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Amidst the loud hum of computers, digital gold is born. Churning and churning, hundreds of computers mine for a new form of currency. One that professes to be the decentralized, deflationary disruptor of the modern banking system. It goes by many names, DogeCoin, VibuCoin, Etherium, and Bitcoin. But they all can be called cryptocurrencies. This is the story of the new digital gold. How it works, its consequences, and what a crypto future looks like?

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tree beside house under clear sky
Photo by Vivint Solar on Unsplash

One of the best ways to power a home or business while minimizing your environmental footprint is by harnessing the renewable energy provided by the sun. The good news for Californians is that the state has long been on the leading edge of green energy; as you seek solar energy companies in California, you'll find that there are plenty of options choose from.

In this article, we'll look at some of the top solar energy companies servicing homeowners in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and throughout CA.

Our Picks for the Best Solar Energy Companies in California

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

  • NRG Clean Power
  • Sunworks Solar Power
  • Sunrun
  • Semper Solaris
  • Stellar Solar
  • Tesla
  • Vivint Solar
  • Sunlux Energy
  • Solar Optimum

How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in California

There are a number of factors to consider as you search for the best solar installation company.

Some of the specific factors we used for our rankings include:

Services Offered

For one, it's important to note that different solar companies may offer slightly different services. Most CA homeowners will want a company that provides a diverse portfolio, assisting with everything from an initial consultation on their solar energy system to solar panel installation.

Installation Process

Also consider the specific steps in the solar panel system installation process. How long will it take to have your solar panels placed? Will the panels be installed by a trained member of the solar energy company, or will it be a third-party contractor?

Coverage Areas

Some solar companies have a wider field of service than others. It doesn't do you much good to hire a solar power company that's only active in Sacramento if you live closer to Los Angeles in southern California.

Pricing and Financing

You'll want to consider your budget, which can be a determinative factor. Keep in mind that most solar companies are going to have fairly steep upfront costs, but you'll ultimately save a lot of money in the long run, thanks to the reduced electric bills. Also, we have tried to celebrate companies that offer flexible financing options like solar leases.

Professional Memberships

We would generally recommend working with a company that maintains membership in the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) or other professional association. Membership in these groups is a great indicator of the company's professionalism, workmanship, reputation, and reliability.

Types of Panels

Pay attention to the specific type of solar technology that is offered. Is the company certified to install leading brands like Tesla Powerwall, Panasonic, and LG? It never hurts to take a closer look into the company's tech portfolio.

Rebates

You can likely find solar energy rebates or federal tax credits by making the switch to solar energy. Will your solar energy provider help you make the necessary arrangements? It is often wise to inquire about these incentives on the front-end.

Warranty

Finally, we would recommend seeking a solar energy company that can offer a good warranty. This can offer great consumer protection and peace of mind as you make a big investment in clean energy.

The Best Solar Energy Companies in California

NRG Clean Power

NRG Clean Power claims to do solar "the smart way," and they have a great reputation in the solar industry. They make solar panels accessible and affordable, without any financing gimmicks or middlemen to complicate the process. They have an admirable vision of decentralizing and deregulating power supplies, making it easier for all of us to participate in the clean energy revolution.

NRG Clean Power offers solar roofing, energy storage, and EV charging solutions, as well as flexible payment and financing options.

Sunworks Solar Power

Sunworks Solar Power is a company that supplies affordable and reliable solar energy solutions to homes, businesses, and even farms across the state. They actually boast more than 30 years of experience in the solar space, which makes them a true standard-bearer within the industry. In addition to some significant home energy savings, Sunworks Solar Power can also benefit you by providing a generous 25-year warranty.

There's a lot to love about Sunworks, specifically that they handle the entire solar energy process from start to finish.

Sunrun

When it comes to flexible, affordable solar solutions, Sunrun is a great option. You can actually get financing for your panels and other equipment with zero money down, making it incredibly easy to get up and running. Additionally, Sunrun assists with claiming any tax incentives that are available to you, either at a state level or the federal level. They also do an excellent job customizing their services, helping each homeowner get exactly the solar setup they need.

Learn why Sunrun is one of California's photovoltaic leaders.

