5 Best Solar Companies in Richmond, VA (2022 Review)

Renewable Energy

With 187 solar companies in the state, what does it take to be one of the top installers in Richmond, Virginia?

After the 2020 passing of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Virginia lept from ranking 19th to 9th in the U.S. for solar installations. The act prioritizes solar access in the state, and it’s the perfect time to get in on the renewable energy action: Accelerated growth has driven down the cost of solar by 11%

But why talk about only five solar companies out of 187? Because we recommend installers based on research and realism, not greenwashing and sales pitches. We’ve been reporting on renewable energy for nearly 20 years, our solar content is advised by a panel of industry experts, and we never rank or base our reviews off of partnerships like other websites.

In This Article:

What Are the 5 Best Solar Companies in Richmond?

Below you’ll find a summary of the EcoWatch team’s picks for the best solar installers in Richmond, along with a link to our solar company matching tool. Our brand authority in the solar industry allows us to access the best deals and prices for our readers.

CompanySolar ServicesWarranty CoverageBBB RatingYear Founded
Nova SolarSolar panel and battery installations25-year product and performance warranties; 10-year labor warrantyA+2012
Virtue SolarSolar panel and battery installations25-year module warranty; 10-year labor warrantyA+2015
Blue Raven SolarSolar panel and battery installations; system monitoring10-year workmanship warranty; 25-year product warranty; 2-year production guaranteeA+2014
Powerhome SolarSolar panel and battery installations; energy efficiency packagesUp to 30-year performance warranty; 25-year workmanship warrantyA2014
Sigora SolarSolar panel installations; energy-efficiency audits and upgrades25-year performance warrantyA+2011

Going solar isn’t just about putting panels on your roof. There are many options to choose from, and the tool below can help you navigate which of the best solar companies in Richmond, Virginia, is right for you and your unique needs.

1. Nova Solar

We rank Nova Solar as the best solar company in Richmond, Virginia, largely for its stellar customer service. Its non-invasive and honest quoting, installation and post-installation service have earned it across-the-board five-star reviews from customers. Nova Solar takes the initiative to actively respond when its buyers have issues with their solar investments.

Nova Solar includes a variety of product and brand offerings from REC, Q Cells, IronRidge and more. This gives homeowners more customization for their solar panel installations. Customers have also complimented the business on its transparency regarding installation costs, efficient solar system designs and seamless installation process. 

Pros of Nova Solar

  • Responsive customer service from sales to installation 
  • Guaranteed at least one professional certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) on every job
  • No hidden fees or upcharges 
  • Proposals include a mock-up of the panels on your roof

Cons of Nova Solar

  • Lack of information regarding warranties on website (though available during quotes process)

Facts and Figures: Nova Solar

EcoWatch Rating4.5
Better Business Bureau (BBB) RatingA+
Year Founded2012
HeadquartersMosby, VA
Solar ServicesSolar panel and battery installations
Brands of Solar Equipment OfferedREC, Q Cells, Tesla, IronRidge, SolarEdge, Enphase
Financing OptionsCash payments, loans

2. Virtue Solar

Founded in 2015, Virtue Solar is owner-operated and maintains an A+ rating with accreditation from the BBB. This solar company designs and installs solar energy systems for both residential and commercial solar projects

Virtue Solar prides itself on providing honest advice and assistance. Its website lacked some information regarding solar services and products, but then again, the owners state that they are installers, not salesmen. That proved true when I contacted the company. Virtue Solar’s Peter Malander, a NABCEP-certified installer, was happy to offer easy-to-understand insight on solar basics and shopping around without any high-pressure sales tactics. These are people you can trust from first contact, which is why EcoWatch named Virtue Solar the Best Local Provider in Richmond.  

From design to installation of solar systems, Virtue Solar is dedicated to providing honest advice and reliable service. To date, Virtue Solar has installed over 2,000 kW of solar capacity. The company’s Facebook page is also filled with information on current solar energy policy and advocacy. Its website cites reputable sources, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and focuses mostly on solar power education.

Pros of Virtue Solar

  • Owner-operated 
  • Excellent customer service; educates homeowners without upselling
  • Variety of warranty coverage for both product and production, offering protection against linear degradation

Cons of Virtue Solar

  • Website could provide more information upfront, such as about services and products offered
  • Relatively young company
  • Does not offer solar batteries with most installations

Facts and Figures: Virtue Solar

EcoWatch Rating4.5
BBB RatingA+
Year Founded2015
HeadquartersMadison, VA
Solar ServicesSolar panel, solar roof shingles and electric vehicle charger installations
Brands of Solar Equipment OfferedVaries
Financing OptionsCash payments, loans

3. Blue Raven Solar

Founded in 2014, Blue Raven Solar operates in 17 states across the U.S. and is known for its world-class customer service, high-quality installations and in-house solar financing model. The company quickly became a growing leader in solar and was recently acquired by SunPower for its outstanding reputation. Blue Raven earned our Best Workmanship award for its dedication to providing quality service and maintaining it throughout the years, efficiently resolving issues reported by homeowners.

