Best Solar Companies of 2023

SunPower tops CNET’s 2023 checklist of the very best photo voltaic panel firms because of its photo voltaic panels, which lead the business in effectivity, and its sturdy warranties. When you can meet your power wants with a extra inexpensive photo voltaic power system, worth customer support over different features of your photo voltaic buy or simply hate the best way typical photo voltaic panels look, you will discover photo voltaic power firms right here that be just right for you, too. When you’re planning to purchase photo voltaic panels to keep away from rising power prices and rising blackouts or spend money on renewable power, you are not alone. Residential photo voltaic installations grew by 40% in 2022 from the earlier yr.

You may get 30% of the price of photo voltaic panels again in your taxes and take part in native incentives and internet metering (the place accessible). The Inflation Discount Act handed final yr opened up extra rebates for power effectivity dwelling enhancements, electrical home equipment and different renewable power options, which might enable you save much more with photo voltaic panels.

With local weather change anticipated to gasoline extreme climate that may trigger extra energy outages, photo voltaic panels with a backup battery can maintain your house powered.

Photo voltaic panels are a important funding although, to not point out a choice that requires some cautious thought and analysis. Under are my decisions for the very best photo voltaic firms by a number of completely different parameters. Nevertheless, with a purchase order as large as photo voltaic panels, do not let this checklist be your solely cease. Photo voltaic panel firms, as a result of their merchandise require prolonged, skilled set up, are examined a bit otherwise than different classes on CNET.

This checklist and the evaluations it attracts from aren’t primarily based on any hands-on testing. There is not any possible approach to do hands-on testing of the acquisition course of, set up or a house photo voltaic panel array after it is put in. As a substitute, these photo voltaic firm evaluations depend on interviews with firm spokespeople, publicly accessible information and evaluation of tendencies (like photo voltaic panel costs). Whereas the evaluations are as totally researched as attainable, the character of the product means there are some limitations in comparison with one other class like moveable energy stations.

Greatest photo voltaic firms of 2023

This finest checklist attracts from nationwide and notable installers of (largely rooftop) photo voltaic panels. As we publish evaluations of extra firms, this finest checklist can be up to date to replicate our present high decisions. These have been rated the very best photo voltaic firms for the range and high quality of apparatus and merchandise they provided, their said warranties and obvious commitments to customer support. (Customer support is tough to pin down and subsequently makes up a smaller portion of the rating, despite the fact that it is a important a part of the buying course of.)

When you’re on the lookout for a photo voltaic panel installer, you should definitely get a number of quotes together with from native installers the place attainable. The specifics of a photo voltaic array might change given the form and angle of a given roof or the power utilization and habits of a given household. Photo voltaic could be a nice funding however requires you to do your personal analysis.

Solar panels on a wooden house.

SunPower Photo voltaic takes the highest spot on our greatest checklist because of its top-of-the-line photo voltaic panels and robust warranties. The photo voltaic panels SunPower gives have business main effectivity marks (22.8%) and a guaranty that ensures at the very least 92% manufacturing after 25 years. It additionally earns an A+ score from the Higher Enterprise Bureau. It gives sturdy warranties on batteries as properly.

SunPower’s photo voltaic panels is perhaps a bit dearer than others (although correct pricing business extensive is tough to return by). The corporate has stated it plans to proceed rolling out extra accessible photo voltaic options. Learn our SunPower evaluation.


Palmetto Photo voltaic has sturdy photo voltaic tools choices and is attempting one thing completely different from most photo voltaic firms on the subject of customer support. Palmetto gives proactive monitoring and tiered ranges of assist on a subscription mannequin referred to as Palmetto Defend. Whereas a few of the higher tiers would possibly solely repay solely in probably the most excessive circumstances of failure, photo voltaic clients feeling uneasy about their tools should buy a little bit of peace of thoughts for a small price.

It is value noting that photo voltaic panels are usually low upkeep programs. Folks can monitor their programs by apps accessible from most installers, together with Palmetto. Palmetto additionally receives an A+ from the Higher Enterprise Bureau. Learn our Palmetto Photo voltaic evaluation.

Timberline Solar shingles on a roof.
GAF Vitality

Most residential photo voltaic clients to date have photo voltaic panels mounted on racks bolted to their roofs. That is one thing GAF Vitality is attempting to vary with Timberline Photo voltaic shingles, its photo voltaic roofing product. Hooked up with nails as an alternative of bolts and put in on the similar time and by the identical staff as a brand new roof, the photo voltaic power-generating shingles sit flush to the roof. They give the impression of being a bit sleeker and may very well be much less susceptible to leaks than conventional photo voltaic panels.