Semper Solaris

Semper Solaris is owned and operated by American military veterans, which is just one of many reasons why it ranks so high on our list. We also love the fact that the company showcases a wide range of solar services, including heating and air conditioning assistance, solar batteries, and of course home solar installation. Also note that Semper Solaris offers service across California, with offices in San Diego, Inland Empire, Fresno, Concord, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, and beyond.

Semper Solaris is easily one of the best solar energy companies in California, and a great option for solar and battery storage installation.

Stellar Solar

Stellar Solar is primarily available in the San Diego area. They offer some incredible solar deals, including affordable equipment fees, low-interest financing, and access to some generous rebates and tax credits. Stellar Solaris has been around since 1998, and in that time, they have assisted more than 12,000 customers go solar.

If you live the San Diego area, Stellar Solar is one of the best solar contractors available.

Tesla

You may know Tesla from their electric cars. What you might not know is that Tesla has brought a similar sophistication to the solar energy industry, developing premium solar panels that have been adopted by other solar providers in the state. Of course, you can always go straight to the source, having your panels installed directly by Tesla themselves. Tesla also guarantees to match any price on solar systems in order to offer the lowest prices in the country.

Tesla's solar panel systems feature sleek designs, ensuring that your solar paneling isn't just functional, but also aesthetically pleasing.

Vivint Solar

Vivint Solar is a solar installer that really excels in customization. They understand that no two homes are quite alike, and they tailor their solar designs accordingly. Additionally, their top-notch panels are backed with a 25-year warranty, which should give you ample assurance as you consider choosing Vivint for your home energy needs.

Vivint Solar also provides a complete service experience to help you with everything from system design to permits and installation.

Sunlux Energy

Sunlux Energy delivers solar energy solutions in California as well as Texas, and they really have a lot to offer. Specifically, they can furnish solar panels and batteries, full home automation options, and even EV charging stations for your garage. They give free consultations, and they come backed with a great portfolio of online reviews.

Sunlux Energy is great for their full-service process, system warranty, and solar financing options.

Solar Optimum

Solar Optimum is an award-winning company known for its professional installation services, including a distinction as the 2020 Installer of the Year for Panasonic solar panels. They also back their products with reliable warranties and guarantees.

Solar Optimum offers true solar expertise, and their 25-year warranty covers the panels, inverter, racking, roof, and workmanship.

Free Quote: See How Much You Can Save on Solar Panels in California

Fill out this 30-second form to get a quote from one of the best solar energy companies in California. You could save up to $2,500 each year on your electric bills and receive both federal and local tax incentives and rebates.

How Does Solar Panel Installation Work?

As you consider hiring a solar energy company, you may have some questions about the installation process. What exactly is involved in having your home enhanced with solar paneling?

The process should always begin with a consultation. A solar expert will evaluate how much energy you need, based on factors such as your home's square footage, appliances, and the number of people in your home. Additionally, the consultant will help you determine the best places on your roof to place solar panels so that they maximize solar energy absorption.

The company will then install the panels onto your roof and make sure that they are connected to your home and operating properly. Once installed, these solar panels will capture the sun's energy and store it in a battery. A component known as an inverter will then take this solar power and turn it into AC electrical current, which is the kind of energy you'll need to power your appliances and home electronics.

The goal is that the renewable energy you get from the sun will be sufficient for you to stop using electrical power from a utility company. What's more, making the jump to solar energy can help you reduce your environmental footprint. For those seeking clean and (in the long run) cost-effective home energy, solar power can be tremendously advantageous.

What Do You Need to Go Solar in California?

Are you a good candidate for solar power? First and foremost, you'll probably need to own your own home. And second, you'll want to have a rooftop that receives plenty of sunlight.

One important note is that in California, depending on the city where you live, you may actually work with the local utility company, like PG&E, for a power purchase agreement or net metering service. The utility will still be connected to your home, but you will receive credits on your bill for the extra energy generated by your home's solar system.

This can be a little bit cumbersome, and you'll probably want to work with a solar energy company that can help you coordinate with your local utility provider as well as helping you get the permits and approvals you need. For residents of California, this is something to ask about as you seek the best solar energy partner.

