8 Best Solar Energy Companies of 2021

workman observing solar paneling on residential roof

More and more homeowners are upgrading their properties to clean energy sources, typically with the help of top solar companies. By doing this, you can not only minimize your environmental footprint; you may also be able to reduce or even eliminate household energy expenses.

The first step in the process is researching some of the best residential solar panel manufacturers. These solar energy companies can equip you with the technology you need to harness the power of the sun.

In this article, we'll help you narrow down the top solar companies to research when installing a household renewable energy system. When you're ready to buy solar panels, we recommend considering the following top solar companies:

Top Solar Companies of 2021 at a Glance

Best Solar Installers:

CompanySuperlativeService CoverageBBB RatingYears in Business
SunPowerBest OverallNationalA+13
SunrunBest for LeasingRegionalB+14
TeslaBest National CoverageNationalA+17
Go SolarBest Regional CoverageRegionalA9

Additionally, we gathered the Best Solar Manufacturers:

  • Best Selection: LG Solar
  • Most Efficient: Panasonic
  • Best Technology: Enphase Energy
  • Best Value: Canadian Solar

How We Chose the Best Solar Energy Companies

So, how did we narrow down the industry's top solar companies? To begin with, we took a deep dive into each company's offerings, assessing them for the following criteria:

  • Range of services
  • Cost of solar panels and financing options
  • Extent of service area
  • Solar panel efficiency
  • Warranty
  • Temperature coefficient (i.e., how much high temperatures affect efficiency)

Additionally, we weighed Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) membership. Affiliation with this prestigious group is usually a good indicator that a solar energy company is reputable and that its work is taken seriously within the industry.

The Best Solar Energy Companies

With these criteria in mind, consider our picks for the best solar panel providers and installers in the industry.

Best Overall: SunPower

supower solar company logo

If you're searching for a company that will walk you through the process of upgrading to solar power, making the entire experience easy and convenient, consider SunPower. This company offers:

  • A "design studio" app that allows you to virtually design your own solar power system so you can see what the finished product would look like once assembled on your roof.
  • Online calculators that make it easy for you to determine how much electricity you will save once you upgrade to solar panels.
  • Virtual consultations during which you can chat one-on-one with a solar power expert and ask any questions you might have about how solar panels work or whether they're a good investment for your home.

SunPower offers some of the best solar panels, batteries and overall technology to homeowners across dozens of states. The company is also the preferred solar partner of many major businesses, including Walmart, FedEx and Lowes.

Why Buy: SunPower is a reliable solar energy company with an impressive tech portfolio and an extremely easy, intuitive process.

Best for Leasing: Sunrun

sunrun solar company logo

Upgrading to solar power can seem a little intimidating, but Sunrun is out to simplify the process. The solar panel company's approach makes it extremely straightforward to select a custom solar energy plan for your household. Here's what to know about Sunrun:

  • You can book a virtual consultation with Sunrun's solar energy experts, making it easy to explore options and determine which solar setup is right for your home energy needs.
  • Each system is completely customized to address the customer's needs. Sunrun doesn't do "one size fits all" solar panel installation.
  • The company's guarantee, the best in the industry, offers extraordinary peace of mind that your solar system will prove durable and reliable.
  • Sunrun also leads in terms of flexible solar financing options, making solar power accessible and affordable.

Why Buy: With Sunrun, the name of the game is customization. This is one of the top solar companies for renewable energy solutions that are truly made with your unique home in mind.

Best National Coverage: Tesla

Tesla Energy logo

You probably associate Tesla with electric vehicles, but did you know that the company makes highly regarded solar energy products? Depending on your needs and your budget, Tesla can hook you up with an array of solar panels or even a solar roof, making it easy to cut electricity costs and power your home via the sun's energy.

Some fast facts about choosing solar power from Tesla:

  • Tesla offers a price match guarantee and affordable financing options.
  • The company's advanced solar panel technology fuses a low-profile, sleek style with long-term durability.
  • Tesla also makes some of the best solar batteries, which allow you to save your excess solar power and access it on demand whenever you need it.

Why Buy: Tesla sells sophisticated solar products at a low price point and with a sturdy guarantee.

Best Regional Coverage: Go Solar Group

Go Solar company logo

The biggest drawback of Go Solar Group is that, right now, its work is limited to just a few Western states. But if you happen to live in that part of the country, it should be one of the top solar companies you consider. Go Solar's panels are uniquely calibrated to take advantage of the region's abundant sunlight. Some additional reasons to pick Go Solar include:

  • It offers free home solar assessments to help you decide whether solar panels are worth it for your roof.
  • The company custom-designs solar systems to meet the needs of each home.
  • Go Solar works with some of the most trusted installers in the solar power industry.

Why Buy: For solar solutions that are tailored to the climate of the American West, consider Go Solar. Plus, the company's Give Solar International partnership gives an equivalent solar panel system to a family in Uganda for each system sold.

