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A Chevron refinery in Richmond, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A new California mapping project reveals another example of how the climate crisis disproportionately impacts vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

The Toxic Tides project, unveiled during a virtual workshop Tuesday, maps more than 400 hazardous sites like power plants, refineries and toxic waste dumps that could flood if sea levels rise by more than three feet, which they are projected to do by the end of 2100 if little is done to resolve the climate crisis. This is a major environmental justice issue, because these sites are disproportionately located in low income communities of color.

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Broadly speaking, state governments have led the way in implementing renewable energy policies in the U.S., and a couple of states have always been at the forefront of these efforts. Despite not having the vast land of California or the year-round sun of Arizona, the availability of a Massachusetts solar tax credit has long been a reason that this New England state is a top state for solar energy installations.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Massachusetts is currently eighth in the country for solar energy installations, which is especially impressive given how small the state is geographically compared with many of the states it's outranking. For residents, the availability of Massachusetts solar rebates and incentives, as well as some of the best solar installation companies, has made solar energy an appealing and logical option, and in offering such opportunities, the Massachusetts government has set a great example for the rest of the country.

If you live in Massachusetts and are wondering how much a solar panel system would cost for your home, you can get a free quote from a certified solar installer near you by using this tool or filling out the form below.

Massachusetts Solar Tax Credit

The most appealing Massachusetts solar tax credit available is the Personal Income Tax Credit, otherwise known as the Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit. Massachusetts residents who purchase home solar energy systems are eligible for a tax credit on their income tax filing that totals 15% of the cost of the solar system (up to a maximum tax credit of $1,000).

Massachusetts implemented this tax credit back in 2016, and the direct impact is bringing down the cost of solar panels for homeowners. This serves as a hefty incentive to adopt solar power or another renewable energy system. The impact has been steady and notable, which is no doubt a reason that solar installers have seen such demand across the state of Massachusetts.

Other Massachusetts Solar Incentives

While the Massachusetts solar tax credit has been the most heralded and impactful of the solar incentives available in the state, residents of Massachusetts have several additional opportunities to take advantage. The following programs and policies make the decision to go solar even more financially savvy.

Massachusetts Solar Rebates and Incentives

Description

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program

Customers who install approved solar systems can get direct compensation for every kilowatt-hour generated by their system.

Massachusetts Solar Tax Exemptions

Massachusetts does not collect sales tax on solar systems and omits the value of solar systems from property value assessments for tax purposes.

Massachusetts Net Metering Program

Homes and businesses are paid per kilowatt-hour for all excess electricity they generate and send back to the central power grid.

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program

The goal of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program is to offer direct incentives for both residential and commercial solar energy systems that are tied to one of three investor-owned utility grids in the state: Eversource, National Grid and Unitil.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources instituted this program in late 2018 and it directly pays the owners of solar systems for all power generated by their systems for 10 years.

The specifics of how much a customer gets paid varies based on their utility provider and the size of their system, but the payouts range from $0.22 per kilowatt-hour produced all the way up to $0.34 per kWh. Further, the SMART program has added provisions for higher payouts if a battery storage system is added. While many solar systems can already pay for themselves via reduced energy bills in less than a decade, the additional incentives offered by the SMART program can nearly cut the solar payback period in half.

Massachusetts Solar Tax Exemptions

Direct tax exemptions are another way that the state of Massachusetts seeks to ensure that the cost of solar panels is not preventing residents from investing. Most products in the state will have a standard sales tax of 6.25% applied at the point of sale, but Massachusetts would rather the tax not be collected if it would deter any additional homes from investing in solar. As a result, solar energy systems are exempt from sales tax.

Another solar tax exemption offered to owners of systems in Massachusetts is the property tax exemption. For any typical home upgrade — such as an extension to a house, a new pool, or otherwise — the property will get inspected, and the value of the home is reassessed so taxes can be paid on the full value of the home. While solar energy systems increase the value of a home and how much it can sell for, the state of Massachusetts opts to not include the value of the solar system when assessing the total amount at which the property should be taxed.

Massachusetts Net Metering Program

Lastly, Massachusetts is ahead of the curve when it comes to net metering as a benefit allowed for owners of solar systems. Through net metering, properties that are generating electricity, whether through solar panels or otherwise, can be compensated for sending excess power that they don't need in a given moment back into the grid.

For example, the peak time to generate solar power is mid-afternoon, but if a home is empty during those hours because its residents are at school or work, it's likely that all of that energy will not be used. In such an instance, the home can send power to the local grid to be used by other people in the service area, and thanks to net metering policies in Massachusetts, the owners of those solar systems are compensated at the same price they pay when consuming power from the grid.

When done optimally, such net metering policies can nearly wipe out an entire power bill for efficient homes operating with solar.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

While Massachusetts is going out of its way to offer tax incentives and rebates to potential solar customers, these projects are eligible for the relevant federal solar tax credit as well. In fact, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the most commonly utilized tax credit for new solar projects and has been for a number of years.

For eligible customers and solar systems, the ITC allows 26% of the cost of solar systems to be claimed as a credit against federal tax returns, provided those systems are operational before December 31, 2022. For systems placed into service in 2023, the tax credit is 22% of the total system cost. As the code is currently written, there is no ITC for solar systems installed after 2023, though clean energy advocates and pro-solar politicians are seeking to extend the federal solar tax credit in the future.

FAQ: Massachusetts Solar Incentives

Does Massachusetts have a solar tax credit?

Massachusetts has a solar tax credit called the Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit. Homeowners can claim this credit on their state tax filing, and it's worth 15% of the cost of the solar system (up to a maximum tax credit of $1,000). All Massachusetts installations are also eligible for the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

Is it worth going solar in Massachusetts?

Yes, Massachusetts offers numerous financial incentives that help the already profitable endeavor of installing solar energy to be even better for the budget in the long run. With properly planned and installed solar systems, many in Massachusetts can expect their payback period to be just a couple of years, though you should consult with an expert about your exact situation for any unique aspects of your potential solar system.

Can you get free solar in Massachusetts?

Solar energy systems will always come with some level of upfront costs, though many opportunities exist for financing (including on-bill financing) that bring the initial capital required down to a manageable and accessible level for residents across Massachusetts. Once systems are installed, the reduced energy bills, the availability of net metering, and potential participation in the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program will all pay back the initial investment and the bulk of the solar system's life will represent profit.

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Massachusetts?

The specific costs will vary based on the size of the system and how well suited the potential location is to solar installations. That said, our research shows that the average cost paid in Massachusetts is $2.94 per watt for solar system installations, slightly higher than the nationwide average of $2.66 per watt.

To see how much a solar system would cost for your home, specifically, you can use this tool or fill out the form below to get a free, no-obligation quote from a certified solar installer near you.

2022 Florida Solar Tax Credits, Incentives & Rebates

See how you can save money on solar panels in Florida.

Reviews
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Florida is well-known as the Sunshine State because of its year-round sunny weather that draws millions of tourists each year, but historically, Florida hasn't actually been a national leader when it comes to solar energy generation. That said, financial incentives like Florida solar tax credit and rebate opportunities have played a huge part in its rise to become one of the top states for solar energy.

To the glee of clean energy advocates across the state, various Florida solar incentives have succeeded in bringing solar power throughout the state. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2020, Florida ranked third in the nation for solar energy capacity, and it had the second-most installations during the second quarter of 2021.

This progress in the solar field comes from many different sources, not the least of which is Florida solar incentives. For any homes or businesses feeling left behind while the rest of the state goes solar, these types of solar tax credits are still widely available across Florida, which will be discussed in this article.

For most homeowners, the decision to go solar comes down to cost. To see how much you'd pay for a home solar system (and how much you can shave off that price with Florida solar tax credit and incentive opportunities), you can get a free quote from a top solar company near you by using this tool or filling out the form below.

Florida Solar Tax Credits and Solar Rebates

As much as transitioning to clean energy is the best thing for the environment and the fight against climate change, the reality has always been that such changes would be slow to happen (if they happened at all) unless they made sense financially. When solar energy systems are proven to save money for those who pay the high upfront costs to install them, those purchases are better considered a worthy investment.

As such, some of the most effective policies encouraging solar installations have been those making the decision a no-brainer from the budgetary perspective. Let's take a look at some of the top Florida solar incentives.

Florida Solar Incentive Program Overview
Florida Net Metering Programs Credits homeowners when their solar panels produce extra electricity and it is exported to the local power grid
Florida Tax Exemptions Property tax exemptions and sales tax exemptions for solar and other renewable energy equipment
Local Incentives Incentives, rebates and low-interest financing programs at the town, city, and county level that encourage local solar installations

Florida Net Metering Programs

Regardless of the state, one of the most critical types of energy policy for solar panels is known as net metering. Through net metering, homeowners can feed excess electricity produced by their solar panels into the power grid in exchange for utility credits. These credits can be used to pay for the energy a home uses when panels aren't producing (such as at night).

Net metering tends to be a state-by-state policy, as there is no federal policy regarding net metering. Florida is one of the states where there is, in fact, a statewide net metering program, applicable for homeowners regardless of which utility serves their area.

The specific net metering provision covers up to 2 megawatts (MW) of capacity for any customers who generate electricity with a renewable energy source. Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy have the largest net metering programs in the state.

The availability of such net metering serves as an incentive for Floridians to install solar panels on their property. Not only do they benefit by reducing their power bills from pulling energy from the grid less often, but they can even profit when the utility pays them for generating more power than they consume, bringing their solar payback period down.

Florida Solar Tax Exemptions

Another financial mechanism that the Florida state government offers to solar system owners is solar tax exemptions. To start, Florida doesn't want to make the upfront cost to purchase and install solar equipment to be any higher than the open market says it should be, so since 1997, all solar energy systems have been completely exempt from Florida's sales and use tax.

Once a solar photovoltaic system is purchased and installed, there is a statewide property tax abatement that further helps homeowners avoid paying taxes on it. Most home additions, such as a new shed or outdoor patio built in a home's backyard, would be appraised to determine the value it added to the property and thus increase the overall property tax. However, the added home value of solar panels is excluded from the property's taxable value.

Local Incentives

Florida is also a large, diverse state, so in addition to the state solar incentives, many local jurisdictions enact their own policies to encourage and support installation of solar energy systems. At the town, city or county level, Floridians will commonly find low-interesting solar financing options, specific solar incentives or rebates, and more.

You can determine whether your locality offers such incentives by investigating your local government websites or talking to utility company representatives. When you do, you may come across such successful programs as Jacksonville's $2,000 rebate for solar battery installations, Boynton Beach's Energy Edge Rebate Program, or the Solar Energy Rebate Grant Program offered by Dunedin.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

Floridians, of course, can also benefit from all the tax incentives, rebates and credits that are offered at the federal level. Over the past two decades, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) has attributed largely to the rapid growth in solar energy across business sectors, geographies and customer types.

For systems installed and operational before the end of 2022, the federal solar tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the installation, dropping to 22% for systems installed in 2023. It is currently set to expire afterward, though the idea of extending the ITC beyond its current expiration date, as has been done in the past, has been a part of active clean energy policy debates.

FAQ: Florida Solar Incentives

Does Florida have a solar tax credit?

State-wide, there is no specific Florida solar tax credit. However, all utilities in the state of Florida do offer customers the ability to utilize net metering, Florida solar homeowners are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and some local jurisdictions in Florida may offer their own tax credits.

Is solar tax exempt in Florida?

In Florida, the purchase and installation of a home solar system is exempt from all sales tax, and the value of renewable systems are excluded from 100% of residential property taxes.

How much is the solar tax credit for 2022?

For any solar panel system installed before the end of 2022, the federal solar investment tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the system.

Is Florida a good state for solar?

Florida is a great state for solar from the perspective of having year-round sunny weather, higher-than-average solar irradiance and a policy landscape conducive to solar installations. Because of these factors, Florida ranked third among all states in terms of solar capacity installed in 2020 (rising to second when looking at the third quarter of 2021), per the SEIA.

How much do solar panels cost in Florida?

Based on market research and data from top solar companies, we've found the average cost of solar panels in Florida is $2.53 per watt. However, this is only an average, and prices can vary widely depending on where you live, the number of solar panels you need and more.

To get a free estimate for your own home solar system, you can get connected with a pre-screened local installer by using this tool or entering your home's information below.

2022 North Carolina Solar Tax Credits, Incentives & More

We break down solar incentives available in the Tar Heel State.

Renewable Energy
Eloi_Omella / Getty Images

North Carolina consistently ranks among the top states for solar energy, but what kinds of incentives are residents able to take advantage of to lower the cost of going solar? In this article, we’ll provide an overview of all North Carolina solar tax credit, rebate and other incentive opportunities available to homeowners, which have contributed to the local growth of clean energy.

The SEIA gathers detailed information about the solar industry in each state, and the outlook for North Carolina is very promising. According to the latest SEIA data, the state has over 7,200 megawatts of solar capacity, which is enough to power more than 846,000 homes. The accumulated investment in North Carolina’s solar industry now exceeds $9.8 billion, with more than 6,100 jobs created so far.