The Benefits of Going Solar in CA

If you're interested in going solar in California, the first thing you'll want to do is research different companies so that you can find the one that best fits your budget and your needs.

Solar energy can make a world of difference for you and your family. We hope this guide will be useful to you in evaluating some of California's top solar energy providers.

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

Frederic Stevens/ Getty Images News / Getty Images

For nearly as long as solar panels have been gracing rooftops and barren land, creative people have been searching out additional surfaces that can be tiled with energy-generating photovoltaic (PV) panels. The idea has been pretty straightforward: if solar panels generate energy simply by facing the sun, then humans could collectively reduce our reliance on coal, oil, gas and other polluting fuels by maximizing our aggregate solar surface area.

So, what kind of unobstructed surfaces are built in every community and in between every major city across the globe? Highways and streets. With this in mind, the futuristic vision of laying thousands, or even millions, of solar panels on top of the asphalt of interstates and main streets was born.

While the concept art looked like a still from a sci-fi film, many inventors, businesses and investors saw these panels as a golden path toward clean energy and profit. Ultimately, though, the technology and economics ended up letting down those working behind each solar roadway project — from initial concepts in the early 2000s to the first solar roadway actually opened in France in 2016, they all flopped.

In the years since the concept of solar roadways went viral, solar PV has continued to improve in technology and drop in price. So, with a 2021 lens, is it time to re-run the numbers and see if a solar roadway could potentially deliver on that early promise? We dig in to find out.

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brown brick house with solar panels on roof
Photo by Vivint Solar on Unsplash

There are plenty of perks to living in Arizona, and one of the biggest is all the sunshine. Living in a sun-soaked part of the country allows you to take full advantage of clean energy solutions, specifically power that's generated by a solar system. In fact, Arizona ranks fifth on the list of states with the most solar energy.

For residents of Arizona, there are solar power companies that provide service in Tucson, Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, and beyond. How can you be sure you're choosing the best solar installer? In this article, we'll highlight our top 10 Arizona solar companies.

Our Picks for the Top Solar Companies in Arizona

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

  • Arizona Solar Wave & Energy
  • Sunrun
  • Sunpro Solar
  • Sun Valley Solar Solutions
  • Verde Solar Power
  • Arizona Southwest Solar & Electric
  • Arizona Solar Concepts
  • Solar Topps
  • Arizona Energy Pros
  • Streamline Solar Power

How We Chose the Best Solar Energy Companies in Arizona

Before sharing our picks for Arizona's best solar contractors, it's important to highlight some of the criteria we used. When comparing different solar energy providers, there are quite a few factors to keep in mind.

Services Offered

Keep in mind that different solar energy companies are going to offer slightly different services. Design and installation of solar paneling is one thing, but will the company also help install battery storage and an EV charging station for your electric car? Will they provide windows or weatherization to help boost your household energy efficiency? You want to choose a full-service solar company whenever possible.

Installation Process

Before you hire a solar roofing company, it's helpful to ask about the installation process. Find out what the customization and design elements will encompass. Also find out whether the installation will be handled by trained and salaried employees, or by solar contractors.

Coverage Area

While some companies may offer coverage across the state, others may be limited to a particular market. If you live in Tempe, it may not do you much good to hire a solar company that's only active in Glendale. Always confirm the scope of coverage before hiring a solar energy provider.

Pricing and Financing

Installing solar equipment can cost a lot (more than $10,000) on the front end, but may ultimately pay for itself in terms of tax incentives and monthly electric bill savings. If that initial investment is a bit steep for you, you can always ask about payment plans and solar leasing opportunities.

Professional Reputation

To ensure that the solar provider you hire is reputable and trustworthy, we recommend hiring a company that's held in high regard within the industry. Specifically, look for a provider with Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) affiliation and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification.

Technology Portfolio

It may also be useful to determine if the company you hire uses a trusted brand of solar paneling; for certain brand names like Tesla and Panasonic, the company must be certified to install these panels.

Rebates and Tax Credits

As we mentioned, there are rebates and tax incentives to help offset the initial cost of your solar installation. Look for a solar power company that can help you navigate these offers and obtain the savings you need.

Warranty

Most solar installers will include a warranty on their technology, with 25 year warranties being the industry norm. These warranties can give some much-needed peace of mind on both the technology and workmanship behind your new photovoltaic system.