Blue Raven exclusively installs monocrystalline Tier 1 black-on-black solar panels (315 to 335 watts), which provide a sleek, modern look for residential rooftops. Brands offered by Blue Raven include trustworthy names like Trina and Canadian Solar, and it also installs SunPower SunVault solar battery systems. 

The company’s SmartStart program helps homeowners take advantage of the low rates many solar loan lenders offer in the first 18 months, ensuring you pay the same affordable price for five years. Blue Raven cuts you a monthly check to keep the rate the same. The company also has a BluePower+ program, which allows customers to pay $0 for the first 18 months.

Pros of Blue Raven Solar

  • Highly responsive in resolving issues
  • Hands-on with required inspections before going solar
  • SmartStart program offers predictability and financial stability

Cons of Blue Raven Solar

  • Headquarters located out of state, in Utah
  • Only provides a two-year production guarantee
  • No solar leasing or power purchase agreement (PPA) options

For more information, check out our full review of Blue Raven Solar.

Facts and Figures: Blue Raven Solar

EcoWatch Rating4.5
BBB RatingA+
Year Founded2014
HeadquartersOrem, UT
Solar ServicesSolar panel and battery installations; system monitoring
Brands of Solar Equipment OfferedTrina, Canadian Solar, SunPower
Financing OptionsCash payments, loans

4. Powerhome Solar

Founded in 2014, Powerhome Solar has a talent for explaining what solar means for the big picture with a practical approach to installation. Customers don’t feel pushed into buying something they aren’t ready for. This solar provider focuses on generating savings for homeowners looking to lower their reliance on conventional energy.

The company has experienced rapid growth but has maintained excellent customer service, garnering over 100 positive reviews with a rating of 3.9 out of 5.0 stars on Google. However, a few growing-pain complaints have risen, mostly regarding battery backup malfunctions. In these cases, Powerhome Solar has proven responsive, and many customers have left positive feedback regarding the company’s warranties and energy-efficiency package. For this reason, we named Powerhome Solar the company with the Best Warranty Coverage in Richmond.

Pros of Powerhome Solar

  • Up to a 30-year power performance guarantee
  • Consumer reviews are overall positive
  • SMARTPWR360° energy efficiency package provides simple but effective tools to reduce your power bill, such as a Nest thermostat, LED light bulbs, smart power strips and water-heater blanket

Cons of Powerhome Solar

  • Some consumer complaints about backup battery malfunctioning
  • Headquarters based outside of Virginia, which has led to confusion regarding communication and resolution of complaints following installation

Facts and Figures: Powerhome Solar

EcoWatch Rating4.0
BBB RatingA
Year Founded2014
HeadquartersMooresville, NC
Solar ServicesSolar panel and battery installations; energy-efficiency packages
Brands of Solar Equipment OfferedVaries
Financing OptionsCash payments, loans, PPAs

5. Sigora Solar

Sigora Solar is backed by a decade of experience and receives our Solar Veteran award for being a forerunner in the solar industry that keeps delivering. If you’re looking for a company with a solid reputation, this is the solar provider we give our vote of confidence.  

The company’s team has completed commercial and residential installations in nearly all interconnections and backup designs imaginable, integrating renewable power with traditional backup storage solutions. Customization is key with Sigora Solar.

In Virginia, you’re able to monetize the solar energy generated by your system in the form of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). Sigora has partnered with Carbon Solutions Group (CSG) to establish a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) with the Virginia General Assembly to buy and sell SRECs. 

Pros of Sigora Solar

  • Tesla Powerwall certified installer
  • Website thoughtfully designed as accessible to those with disabilities
  • BPI Goldstar Certified energy auditors

Cons of Sigora Solar

  • Limited information on website regarding services, warranty and financing
  • Few customer reviews online
  • Some complaints regarding inverters failing

Facts and Figures: Sigora Solar

EcoWatch Rating4.0
BBB RatingA+
Year Founded2011
HeadquartersCharlottesville, VA
Solar ServicesSolar panel and battery installations; energy-efficiency packages
Brands of Solar Equipment OfferedREC, Trina, Enphase, Tesla
Financing OptionsCash payments, loans

EcoWatch Criteria for Selecting the Best Solar Companies in Richmond

Out of 187 companies serving the state of Virginia, we selected five as the best solar companies in Richmond. Here are the criteria we considered when analyzing and ranking the installers above.

Warranty

Solar panels are often backed by two warranties, a performance and equipment guarantee:

  • A performance warranty on solar panels often guarantees 90% production for up to 10 years, then 80% until 25 years. 
  • An equipment warranty on solar panels usually guarantees 10 to 12 years of working without failing.

Solar panel warranties don’t cover accidents caused by severe weather or mishaps around your property. However, photovoltaic (PV) installations are considered to be home improvement projects. Many insurance companies do extend coverage to these incidents, but check with your provider before purchasing a new solar system.

Years in Business

A company’s reputation is often measured in its longevity, which reflects upon its years of experience. However, both young and older companies have experienced business challenges as the demand for clean energy rises.

