Top 10 Best Solar Energy Companies of 2022 | ConsumerAffairs (2022)

Going solar is much easier than it used to be. Once you determine your energy needs and compare solar energy companies, make sure your roof can handle having solar panels installed. You should understand solar incentives and consider the available financing options.

It’s smart to get quotes from multiple companies — this ensures you get the best deal on all your solar equipment components. Most reputable companies offer free consultations. If you hire an installer, its employees do all the heavy lifting and help you complete permitting paperwork. Finally, connect to the grid to officially go solar.

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The first step in going solar is determining how much energy your home uses. The average U.S. household uses approximately 890 kWh of electricity per month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Considering each solar panel generates between 1 and 1.5 kWh of power each day, the average American home would need between 20 and 30 panels to run entirely on solar.

Generally, the more panels on a home or business, the more energy the system can create. The amount of electricity your panels generate varies by location and available sunlight. The efficiency of your solar panels and how much power you require in your home or business determines the number of solar panels you need.

Find out if your state offers solar incentives, such as government subsidies or rebate programs designed to encourage more residential solar energy systems. Solar investment tax credits also make the economic benefits of solar energy accessible to more people.
Solar modules and installation costs have gone down since the commercial solar industry started. Still, going solar isn't affordable for the average homeowner without a little help. To offset the high upfront price of going solar, many solar companies offer financing loans or power purchase agreement (PPA) programs, where the homeowner only pays for electric output for a set period, while a third-party developer handles installation, financing and installation and owns the system.

Solar loans have terms and conditions similar to most other home improvement loans. Some states and nongovernmental organizations offer subsidized solar energy loans with reduced interest rates.

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Solar lease companies let you use solar panel equipment for a fee. Homeowners who choose to lease solar panels instead of purchasing them don't receive the same tax credits, rebates or other incentives offered by the federal government and local utility companies.

Select a handful of companies in your area that provide residential solar power options, then request quotes so you can compare pricing. Many solar companies provide free on-site consultations, where they can examine your property and go over your options and pricing.

Most solar energy companies want to see an annual statement of your electric bill to estimate costs, so it’s smart to have that information ready when you’re requesting bids. All solar contractors will provide you with a quote that states how much you will save over the long term.

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To narrow down your solar power options, check each company’s licenses and insurance policies. You should request quotes from at least three of your top picks. As you’re requesting a quote, ask the following questions:

  • How many solar installations have you completed? Can you provide references?
  • What types of solar panels do you use?
  • What solar loans or financing programs do you offer?
  • What rebates and incentives do I qualify for?
  • How many solar panels will I need based on my monthly energy consumption?
  • How much do you project for savings for my household?
  • How long will the process take?
  • Will you take care of city permitting and state requirements?
  • Is there a system performance guarantee?
  • What does your warranty cover, and for how long?
The best solar brands maximize the amount of energy you can generate in the minimum amount of space. You should evaluate solar panels and other equipment options on three primary parameters: electricity production, durability and quality. Remember to ask about the warranty for all solar equipment components.
  • Solar panels: As you compare solar energy options, remember that higher efficiency is always better. Currently, three types of panels are available on the solar market — monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film amorphous.

    Residential solar energy systems most commonly incorporate monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels. Thin-film amorphous solar panels are cheaper but also less efficient, which makes them more ideal for commercial applications where space isn’t a concern.

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    • Degradation rate: Pay attention to the degradation rate and temperature coefficient to find quality solar panels. The degradation rate refers to how much the output declines each year — the average degradation rate for solar panels is about 0.8%, so anything less than that is more durable than average.
    • Temperature coefficient: The temperature coefficient refers to how much panels decrease in efficiency each degree above 25 degrees Celsius (PV modules are tested at 25 C, so 25 C is the solar industry’s universal reference point). Look for PV modules with a temperature coefficient between -0.3% and -0.5%.
  • Power inverter: An inverter converts DC electricity into AC electricity, which is what powers your home. After panels, your inverter is the most critical part of your solar energy system. To select the best inverter for you, consider how many watts you need and the power rating. The most common kinds of inverters are string inverters, central inverters and microinverters.
  • Storage batteries: Solar storage batteries provide continuous power to your home, even when the sun isn’t shining. These batteries come in handy whether you're on or off the grid. The best solar batteries can store large amounts of electricity and withstand multiple discharge-recharge cycles.
  • Charge controllers: Charge controllers regulate current and voltage to prevent batteries from overcharging. Solar charge controllers can be either PWM (pulse width modulation) or MPPT (maximum power point tracking). Generally, MPPT controllers are more efficient but more expensive.
  • Monitoring equipment: Monitoring equipment connects to the inverter and lets you know how efficiently your panels are generating electricity. Most solar energy companies use proprietary software to monitor solar arrays.
Once you have an idea of the solar equipment you want, start thinking about whether you want to work with a national or local solar company. There are pros and cons to both — national companies sometimes have better warranties, but local companies are more familiar with your state’s incentives and permitting requirements. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), local solar installers cost an average of 10% less than national residential solar installers.