The 10 Best Solar Energy Companies in Arizona

Arizona Solar Wave & Energy

Arizona Solar Wave & Energy is a top-rated solar contractor in the state. They provide best-in-class customer service and also assist customers looking to navigate all the different rebate and incentive offers. With 17 years in the industry, Arizona Solar Wave & Energy has experience helping homeowners make the switch to solar. They are NABCEP-certified, and offer free repair and maintenance for the life of your solar system.

Sunrun

Sunrun has long been a leading name in the solar industry. They offer virtual consultations and custom solar designs, allowing you to be involved in the development of your home energy solution from the ground up. We also like them for their first-rate customer service guarantees, their generous tech portfolio, and their prestigious reputation within the industry.

Sunpro Solar

Sunpro Solar is active in 22 states, and their goal is to make the solar energy transition as simple, seamless, and cost-effective as possible. Sunpro's installers will present you with a free quote for your system, and also offer you support in claiming clean energy tax incentives, including the state's property tax exemption. Sunpro boasts a ton of positive customer reviews, testifying to their high standards of service.

Sun Valley Solar Solutions

Sun Valley Solar Solutions made our list because they utilize the very best in solar technology. They are certified Tesla Solar Roof and Tesla Powerwall installers. Additionally, they go out of their way to help you find affordable solutions and claim any savings opportunities that are available to you. Sun Valley Solar Solutions professionals are NABCEP-certified and offer award-winning customer service.

Verde Solar Power

Verde Solar Power is another company that's native to Arizona, and covers areas including Sedona, Cottonwood, Camp Verde, and more. This company helps Arizonans take advantage of the 300+ days of sunlight they get each year, with custom energy solutions that allow for clean and affordable home power. They are NABCEP-certified and offer a free solar solar assessment.

Arizona Southwest Solar & Electric

Arizona Southwest Solar & Electric is one of the most experienced solar installers serving the southwestern part of the state. True to the company's name, they provide both solar power as well as comprehensive electrical services as needed. We'll also note that they have a very admirable mission statement, with a commitment to clean and renewable energy solutions. These are just a few of the reasons why Arizona Southwest Solar & Electric makes our list.

Arizona Solar Concepts

If you're seeking an experienced solar company with deep roots in AZ, Arizona Solar Concepts is a must. This family-owned and operated company has been serving local homeowners since 2006, and in that time, they have helped more than 5,000 Arizonans make the switch to solar power. They are offer high-quality solar technology as well as generous warranties and guarantees, and are Tesla Powerwall Certified Installers and SunPower Master Certified.

Solar Topps

Solar Topps provides easy and efficient consultation, fast installation, and customer support representatives who are available 24/7. They are also authorized dealers of some of the top solar panel brands on the market today, including Panasonic and Enphase. Finally, they offer a lot of really helpful information on their website, including a calculator that will generate an instant quote for solar services.

Arizona Energy Pros

Arizona Energy Pros, a company that's been around since 1977, is one of the most experienced solar providers on the market. This is a comprehensive home energy company, and a lot of their services involves electrical work, but they also offer solar energy services. Arizona Energy Pros has excellent financing options, including opportunities to get solar installation with zero money down. Note that they are only available in the Phoenix area.

Streamline Solar Power

Streamline Solar Power is a solar installation company serving Valley Wide, Tucson, Yuma, and surrounding areas. They are authorized dealers for some of the top solar panel brands, including Tesla, and they custom-design and install every system themselves. If you're looking for an all-in-one, AZ-owned solar company, this is an excellent pick.

Free Quote: See How Much You Can Save on Solar Panels in Arizona

Fill out this 30-second form to get a quote from one of the best solar energy companies in Arizona. You could save up to $2,500 each year on your electric bills and receive both federal and state tax rebates.

What are the Benefits of Going Solar in Arizona?

By making the switch to solar energy, you can potentially reduce your household utility bills considerably, even eliminating month-to-month energy expenses altogether.

Even more importantly, switching to solar energy can help you to minimize your environmental footprint. For those looking to break away from polluting fuel sources, embracing solar power is a no-brainer.