North Carolina has enacted favorable legislation for solar power. There is a net metering policy, which ensures you get full credit when exporting surplus solar energy to the grid. There is also a law that enables low-interest green energy loans from county and city governments. Let’s dig in.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on for and is not intended to provide accounting, legal or tax advice.

North Carolina Solar Incentives

Although there are sunnier regions in the U.S., the Global Solar Atlas shows North Carolina gets decent sunshine. The state also offers several incentive programs that improve your return on investment when going solar.

North Carolina Solar Incentive

Program Overview

Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems

North Carolina does not tax you for the increase in property value after installing solar panels.

North Carolina Net Metering Policy

Surplus electricity from your home solar system is credited at retail price on your next power bill.

Duke Energy Solar Rebate

Duke Energy customers can qualify for a cash incentive when installing a solar panel system.

Local Option - Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

North Carolina has a law that enables revolving loan programs from cities and counties, with a maximum interest rate of 8% and a maximum term of 20 years.

Local Incentives

Additional incentives may be available from your county, city or utility company.

We'll go into detail about each North Carolina solar incentive below, but if you haven't already, we recommend getting a free quote from a certified installer in your area to see exactly how much these tax credits and rebates could save you. To get started, you can use this tool or fill out the following form:

North Carolina Solar Tax Incentives

North Carolina has offered a property tax exemption for solar panels and solar thermal electric systems since 2008. These systems increase the value of your property, like any other home upgrade, but NC does not tax you for that increase. For example, if solar panels increase the value of a home from $270,000 to $300,000, the owner will still be taxed for a $270,000 home.

This benefit is also available for solar power systems owned by commercial, industrial and agricultural energy users. However, in these cases, the property tax exemption applies for 80% of the system’s value, instead of the 100% exemption available for homeowners.

Net Metering in North Carolina

North Carolina offers net metering for solar power systems up to 1,000 kW of capacity, which covers all residential systems and many industrial and commercial solar systems. However, leased solar systems have a much lower limit for net metering: 20 kW or 100% of estimated demand, whichever is less.

Surplus electricity from your solar panels is credited on your next bill, which means you save the full value of the kilowatt-hours that get exported to the grid. However, your accumulated balance expires at the start of the summer billing period. Having an optimally sized solar power system is recommended, since an oversized system generates electricity that you can never subtract from your bills.

Duke Energy Solar Rebate

If you’re a Duke Energy customer who plans to install solar panels, you may qualify for the utility company’s North Carolina Solar Rebate Program. The available funding for 2021 ran out very quickly, but you can join a waiting list for when the program reopens in 2022. The incentive per kilowatt changes depending on the type of customer, but the program website lists the following rates as of November 2021:

  • Residential customer: $400 per kW, maximum system size of 10 kW ($4,000)
  • Non-residential customer: $300 per kW, maximum system size of 100 kW ($30,000)
  • Nonprofit organization: $750 per kW, maximum system size of 100 kW ($75,000)

Keep in mind that incentive programs managed by energy companies tend to change frequently, and their funding per year is limited. If you’re interested in the Duke Energy rebate, check the company’s website regularly so you don’t miss any updates.

NC Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

In North Carolina, city and county governments are legally authorized to offer low-interest loans for solar PV systems in homes and businesses. The loan program also covers other renewable energy technologies like geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines and biomass power.

The maximum interest rate of these revolving loans is 8%, and the maximum term is 20 years. This gives you the option of installing a solar panel system with loaned capital, then using your electricity savings to pay it back over time. This means your out-of-pocket cost is reduced to zero, and your solar power system can cover its own cost with the savings achieved.

Local Incentives

We have listed the main solar incentives available in North Carolina, but keep in mind that additional benefits may be available depending on where you live.

For example, the City of Asheville offers building permit rebates for homeowners and businesses who use solar panels and other green energy technologies. This North Carolina solar rebate changes depending on the technology used; in the case of solar panels, there is a $50 rebate on your building permit application.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

The federal solar tax credit is not a North Carolina incentive, strictly speaking, since you can claim it anywhere in the U.S. However, we mention this benefit here because you can combine it with local incentives.

  • If you install a solar power system before the end of 2022, you can claim 26% of its value as a federal tax credit.
  • The benefit will remain available in 2023, but it will be reduced to 22%.
  • After the start of 2024, there will only be a 10% federal solar tax credit for businesses and 0% for homes.

FAQ: North Carolina Solar Incentives

Does North Carolina have a solar tax credit?

No, there is no specific North Carolina solar tax credit. However, you can still claim the 26% federal tax credit.

Is it worth going solar in North Carolina?

It depends on your unique situation, but in general, it’s worth going solar in North Carolina. The state offers a combination of incentives that reduce your ownership costs and decent sunshine that makes solar panels productive. Solar panels last for more than 25 years if they’re of high quality, and you can achieve a payback period of less than 10 years in North Carolina.

Does solar increase property taxes in North Carolina?

No, there is a 100% property tax exemption for residential solar systems. Your home becomes more valuable, but your property taxes are not raised. Solar power systems owned by businesses get an 80% property tax exemption.

What is the 26% tax credit for solar?

In a few words, for every dollar invested in a solar power system, you can claim 26 cents on your next tax declaration. For example, if you purchase a 6-kW home solar system for $18,000, you can claim a tax credit of $4,680 (26% of $18,000).

Leonardo David is an electromechanical engineer, MBA, energy consultant and technical writer. His energy-efficiency and solar consulting experience covers sectors including banking, textile manufacturing, plastics processing, pharmaceutics, education, food processing, fast food, real estate and retail. He has also been writing articles about energy and engineering topics since 2015.

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Though summer is the most popular season for RV travel, fall is close behind it. Indeed, there are plenty of folks across the country who love to load up their campers and head out to witness the changing foliage, bask in cooler temperatures and herald the coming of crisp autumn air.

One of the challenges that RV owners face? How to keep their treks eco-friendly. After all, traveling by RV comes with a number of environmental challenges. RVs get low gas mileage, plus they produce more carbon emissions than flying or simply taking a car.

The good news is that, by following a few basic tips, it's possible to make your RV travels more eco-friendly. Here are some earth-conscious steps to take for your next RV adventure.

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9 Best Solar Companies in Maryland in 2022

We'll help you narrow down the best installer for your home.

Reviews
The Washington Post / Contributor / Getty Images

Looking for energy freedom in the Free State? There are plenty of installers to choose from, but in this article, we’ll help you narrow down your options by recommending nine of the best solar companies in Maryland.

On track to increase its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target from 25% to 50% by 2030, Maryland has quadrupled its solar capacity since 2015. One of the biggest drivers of this has been its statewide programs that support residential, commercial and community solar projects. Maryland residents also have access to some of the best solar companies in the nation, offering exceptional value for generating clean energy.

For many readers, the decision of which solar installer to hire comes down to cost. To start getting free quotes from the best solar companies in Maryland, you can use this tool or fill out the form below.

Our Picks for Top Maryland Solar Installers

  1. Lumina Solar
  2. Solar Energy World
  3. SunPower
  4. Celestial Solar Innovations
  5. Edge Energy
  6. Trinity Solar
  7. American Sentry Solar
  8. Energy Select
  9. Maryland Solar Solutions

Comparing the 10 Best Solar Companies in Maryland

Lumina Solar

Lumina Solar logo

Lumina Solar

Location: Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia; Based in Baltimore

What We Like: Lumina Solar offers fully integrated solar technology to help its customers make a practical leap to new levels of energy efficiency, conservation and independence. Lumina’s solar panel systems are built with cutting-edge technology, and the company was the first in the state to offer Tesla Powerwall batteries. Though a young company, the team is made up of industry veterans sure to provide an aesthetically pleasing, reliable installation.

What We Don’t Like: Lumina Solar is only a 4-year-old company, albeit an impressive one. Given that warranties are only valid if your chosen company stays in business, we typically advise choosing companies with closer to 10 years of experience and that have a proven, sustainable business model.

What Customers Are Saying: “Lumina installed my solar system a couple of months ago, and I want everyone to know how fantastic this company is. I urge anyone looking to make the switch to call Lumina Solar. From the very beginning of researching solar companies, I was most impressed with customer reviews and they were absolutely right.” — Marsha via Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Lumina Solar at a Glance:

Solar Energy World

Solar Energy World logo

Solar Energy World

Location: State of Maryland; Based in Elkridge

What We Like: Solar Energy World’s excellent industry reputation across the East Coast continues to shine each year, making it one of the fastest-growing independently owned and operated solar companies in the region. In fact, Solar Energy World has ranked as the No. 1 residential solar installer by volume in Maryland five years running. Installing Silfab, Longi, Q Cells and REC solar panels (which are some of the best available), Solar Energy World offers high-quality technology backed by a simple and tested process.

What We Don’t Like: Relative to some competitors on this list, Solar Energy World’s size can cause lapses in organizational presence and individualized attention. Those seeking a highly personalized, hands-on experience may be better off with a smaller company.

What Customers Are Saying: “Every step of the entire process was great — a low-pressure and knowledgeable consultation, a realistic and well-priced estimate (that turned out to match the design exactly), all steps in the process happened on or before schedule, the installation was quick and easy and neat (with cleanup), county inspection and all of the after-sale steps were taken care of quickly.” — Daniel via BBB

Solar Energy World at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2009
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup battery installations, live energy monitoring
  • Warranty: Product-specific warranties ranging from 20-25 years
  • Financing Options: Cash payments, solar loans

SunPower

SunPower logo

SunPower

Location: State of Maryland

What We Like: SunPower has been an industry leader since 1985, manufacturing some of the best solar panels on the market. With nationwide service, SunPower can connect you with a certified dealer near your home or business to conduct the installation. SunPower's reputation for excellent customer care and all-in-one solar solutions earns it a high spot on our list of the best Maryland solar installers.

What We Don’t Like: SunPower is a national company, working with local dealers in Maryland to install its systems. As a result, the quality of your workmanship will be fairly dependent on the SunPower dealer nearest you.

What Customers Are Saying: “Very knowledgeable, professional and easy to work with. I was pleasantly surprised that the entire staff has been very helpful and not "pushy" like other solar companies.” — Scott via BBB

SunPower at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 1985
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup battery and electric vehicle charger installations
  • Warranty: 25-year all-inclusive warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash payments, solar loans, solar leases
  • Learn More: SunPower Review

Celestial Solar Innovations

Celestial Solar Innovations logo

Celestial Solar Innovations

Location: Northwest Maryland; Based in Frederick

What We Like: A local company with a passion for solar and exceptional service, Celestial Solar Innovations offers flexible solar financing options and knows the ins and outs of Maryland policies to ensure its customers receive the best possible value for their investment in solar power. Its strong Maryland roots make homeowners feel their experience is valued over profits, and stellar customer reviews back this sentiment.

What We Don’t Like: Celestial Solar Innovations only offers services in a small region of Northwest Maryland. This can be advantageous to customers in the area, as it means they receive more attention for their projects, but the majority of Maryland will be left outside Celestial Solar Innovations’ service area.

What Customers Are Saying: “Celestial Solar was a joy to work with. We had numerous estimates before meeting with Jim and CSI. They delivered on every promise. Not a hiccup. The system they installed works very well and is delivering in excess of 100% power. Each month, in addition to a zero-dollar power bill, there is an overage that we are now selling each month as SRECs (they set that up as well).” — Nate via Google Reviews

Celestial Solar Innovations at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2013
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup battery installations
  • Warranty: Product-specific warranties
  • Financing Options: Cash payments, solar loans

Edge Energy

Edge Energy logo

Edge Energy

Location: State of Maryland; Based in Beltsville

What We Like: A certified master dealer of SunPower solar panels in Maryland, you can trust that Edge Energy installs some of the highest-quality solar technology on the market. Add a comprehensive service range that includes energy solutions, audits and upgrades, and it’s no surprise Edge Energy consistently ranks as one of the best solar companies in Maryland.

What We Don’t Like: SunPower’s solar panels are some of the best in the business, especially when it comes to efficiency. However, this lone offering can be limiting to customers who may not need the most efficient solar panels or who are interested in purchasing a different brand of products.

What Customers Are Saying: “Edge Energy used the best quality solar panels and related equipment. They did a great job of installation. Their system provides an online account that keeps track of solar production and energy usage. I have produced more energy than I use and been paid back by the energy companies for the energy I produce.” — Bryan via Google Reviews

Edge Energy at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2006
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup battery installations, energy efficiency upgrades
  • Warranty: 25-year all-in-one warranty via SunPower
  • Financing Options: Cash payments, solar loans

Trinity Solar

Trinity Solar logo

Trinity Solar

Location: State of Maryland

What We Like: One of the more established companies in the solar business, family-owned Trinity Solar is the largest privately held residential solar installation company in the nation. With over 80,000 installations under its belt, Trinity Solar is a reliable choice for home and business owners in Maryland.

