business licensed and insured in my area? While solar licensing requirements vary from one state and city to the next, there are some standouts worth looking for. Certifications from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) are considered a gold standard in the industry and are even required in some states like California and New York. Top NABCEP certifications include the PV Installation Pro (PVIP) and PV Installer Specialist (PVIS) certs.
  • How many years has the company been in business? Like any industry, longevity can be a good sign of a trusted solar panel company. SunPower, for example, has been outfitting homes with efficient solar panel systems since 1985.
  • Can it tell you more about warranty coverage? If there's an issue with your solar energy system down the line, you'll want to know that you can count on your installer to save the day. Solar panels typically come with a product warranty of up to 25 years, but you should also prioritize solar companies that offer additional coverage. Look for companies that protect against individual panel failure for at least 10 years in addition to that manufacturer's warranty. 
  • Does it use subcontractors? Outsourcing isn't inherently a bad thing, but we suggest siding with an in-house solar panel installation company to avoid any headaches in the near or far future. Solar companies that use subcontractors will hire a third-party company to handle certain parts of the solar install process -- usually the installation work. This disconnect could lead to potential delays in the actual installation process, whereas in-house solar companies who handle everything from sales and marketing to installation and post-install support can be more efficient overall. Customer support tends to be easier when you're dealing with one solar company, as well.
  • Can it connect you with previous clients? Transparency and a history of successful solar projects are two big things to look for in a solar company. Ask for info on any happy customers that have been serviced in the past.
  • Can it give an estimate for a solar project? Pricing info will likely be the last thing you nail down, since quotes can vary between solar companies. You'll likely end up comparing quotes from multiple installers to find the most affordable system that meets all of your solar energy needs. Also, ask different solar companies about eligibility for incentives like the federal solar tax credit that covers up to 30% of the cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. 

Can you switch solar companies?

If you're moving and selling your home, there may be the option to transfer your lease to the new homeowner. Alternative options in your solar lease could include a buy-out, but these can come with hefty fees -- we're talking tens of thousands of dollars. 

With solar panel systems that can last upwards of 20 years (with leasing contracts to match), it's very important to go over every line of your agreement before choosing a solar energy company. Buy-out fees, transfer options, and whether or not you can cancel a solar lease before installation are all details that should be spelled out in your agreement. Reading up on this ahead of time can save you from any nasty (and pricey) surprises should you want to switch solar companies down the line.

If worse comes to worst -- say you get solar panels installed by a company that has since gone out of business -- you can reach out to other solar companies for any concerns, questions, or repairs. You may have a hard time finding any takers, however. Work by a solar company other than the installer could void your warranty, plus replacing specific parts of your solar system could be an expensive and time-consuming job for the new company.

How much do solar panels cost?

Everything from the type of solar panels being installed and the amount of energy your home uses on a daily basis to the state you live in and the age of your roof -- it all matters, so the only way to get a proper cost estimate is to contact a company for a professional quote.

That being said, average costs for installing a solar system on a one-story, 2,000 square foot home can fall anywhere from $10,000 to more than $20,000 in total. Your quote may be higher or lower than the range provided, so make sure to get quotes from more than one solar company to find the best deal for your area. 

One great online resource is EnergySage, which connects homeowners with local solar panel companies and can make it easy to compare quotes. EnergySage offers an online solar calculator for quick solar estimates based on your address and average monthly electricity bill.

You may also be able to finance your solar installation project through a power purchase agreement (PPA). This eliminates upfront costs in exchange for monthly payments that are determined by how much solar energy your panels produce. The downside to a PPA is you won't be eligible for incentives like the federal solar tax credit since you do not own the panels. Since lifetime savings with a PPA can be lower than those that come with owning your own solar system, we recommend considering a PPA if you do not qualify for federal tax credit.

How CBS Essentials chose the best solar companies of 2024

In order to help homeowners like you find the best solar energy company of 2024, we took into account a number of key factors when conducting our reviews for this list:

  • Availability: Tired of looking up "best solar company near me" and hoping for the best? We get it. That's why we prioritized nationwide installers and reputable solar companies that service large areas of the US to ensure there's a company for you, regardless of where you live.
  • Credibility: We looked at each solar company's experience, track record, and general customer reviews to find the best of the best for our list of top solar energy companies.
  • Transparency: Does the company list warranty information online? Is there valid licensing credentials? Are subcontractors used for installation services? We made sure to highlight solar companies that answer these questions.
  • Customer service: All of our selected solar energy companies offer top-notch customer service and post-installation support to ensure long-term success for your new solar system.

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