There aren't many states that get as many days of consistent sunshine as Arizona, meaning that it's easy to generate household power harnessed purely from the sun.

The biggest advantage to doing so is that it allows you to utilize renewable energy sources as opposed to toxic fossil fuels.

How Much Does a Solar Energy System Cost in Arizona?

Solar costs can vary from home to home, depending on factors like your household energy use, sun exposure, and the surface area of your roof. With that said, the average price for going solar is around $13,000. Note that once you factor in tax incentives and rebates, that price should drop by several thousand dollars. And of course, those monthly utility savings will ultimately offset the cost of solar installation.

Going solar requires an investment, and it won't pay for itself overnight, but with so many tax rebates and other incentives, many Arizonans find it to be more than cost-effective.

Going Solar in the Grand Canyon State

Making the switch to solar energy can be a great choice not just financially but also ecologically. And for those who live in Arizona, the opportunities to transition to solar power are bright.

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

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Visitors look at a Volkswagen ID.4 electric car at the Autostadt promotional facility next to the Volkswagen factory on Oct. 26, 2020 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

By David Reichmuth

Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.

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How to Install Solar Panels: 2021 Solar Panel Installation Guide
Juan Silva / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Whether you're installing a DIY solar panel system or having a top solar company handle the details, you'll want to choose the best solar panels for your home. But with so many options, it can be hard to know which panels you need.

In this article, we'll narrow down the 10 best residential solar panels based on materials, price, efficiency and more. All homes are different, so there's no one best solar panel for every system. It's important for homeowners to assess their specific needs and to select the right solar panels to accommodate their household energy requirements.

Our Top Solar Panels for 2021

For those who wish to take advantage of solar power, the first step is assembling a solar system for home use. This system will generally include a battery, an inverter and of course an array of solar panels. Based on factors such as efficiency, durability, warranty, price point and temperature coefficient, these are the 10 best solar panels for home use:

  1. LG: Best Overall
  2. SunPower: Most Efficient
  3. Panasonic: Best by Temperature Coefficient
  4. Silfab: Best Warranty
  5. Canadian Solar: Most Affordable
  6. Trina Solar: Best Value
  7. Q Cells: Consumer Favorite
  8. Mission Solar: Best Small Manufacturer
  9. Loom Solar: Most Reliable
  10. WindyNation: Best for Backup Power

As you can see, each of these solar panels excels in a certain area, and each one comes with its own pros and cons. Again, as you seek the best residential solar panels, it's crucial to consider the specific needs of your home and your solar power system.

Are These Solar Panels Right for Your Home?

How We Ranked the Best Solar Panels

In choosing our rankings, we carefully researched many types of solar panels from the industry's top manufacturers, evaluating them according to several criteria. Some of the factors we used to arrive at our rankings include:

Efficiency

The efficiency rating of a solar panel refers to the amount of captured sunlight that it can actually convert into useful energy. Keep in mind that solar panel efficiency tops out just over 20%, and generally speaking, the most efficient solar panels will yield the greatest energy savings for your home.

Durability

Solar panels represent a significant investment, and naturally, homeowners want to select products that are going to hold up over time. This means you'll want to buy solar panels that are made to be durable, and to withstand even intense weather.

Warranty

A good, strong performance warranty can give peace of mind after you purchase residential solar panels. In this industry, a decent warranty may be anywhere from 10 years to 25.

Price Point

Naturally, you will want to consider your budget before investing in solar panels. The cost of solar panels can fluctuate based on many factors. As you think about a panel's price tag, however, also factor in things like durability and warranty, which provide you a fuller sense of overall value.

Temperature Coefficient

Another important ranking factor is temperature coefficient. With solar panels, temperature coefficient refers to how much (or how little) the panel's productivity is diminished when the external temperature rises. How solar panels work in extreme heat plays a key role in year-round power output.

10 Best Solar Panels for Home

Based on the criteria outlined above, these are our picks for the top 10 best solar panels available in 2021.

1) Best Overall: LG

For our top selection, and our vote for all-around best residential solar panel, we're going with LG. LG is a top-tier electronics company, and its solar panels are known for their quality and durability. Truly, these are premium products that work well with almost any home solar configuration.