GAF Vitality’s photo voltaic shingle, put in in 16 states with extra to return, might make the choice to go photo voltaic simpler by rolling it in with the acquisition of a brand new roof. When you do not just like the look of photo voltaic panels, Timberline Photo voltaic shingles have a subtler look, although they are not invisible. You additionally get a photo voltaic roof with out the main markup of different choices, just like the Tesla photo voltaic roof. Learn CNET’s GAF Vitality evaluation.

Tesla solar panels

Tesla’s Photo voltaic department appears to be the least liked of Elon Musk’s ventures. Even Tesla’s Photo voltaic Roof appears to get extra love. Nonetheless, photo voltaic panels from Tesla are prone to be the most affordable choice the place they’re accessible. It can save you 1000’s of {dollars}, with out sacrificing on high quality of apparatus.

What you would possibly sacrifice is customer support. From delays to cost modifications, to sluggish responses, to system malfunctions, social media experiences of destructive experiences aren’t laborious to search out, together with some who remorse their selection. That is true of all photo voltaic firms, however the amount of experiences regarding Tesla is regarding. Others describe experiences that are not so unhealthy, to make sure. The final consensus is that going with Tesla is a big gamble.

Learn our Tesla Photo voltaic evaluation.

Different firms we reviewed

We have reviewed different photo voltaic firms that do not seem in our greatest checklist above, together with some that scored greater general than Tesla’s photo voltaic panels. Given the character of the photo voltaic panel business, which shifts from state to state and roof to roof, a few of these different firms is perhaps higher suited to your state of affairs. 

  • Sunrun: The largest photo voltaic firm in America. Sunrun gives high quality panels, a selection of a few batteries and high quality inverters. It additionally gives sturdy warranties. Most of its enterprise is in leases or energy buy agreements, and Sunrun gives stronger warranties for energy buy agreements than purchases. Its general rating is greater than Tesla’s, however simply missed edging out the others attributable to its missing a price-match coverage.
  • Tesla Photo voltaic Roof: Tesla’s Photo voltaic Roof is an thrilling approach to think about photo voltaic. It is glossy, it is low profile, however it’s very costly. Relying on the dimensions of your roof and your location, it may be a number of instances dearer than photo voltaic panels. 
  • Smartflower: The photo voltaic sunflower is a good looking approach to set up photo voltaic panels. Except you are attempting to promote your inexperienced commitments or discover a assertion piece to your yard, it is seemingly an excessive amount of cash for too little photo voltaic.
  • ADT Photo voltaic: ADT Photo voltaic is a relative newcomer, after ADT bought Sunpro and rebranded it in 2022. The corporate was pressured to discover a new panel provider after LG left the market, however has dedicated to putting in tier one panels. It acquired excessive marks for its warranties and worth match.
  • Trinity Photo voltaic: For some time, Trinity was CNET’s high firm for customer support and nonetheless receives high marks for there. It additionally gives high quality tools and warranties, although a few of its warranties, like its workmanship guarantee, are a bit weaker than different firms’. 

How we take a look at and charge photo voltaic firms

Photo voltaic firms are difficult to evaluation. Even when it was possible to put in photo voltaic panels from each installer on a single home one after one other and examine them, variations in climate and season would have an effect on output. You’d additionally nonetheless be left with the subjective rankings for customer support, which is a significant factor within the expertise of getting photo voltaic panels for a roof.

Even with no laboratory take a look at for photo voltaic panel firms, we stored our evaluation as standardized as attainable. We evaluated photo voltaic firms in three classes: breadth of service, worth and buyer care. The breadth of service covers issues like whether or not or not an organization provided a wide range of high quality panels, batteries or inverters and if it provided panels for buy, lease and energy buy settlement. It additionally takes into consideration the energy of warranties. Worth covers worth and some other advantages, for instance, a extremely rated app for purchasers to observe their photo voltaic panels. Buyer care included some anecdotal proof from on-line boards and evaluation websites, but in addition buyer satisfaction and care rankings (the place accessible) from respected sources just like the Higher Enterprise Bureau.

Photo voltaic panel FAQs

How a lot do photo voltaic panels price?

The common residential photo voltaic set up prices $3.04 per watt, in accordance with the Photo voltaic Vitality Trade Affiliation. Which means a 7-kilowatt photo voltaic panel system would price about $21,280. (The price of photo voltaic panels varies by location, because of so-called comfortable prices, like allowing, inspection charges and labor, which accounted for 62% of the entire price in 2021.)