A warranty cannot be fulfilled if a business closes its doors early. Young companies run the risk of not making it. CNBC recently reported that the solar industry experienced a year-over-year increase of 33% in 2021, but supply chain costs will lower its 2022 expected growth by 25%. Any company experiencing rapid growth cannot sustain itself without practicality in mind.

Services Offered

Most solar companies offer solar panels as their primary product, but additional services, such as energy-efficiency audits and upgrades; electrical contracting; and roofing reveal the experience behind the brand. 

Many smaller solar companies like Nova Solar are owner-operated and often hire individuals with varied backgrounds. These representatives are the same people who educate you about solar, help you with your quote and often come to install the panels. They also walk you through energy-efficiency strategies to save money on your electric bills and assist you with all the paperwork required for regulatory purposes. For example, Nova Solar doesn’t rely on subcontractors, and its representatives are present with customers from start to finish and beyond.

Comprehensive solar services often reveal more about the expertise of a company, and EcoWatch takes that into account. A business that hires individuals with electric and roofing experience is going to be able to advise you from a practical standpoint rather than try to upsell you without the know-how. 

Service Area and Headquarters

Once you verify that a solar company services your area, note where the company’s headquarters is located. Not only does it cost to get the product and electricians to homeowners, accounting for travel and time, but an out-of-state headquarters could cause more frustration if you experience product performance issues. 

Powerhome Solar isn’t based in Virginia. While its reviews are positive overall, some consumers have faced backup battery failures and had issues with getting someone out to investigate. Sometimes, this concern can also arise locally: Some consumers have faced inverter failures with Sigora Solar (based in Virginia). Fortunately, both companies have responsive customer service. These are the nuances that EcoWatch considers in its ranking criteria.

Industry Affiliations

What industry affiliations does the solar company have, and how does this reflect upon its ethics, qualifications and service? We give a higher ranking to companies affiliated with organizations such as:

  • Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
  • North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
  • Certified B Corps

In addition to our research, we urge our readers to check IREC’s National Solar Licensing Database and your state government’s licensing requirements and database to ensure any company you consider is operating with a valid business license.

Customer Experience

Previous customers’ experiences are one of the most important factors we consider when we rank and review solar companies at EcoWatch. Our goal is to look at the big picture for the solar shopper and not fall for greenwashing. We do the leg work and put ourselves in your shoes:

  • What are the good reviews saying? How does the company address its negative reviews? Is it just copying and pasting a form response or actually responding with action? 
  • If I call the company as a prospective customer, how do they treat me from the first phone call? Am I getting a sales pitch or being educated based on my particular needs?

Solar Pricing and Financing

“Okay, how much is this going to cost me?” is one of the top questions consumers have when looking into home solar power to reduce their energy bills.

Switching to solar power comes with the consideration of the cost of solar panels. Prices typically range from $10,000 to $20,000 for residential systems, but the cost of a moderately sized system can be under $10,000 after applying the federal solar tax credit. It may not look like it at first, but you do save money in the long run, all while reducing your reliance on fossil fuels.

Fortunately, the best solar companies in Richmond, Virginia, offer financing options that can spread your total payment out over a number of months to a few years. When choosing companies to recommend, we primarily look for comprehensive options that include the following: 

  • Availability and education on solar incentives, such as rebates, renewable energy credits, the federal tax credit and application assistance
  • Flexibility with down payments, payment plans, interest rates and loan partners
  • Salespeople that aren’t pushy

EcoWatch FAQ: Best Solar Companies in Richmond, Virginia

What are the most important factors to consider when going solar in Richmond, Virginia?

The typical climate in Richmond, Virginia, is mild compared to other areas of the nation, but it is still subtropical. As climate change persists, variations in weather, storms and humid days add wear-and-tear to homes in the River City. 

Your solar energy company should demonstrate:

• Experience with solar panel system weatherization and area-specific challenges for solar projects and roof warranties
• Knowledge of local solar policy and consumer advocacy

How much does it cost to go solar in Virginia?

The average cost of solar in Virginia is $2.75 per watt, according to our statewide market research. This is slightly higher than the national average of $2.66 per watt. Using this figure, a 5-kW solar system in VA — which is a typical size for a moderate single-family home — would be $10,163 after the federal solar tax credit.

Is net metering allowed in Virginia?

Yes, net metering is allowed in Virginia. Residential customers who participate in net metering agree to host a renewable energy source on their property connected to their energy provider’s power grid. More than seven million people across 16 states use Dominion Energy, including the majority of citizens in Richmond, Virginia, and the company has a net metering program. Contact your energy provider for more information.

Does Virginia have community solar?

Unfortunately, most Virginians don’t have access to community solar at this time. The exception to that is those who receive energy from an electric cooperative with a community solar option, such as BARC in Western Virginia. However, Dominion Energy does have an area to sign up for more information for a future community solar initiative if you are an account holder seeking a referral.

What is the most reputable solar company in Richmond, Virginia?

Virtue Solar stood out to us as the Best Local Provider for its focus on consumer education, honest advice and a hands-on approach. However, we recommended Nova Solar as the Best Overall company in Richmond.

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