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Solar panels are a significant investment though, not to mention a. Below are my picks for the best solar companies according to a few different parameters. However, with a purchase as large as solar panels, don’t let this list be your only stop. Solar panel companies, as their products require a long professional installation, are tested a little differently than other categories at CNET.
This list, and the reviews from which it is extracted, are not based on any practical testing. There is no feasible way to do practical testing of the purchase process, installation or home solar panel after it is installed. Instead, these reviews of solar companies rely on interviews with company representatives, publicly available data, and trend analysis (such as solar panel pricing). While the reviews are explored in as much detail as possible, the nature of the product means that there are some limitations compared to another category such as.
This best list draws from national and famous installers of (mostly roofed) solar panels. As we publish reviews from more companies, this best list will be updated to reflect our current best choices. Solar companies were rated based on the variety and quality of equipment and products they offered, their stated warranties and apparent obligations to customer service. (Customer service is difficult to pinpoint and therefore makes up a smaller portion of the score, although it is an important part of the purchasing process.)
If you are looking for a solar panel installer, be sure to get several quotes including local installers where possible. The specifications of a solar array could change depending on the shape and angle of a given roof or the energy usage and habits of a given family. Solar can be a great investment, but it requires you to do your own research.
ADT Suna is, in a way, a new kid on the block after the home security company bought and rebranded Sunpro Solar. It offers solar panels with a 25-year warranty and a price-compatible warranty. Its advertised options for inverters and batteries are also highly valued and offer some choice that sets it apart from some other installers. It also had one of the highest grades for customer service from the Better Business Bureau (companies pay to be graduated by the BBB). ADT also offers roofing as a service, adding some ease to the process if a new roof is also needed.
ADT Solar has a long history (like Sunpro), but an acquisition has also spurred change for some companies. It will be interesting to see if anything changes while the new corporate relationship is set up. Pricing information was difficult to obtain from ADT Solar.
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Trinity Solar has barely missed the highest place in our rankings to date. It offers quality solar panels, a selection of quality batteries and multiple inverter options. It also offers options on purchase and lease or electricity deal.
While customer service is difficult to fix, Trinity Solar has an A + rating from the Better Business Bureau (which gives scores to companies only if they pay a fee). Trinity has been very responsive to complaints on that platform. One caveat to the praise of customer service is that Trinity’s job guarantee is missing from others, extending only up to 10 years.
Tesla’s solar branch seems to be the least beloved of Elon Musk’s ventures. Even Tesla’s Sun Roof seems to get more love. However, Tesla solar panels are likely to be the cheapest option where available. You can save thousands of dollars without sacrificing quality equipment.
What you could offer is customer service. From delays to price changes, to slow responses, to systematic failure, social media reports of negative experiences are not hard to find, including some who regret their choice. This is true for all solar companies, but the amount of reports about Tesla is critical. Others describe experiences that are not so bad, for sure. The general consensus is that going with Tesla is a gamble.
Other companies we reviewed
We’ve reviewed other solar companies that don’t appear on our top list above, including some that have scored higher overall than Tesla’s solar panels. Given the nature of the solar panel industry, which is changing from state to state and roof to roof, some of these other companies may be more suited to your situation.
- : The largest solar company in America. Sunrun offers quality panels, a choice of a few batteries and quality inverters. It also offers strong guarantees. Most of its business is in leases or electrical purchase agreements, and Sunrun provides stronger guarantees for power purchase agreements than purchases. Its overall score is higher than that of Tesla, but it has recently failed to outperform the others due to its lack of a price-compatible policy.
- : Tesla’s Solar Roof is an exciting way to imagine solar. It’s sleek, it’s low profile, but it’s very expensive. Depending on the size of your roof and your location, it can be several times more expensive than solar panels.
- : The sunflower is a nice way to install solar panels. Unless you’re trying to advertise your green commitments or find a statement for your yard, it’s probably too much money for too little sun.
How we value solar companies
Solar companies are hard to review. Even if it were feasible to install solar panels from each installer on a single house one after another and compare them, variations in weather and season would affect production. You would also be left with the subjective ratings for customer service, which is a major factor in the experience of getting solar panels for a roof.
Even without a lab test for solar panel companies, we kept our review as standard as possible. We rated solar companies in three categories: scope of service, value, and customer care. Wide range of services covers issues such as whether or not a company has offered a variety of quality panels, batteries or inverters and whether it has offered panels for purchase, lease and option purchase agreement. It also considers the strength of guarantees. Value covers price and any other benefits, for example, a highly valued app for customers to check out their solar panels. Customer care included some anecdotal evidence from online forums and review sites, but also customer satisfaction and care ratings (where available) from reputable sources such as the Better Business Bureau.
Frequently Asked Questions about Sun Panel
How long do solar panels last?
If you buy solar panels today, there is a good chance that they will be under warranty for 20 to 25 years. You’ll often see this listed as the life of the panels, but that’s not entirely accurate. This warranty covers production of your solar panels. Solar panels lose their ability to produce solar electricity as they age for a number of reasons, so a warranty will guarantee a certain level of production after a certain number of years. For example, Q Cells offers a 25-year warranty that guarantees that your panels will produce at 86% of their rated capacity at that point.
This does not mean that these solar panels will die at the end of 25 years, they will only produce less. Solar panels can produce well after their warranty expires, although considering that large numbers of solar panels have just been installed, we will still have a better idea of how they will age in the coming years.
How do I know if the quote I have is good?
The best way to tell is to get several quotes. With this great purchase, you should get several, including one or two from local installers, who may be able to offer you a larger selection.
There are also resources from the federal and many state governments to guide you through the process. You can pay attention some red flags of vendorsalso.
Can I get the federal tax credit?
La federal tax credit for solar panels is still around. For some solar panels installed in 2022, the federal government will refund you 26% of the cost of your income taxes. In 2023, credit falls to 22% and is scheduled to disappear in the years to come. An increase in the tax credit is always possible.
In addition to the federal tax credit, there may be state and local incentives that you can take advantage of.