There are many incentives to scale back that price or provide you with a refund in your taxes, although. The Inflation Discount Act elevated the federal tax credit score for photo voltaic panels to 30% and made it accessible for 10 years. Different native tax exemptions or incentives may very well be attainable, too. In case your utility has a internet metering program, you might obtain credit in your utility invoice that may enable you get monetary savings quicker than with out.

Are photo voltaic panels value it?

Photo voltaic panels will seemingly be value it, relying on the small print of your particular state of affairs. When you use little or no power or have very low-cost power, you will not be saving as a lot cash every month and it’ll take longer to your panels to pay for themselves. Likewise, if you happen to dwell beneath deep tree cowl, rooftop photo voltaic panels seemingly will not generate sufficient electrical energy to be value it. 

Nevertheless, photo voltaic can repay in power financial savings for many years. Reducing the associated fee with rebates and tax credit will assist repay your photo voltaic panels quicker. The way you pay to your photo voltaic panels will have an effect on that calculation, too. It is going to take longer to recoup your prices if you happen to take out a mortgage, which can accrue curiosity and include charges. You’ll be able to calculate your payback interval if the price of photo voltaic panels after rebates and the way a lot you will save on power prices every year.

How lengthy do photo voltaic panels final?

When you purchase photo voltaic panels as we speak, there is a good probability they will be beneath guarantee for 25 years. You will typically see that listed because the lifespan of the panels, however that is not fairly correct. That guarantee covers manufacturing out of your photo voltaic panels. Photo voltaic panels lose their means to provide photo voltaic electrical energy as they age for any variety of causes, so a guaranty will assure a sure degree of manufacturing after a sure variety of years. For instance, Q Cells gives a 25-year guarantee, which ensures that your panels will produce at 86% of their rated capability at that time.

This doesn’t suggest these photo voltaic panels die on the finish of 25 years, they will simply produce much less. Photo voltaic panels can produce properly after their guarantee expires, although given that enormous numbers of photo voltaic panels are simply now being put in, we’ll proceed to get a greater concept of how they age in years to return.

Ought to I rent a photo voltaic panel installer?

Whereas expert do-it-yourselfers would possibly be capable to pull off a photo voltaic panel set up, it is positively not advisable. Going by a good and licensed photo voltaic installer offers you a lot of protections. Putting in photo voltaic panels is just not so simple as plugging in a big equipment. A professional photo voltaic installer will be capable to navigate native code and ordinances, and make sure that the guarantee on the panels stays intact. They may also be capable to inform you if you happen to want a brand new roof or different upgrades earlier than putting in photo voltaic panels.

A photo voltaic installer may also be capable to design your photo voltaic system to finest suit your targets and habits by figuring out the best places in your roof and angling panels to gather probably the most solar. Additional, your installer ought to give you the chance that will help you troubleshoot any issues that come up after set up.

How do I do know if the quote I’ve is an efficient one?

One of the simplest ways to inform is to get a number of quotes. With a purchase order this large, you must get a number of, together with one or two from native installers who would possibly be capable to give you larger selection.

There are additionally assets from the federal and plenty of state governments to information you thru the method. You’ll be able to look out for a number of crimson flags from salespeople, too. 

Are native photo voltaic installers choice?

Native installers usually have much less prices for promoting and gross sales than the big, nationwide companies. That represents attainable financial savings that may very well be returned to clients. Then again, with a long-term funding like photo voltaic panels, it could really feel safer to have the backing of a giant company. And bigger firms could possibly supply cheaper costs because of the quantity of installations they do.

Whenever you’re gathering quotes for a photo voltaic panel set up, you should definitely contact native installers, too. The photo voltaic business is a aggressive one, and checking round might prevent 1000’s.

Will photo voltaic panels work in my local weather?

Similar photo voltaic panels will produce completely different quantities of electrical energy after they’re uncovered to completely different ranges of daylight. So, photo voltaic panels in sunnier locations (just like the American southwest) with extra direct daylight (like within the south) will produce extra electrical energy. However different components make photo voltaic deal for owners.

New England has one of many highest regional adoption charges for residential photo voltaic within the US. That is not as a result of it has a ton of sunshine yr spherical, however as a result of it has favorable photo voltaic insurance policies, like internet metering and rebates. Photo voltaic panels would possibly make monetary sense even when they will be put in beneath incessantly cloudy skies. 

Can I get the federal tax credit score?

Correction, Jan. 31, 2023: An earlier model of this text misstated the Higher Enterprise Bureau’s grading course of. Any firm can obtain a grade from the Bureau, no matter whether or not it has paid to undergo the accreditation course of.

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