What We Don’t Like: The Trinity’s size has led to some issues in communication. We’ve seen reviews lately from customers who have struggled to get in touch with customer service.

What Customers Are Saying: “From the very first day someone came out to look at my house ‘til the day it was finished, Trinity was great! Always on time and did what they said they were going to do each and every time. Best part was, they kept me informed all the time. If you're going solar, Trinity is the company you want doing it.” — George via BBB

Trinity Solar at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 1994
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup battery installations
  • Warranty: 25-year equipment warranty, 5-year workmanship warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash payments, solar loans, solar leases/PPAs

American Sentry Solar

American Sentry Solar logo

American Sentry Solar

Location: State of Maryland; Based in Bel Air

What We Like: American Sentry Solar was launched as a division of American Design & Build and specializes in all aspects of exterior remodeling in addition to solar, including roofing, siding, windows and doors. Pairing roofing experts with solar specialists, American Sentry Solar offers residential and commercial installations and upgrades of the highest quality at a competitive price.

What We Don’t Like: Though we love the Enphase Encharge 10, we’d like to see American Sentry Solar offer other solar battery options to its customers.

What Customers Are Saying: “Other than the competitive price offered by American Sentry Solar, we were very pleased with their guarantee, warranty and monitoring plan included with the system. They answered our questions and gave us step-by-step information on what to expect for the whole process. Our panels are neatly arranged and look great on our roof. I love to think of all the money I am saving while sitting by the pool looking up at our panels.” — Jackie via Google Reviews

American Sentry Solar at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup battery installations, roofing
  • Warranty: 25-year workmanship and manufacturing warranties
  • Financing Options: Cash payments, solar loans

Energy Select

Energy Select logo

Energy Select

Location: Southern Maryland; Based in Leonardtown

What We Like: Relative to its competitors, Energy Select offers the most comprehensive service we’ve seen when it comes to the overall efficiency and performance of your home or business’s energy system. We love seeing companies that stress minimizing energy use before moving on to installing solar panels. Energy efficiency upgrades can reduce the number of solar panels you’ll need, in most cases greatly reducing overall project costs.

What We Don’t Like: As with American Sentry Solar, we’d like to see Energy Select expand its battery offerings. Currently, it only offers the LG Chem.

What Customers Are Saying: “This service is amazing. All involved were professional and paid great attention to our questions. They are fast and leave the property clean and all trash removed. The difference in the home is amazing. All persons involved from start to finish are the best in their field. I would give them more than 5 stars.” — Frances via Google Reviews

Energy Select at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2002
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup battery and EV charger installations, insulation, energy efficiency audits and more
  • Warranty: 10-year workmanship warranty, product-specific warranties
  • Financing Options: Cash payments, solar loans

Maryland Solar Solutions

Maryland Solar Solutions logo

Maryland Solar Solutions

Location: State of Maryland; Based in Owings Mills

What We Like: A highly local company, Maryland Solar Solutions comes recommended by regional sources like the Baltimore Sun. Focusing solely on being the best at a few select services (residential and small-business solar electric design and installation), Maryland Solar Solutions can be trusted to deliver you a quality, no-nonsense solar panel installation.

What We Don’t Like: Maryland Solar Solutions’ focused approach can be limiting for customers seeking add-ons like backup battery installations or EV chargers.

What Customers Are Saying: “We were impressed with the quality and efficiency of the panels used by MSSI as compared with other companies. Furthermore, their commitment to customer service is unsurpassed. They were knowledgeable and very helpful through the entire process, from HOA approval to installation to coordinating with BGE to registering to sell the extra energy we produce.” — Wilma via Google Reviews

Maryland Solar Solutions at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2008
  • Services Provided: Solar panel installations, energy efficiency audits
  • Warranty: Up to 25-year performance warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash payments, solar loans

How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in Maryland

Our company selection process includes researching the product portfolios, solar services, financing options, customer feedback and industry reputations of every major Maryland installer. Looking at metrics in these categories, we rated and ranked each company to narrow down our list of the nine best solar companies in Maryland. See our solar methodology for more information.

Choosing the Best Solar Installer for Your Home

There’s a great deal that goes into determining the best solar installer for your home, including your region, utility company, electric bills, roof space, energy consumption and more. The following factors might help you consider what to prioritize when choosing the best Maryland solar installer for your home or business.

Services Offered

Solar installation companies in Maryland will vary in service offerings and specializations. For instance, Maryland Solar Solutions chooses to focus strictly on solar panels, while companies like Edge Energy prioritize efficiency and home energy upgrades and use panels only to supplement your home’s energy system. Think about what makes your home or business unique — then find a company that prioritizes those needs. Other things to consider might be whether you need roofing work, EV chargers or backup power systems.

Installation Process

Before you sign a contract, make sure you're confident in your understanding of the installation process. Here are a few questions you’ll want the answers to:

  • How long does permitting take in my area?
  • What is my utility company's net metering policy?
  • Will any add-ons be installed along with the solar?
  • How long will the entire process take?

Permitting and interconnection can vary from city to city, so it's best to be sure you have realistic expectations.

Solar Pricing and Financing

Home solar is a great investment — especially in Maryland. Solar’s payback period can vary anywhere from 5 to 12 years (on average), so think about whether you might need special financing options to fit solar into your budget. Maryland is full of experienced solar installers familiar with the difficulties of high up-front costs, so be sure to ask about flexibility in financing options.

Industry Affiliations

It’s a good idea to hire a company that maintains industry credentials, such as membership in the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a B Corp certification or affiliation with other professional associations. Memberships and certifications are a great indicator of the company's professionalism, workmanship, reputation and reliability.

Types of Panels

Some types of solar panels are better than others, and each installer will offer a differing portfolio of products. Small homes in confined areas will likely need high-efficiency solar panels, while commercial projects with more space can prioritize the most affordable solar panels. It can only help to ask what brands of panels your company is certified to sell and install. Certifications from some of the best solar panel brands like Tesla, Panasonic, LG or REC might also be a good indicator of legitimacy.

Incentives, Rebates and Tax Credits

Maryland offers some of the best solar incentives in the country. Though effective, these incentives can be difficult to navigate, and finding a solar installer with experience securing the best value from these incentives may provide the best return on investment in the long run. It pays to think locally. Does the company you're looking at have plenty of experience in your community?

Warranty

Most warranty issues with solar don’t stem from the panels themselves, but instead from the workmanship of the installer. As a result, we recommend choosing a solar provider with a robust workmanship or all-in-one warranty to avoid any issues to your roof or home that may emerge months to years after installation. Most reputable solar companies will offer at least a 10-year warranty that covers workmanship.

Cost of Solar in Maryland

As of 2022, our market research and data from solar brands conclude the average cost of solar in Maryland is around $2.77 per watt. This means a 5-kW system would cost around $10,261 after the federal solar tax credit is applied. Keep in mind that a 5-kW system is about the minimum size you'll need for your home.

Luckily for those in Maryland, the state offers a number of helpful incentives (in addition to the federal tax credit) to help reward residents who switch to clean energy. Visit the DSIRE database for more information on incentives in your area.

Maryland Solar Incentive

Maryland Solar Incentive Overview

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)

Maryland rewards its residents with SRECs for contributing to the state’s renewable portfolio standard. SRECs are certificates earned for every MWh of clean energy generated that can be sold through the SREC market to help offset the cost of solar.

Residential Clean Energy Grant Program

A much simpler incentive to understand than SRECs, Maryland’s residential clean energy grant program sends you a direct $1,000 rebate for installing a solar energy system of at least 1 kW.

Sales & Property Tax Exemptions

Solar installations in the Free State are exempt from paying both the sales and property taxes associated with your solar purchase and added property value.

Maryland Net Metering

Maryland has a statewide net metering program that allows you to sell excess solar energy back to the grid in exchange for credits that go toward any future utility bills.

How to Find the Best Solar Installer in Maryland

Maryland's renewable energy incentive structure makes it unique in the solar market, focusing on SRECs, grants, tax exemptions and more. As stated before, these can be very effective but intimidating and difficult to navigate. This is why we stress the importance of finding a solar company with experience applying for these incentives and with a proven history of maximizing its customers’ solar investments.

If you’re ready to take the first step, we recommend comparing quotes from some of Maryland’s top solar installers. From there, you can see which company offers the best rates and ask more specific questions about incentives, experience and more.

To start getting free quotes from the best solar companies in Maryland, you can use this tool or fill out the form below.

FAQ: Best Solar Companies in Maryland

Who is the most reputable solar company in Maryland?

The most reputable solar company in Maryland may be SunPower, due to its size and national acclaim. However, there are plenty of reputable local companies as well, including Lumina Solar and Solar Energy World.

Is there a solar tax credit in Maryland?

Though there is no statewide tax credit, Maryland offers direct payments of $1,000 to homeowners that install solar via its residential clean energy grant program. The federal solar tax credit is also available to residents of Maryland, along with SRECs, net metering, and sales and property tax exemptions.

How do I find a reputable solar company?

If you’re looking for a reputable solar company in Maryland, you’re in the right place. We recommend starting with this list, narrowing in on your region, and gathering free quotes from the providers available to service your energy needs. From there, you can compare quotes to find the best value and speak with representatives to pinpoint which offer seems best for you.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
tzahiV / iStock / Getty Images

Solar panels offer an excellent return on investment, and the savings you can expect over their 25- to 30-year service lives are much higher than their upfront costs. However, there are some performance issues that can affect solar panels, and they will undermine your savings if left unattended. Fortunately, most of these problems are relatively easy to solve, and major issues are covered by a warranty if you purchase high-quality solar panels.

In this article, we will discuss some common issues that may affect solar power systems, as well as how to solve them. By making sure that your solar panels stay productive, you get consistent savings each month and can shorten your solar panel payback period.

Common Issues That May Lower Solar Panel Output

When the electricity output of solar panels is lower than normal, there are many possible causes. However, the following are some of the most common:

Solar Panel Output Issue Issue Description
Dust and dirt Dust and dirt can accumulate on the surface of solar panels, partially blocking sunlight and decreasing their energy output.
Pollen Pollen can have the same effect as dirt and dust during the flowering season of plants.
Cloudy weather Although solar panels work on cloudy days, they do so at a much lower production rate.
Shade from trees Your solar panels may be covered by shadows from trees that were shorter when you installed the system.
Shade from new constructions Shadows from new constructions can also block the sunlight received by your panels. However, most states offer legal protection with solar easements. When you have an easement, neighbors can't build structures that block your solar system.
Disconnected components Solar systems use plenty of wiring, and components can get disconnected by accident.
Malfunctioning components If there's an issue with any part of your system — solar panels, wiring, circuit breakers, inverters, batteries, etc. — it can lead to a reduced panel output.
Seasonal variation Solar panels generate more electricity during summer.
Gradual efficiency loss Even the most efficient solar panels become less productive over time, but this happens at a very slow rate. The annual productivity loss is normally less than 0.5%.
Monitoring errors If you're experiencing what seems like a low output, there's a chance the panels are functioning normally but you have an issue with your monitoring system.

It's important to understand that solar panels will rarely generate their nameplate wattage — they are tested under ideal laboratory conditions, which are not achieved in rooftop installations. Solar manufacturers use the same testing conditions to allow a direct comparison of their products, but the actual electricity output depends on site conditions. You can have two homes with 360-watt solar panels of the same brand, and their electricity output can vary widely due to factors like local sunshine, roof orientation and ambient temperature.

Also, keep in mind that inverters are often sized smaller than the solar arrays connected to them. This is an economic decision: solar panels will rarely reach their peak output outside of laboratory settings, and an equally-sized inverter will rarely operate at rated capacity. Instead, the inverter "clips" the occasional solar power peaks that exceed its wattage.

The capacity relationship between a solar array and its inverter is described by the DC-to-AC ratio, also known as the inverter load ratio or ILR. For example, a 10-kW solar array with an 8-kW inverter has a DC-to-AC ratio of 1.25. This is designed to help homeowners save money on solar panel installations, but it can also occasionally lead to a lower-than-expected solar panel output.

How to Detect Issues with Your Solar Panels

If you suspect that your solar panels are suffering from low productivity, the first step is identifying the exact issue. You could be simply dealing with seasonal variations, or your solar panels could be in need of cleaning. However, your solar PV system could also be suffering a major malfunction, which requires professional attention and possibly a warranty claim.

Solar inverters from leading brands like Fronius and Sungrow come with built-in monitoring systems and mobile apps. You can check the daily output of your solar panels from a smartphone, and performance issues are reflected as a drop in the daily kilowatt-hour output. When this happens, you can start by ruling out normal variations in productivity and problems that are easy to fix, including:

  • Cloudy weather
  • Lower productivity during winter
  • Dust, dirt, pollen, leaves and other particles on the surface of your solar panels
  • Disconnected wires
  • Tripped circuit breakers

Solar panels can be expected to lose productivity over time, but this happens slowly — a sudden drop in electricity output normally means trouble. Keep in mind that the best solar panels lose less than 0.5% of their capacity each year. So if your system generated 10,000 kWh during its first year of operation, you can still expect around 9,950 kWh the second year.