Before selecting a local solar installation company, check out the company's reviews from customers and ask for references from homeowners who've recently completed a similar system installation. Find out if the solar company employs in-house installers or uses contractors. You should also consider whether the company offers in-house financing and if it offers warranties for parts or equipment.

Finally, consider hiring a competent electrical engineer to review the installation. This will ensure a smooth installation with few problems during the process and in the future.

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There’s some paperwork to complete before solar panels can be installed. Homeowners must apply for proper permits with their state or local government. You might have to comply with building codes, depending on where you live. Without the correct paperwork, you risk hefty fines.

You then need to make arrangements with your local utility company to outline a net-metering agreement, a contract that details the responsibilities for you and the utility company and covers information like electric rates and compensation for excess energy fed into the grid. Your utility company may also require justification for the size of your system, particularly if it produces more power than you typically use.

A final inspection is required to ensure the system meets safety regulations before you can connect to your local utility grid. A grid system provides reliable, economical electricity. Solar panels can be directly connected to a power inverter and then connected to a home grid, or they can be connected to the inverter through the battery and then to the home grid. It’s not wise to install the panels yourself, though; instead, hire a qualified professional with certification who works with high-quality solar panels.

FAQs

Top 10 Best Solar Energy Companies of 2022 | ConsumerAffairs? ›

Top Solar Companies of 2022
  • Green Home Systems: Our pick for solar roofing.
  • SunPower: Our pick for most experience.
  • Blue Raven Solar: Our pick for financing.
  • Sunrun: Our pick for leasing options.
  • Tesla Energy: Our pick for panel design.
  • Vivint Solar: Our pick for flexibility.
  • ADT Solar: Our pick for customer service.
6 days ago

Which energy provider is best for solar? ›

Best Solar Energy Providers
  • Lumo Energy.
  • Red Energy.
  • Dodo.
  • Origin.
  • Alinta Energy.
  • AGL.
  • EnergyAustralia.
  • Simply Energy.

Who is leading in solar energy? ›

China leads the world as the top producer of solar energy, installing more than 48 GW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2020. The EU, the United States, Vietnam, and Japan are ranked as top solar producers.

What is the fastest growing solar company? ›

DQ is top for value and growth and JKS is top for momentum

Solar industry companies come from multiple sectors, including utilities, industrial, and energy, and include popular stocks such as SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG) and Sunrun Inc. (RUN).

Which is better Sunrun vs SunPower? ›

Verdict: SunPower has a slight advantage over Sunrun in terms of the overall quality of their solar panels. The company produces high-quality panels through Maxeon Solar while Sunrun has to rely on third-party suppliers.

Who bought SunPower? ›

TotalEnergies is buying SunPower's commercial and industrial business, the two companies announced Wednesday evening. The $250 million deal includes $190 million cash up front, plus another $60 million to be paid if an extension to the solar investment tax credit is passed, a company spokesperson said.

Who's the best energy supplier? ›

Octopus Energy came out on top as the best energy supplier for the second year running with an overall customer score of 83%. Ebico was rated second overall with a 79% customer score. They were closely followed by both Bulb Energy and Pure Planet who were just one percentage point behind on 78%.

How much do solar panels cost 2022? ›

Approximate Costs Of Solar Systems After the Rebate
System sizeNumber of panelsCost Range (June 2022)
6.6kW18$5,500 – $9,000
7kW19$6,500 – $10,000
8kW22$7,500 – $11,000
10kW27$8,000 – $13,000
5 more rows

How long do solar panels last? ›

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV panels, are made to last more than 25 years. In fact, many solar panels installed as early as the 1980s are still working at expected capacity. Not only are solar panels remarkably reliable, solar panel longevity has increased dramatically over the last 20 years.