A quick look at LG's technical stats confirms this. In terms of efficiency, LG solar panels are almost unbeatable. (They are rated as 22% efficient; the only brand we've found that can surpass that is SunPower, and by less than a full percentage point.) A competitive price point and robust 25-year warranty just sweeten the deal and make LG the most recommendable of home solar panels.

2) Most Efficient: SunPower

If you're buying residential solar panels based solely on their efficiency, SunPower is the name to beat. (Remember, efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight that the panels can absorb and turn into useful energy for your home.) SunPower has the highest efficiency we've seen from any solar panel: 22.8%. And on top of that, we'll note that SunPower is reasonably priced and comes with a decent product warranty.

The bottom line: If you're mainly looking for a powerhouse, SunPower is definitely a solar panel manufacturer for you to consider.

3) Best by Temperature Coefficient: Panasonic

Panasonic is our choice for the solar panel with the best temperature coefficient. Basically, that means it will continue to perform at a peak output even when the external temperature rises. For those who live in extremely warm climates, this is an important consideration. (As for technical specs, note that the temperature coefficient rating for the Panasonic solar panel is -0.26.)

Beyond that, this is another example of a well-made product by a top-tier electronics company, and we think homeowners will love it for its durability and its overall quality.

4) Best Warranty: Silfab

When it comes to solar panels, the typical warranty may be anywhere from 10 years to 25 years. There are actually a number of products that hit that 25-year mark, including some that we've mentioned already, but we'll give the honor to Silfab. Not only does this solar panel come supported by a robust warranty, but it routinely wins accolades for longevity and for overall customer satisfaction.

Silfab is a less prominent name in the solar energy space, but it really deserves your attention. It's a great product that offers tremendous value and is one of our top picks for best solar panels for home use.

5) Most Affordable: Canadian Solar

If you're looking to secure some decent solar panels for a lower price point, Canadian solar may be your best option. This company makes high-quality panels that are not too far off from the industry leaders with regard to efficiency, temperature coefficient and other technical considerations. However, Canadian Solar makes its panels available at a much cheaper price.

One caveat: The warranty for Canadian Solar panels is 12 years, which is reasonable, but certainly a far cry from the industry-leading 25 years. With that one quibble, though, we believe Canadian Solar represents one of the best overall values for home solar panels.

6) Best Value: Trina Solar

Speaking of value, we also want to mention the residential solar panels from Trina Solar.

Trina Solar is a Chinese company, and like Canadian Solar, it does an admirable job of producing premium-quality cell technology at competitive price points. Their panels are almost as cheap as the ones from Canadian Solar, and come with a comparable 12-year warranty. They may actually be just a tad more durable, which is why we rank them as a slightly better value overall. Keep this brand in mind as you seek the best use of your solar dollar.

7) Consumer Favorite: Q Cells

As we considered the best solar panels on the market today, we took into account consumer reviews. Basically, we wanted to get a sense of how actual homeowners rank the leading products. The results were somewhat surprising: Based on reviews from a number of different websites, we found that a smaller company called Q Cells consistently rose to the top.

In terms of sheer customer satisfaction, this may be the company to beat… and of course, Q Cells also offers excellent efficiency, value, durability, and more.

8) Best Small Manufacturer: Mission Solar

The residential solar space is dominated by big tech and electronics companies like LG, Panasonic and even Tesla. For some homeowners, though, there's something appealing about going with a smaller, more niche brand. And if that's the boat you're in, then we're happy to recommend Mission Solar.

These panels are made in the San Antonio, Texas, area, which makes them some of the best U.S.-made products in the solar field. The technical specs are all on point, and the company pulls some robust customer satisfaction numbers, too. Keep Mission Solar on your radar as you seek the best solar panels for home use.

9) Most Reliable: Loom Solar

Buying solar panels is going to require a significant investment, even if you opt for some of the cheaper options. Naturally, you'll want to select robust technology that will withstand the test of time, and also hold up well in extreme elements.

Loom Solar panels are well-regarded for their ruggedness and durability. They are carefully designed to perform well even in intense storms. What's more, they are calibrated to run well even in low light or under cloud coverage.

As you seek solar panels that have a long lifespan and will work well no matter the weather, Loom Solar is a company to keep in mind.