You can also detect solar panel issues by keeping track of your electricity bills, but note that higher bills can have several causes. For example, if you live in a place with hot summers, you can expect air conditioning to increase your bills during that time of the year.

The best option is having a dedicated monitoring system for your solar panels, to obtain measurements that are not affected by other electrical devices. Older inverters may lack metering functions, but there are monitoring systems that offer compatibility with multiple inverter brands. Modern inverters can detect many types of faults on their own, and they will diagnose exactly what is happening. This makes troubleshooting much easier.

How to Address Issues and Maximize Solar Panel Efficiency

Many solar power issues can be fixed with cleaning and checking if there are loose connections or tripped breakers. However, some problems are a bit more challenging:

  • If your solar panels have been shaded by trees that were previously shorter, the trees must be trimmed. Moving solar panels is not recommended — it's more difficult than trimming trees, system components may be damaged and warranties could be voided.
  • Shading from new constructions can be prevented by getting a solar easement in advance. Just keep in mind that your neighbors must agree to sign it, or otherwise they have no legal impediment to build structures that cast shadows. Before installing your solar panels, take your time to research the constructions that are being planned in surrounding properties.

As mentioned above, there may be cases in which your monitoring system displays zero production but your solar panels are working normally. Or, there could really be an issue that prevents electricity production. In both cases, you should contact your solar PV system provider for an inspection. Waiting for the next power bill is not recommended, as you may get an unpleasant surprise.

Electrical faults and other major malfunctions are rare if your solar power system uses high-quality components installed by professionals. However, these issues can happen even with the best solar products.

Here are some key things to know about solar panel output issues:

  • You may be left without solar power for some days if there is a malfunction, but any damaged components will be replaced for free if you have a solid warranty.
  • Solar panels normally come with a 10- to 12-year warranty against manufacturing defects, and a 25- to 30-year power production warranty.
  • Inverters typically have a 5-year warranty, but there are extended warranty options from several manufacturers.
  • If your system includes a solar battery like the Tesla Powerwall, the typical warranty period is 10 years.

Generally, the company that installed your solar panels will help with warranty claims and component replacements if necessary. However, this only applies if you're dealing with professionals, which is just one reason it's important that you make sure you purchase your solar PV system from a qualified provider.

Even if your solar panels are working normally, there are many things you can do to use their electricity more efficiently and increase your savings. Adjust your energy consumption habits and program your appliances to operate around noon whenever possible, as this is when the sun is directly overhead. Avoid using appliances in the evening, when many electricity providers are charging their highest tariffs. Also, make sure your solar panels are cleaned regularly, or their kilowatt-hour output could drop significantly.

Leonardo David is an electromechanical engineer, MBA, energy consultant and technical writer. His energy-efficiency and solar consulting experience covers sectors including banking, textile manufacturing, plastics processing, pharmaceutics, education, food processing, fast food, real estate and retail. He has also been writing articles about energy and engineering topics since 2015.

Juan Silva / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Interested in going solar, but not sure how to install solar panels? As you’ll read in this article, the process requires more than ordering panels online and watching a few YouTube videos on how to install them. Unless you have electrical contracting experience, you’ll need to hire a solar company to carry out the solar panel installation itself.

Luckily, there are a number of reputable solar companies with decades of solar experience to choose from. In addition to finding the best company for your home’s energy needs, there are a few steps you'll need to take to ensure your clean energy system is permitted and set up properly.

In this article, we'll walk through the steps you'll need to take when installing solar panels on your home or business. If you’re ready to start getting quotes from local installers near you, use this tool or fill out the form below.

5 Steps for Solar Panel Installation

By installing a home solar power system, you can reduce your dependence on traditional utility companies, offsetting the majority (or entirety) of your monthly energy bills. Plus, it offers a tangible method to curb your environmental footprint, making for cleaner, healthier communities.

Somewhat counterintuitively, the majority of what determines a successful solar project has little to do with the installation itself. Before getting into how to install solar panels, there are a couple of nuances to note off the bat.

First, installing solar panels requires thorough knowledge of solar technology, design and engineering. In other words, the average person will likely want to avoid a DIY solar panel installation and leave the process to professional local installers. A properly designed PV system will provide far more savings on the backend than most DIY installations will save on the front.

The second thing to consider is that solar panel installation won't happen overnight. Even after you choose the best solar panels for the job, there are a few vital steps in the installation process essential for ensuring a reliable, effective and efficient renewable energy system.

Here are the basic steps of solar panel installation:

1) Complete a Site Survey With an Engineer

Once you choose the best solar installation company for your home and sign a contract, the company will send an engineer to your home to evaluate your current electrical system, ensuring everything is compatible with your intended solar panel system design. This engineer may be an employee of the solar company or an independent contractor.

Be aware that if you have an old and outdated electrical system, the engineer may tell you that it needs to be upgraded or replaced. This is generally an indication that your new solar energy system will require more amps than what your current electrical system can accommodate.

In addition to checking out your electrical system, the engineer will also want to inspect your roof. They'll need to ensure it is structurally sound and able to support the weight of solar paneling. Also, the engineer will be able to tell you if you need a specialized mounting system, such as for a flat roof.

A solar energy system will only perform as well as it’s designed, so hiring a trustworthy solar engineer is one of the most important steps in the process. Still looking for an installation company? Click here to get connected with a solar installer in your area and receive a free quote.

2) Secure the Right Permits

Before your solar panel installation, you'll have a few bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Specifically, you'll need to obtain all the right permits and documentation to ensure your solar panel installation is legal, meeting all local safety and zoning requirements. You wouldn’t believe the headaches that can accompany an installation carried out before permits are issued.

This step may sound intimidating, but here's the good news: While there is plenty of paperwork associated with installing solar panels, the majority of it is handled by your solar company. You may not have to do much at all beyond lending a signature here and there, but it's still important to have some sense of what's happening behind the scenes.

Here’s what your solar installer will file for:

  • Local electrical and/or building permits on your behalf
  • Interconnection agreement with your local utility (in other words, permission from your utility to install solar and enroll in net metering)
  • Applications for state or federal incentive programs that curb the upfront cost of solar panels

By completing this paperwork, you can potentially secure rebates, tax credits or other financial assistance to offset installation costs.

It will take your solar installer some time to submit all the paperwork, and even longer for governmental bodies to process all the information — sometimes several weeks or more. It’s not a bad idea to follow up and get updates every few days, just to make sure the process is still moving forward smoothly. Solar companies are busy with business, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

3) Order the Right Equipment

Once you have all the correct permits and paperwork in place, your solar installer will be ready to order your equipment.

Note that, by this point, you will already have picked out the types of solar panels you need and the best solar batteries and inverters for your home. These decisions are typically laid out in a solar proposal, sent well before you sign your contract.

Naturally, you'll want to make sure you research how solar panels work and the different options available to you. Whether you want the most efficient solar panels or the most affordable, your solar installer can help you pick equipment that will help you achieve your solar energy goals.

Once your solar equipment is ordered, your name will be added to the installer's queue. Basically, this means you'll be put on the schedule for an installer to assemble your solar panels as soon as they arrive from the distributor.

4) Get Your Solar Panels Installed

Finally, the big day arrives. Your solar installer will show up and begin preparing your roof, specifically by verifying that all tiles or shingles are securely attached. Then, the installer will place the wiring that's needed to connect your residential solar system to the electrical system.

After the wires are placed, your installer will place racking, which is used to hold the solar panels in position. The panels are placed into the racks, and the inverter (or several microinverters) is connected to the panels. If you have a battery bank, your installer will also set that up.

One of the most common questions about installing solar panels is how long the work will take. It all depends on the size of your home and the scope of the solar panel installation, but you can anticipate a timeline of one to three days in total.

If your solar system is properly designed and planned out, this step of the process should actually be the most straightforward.

5) Get your system approved and connected.

Once the system is in place, your installer will essentially "flip the switch" to turn it on. Before this happens, you'll likely need a municipal government representative to assess and approve your residential solar system, issuing what’s called permission to operate (PTO). Basically, this is just a safety precaution, ensuring there's a fresh set of eyes to validate the wiring and electrical work.

You'll also need a representative from your local utility company to interconnect the system, which means hooking it up to the electrical grid. This allows you to keep drawing electricity when you need it, as well as safely feed any surplus energy back into the grid, which can result in credits from your utility company via net metering programs.

Questions About How to Install Solar Panels?

These five steps represent the basics of how to install solar panels. But of course, these are just general guidelines, and specific steps can vary from home to home and from installer to installer.

If you have additional questions about how to install solar panels, a good next step would be to seek out the top solar companies in your area and make an appointment for a consultation. You can ask more about specific solar panel installation processes and what you might expect if you decide to make the leap into solar power.

You can fill out the quick form below or use this tool to get a free quote and book a consultation with a certified solar energy installer in your area.

FAQ: How to Install Solar Panels

Can I install solar panels on my home myself?

Technically speaking, yes, you can install solar panels on your own home. However, we don’t recommend this unless you have experience as an electrician and advanced knowledge of solar energy.

Though we don’t doubt your ability to pull off a satisfying DIY home project, the modern technology solar companies use to design and plan solar installations can provide far more long-term benefits than the savings you might secure from installing solar panels yourself.

How many solar panels are needed to power a house?

The number of solar panels needed to power a house will vary depending on the amount of electricity your home consumes. As a minimum, however, we’d expect most homes will require at least 10 panels.

How do you install solar panels step by step?

Solar panels are installed roughly in the following order. Note that unless you have electrical contracting experience, we recommend homeowners hire professionals to carry this out.

Step 1: Install your racking or build a platform for the solar panels

Step 2: Mount and secure the solar panels on the racking

Step 3: Wire the solar panels

Step 4: Connect the wiring to your control panel

Step 5: Ground your system for safety purposes

Step 6: Connect your solar array to your home

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
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In 2021, a record number of homeowners upgraded their properties with clean energy sources, with the best solar companies in the industry installing panels on hundreds of thousands of homes.

What's more, solar installations in the U.S. are forecasted to quadruple from current levels by 2030, as more and more homeowners are learning that it's possible to reduce their environmental impact while offsetting their energy bills with solar panels.

If you're interested in adopting solar energy, finding the right company for you can be intimidating. However, we're here to help. In this article, we'll help you take the first step in narrowing down the top solar companies to consider when installing a household solar energy system.

Top Solar Companies of 2022 Compared

Top Solar CompanySuperlativeSolar Services OfferedNumber of States ServicedBBB RatingYear Started
SunPowerBest OverallSolar panel, backup battery and electric vehicle charger installations50A+1985
Blue Raven SolarBest Financing OptionsSolar panel installations; energy-efficiency audits17A+2004
TeslaBest TechnologySolar panel, backup battery and EV charger installations50A2003
Momentum SolarBest Regional CoverageSolar panel and backup battery installations11A+2009
Sunpro SolarBest Customer ServiceSolar panel, backup battery and EV charger installations; energy-efficiency audits21A2008
Trinity SolarBest Referral ProgramSolar panel and backup battery installations; energy-efficiency audits9A+1994
SunrunBest for LeasingSolar panel, backup battery and EV charger installations22B+2007
Go Solar GroupBest Social ImpactSolar panel and backup battery installations; energy-efficiency audits4A2009

To get connected with one of the best solar companies in your area and get a free, no-obligation quote, fill out the form below.

Before we dive in, it's important to remember that there are many small, local companies that didn't have the size or national recognition to make our list. Some companies prefer to stay small to maintain a local feel and individualized attention, which isn't a bad thing. Search the best solar companies in your state to see if we recommend any other installers particular to your area.

The 8 Best Solar Energy Companies

Based on the criteria mentioned above, when you're ready to buy solar panels, we recommend considering the following top solar companies:

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 other equipment to homeowners across all 50 states. SunPower's all-in-one systems make for compatible technology that is easy for you to understand. The company is also the preferred solar partner of many major businesses, including Walmart, FedEx and Lowes. For more details, read our SunPower review.

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

Best Financing Options: Blue Raven Solar

Blue Raven Solar logo

Rather than helping you find a third-party loan provider, Blue Raven Solar decided to simplify the solar loan process and offer flexible, zero-money-down in-house loans. The results make us wonder why solar companies didn't try this sooner. Blue Raven Solar customers now enjoy the benefits of solar panel ownership without having to worry about rising interest rates or late payment fees with their loans. Learn more about it in our full Blue Raven Solar review.