Who is the number one solar company in the US? ›

Top Solar Panel Companies in the US
CompanyAnnual Sales
1.Ormat Technologies$250 M & over
2.First Solar, Inc.$250 M & over
3.NextEra Energy$250 M & over
4.SolarEdge Technologies$250M & over
6 more rows

Who is the biggest renewable energy company? ›

Nextera Energy

Are solar panels a good 2022 investment? ›

Federal financial incentives are available through the end of 2022 as well, providing a 26% tax credit for installed solar PV systems. A reduced tax credit of 22% can be claimed through the end of 2023 and then expires in 2024, making 2022 truly an optimal time to switch to solar.

Who is the biggest solar panel manufacturer? ›

As for the company with the largest production rate, JinkoSolar, headquartered in Shanghai, China, ranked first according to the most recent data.

Is Sunrun owned by Tesla? ›

Tesla also is an important supplier for Sunrun, part of a partnership in which Sunrun sells Tesla's Powerwall battery storage systems.

Is SunPower solar going out of business? ›

Once the companies divide, SunPower will no longer manufacture solar panels. However, it will still continue to supply the same solar services to customers.

Is Sunrun a Chinese company? ›

Sunrun is an American provider of photovoltaic solar energy generation systems and battery energy storage products, primarily for residential customers. The company was established in 2007 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Are SunPower panels made in China? ›

SunPower is widely known as an American company – it is located in San Jose, California. And yet, SunPower now sources most of its production from China (the rest in Mexico and Philippines) and thus the solar components are Chinese and the panel itself is made in China.

Is SunPower a good company? ›

SunPower has been in the solar industry since 1985 and strives to provide a safe and reliable experience to customers. The San Jose, California based solar panel manufacturer and installer currently offers services in every state. The BBB gives SunPower an A+ rating, which is above the industry average.

How long do SunPower solar panels last? ›

How long will a solar system last? Our systems are designed to have a useful life of 40 years or more. * For more information about solar panel durability and performance, check out this report on solar system useful life field tests performed on SunPower® systems vs. conventional panels.

What are big 6 energy companies? ›

A Guide to the Big 6 energy suppliers: who are they and who owns...
  • British Gas (Centrica)
  • EDF Energy.
  • E.ON.
  • SSE.
  • Npower.
  • Scottish Power.
  • OVO.
  • Octopus.
Mar 3, 2021

What is the best energy supplier 2022? ›

The best energy suppliers in 2022
  1. Octopus Energy: The ultimate choice for customer service, value and more. ...
  2. British Gas: The largest supplier but a mediocre service. ...
  3. EDF Energy: Zero-carbon electricity to help you reduce your carbon footprint. ...
  4. E.
May 26, 2022

Who are the top six energy companies? ›

However, some of these suppliers have built a solid reputation and customer base, dominating the market in the process. These are known as the 'Big Six' Energy Providers – British Gas, EDF Energy, E. ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE.

Is solar still getting cheaper? ›

The installed cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage systems continued to drop between 2020 and 2021 in the U.S., with utility-scale solar systems seeing a 12.3% price decline, according to a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Are solar panel prices dropping? ›

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the price of a residential solar panel system has dropped by an annual average of more than 60% over the past decade — from upwards of $50,000 for a 6-kilowatt-hour (KWh) system in 2011 to between $16,000 and $21,000 in 2021.

How many kW solar do I need? ›

Each kW of solar you install will produce around 4 - 4.5 kWh per day (depending on the aforementioned factors). To ascertain the size of the system you need, just divide your daily consumption by this amount.

What can damage solar panels? ›

3 Common Ways Solar Panels Can Be Damaged:
  • Twigs, Leaves and Dirt: Debris can scratch your solar panels and lower the amount of energy produced. ...
  • Hail Storms: Bad weather is damaging to all roofs, and hailstorms are no exception. ...
  • Water Damage: Your solar panels are sealed just like your windows.
Feb 22, 2019

Can solar panels blown off roof? ›

This phenomenon is capable of tearing panels from their mounts, or the mounts from the roof or ground. In the most extreme cases, solar panels may stay anchored down, but uplift from strong winds can tear sections of your roof off.