Best Selection: LG Solar

LG Solar logo

Speaking of well-known tech companies that have dipped their toe into solar energy, LG has become one of the top solar companies for residential systems. Here are a few things to note about choosing solar installation through LG:

  • It offers an online "solar concierge" service that allows you to evaluate your energy needs and compare different types of solar panels.
  • LG has a 25-year warranty that covers not only its technology, but also the work completed by its solar installers.
  • The company manufactures a wide range of panels and other solar equipment, and it supplies you with plenty of information to make a fully informed choice about what's best for your home.

Why Buy: LG is a company that knows a thing or two about technological innovation. Its solar energy products are reliably efficient, well-priced and shrewdly designed.

Most Efficient: Panasonic

Panasonic HIT logo

Panasonic has one of the most impressive tech portfolios in the solar energy industry. Its products boast some of the highest conversion efficiency rates, along with the lowest degradation rates. And it backs everything with a generous warranty.

Some additional reasons to choose Panasonic:

  • There is a wide range of solar panels to choose from. With Panasonic, you'll find that you have plenty of options.
  • The company provides great online support and consumer education resources to help ensure you'll get the most out of your solar technology.

Why Buy: This tech giant is also one of the best solar panel manufacturers, making some of the most efficient solar panels with pricing and warranties that are tough to beat.

Best Technology: Enphase Energy

Enphase Solar logo

Enphase is another company that deserves a mention, both for its robust technology as well as for its commitment to customization. A few key points that put Enphase on our list of the best solar panel companies include:

  • The company designs its solar technology with safety in mind, including fire safeguards that other companies can't match.
  • Its microinverters are built for durability and can hold up even through severe weather events.
  • Enphase uses smart technology that updates itself; all you need to do is connect it to your home internet.
  • It has one of the best apps in the solar industry, making it simple to monitor your home energy use.

Why Buy: Enphase is a company of innovators, and its tech portfolio has a lot to offer. Enphase systems are also modular, meaning you can easily add more panels to your system as you need them.

Best Value: Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar logo

This solar power provider has won recognition not just for its excellent technology, but also for its sincere commitment to sustainability and ecological stewardship. And don't let the name throw you off: Though it is based in Canada, the company is active in a number of countries throughout the world.

Some additional facts about Canadian Solar:

  • It offers a wide range of products, from power converters to energy storage solutions.
  • The company's solar panels boast exceedingly high energy efficiency rates.
  • Canadian Solar has won many awards for its first-class innovations.

Why Buy: This company has a proven track record of technological excellence, plus a real commitment to ecological stewardship. Canadian Solar also closely monitors its supply chain to ensure that no goods or materials used in its products come from prohibited forms of labor.

How Does a Solar Energy System Work?

As you explore the different options for buying solar panels, it may be helpful to have a baseline understanding of how solar energy systems actually function.

Generally speaking, solar energy systems involve solar panels installed on your roof. These panels absorb the sun's energy, storing it in what are known as photovoltaic cells. These cells convert sunlight into direct current (DC) energy, which an inverter changes into alternate current (AC) electricity. AC electricity is what you need to power your home.

It's important to note that, before you purchase solar panels, it's worthwhile to meet with a solar energy consultant who can tell you more about how many panels your home will require and how those panels should be ideally positioned on your roof.

One more note: If you're concerned about the affordability of solar power, it's important to remember that most top solar companies provide a host of options, including flexible financing and programs to lease a system rather than purchase it outright. As you talk with different solar panel companies, don't hesitate to inquire about pricing.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Installing solar panels on your home can yield a number of benefits. Here are just a few examples:

Cleaner Energy

One of the main reasons why homeowners choose to install solar cells is that it allows them to truly embrace clean energy sources. Rather than depend on fossil fuels, you can power your home with renewable energy that comes straight from the sun. This can be a highly effective way to minimize your environmental footprint.

Solar Tax Credits and Rebates

There are a number of ways in which choosing renewable energy can save you money, starting with the fact that there are so many rebates and tax credits available. Both federal and state governments have adopted a list of financial incentives to make solar power more attractive and accessible to homeowners.

Lower Electricity Bills

Finally, embracing solar power will help you save money by slashing your electricity bills. Most top solar energy companies offer online calculators that allow you to see for yourself how much money you'll save over time simply by changing to a renewable energy source. There is also an option called a power purchase agreement (PPA) that can allow you to host a solar or renewable energy system from a utility provider in exchange for lowered energy rates. If your solar panel system generates excess energy, the utility will then purchase that energy from you in the form of a net metering credit on your bill.

Narrowing Down the Top Solar Companies for Your Home

While there are many perks to choosing solar energy for your home, installing panels can be a rather daunting endeavor. However, working with one of the top solar companies in your area can greatly simplify the process.

When seeking the best solar energy company for your home, remember to look for an installer that's well-regarded within the industry, get a consultation before you buy and always be sure to ask some direct questions about the financing options that are available to you. Fill out the form below to get connected with a solar installer in your area.

Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.

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