Blue Raven Solar has much more to offer than just an innovative financing model. Here are some additional facts about the company:

  • Blue Raven has a reputation for exceptional customer service and boasts a number of awards reflecting its commitment to quality and innovation.
  • The success of Blue Raven Solar prompted SunPower to acquire the company in October 2021 in order to expand its residential services. However, Blue Raven Solar is still operating as usual at the time of publication.
  • Blue Raven Solar is one of the fastest-growing solar companies in the country today. Since 2014, it has expanded its staff from three to over 1,400 employees.
Why Choose Blue Raven: Blue Raven Solar offers one of the most forward-thinking solar financing options for solar customers, increasing the accessibility of solar. If taking out a loan is a dealbreaker for going solar, consider talking to Blue Raven.

Best Technology: Tesla

Tesla Energy logo

You probably associate Tesla with electric vehicles, but did you know that the company makes highly regarded solar energy products? Tesla earns a spot among the best solar companies because you can order products and match with a certified installer directly through its website. Depending on your needs and budget, Tesla can hook you up with an array of solar panels or even solar roof shingles, 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 design with long-term durability.
  • Tesla also makes one of the best solar batteries on the market, which allows you to save your excess solar power and access it on demand whenever you need it.

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

Best Regional Coverage: Momentum Solar

Momentum Solar logo

Momentum Solar is an owner-operated solar installer committed to helping customers save money while bettering the environment by switching to clean, affordable electricity. Operating in New Jersey, New York, California, Texas, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and Massachusetts, Momentum Solar is one of the fastest-growing residential solar companies out there. A few other fast facts on Momentum Solar:

  • Momentum Solar and its leadership are highly respected in the industry, earning awards like the 2019 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, No. 1 Residential Solar Contractor by Solar Power World in 2020, and more.
  • A wide variety of solar financing options, from loans to purchase power agreements (PPAs), make Momentum Solar one of the most accessible solar providers to a wide financial demographic.
  • Momentum Solar chooses to operate primarily in states with effective net metering programs and other solar rebates and incentives. If Momentum is available in your state, chances are it can help you secure great value for your investment.
Why Choose Momentum: A young but growing solar company, Momentum Solar is moving in the right direction. Sleek products and designs, flexible financing options and policy expertise make Momentum Solar a solid choice for residents in its service areas.

Best Customer Service: Sunpro Solar

Sunpro Solar logo

Headquartered in Mandeville, Louisiana, Sunpro Solar got its start servicing the sunny areas around the Gulf Coast. Now providing services across 21 states, Sunpro offers:

  • An industry-leading comprehensive warranty, with guarantees of power output, workmanship and product longevity for 25 years. Most other companies only offer limited workmanship and product-specific warranties.
  • High-quality solar and storage solutions for homeowners. With certifications from LG, Enphase and Tesla, Sunpro has earned the trust of some of the industry's top solar panel manufacturers.
  • Exceptional customer service that spans from educating homeowners about solar to creating custom designs of solar layouts for its customers.

You can learn more in our Sunpro Solar review.

Why Choose Sunpro: Though a number of major solar providers guarantee your system will perform as estimated, Sunpro seems to have the best results in backing that. Sunpro's leading warranty, high-quality products and customer service make it an excellent choice.

Best Referral Program: Trinity Solar

Trinity Solar logo

Trinity Solar's mission is to provide you energy with integrity. One of the more established names in the industry, family-owned Trinity Solar is the largest privately held residential solar installation company in the nation. With almost 30 years and over 80,000 installations worth of experience, Trinity Solar is a reliable choice if you live within its service area of the Northeast U.S. and Florida.

Here are a few things to note about Trinity:

  • Trinity Solar offers its customers high-quality solar PV and storage products from top brands.
  • Trinity Solar partners with and contributes to local nonprofit organizations of your choosing. As part of its referral program, Trinity will contribute $100 to your preferred organization for every solar consultation and $1,000 for every solar installation based on a referral you make.
  • As a family-owned business, Trinity promises its customers will receive all the individualized attention they deserve.
Why Choose Trinity: Trinity Solar's ethical business practices, matched with its quality and reliability, make it an excellent choice for homeowners in its area.

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, whether you want to lease or buy a system. You can check out our full review of Sunrun for a thorough rundown of the company, but in short, here's what you should know:

  • 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 installations.
  • The company's guarantee, one of the best in the industry, offers extraordinary peace of mind that your solar system will prove durable and reliable.
  • Sunrun is one of the best solar companies for leases, so if you're thinking about leasing solar panels instead of purchasing them, it's worth having a conversation with this installer.

Why Choose Sunrun: 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 Social Impact: 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.
  • The installer has a robust charitable arm, called 1heart1mind, which provides solar energy, health care, clean water and education to underserved communities in Africa. Part of every solar array purchase through Go Solar Group is used as a microloan to further solar distribution efforts abroad.

Why Choose Go Solar: For solar solutions that are tailored to the climate of the American West, consider Go Solar. The company's impact goes far beyond just helping U.S. homeowners live more sustainably.

How We Found the Best Solar 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 and reputation, assessing them all on the following criteria:

  • Range and quality of services
  • Cost of solar panels and financing options
  • Extent of service area (the bigger, the better in this context)
  • Solar panel efficiency
  • Warranty
  • Temperature coefficient (i.e., how much high temperatures affect efficiency)
  • Customer service
  • Ethics of business practices and solar manufacturing

Additionally, we weighed Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) membership, BBB ratings and industry affiliations. Certifications and memberships in reputable groups are usually a good indicator that a solar energy company is trustworthy and that its work is taken seriously within the industry.

How Does a Solar Energy System Work?

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

The main components of a solar energy system are the solar panels installed on your roof (ground-mounted solar panels are also used in some cases). 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, you should speak with a solar energy consultant from one of the best solar companies in your area who can give you a proposal of both the number and orientation of solar panels that would be most effective for your home.

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 ask about pricing, sales and specials.

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 homeowners choose to install solar cells is to lower their environmental impact. Rather than depend on fossil fuels, you can power your home with renewable energy that comes free from the sun. This one is a no-brainer.

Energy Independence

By reducing your reliance on fossil fuels and local utilities, solar allows you to be your own energy provider. Energy independence frees you from surprise bills, rising interest rates and even power outages due to extreme weather. By lowering the amount of energy you draw from the grid, you also lower the overall financial and environmental energy costs paid by your community.

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, like the federal solar tax credit and local rebates.

Lower Electricity Bills

Finally, embracing solar power will help you save money by offsetting your electricity bills. Most of the best solar companies offer online calculators that allow you to see for yourself how much money you'll save over time simply by switching to a renewable energy source.

Narrowing Down the Top Solar Companies for Your Home

While there is no shortage of benefits when you choose solar energy to power your home, investing in solar panels can be intimidating. 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 pre-screened solar installer in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar

What is the most reputable solar company?

Fortunately, there are a number of reputable solar companies that can be trusted for a reliable installation. We've outlined the eight top companies in this article based on a range of factors, but there may be even better options available locally. Take a look at some of our articles on best solar companies by state to see if any would be a good fit for your home solar installation.

What are the worst solar companies?

We'd rather applaud the best companies than bash the worst, but sadly there are a number of solar companies that have run into legal troubles or been identified as having misleading sales tactics or poor customer service. These companies give solar a bad name and prove the importance of doing your research before signing a solar contract.

What is the largest residential solar company in the United States?

Sunrun claims to hold the spot as the largest residential solar installer in the U.S. Things in the solar industry can change quickly, however, and SunPower and Tesla have invested heavily in their residential solar services. It's important to remember that bigger does not always mean better. You may have a local solar company in your area that didn't make our list due to its small service size but that has services comparable to or better than the names we've listed here.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
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Cost of Solar Panels in 2022: What to Expect

How much do solar panels cost? Let's take a look.

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Elenathewise / iStock / Getty Images

Switching to solar power is a proven method for reducing your environmental footprint, energy burden and reliance on traditional utility companies. However, even though the cost of solar has dropped 80% in the last decade, the upfront cost of solar panels is still significant. When selecting the best solar company for your home installation, price is one of the largest factors.

But what is the average cost to install a solar energy system? What are some of the factors that can impact pricing? How much would it cost me, specifically? In this article, we'll answer questions like these with the goal of helping you make a fully informed, responsible decision about a solar energy investment for your home or business.

If you're looking to work with a solar installer, we recommend getting quotes from a variety of providers. Use this tool to get matched up with local solar companies in your area, or fill out the form below.

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels?

There are a few key factors that lead to variation in solar system installation costs. Understanding these can help you decide whether solar panels are worth it for your home. Let's take a look at them in more detail.

1. System Size Needs

The size of your residential solar system will depend primarily on your energy needs. You can roughly estimate how many solar panels you'll need based on past utility bills, your available roof space and the amount of sunlight in your area, but to get an accurate system size, you'll need a consultation with a local solar installer.

Your installer will evaluate your home energy needs based on irradiance maps, energy bills, satellite imagery of your roof, your utility company and more. It can then recommend a custom solar panel system size to accommodate your energy needs. The larger the system, the more expensive it will be.

2. Type of Solar Panels and Other Equipment Costs

There are three basic types of solar panels, two of which are commonly used residentially: monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. Monocrystalline panels tend to be more energy-efficient, which can lead to greater savings in the long run, but they're also a bit pricier on the front end.

That being said, solar panel efficiency is the name of the game for most homeowners who aim to install a system on their roof, as they'll likely have less space to work with than commercial solar projects or ground-mounted solar panel systems will.

Other components you may need to purchase include inverters, wiring, charge controllers, mounts, solar batteries and more. Consider how much backup power is a priority for your home – backup batteries will add some costs on the front end, but additional safety and savings on the back.

3. Geographic Location

Another factor that can have a big impact on solar pricing? Where you live. Unsurprisingly, solar installation tends to be most cost-effective in parts of the country that get a lot of sun exposure, and therefore more energy to convert into electricity. This basically means that solar panels will operate more efficiently and, in many cases, means that you'll need fewer panels overall to power your home.

Those who live in states like California, Florida and Arizona — or really any areas of the Sun Belt or Southwest — will likely get the most out of their home solar power systems. Other factors like the direction of your home and how much shade your house gets will also impact your home's sun exposure, and therefore the efficiency of your system. Also, keep in mind that the further your company is from your home, the more expensive the overall installation will be.

4. Solar Incentives

Both state and federal governments have established incentive programs to encourage homeowners to buy solar panels. There is currently a 26% federal solar tax credit, called an Investment Tax Credit (ITC), available for homeowners who install residential solar panels between 2020 and 2022. It is scheduled to reduce to 22% in 2023 and may not be extended thereafter.

Your solar system cost will also depend on the net metering policy of your local utility company. Most utilities vary in their buyback rates and feed-in tariffs, but policies can have a big effect on the overall value from your solar system and your solar payback period. Be sure to ask your solar installation company about how cooperative your utility provider is with solar energy installations.

Some states offer better solar incentives, rebates and solar tax exemptions than others, and most solar panel installers should help you identify and apply for the programs in your area. However, it's still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local incentives that might be available to you.

5. Additional Factors of Solar Panel Installation Cost

There are plenty of other factors that can impact solar panel installation costs. These include (but are not limited to):

  • The availability of solar panels in your area
  • Your current electricity bill
  • The current cost of shipping
  • The number of providers competing for your business
  • Supply chain issues
  • Local electricity rates

The bottom line? You can learn the most by shopping around. Get a few different proposals from local companies, evaluate what services you might be interested in and ask about sales or specials. Familiarize yourself with the best brands of affordable solar panels if budget is your priority.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost to Install?

To answer this question, let's take a look at the basic price range for solar panel installations. According to a recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, in the first quarter of 2021, the national average cost of a residential solar system was $2.94 per watt. To put this in perspective, this means that after the federal tax credit is applied, a 5-kW system would cost $10,878 and a 10-kW system would cost $21,756. An average residential solar system would sit somewhere between those figures.

The exact price you'll pay for solar panels will depend on a number of factors and is best found by getting free quotes from local solar companies near you.

Next, you might rightly wonder: What exactly am I paying for? The solar panels themselves usually make up just about a quarter of the total system cost. Remaining expenses include labor costs, solar maintenance and additional parts and equipment (such as inverters, racking, wiring, electric vehicle chargers or batteries).