What is the next big energy source? ›

Green hydrogen energy

Hydrogen is the most abundant material in the universe and produces close to zero greenhouse gas emissions when burnt. These are two of the qualities that make it a very exciting potential source of energy.

Should I invest in solar energy stocks? ›

Is solar energy a good investment? Solar energy has the potential to be a good investment over the long term. With development expected to accelerate in the coming years, solar energy companies should grow rapidly, thereby boosting stock prices.

Is First Solar a good stock to buy? ›

The company is expected to report significantly weaker earnings in comparison to 2021. The market sentiment is decreasing as inflation, geopolitical tensions, and slowing economic growth intensify. Therefore, I believe investors should wait before buying First Solar.

Why is solar stock dropping? ›

Interest rates are up, and that's bad news for solar stocks.

The reason for the sell-off in solar stocks actually makes some sense at this point, though. Interest rates are rising, and the global economy may be slowing, which may be enough to hurt solar energy stocks long term.

What is the biggest problem with solar energy? ›

Intermittency. One of the biggest problems that solar energy technology poses is that energy is only generated while the sun is shining. That means nighttime and overcast days can interrupt the supply.

Why is 2022 your last chance for solar? ›

There is currently a 26% federal solar tax credit, called an Investment Tax Credit (ITC), available for all homeowners who install residential solar panels between 2020 and 2022. That means 2022 is pretty much your last chance to take advantage of the 26% tax incentive.

What is the newest solar panel technology? ›

Solar 3.0: This New Technology Could Change Everything - YouTube

What is the number 1 solar company in America? ›

The largest solar company in the U.S. is NextEra Energy, with a revenue of $17.069 billion and an market share of 2.37%. As of 2022, the U.S. solar industry has a market size of $12 billion.

How do you know if a solar company is good? ›

The best way to check a solar company's reputation is based on speaking with previous customers or seeing their historical work. Places like Yelp, BBB, Google, Solar Reviews, and Energysage are all places that can provide a glimpse into the reputation and credibility of your solar installer.

Who is the largest residential solar company in the US? ›

Filter By
Resi RankCompanyOverall Rank
Resi Rank1CompanyMomentum SolarOverall Rank32
Resi Rank2CompanyTrinity SolarOverall Rank34
Resi Rank3CompanyTitan Solar PowerOverall Rank35
Resi Rank4CompanyACE SolarOverall Rank42
71 more rows
Jul 25, 2022

Is SunPower a good company? ›

SunPower has been in the solar industry since 1985 and strives to provide a safe and reliable experience to customers. The San Jose, California based solar panel manufacturer and installer currently offers services in every state. The BBB gives SunPower an A+ rating, which is above the industry average.

Does solar panels damage your roof? ›

For most homeowners, as long as your solar panels are properly installed, they shouldn't do damage to the exterior or the infrastructure of your roof. If you are working with a qualified licensed professional and your roof is in good condition, your solar panels won't affect the integrity of your roof.

How long do solar panels last? ›

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV panels, are made to last more than 25 years. In fact, many solar panels installed as early as the 1980s are still working at expected capacity. Not only are solar panels remarkably reliable, solar panel longevity has increased dramatically over the last 20 years.

Does solar increase home value? ›

Installing solar panels in a home not only helps to reduce current monthly utility bills; it can potentially increase the home's value by up to 4.1% more than comparable homes with no solar panels, according to recent solar research done by Zillow — or an additional $9,274 for the median-valued home in the U.S.

Who sells the most solar panels in the United States? ›

Largest US Solar Panel Manufacturers By Capacity
  • Tesla/Panasonic — 1,000 MW.
  • LG Solar USA — 500 MW.
  • JinkoSolar — 400 MW.
  • Sunenergy California — 400 MW.
  • Silfab Solar — 400 MW.
  • SunSpark USA — 200 MW.
  • Mission Solar — 200 MW.
  • SunPower — 150+ MW.
Dec 18, 2019

Who is the biggest solar panel manufacturer? ›

As for the company with the largest production rate, JinkoSolar, headquartered in Shanghai, China, ranked first according to the most recent data.

How much are Tesla solar panels? ›

How much do Tesla solar panels cost? Tesla solar panels range in price from $9,600 to $48,352, before incentives, depending on the system size that is best for your home. If you want to add energy storage to your system, each Tesla Powerwall will cost you an additional $11,000 before incentives.

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