Cost of Solar Panels by State

One of the broadest ways to gauge the overall cost of solar is by looking at the average price of solar panels by state. Our statewide average prices are calculated using market research and data from top brands. These prices can help convey a better understanding of what solar might cost in your area:

Average Cost of Solar By State

Average Cost of Solar Per Watt

Average Cost of a 5kW System After Tax Credit

Alabama

$2.45

$9,065

Alaska

$2.41

$8,917

Arizona

$2.61

$9,657

Arkansas

$2.54

$9,386

California

$2.73

$10,101

Colorado

$2.69

$9,965

Connecticut

$2.80

$10,360

Delaware

$2.58

$9,546

Washington, DC

$3.16

$11,704

Florida

$2.53

$9,361

Georgia

$2.55

$9,423

Hawaii

$2.67

$9,879

Idaho

$2.60

$9,608

Illinois

$2.73

$10,113

Indiana

$2.68

$9,916

Iowa

$2.77

$10,237

Kansas

$2.59

$9,571

Kentucky

$2.34

$8,658

Louisiana

$2.57

$9,521

Maine

$2.83

$10,483

Maryland

$2.77

$10,261

Massachusetts

$2.94

$10,878

Michigan

$2.81

$10,409

Minnesota

$2.84

$10,508

Mississippi

$2.64

$9,768

Missouri

$2.59

$9,583

Montana

$2.54

$9,386

Nebraska

$2.83

$10,471

Nevada

$2.52

$9,324

New Hampshire

$2.91

$10,767

New Jersey

$2.77

$10,249

New Mexico

$2.68

$9,904

New York

$2.95

$10,927

North Carolina

$2.54

$9,398

North Dakota

$2.42

$8,954

Ohio

$2.56

$9,460

Oklahoma

$2.62

$9,694

Oregon

$2.60

$9,632

Pennsylvania

$2.55

$9,447

Rhode Island

$2.84

$10,508

South Carolina

$2.72

$10,076

South Dakota

$2.39

$8,843

Tennessee

$2.49

$9,213

Texas

$2.69

$9,953

Utah

$2.68

$9,904

Vermont

$2.87

$10,619

Virginia

$2.75

$10,163

Washington

$2.69

$9,965

West Virginia

$2.64

$9,768

Wisconsin

$2.60

$9,620

Wyoming

$2.57

$9,509

Keep in mind that 5kW is a baseline size and near the smaller end of most solar panel installations. Use this figure as a minimum.

How to Pay For a Solar Panel Installation

Different solar installers may offer different financing plans, allowing you some flexibility. With that said, there are three standard options for paying for your solar energy system:

  1. Purchase your solar energy system outright (that is, pay in cash).
  2. Take out a solar loan to purchase the system, then pay it back with interest.
  3. Lease your solar system; you will pay less month to month but won't actually own the system yourself.

Our solar financing guide breaks down each of these options to help you make the decision that best fits your needs.

Cost of Solar Panel Maintenance

In general, solar systems are designed to run smoothly for decades without requiring much maintenance or upkeep. However, even the best systems require routine solar panel cleaning and checkups as grime, dirt and debris can accumulate over the solar cells.

Any sizable costs associated with malfunctioning panels should be covered by your panels' warranty, but it's not a bad idea to factor in the costs of a simple few cleanings and occasional maintenance.

How to Find the Lowest-Cost Solar Panels

Again, the best way to assess the cost of solar is to get a quote from a certified installer near you. In addition to receiving an installation price, you can learn your estimated 25-year energy costs, how compatible your home is for solar and even compare quotes to find the best offer. The simple process of getting quotes from multiple providers can save you thousands in the long run. You can use this tool to receive free quotes from local solar providers, or fill out the form below to get started.

Make the Best Choice About Solar Energy

Solar energy is not right for every homeowner, nor for every home. With that said, many homeowners will find that the total cost of solar is more than offset by long-term, recurring energy savings that provide a sizable return on investment. Make sure you factor in cost, energy needs, tax incentives, home value and more as you seek to make a fully informed decision about whether to make the switch to renewable energy with solar.

FAQ: Cost of Solar Panels

As you continue to weigh the pros and cons of solar energy, it's natural to have a few questions. The best way to resolve these is to set up a solar consultation with a local expert, but in the meantime, here are a few general answers to some of the most common solar inquiries.

How will solar energy impact my property values?

Your solar energy system is an asset just like any other, and when installed on your home, solar increases your property value accordingly. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy has reported buyers are willing to pay an average premium of about $15,000 for a home with a solar panel system.

With that said, you are only going to see your property values go up if you own your solar system outright, as opposed to leasing it. The cost of electricity in your area as well as the net metering policy of your local utility will also impact the overall value of your solar energy system.

Which is better, buying or leasing my solar system?

It all depends on your motivation for going solar. If you want to maximize long-term savings and increase the value of your home, then purchasing your solar system is best. However, if you just want a low-maintenance way to reduce monthly energy costs and practice environmental stewardship, then a solar lease might be a better option.

Also, note that leasing can be a good option for those who might plan on selling their home in the short term. Leasing panels does not make you eligible for the solar tax credit.

How long will my solar energy system last?

Solar systems are designed to be exceptionally durable. With just the most basic upkeep, most solar energy systems should continue to work and produce power for anywhere from 25 to 35 years. Standard warranties for panels typically last around 25 years.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.

U.S. and China Announce Surprise Climate Agreement at COP26

The agreement was light on details but significant nonetheless.

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On Sep. 25, 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden toasted during a state luncheon for China hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, at the Department of State in Washington, DC. PAUL J. RICHARDS / AFP via Getty Images
The world's two biggest climate polluters announced a surprise agreement at COP26 Wednesday.
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10 Best Solar Companies in New York (2022)

We narrow down the best installers in the Empire State.

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FernandoAH / Getty Images

When you think of New York, it's doubtful you'd picture solar panels lining the tops of urban buildings, but the Empire State is actually a top state for solar energy in the U.S. If you're thinking about going solar, the best first step to make is to find the best solar companies in New York and compare quotes.

It may surprise you to learn that the state of New York actually has more solar companies than Texas, the number two state for solar. Progressive leadership has laid the foundation for a market very encouraging of solar's growth, and a large number of best solar companies are looking to capitalize on it.

For most home or business owners considering solar power, the choice of which company to choose often comes down to costs. To start getting quotes from the best solar companies in New York, you can use this tool or fill out the form below.

Our Picks for Top New York Solar Installers

  1. SunPower
  2. SUNation Solar Systems
  3. EmPower Solar
  4. Tesla
  5. Kasselman Solar
  6. Momentum Solar
  7. Harvest Power Solar
  8. Brooklyn SolarWorks
  9. SunCommon
  10. Plug PV

Comparing the 10 Best Solar Companies in New York

SunPower

SunPower logo

SunPower

Service Area: State of New York

What We Like: SunPower has been a leading top solar company since 1985, manufacturing, selling and installing its own modules, which routinely rank as the industry's most efficient solar panels. SunPower provides national coverage, some of the highest-quality all-in-one solar systems and the best warranty in the business.

What We Don't Like: SunPower is able to service the entire nation through partnerships with local certified dealers throughout the nation. SunPower still maintains a standard of excellence, but your experience can be dependent on which dealer you live nearest.

What Customers Are Saying: "After doing my research and getting bids from four different companies, SunPower won hands down for us in meeting our overall needs. [Our consultant] was a real pleasure to work with… I'd recommend SunPower as the solar company of choice to anyone." — KG via Better Business Bureau (BBB)

SunPower at a Glance:

SUNation Solar Systems

SUNation Solar logo

SUNation Solar

Service Area: Suffolk County, Nassau County, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island

What We Like: SUNation Solar systems is a local leader trusted by over 7,000 homeowners in New York and has been voted the "Best Solar Business of Long Island" for 12 years running. Certified to install products from Tesla, Panasonic, LG and Solaria, SUNation delivers high-quality solar solutions with a local approach.

What We Don't Like: Though SUNation's local approach is what allows for such a personalized and smooth experience, its service area is smaller than some of its competitors.

What Customers Are Saying: "Very positive experience working with SUNation. From the sales process to the various logistical efforts (local permissions, array layout, frequent communication, installation), it was really a first-class effort. Really excited to be joining the 21st century thanks to SUNation!" — Daniel via BBB

SUNation at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2003
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, community solar, EV chargers, electrical upgrades, maintenance and backup batteries
  • Warranty: 25-year workmanship warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan

EmPower Solar

Service Area: Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx and Staten Island

What We Like: With a vision of creating a new energy paradigm powered by clean, renewable power, EmPower Solar strives to provide its customers with the latest solar technology and the highest quality workmanship. EmPower Solar works in both residential and commercial solar markets installing eco-friendly energy solutions throughout greater NYC. EmPower is a certified dealer of SunPower solar panels, which are some of the best solar panels in the business.

What We Don't Like: We'd like to see EmPower Solar emphasize energy efficiency and electrical system upgrades in their services to accompany solar and storage. It was also difficult to find information on EmPower's solar financing options.

What Customers Are Saying: "EmPower installed our solar system in May 2018. After the site inspection and design were all completed and the contract signed, the installation was completed in one day. It has performed flawlessly since that time and delivered 107% of our energy usage! We couldn't be more pleased." — Michael via Google Reviews

EmPower Solar at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2003
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, community solar, EV chargers and backup batteries
  • Warranty: SunPower 25-year warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan

Tesla

Tesla logo

Tesla

Service Area: State of New York; solar facility in Buffalo

What We Like: Known primarily for its electric cars, Tesla is also one of the top national solar companies. Tesla provides premium, designer solar technology meant to fit in seamlessly with a house's roof. Though not a solar installer like the other names on this list, Tesla will match you with a solar technician near you that is certified to install its products.

What We Don't Like: Tesla is much better known for its technology than its customer service, and it shows in a few negative reviews.

What Customers Are Saying: "From beginning to end, the process went perfectly. I liked that all the documents could be signed online. No back-and-forth paperwork. They showed up on time on the day of installation. They installed the whole system in one day. My solar has been running now for 4 months without any issues." — Victoria via BBB

Tesla Solar at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2003
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, EV chargers and Tesla Powerwall batteries
  • Warranty: 10-year comprehensive warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan
  • Learn More: Tesla Solar Guide

Kasselman Solar

Kasselman Solar logo

Kasselman Solar

Service Area: State of New York; Based in Menands

What We Like: Kasselman Solar specializes in powerful, affordable and aesthetically attractive solar panel installations. Installing LG and LONGi solar panels, Kasselman provides both quality and performance with a generous warranty and solar panels reaching a power of 445 watts.

What We Don't Like: While Kasselman Solar installs some of the leading panels and batteries on the market, we'd like to see a wider range of brands offered.

What Customers Are Saying: "Kasselman Solar is a top-notch organization and a leader in its respective markets. Its ability to navigate challenges with ease and deliver on commitments is unrivaled. For homeowners out there considering Kasselman as a solar provider, this is exactly the type of installer that you want to work with. They are honest and trustworthy, deliver a quality product, and provide a top-notch customer experience." — Victoria via BBB

Kasselman Solar at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 1948 (as Kasselman Electric)
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup batteries, electrical upgrades, generator installations and EV chargers
  • Warranty: 25-year full warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan

Momentum Solar

Momentum Solar logo

Momentum Solar

Service Area: State of New York

What We Like: One of our top solar companies of 2022, Momentum Solar and its leadership are highly respected in the industry for providing affordable, effective solar energy solutions. Momentum Solar focuses on flexible financing options to appeal to a wide range of customers.

What We Don't Like: Momentum Solar is young and growing quickly, and a few customer experiences have suffered from those growing pains.

What Customers Are Saying: "I appreciated my experience with Momentum Solar. They truly want what is in the best interest of the customer. We are very pleased with our system, which was installed 9 months ago. Our all-electric house now has an electric bill that is practically nothing. Thanks for a great solar system at a fair price" — Nina via Google Reviews

Momentum Solar at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2009
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup batteries and EV chargers
  • Warranty: 25-year solar panel warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan, solar leases/PPA

Harvest Power Solar

Harvest Power Solar logo

Harvest Power Solar

Service Area: Greater NYC area and Long Island

What We Like: Established in 2008 as a branch of Friendly Construction, Harvest Power has grown into one of the biggest solar providers in New York. With roots in construction and access to cutting-edge solar technology, Harvest Power Solar provides some of the most reliable and high-quality solar installations in the state.

What We Don't Like: A limited service area means most of its installations are tied to Long Island. Harvest Power's warranties are also nothing to write home about.

What Customers Are Saying: "A little over a year ago, [I] went live with a 28-panel solar system. Very happy with the job overall and its power generation. Should pay back in 7 to 10 years. The salesman was very knowledgeable and seemed honest. I've dealt with a lot of salesmen in my business that I wouldn't say that about. The job was completed very cleanly and generally timely." — Robert via Google Reviews

Harvest Power Solar at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2008
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup batteries and EV chargers
  • Warranty: 25-year solar panel warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan

Brooklyn SolarWorks

Service Area: Greater NYC area

What We Like: Brooklyn SolarWorks has a simple mission to make solar appealing, easy and available for Brooklyn's urban homeowners. Solar is probably not the first thing you think about when you think of Brooklyn — but Brooklyn SolarWorks has embraced its expertise in making clean energy as practical as possible for the unique needs of urban and suburban solar customers of New York City. It specializes in providing solar for challenging roofs, landmarked homes and the many co-ops and condos of NYC.

What We Don't Like: Let us lead by saying we love that Brooklyn SolarWorks has focused on such hyper-local, specific needs. However, this sets the company up for an easy negative: a very small service area.

What Customers Are Saying: "Brooklyn SolarWorks installed our solar system in 2019. The entire process from permitting through installation was easy and painless. I cannot emphasize enough the value and comfort of using a local Brooklyn-based company. I can honestly say it has been one of the best things we have ever done, and the savings are very impressive." — Mike via Google Reviews

Brooklyn SolarWorks at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2015
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, electrical work
  • Warranty: 30-year complete system warranty (we also love this!)
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan

SunCommon

SunCommon logo

SunCommon

Service Area: Albany, Rensselaer, Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam and Rockland counties

What We Like: SunCommon is built on pillars of community activism, transparency and care for the people and places that surround it. A certified B-Corporation, SunCommon has proven its commitment to responsible business practices, focusing on tenants of people, planet and profit. If keeping money local, investing in shared values and supporting your community is of utmost importance to you, we recommend reaching out to SunCommon.

What We Don't Like: Is it possible to be too committed to activism and education? We'd almost like to see SunCommon focus more on also highlighting its exceptional workmanship in both residential and commercial installations, affordable solar financing and technology.

What Customers Are Saying: "We evaluated a few different solar companies. We chose SunCommon because they have a great reputation. The team was excellent to work with, had the best technology, and financing with a 0.9% interest rate. The install team was friendly and professional, and the install went perfectly… I highly recommend SunCommon. You won't be disappointed." — Jeffrey via Google Reviews

SunCommon at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2011
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, solar canopies, backup batteries and solar farms
  • Warranty: 25-year warranty on power, parts and labor; 10-year workmanship warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loans

PlugPV

PlugPV logo

PlugPV

Service Area: State of New York, based in Albany

What We Like: Built on high-quality workmanship, PlugPV solar is a small but experienced team of world-class solar contractors in the Northeast. PlugPV offers an impressive product portfolio including solar PV, backup solar batteries and EV chargers.

What We Don't Like: PlugPV has only been in business for five years as of 2022. Given the long-term nature of solar investments, it can be wise to choose an established company with a longer history of success.

What Customers Are Saying: "I'm almost 5 months with the system now, and things are running perfectly so far. At this point, I'm a fairly low electricity consumer, and my meter spins in reverse most of the time, generating credits with my utility. Everything went according to our plan, and I'm very happy with the results all around. There has not been a moment of regret working with them, and that's fairly unusual for me." — Adam via Google Reviews

PlugPV at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2017
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup batteries and EV chargers
  • Warranty: Product-specific warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loans

How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in New York

We researched the product portfolios, solar services, financing options, customer feedback and industry reputations of every major New York solar installer. Using this methodology, we rated and ranked each company to narrow down and rank our picks for the top solar companies in New York.

Choosing the Best Solar Installer for Your Home

Everyone's needs are different when it comes to solar, so what may be the best solar company for your neighbor might not be right for you. Give these factors some thought and place more emphasis on what will meet your home's needs when choosing the best company for your installation:

Services Offered

To start, due to the unique range of needs of home and business owners in New York, a variety of solar installers focus on different services. For instance, Brooklyn SolarWorks focuses more exclusively on downtown roofs, which are typically flat and have needs different than a larger home in Long Island. Think about what makes your home or business unique — and find a company that prioritizes those needs. Other things to consider might be whether you need electrical upgrades, EV chargers or backup power.

Installation Process

Before you sign any paperwork, make sure you're confident in knowing how the installation process will look. How long before the installation day will happen? How many days will it take? What is my utility company's net metering policy? Permitting and interconnection can vary from city to city, so it's best to be sure you're familiar with the process.

Solar Pricing and Financing

Solar energy systems are a great investment — one that takes planning and time to mature. Think about whether you might need special financing options if your budget is tight. Any of the best solar companies in New York should be able to assist you in applying for the federal solar tax credit, but specific financing options and flexibility will vary from provider to provider.

Industry Affiliations

We generally recommend hiring a company that maintains industry credentials, such as membership in the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a B Corp certification or affiliation with other professional associations. Memberships and certifications are a great indicator of the company's professionalism, workmanship, reputation and reliability.

Types of Panels

Some types of solar panels are better than others, and each company will offer a slightly different product portfolio. Small homes in more dense cities will likely need high-efficiency solar panels, while homes with more space might opt for a sleek design. It can't hurt to ask what brands of panels your company has available, and why they might recommend each. Certifications from some of the best solar panel brands like Panasonic, LG or SunPower might also be a good indicator of legitimacy.

Incentives, Rebates and Tax Credits

New York State has a variety of solar incentives that can vary by city, county and utility. Though effective, these incentives can be complex, and finding a solar installer that knows the ins and outs of local policy may provide the best overall value in the long run. It's best to think locally here. Does the company you're looking at have plenty of experience in your community? This will be important.

Warranty

Finally, we recommend finding an installer that offers a good warranty. Solar panels are incredibly tough, but things happen. The best warranties will last 25 years and cover the equipment, workmanship and performance of your installation.

Cost of Solar in New York

As of 2022, our market research and data from top brands show the average cost of solar panels in New York is around $2.95 per watt. This means a 5-kW system would cost around $10,927 after the federal solar tax credit is applied. Keep in mind that a 5-kW system is about the minimum size for most homes.

New York State also offers a variety of solar incentives to help offset the cost of your system. These incentives have spurred the growth of solar in New York to new highs in 2021, pushing to over $7 billion of total investment. Under the right circumstances, New York's solar incentives are capable of offsetting nearly half of the aggregate system installation costs.

New York Solar Incentive

Incentive Description

NY-Sun Megawatt Block Incentive

This statewide incentive provides direct financial incentives for solar installations on a per-watt basis, meaning the larger your installation, the more financial support you'll receive.

Solar Energy System Equipment Credit

New York residents are entitled to claim a tax credit equal to 25% of your qualified solar energy system equipment expenditure (limited to $5,000).

Sales Tax Exemption

New York residents don't have to pay the state's 4% sales tax on qualified solar equipment.

Net Metering

Standard net metering is available to most New York residents through 2022. Throughout 2022, New York will begin enrolling its solar customers in a net metering alternative aimed at easing utility costs.

How to Find the Best Solar Installer in New York

Sorting through the large number of New York solar installers can seem challenging, but this actually presents a great opportunity for New York home and business owners. Unlike a number of other states, solar customers are far more likely to find a company that tailors to their local needs.

The large number of solar companies in New York also gives solar customers the opportunity to shop competing offers against each other, sometimes securing thousands of dollars during the process. Remember, these companies are competing for you.

To start getting free quotes from the best solar companies in New York, use this tool or fill out the form below.

Best Solar Companies New York: FAQs

Who is the most reputable solar company in New York?

The most reputable solar company in New York will depend heavily on your individual needs. New York may be the toughest state to answer this question in due to the wide variety of unique needs stemming from metropolitan, suburban and rural areas of the state.

Is solar in New York worth it?

As long as you have the right roof, solar in New York is typically well worth it. Rather than the sunshine being the main factor behind solar's value, in New York, solar incentives are what make the switch worth it. Between the Megawatt Block incentive, federal tax credit and solar energy system equipment credit, New York homeowners can offset nearly 50% of their project costs.

How do I find a reputable solar company in New York?

One of the best ways to find a reputable solar company in New York is to compare free quotes from a number of installers. When comparing these quotes, or getting on-site consultations, you can find the best offer for your needs. Refer to our guide on finding local solar installers near you to learn more about reading and interpreting solar proposals.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
A Chevron refinery in Richmond, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A new California mapping project reveals another example of how the climate crisis disproportionately impacts vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

The Toxic Tides project, unveiled during a virtual workshop Tuesday, maps more than 400 hazardous sites like power plants, refineries and toxic waste dumps that could flood if sea levels rise by more than three feet, which they are projected to do by the end of 2100 if little is done to resolve the climate crisis. This is a major environmental justice issue, because these sites are disproportionately located in low income communities of color.

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Broadly speaking, state governments have led the way in implementing renewable energy policies in the U.S., and a couple of states have always been at the forefront of these efforts. Despite not having the vast land of California or the year-round sun of Arizona, the availability of a Massachusetts solar tax credit has long been a reason that this New England state is a top state for solar energy installations.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Massachusetts is currently eighth in the country for solar energy installations, which is especially impressive given how small the state is geographically compared with many of the states it's outranking. For residents, the availability of Massachusetts solar rebates and incentives, as well as some of the best solar installation companies, has made solar energy an appealing and logical option, and in offering such opportunities, the Massachusetts government has set a great example for the rest of the country.

If you live in Massachusetts and are wondering how much a solar panel system would cost for your home, you can get a free quote from a certified solar installer near you by using this tool or filling out the form below.

Massachusetts Solar Tax Credit

The most appealing Massachusetts solar tax credit available is the Personal Income Tax Credit, otherwise known as the Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit. Massachusetts residents who purchase home solar energy systems are eligible for a tax credit on their income tax filing that totals 15% of the cost of the solar system (up to a maximum tax credit of $1,000).

Massachusetts implemented this tax credit back in 2016, and the direct impact is bringing down the cost of solar panels for homeowners. This serves as a hefty incentive to adopt solar power or another renewable energy system. The impact has been steady and notable, which is no doubt a reason that solar installers have seen such demand across the state of Massachusetts.

Other Massachusetts Solar Incentives

While the Massachusetts solar tax credit has been the most heralded and impactful of the solar incentives available in the state, residents of Massachusetts have several additional opportunities to take advantage. The following programs and policies make the decision to go solar even more financially savvy.

Massachusetts Solar Rebates and Incentives

Description

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program

Customers who install approved solar systems can get direct compensation for every kilowatt-hour generated by their system.

Massachusetts Solar Tax Exemptions

Massachusetts does not collect sales tax on solar systems and omits the value of solar systems from property value assessments for tax purposes.

Massachusetts Net Metering Program

Homes and businesses are paid per kilowatt-hour for all excess electricity they generate and send back to the central power grid.

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program

The goal of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program is to offer direct incentives for both residential and commercial solar energy systems that are tied to one of three investor-owned utility grids in the state: Eversource, National Grid and Unitil.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources instituted this program in late 2018 and it directly pays the owners of solar systems for all power generated by their systems for 10 years.

The specifics of how much a customer gets paid varies based on their utility provider and the size of their system, but the payouts range from $0.22 per kilowatt-hour produced all the way up to $0.34 per kWh. Further, the SMART program has added provisions for higher payouts if a battery storage system is added. While many solar systems can already pay for themselves via reduced energy bills in less than a decade, the additional incentives offered by the SMART program can nearly cut the solar payback period in half.

Massachusetts Solar Tax Exemptions

Direct tax exemptions are another way that the state of Massachusetts seeks to ensure that the cost of solar panels is not preventing residents from investing. Most products in the state will have a standard sales tax of 6.25% applied at the point of sale, but Massachusetts would rather the tax not be collected if it would deter any additional homes from investing in solar. As a result, solar energy systems are exempt from sales tax.

Another solar tax exemption offered to owners of systems in Massachusetts is the property tax exemption. For any typical home upgrade — such as an extension to a house, a new pool, or otherwise — the property will get inspected, and the value of the home is reassessed so taxes can be paid on the full value of the home. While solar energy systems increase the value of a home and how much it can sell for, the state of Massachusetts opts to not include the value of the solar system when assessing the total amount at which the property should be taxed.

Massachusetts Net Metering Program

Lastly, Massachusetts is ahead of the curve when it comes to net metering as a benefit allowed for owners of solar systems. Through net metering, properties that are generating electricity, whether through solar panels or otherwise, can be compensated for sending excess power that they don't need in a given moment back into the grid.

For example, the peak time to generate solar power is mid-afternoon, but if a home is empty during those hours because its residents are at school or work, it's likely that all of that energy will not be used. In such an instance, the home can send power to the local grid to be used by other people in the service area, and thanks to net metering policies in Massachusetts, the owners of those solar systems are compensated at the same price they pay when consuming power from the grid.

When done optimally, such net metering policies can nearly wipe out an entire power bill for efficient homes operating with solar.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

While Massachusetts is going out of its way to offer tax incentives and rebates to potential solar customers, these projects are eligible for the relevant federal solar tax credit as well. In fact, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the most commonly utilized tax credit for new solar projects and has been for a number of years.

For eligible customers and solar systems, the ITC allows 26% of the cost of solar systems to be claimed as a credit against federal tax returns, provided those systems are operational before December 31, 2022. For systems placed into service in 2023, the tax credit is 22% of the total system cost. As the code is currently written, there is no ITC for solar systems installed after 2023, though clean energy advocates and pro-solar politicians are seeking to extend the federal solar tax credit in the future.

FAQ: Massachusetts Solar Incentives

Does Massachusetts have a solar tax credit?

Massachusetts has a solar tax credit called the Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit. Homeowners can claim this credit on their state tax filing, and it's worth 15% of the cost of the solar system (up to a maximum tax credit of $1,000). All Massachusetts installations are also eligible for the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

Is it worth going solar in Massachusetts?

Yes, Massachusetts offers numerous financial incentives that help the already profitable endeavor of installing solar energy to be even better for the budget in the long run. With properly planned and installed solar systems, many in Massachusetts can expect their payback period to be just a couple of years, though you should consult with an expert about your exact situation for any unique aspects of your potential solar system.

Can you get free solar in Massachusetts?

Solar energy systems will always come with some level of upfront costs, though many opportunities exist for financing (including on-bill financing) that bring the initial capital required down to a manageable and accessible level for residents across Massachusetts. Once systems are installed, the reduced energy bills, the availability of net metering, and potential participation in the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program will all pay back the initial investment and the bulk of the solar system's life will represent profit.

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Massachusetts?

The specific costs will vary based on the size of the system and how well suited the potential location is to solar installations. That said, our research shows that the average cost paid in Massachusetts is $2.94 per watt for solar system installations, slightly higher than the nationwide average of $2.66 per watt.

To see how much a solar system would cost for your home, specifically, you can use this tool or fill out the form below to get a free, no-obligation quote from a certified solar installer near you.

2022 Florida Solar Tax Credits, Incentives & Rebates

See how you can save money on solar panels in Florida.

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Florida is well-known as the Sunshine State because of its year-round sunny weather that draws millions of tourists each year, but historically, Florida hasn't actually been a national leader when it comes to solar energy generation. That said, financial incentives like Florida solar tax credit and rebate opportunities have played a huge part in its rise to become one of the top states for solar energy.

To the glee of clean energy advocates across the state, various Florida solar incentives have succeeded in bringing solar power throughout the state. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2020, Florida ranked third in the nation for solar energy capacity, and it had the second-most installations during the second quarter of 2021.

This progress in the solar field comes from many different sources, not the least of which is Florida solar incentives. For any homes or businesses feeling left behind while the rest of the state goes solar, these types of solar tax credits are still widely available across Florida, which will be discussed in this article.

For most homeowners, the decision to go solar comes down to cost. To see how much you'd pay for a home solar system (and how much you can shave off that price with Florida solar tax credit and incentive opportunities), you can get a free quote from a top solar company near you by using this tool or filling out the form below.

Florida Solar Tax Credits and Solar Rebates

As much as transitioning to clean energy is the best thing for the environment and the fight against climate change, the reality has always been that such changes would be slow to happen (if they happened at all) unless they made sense financially. When solar energy systems are proven to save money for those who pay the high upfront costs to install them, those purchases are better considered a worthy investment.

As such, some of the most effective policies encouraging solar installations have been those making the decision a no-brainer from the budgetary perspective. Let's take a look at some of the top Florida solar incentives.

Florida Solar Incentive Program Overview
Florida Net Metering Programs Credits homeowners when their solar panels produce extra electricity and it is exported to the local power grid
Florida Tax Exemptions Property tax exemptions and sales tax exemptions for solar and other renewable energy equipment
Local Incentives Incentives, rebates and low-interest financing programs at the town, city, and county level that encourage local solar installations

Florida Net Metering Programs

Regardless of the state, one of the most critical types of energy policy for solar panels is known as net metering. Through net metering, homeowners can feed excess electricity produced by their solar panels into the power grid in exchange for utility credits. These credits can be used to pay for the energy a home uses when panels aren't producing (such as at night).

Net metering tends to be a state-by-state policy, as there is no federal policy regarding net metering. Florida is one of the states where there is, in fact, a statewide net metering program, applicable for homeowners regardless of which utility serves their area.

The specific net metering provision covers up to 2 megawatts (MW) of capacity for any customers who generate electricity with a renewable energy source. Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy have the largest net metering programs in the state.

The availability of such net metering serves as an incentive for Floridians to install solar panels on their property. Not only do they benefit by reducing their power bills from pulling energy from the grid less often, but they can even profit when the utility pays them for generating more power than they consume, bringing their solar payback period down.

Florida Solar Tax Exemptions

Another financial mechanism that the Florida state government offers to solar system owners is solar tax exemptions. To start, Florida doesn't want to make the upfront cost to purchase and install solar equipment to be any higher than the open market says it should be, so since 1997, all solar energy systems have been completely exempt from Florida's sales and use tax.

Once a solar photovoltaic system is purchased and installed, there is a statewide property tax abatement that further helps homeowners avoid paying taxes on it. Most home additions, such as a new shed or outdoor patio built in a home's backyard, would be appraised to determine the value it added to the property and thus increase the overall property tax. However, the added home value of solar panels is excluded from the property's taxable value.

Local Incentives

Florida is also a large, diverse state, so in addition to the state solar incentives, many local jurisdictions enact their own policies to encourage and support installation of solar energy systems. At the town, city or county level, Floridians will commonly find low-interesting solar financing options, specific solar incentives or rebates, and more.

You can determine whether your locality offers such incentives by investigating your local government websites or talking to utility company representatives. When you do, you may come across such successful programs as Jacksonville's $2,000 rebate for solar battery installations, Boynton Beach's Energy Edge Rebate Program, or the Solar Energy Rebate Grant Program offered by Dunedin.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

Floridians, of course, can also benefit from all the tax incentives, rebates and credits that are offered at the federal level. Over the past two decades, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) has attributed largely to the rapid growth in solar energy across business sectors, geographies and customer types.

For systems installed and operational before the end of 2022, the federal solar tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the installation, dropping to 22% for systems installed in 2023. It is currently set to expire afterward, though the idea of extending the ITC beyond its current expiration date, as has been done in the past, has been a part of active clean energy policy debates.

FAQ: Florida Solar Incentives

Does Florida have a solar tax credit?

State-wide, there is no specific Florida solar tax credit. However, all utilities in the state of Florida do offer customers the ability to utilize net metering, Florida solar homeowners are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and some local jurisdictions in Florida may offer their own tax credits.

Is solar tax exempt in Florida?

In Florida, the purchase and installation of a home solar system is exempt from all sales tax, and the value of renewable systems are excluded from 100% of residential property taxes.

How much is the solar tax credit for 2022?

For any solar panel system installed before the end of 2022, the federal solar investment tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the system.

Is Florida a good state for solar?

Florida is a great state for solar from the perspective of having year-round sunny weather, higher-than-average solar irradiance and a policy landscape conducive to solar installations. Because of these factors, Florida ranked third among all states in terms of solar capacity installed in 2020 (rising to second when looking at the third quarter of 2021), per the SEIA.

How much do solar panels cost in Florida?

Based on market research and data from top solar companies, we've found the average cost of solar panels in Florida is $2.53 per watt. However, this is only an average, and prices can vary widely depending on where you live, the number of solar panels you need and more.

To get a free estimate for your own home solar system, you can get connected with a pre-screened local installer by using this tool or entering your home's information below.

2022 North Carolina Solar Tax Credits, Incentives & More

We break down solar incentives available in the Tar Heel State.

Renewable Energy
Eloi_Omella / Getty Images

North Carolina consistently ranks among the top states for solar energy, but what kinds of incentives are residents able to take advantage of to lower the cost of going solar? In this article, we’ll provide an overview of all North Carolina solar tax credit, rebate and other incentive opportunities available to homeowners, which have contributed to the local growth of clean energy.

The SEIA gathers detailed information about the solar industry in each state, and the outlook for North Carolina is very promising. According to the latest SEIA data, the state has over 7,200 megawatts of solar capacity, which is enough to power more than 846,000 homes. The accumulated investment in North Carolina’s solar industry now exceeds $9.8 billion, with more than 6,100 jobs created so far.

North Carolina has enacted favorable legislation for solar power. There is a net metering policy, which ensures you get full credit when exporting surplus solar energy to the grid. There is also a law that enables low-interest green energy loans from county and city governments. Let’s dig in.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on for and is not intended to provide accounting, legal or tax advice.

North Carolina Solar Incentives

Although there are sunnier regions in the U.S., the Global Solar Atlas shows North Carolina gets decent sunshine. The state also offers several incentive programs that improve your return on investment when going solar.

North Carolina Solar Incentive

Program Overview

Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems

North Carolina does not tax you for the increase in property value after installing solar panels.

North Carolina Net Metering Policy

Surplus electricity from your home solar system is credited at retail price on your next power bill.

Duke Energy Solar Rebate

Duke Energy customers can qualify for a cash incentive when installing a solar panel system.

Local Option - Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

North Carolina has a law that enables revolving loan programs from cities and counties, with a maximum interest rate of 8% and a maximum term of 20 years.

Local Incentives

Additional incentives may be available from your county, city or utility company.

We'll go into detail about each North Carolina solar incentive below, but if you haven't already, we recommend getting a free quote from a certified installer in your area to see exactly how much these tax credits and rebates could save you. To get started, you can use this tool or fill out the following form:

North Carolina Solar Tax Incentives

North Carolina has offered a property tax exemption for solar panels and solar thermal electric systems since 2008. These systems increase the value of your property, like any other home upgrade, but NC does not tax you for that increase. For example, if solar panels increase the value of a home from $270,000 to $300,000, the owner will still be taxed for a $270,000 home.

This benefit is also available for solar power systems owned by commercial, industrial and agricultural energy users. However, in these cases, the property tax exemption applies for 80% of the system’s value, instead of the 100% exemption available for homeowners.

Net Metering in North Carolina

North Carolina offers net metering for solar power systems up to 1,000 kW of capacity, which covers all residential systems and many industrial and commercial solar systems. However, leased solar systems have a much lower limit for net metering: 20 kW or 100% of estimated demand, whichever is less.

Surplus electricity from your solar panels is credited on your next bill, which means you save the full value of the kilowatt-hours that get exported to the grid. However, your accumulated balance expires at the start of the summer billing period. Having an optimally sized solar power system is recommended, since an oversized system generates electricity that you can never subtract from your bills.

Duke Energy Solar Rebate

If you’re a Duke Energy customer who plans to install solar panels, you may qualify for the utility company’s North Carolina Solar Rebate Program. The available funding for 2021 ran out very quickly, but you can join a waiting list for when the program reopens in 2022. The incentive per kilowatt changes depending on the type of customer, but the program website lists the following rates as of November 2021:

  • Residential customer: $400 per kW, maximum system size of 10 kW ($4,000)
  • Non-residential customer: $300 per kW, maximum system size of 100 kW ($30,000)
  • Nonprofit organization: $750 per kW, maximum system size of 100 kW ($75,000)

Keep in mind that incentive programs managed by energy companies tend to change frequently, and their funding per year is limited. If you’re interested in the Duke Energy rebate, check the company’s website regularly so you don’t miss any updates.

NC Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

In North Carolina, city and county governments are legally authorized to offer low-interest loans for solar PV systems in homes and businesses. The loan program also covers other renewable energy technologies like geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines and biomass power.

The maximum interest rate of these revolving loans is 8%, and the maximum term is 20 years. This gives you the option of installing a solar panel system with loaned capital, then using your electricity savings to pay it back over time. This means your out-of-pocket cost is reduced to zero, and your solar power system can cover its own cost with the savings achieved.

Local Incentives

We have listed the main solar incentives available in North Carolina, but keep in mind that additional benefits may be available depending on where you live.

For example, the City of Asheville offers building permit rebates for homeowners and businesses who use solar panels and other green energy technologies. This North Carolina solar rebate changes depending on the technology used; in the case of solar panels, there is a $50 rebate on your building permit application.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

The federal solar tax credit is not a North Carolina incentive, strictly speaking, since you can claim it anywhere in the U.S. However, we mention this benefit here because you can combine it with local incentives.

  • If you install a solar power system before the end of 2022, you can claim 26% of its value as a federal tax credit.
  • The benefit will remain available in 2023, but it will be reduced to 22%.
  • After the start of 2024, there will only be a 10% federal solar tax credit for businesses and 0% for homes.

FAQ: North Carolina Solar Incentives

Does North Carolina have a solar tax credit?

No, there is no specific North Carolina solar tax credit. However, you can still claim the 26% federal tax credit.

Is it worth going solar in North Carolina?

It depends on your unique situation, but in general, it’s worth going solar in North Carolina. The state offers a combination of incentives that reduce your ownership costs and decent sunshine that makes solar panels productive. Solar panels last for more than 25 years if they’re of high quality, and you can achieve a payback period of less than 10 years in North Carolina.

Does solar increase property taxes in North Carolina?

No, there is a 100% property tax exemption for residential solar systems. Your home becomes more valuable, but your property taxes are not raised. Solar power systems owned by businesses get an 80% property tax exemption.

What is the 26% tax credit for solar?

In a few words, for every dollar invested in a solar power system, you can claim 26 cents on your next tax declaration. For example, if you purchase a 6-kW home solar system for $18,000, you can claim a tax credit of $4,680 (26% of $18,000).

Leonardo David is an electromechanical engineer, MBA, energy consultant and technical writer. His energy-efficiency and solar consulting experience covers sectors including banking, textile manufacturing, plastics processing, pharmaceutics, education, food processing, fast food, real estate and retail. He has also been writing articles about energy and engineering topics since 2015.

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