10) Best for Backup Power: Windy Nation

Windy Nation makes panels that are a bit smaller and less robust, so you may not wish to use them as your primary energy source. However, they work extremely well for backup power options, and are also great for powering your RV or your cabin with renewable energy.

We'll also note that, for their size, Windy Nation panels are quite efficient. And, they come backed by a 25-year warranty, which should instill some confidence as you buy.

How to Choose the Best Home Solar Panels for You

When looking for the best residential solar panels, here are a few tips to ensure you're picking the right products.

Consider Efficiency

The efficiency of your solar panels is going to be one of the key drivers of how much you cave on monthly utility bills and how quickly you recoup your investment. Each solar panel is rated for a particular efficiency level; the industry standard is between 16 to 18%, so anything in that range is going to be pretty decent. We'll note that SunPower's panels, with 22.8% efficiency, represent the highest rating we've come across.

Check Warranty Information

We also recommend comparing a panel's warranty against the industry standard. Hopefully, any solar panels you buy will come with a warranty of 10 years at a minimum. If you find something with a warranty of 25 years, that's ideal.

Compare Price and Efficiency

Something else to keep in mind is that the most efficient solar panels are not always the most affordable. In some cases, opting for a slightly less efficient product will actually provide superior value. You'll also want to think about the cost of solar panel installation and additional parts such as inverters and battery banks when setting your solar budget.

Think About Your Home Energy Needs

In assessing your solar needs, think about things like your roof's exposure to the sun, the surface area available on your roof and the amount of energy your household consumes on a monthly basis. These factors are all important in determining the number of solar panels you need, as well as the type of solar panels.

What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels?

When shopping for residential solar panels, it's also helpful to know the basic types that are available. The three basic categories are monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film. Each type of solar panel comes with its own list of pros and cons.

Monocrystalline: Monocrystalline panels are made from a single, pure crystal of silicon. This allows them to have higher efficiency levels, but they also tend to be more expensive due to a more costly manufacturing process. Note: If you have less space on your roof and can only fit a small number of panels, monocrystalline solar panels may be the only viable option.

Polycrystalline: Polycrystalline solar panels are also made of silicon, but in this case, they are assembled from smaller fragments. This means they are often a little less efficient than monocrystalline panels, but they are also a more affordable option.

Thin-Film: Finally, thin-film solar panels can be made from a variety of ultra-thin materials. Thin-film panels are recommended when you need something that's lightweight, flexible and portable; they may work better for RVs and campsites than for homes. Thin-film panels can be relatively low in efficiency when compared to the other two options.

Do Solar Panels Require Maintenance?

When weighing solar energy pros and cons before making an investment, one of the most common questions that homeowners have is whether their solar panels will require maintenance.

For the most part, all the hard work comes on the front end. Installing a home solar system requires in-depth knowledge of electronics as well as solar power, and in most cases, a solar installation will take a few days. We recommend outsourcing this to trained solar professionals.

Once your system is in place, however, the level of upkeep required is extremely minimal. You will likely have little or no issue with your solar panels for 20 to 30 years. And if you do run into an issue, your warranty will hopefully cover it.

What Impacts Solar Panel Performance?

Solar panels can vary quite a bit in their overall performance and productivity. There are a number of specific factors that can impact how your residential solar system performs, including:

  • Orientation: When your solar system is designed, your installer will be careful to position each panel in a way that maximizes its exposure to sunlight. If the orientation is even a little bit off, it can compromise the efficiency of your entire system.
  • Weather and sun exposure: If you live in a part of the country that doesn't get consistent sunlight, or if your solar panels are often under cloud coverage, you're not going to produce as much clean energy for your home. (There is a reason why solar panels are especially popular in the Sun Belt.)
  • Cleanliness: While solar panels are fairly low maintenance, you may occasionally need to wipe them down, especially in the aftermath of an intense storm. If panels become covered with grime or debris, they may not be able to absorb as much sunlight.
  • Shade: Keep in mind that any shade cast over your roof is going to impact the efficiency of your solar panels. If your house is surrounded by tall trees, for example, that could impede solar production.

Bottom Line: Are Solar Panels Worth it for Your Home?

As more and more homeowners seek clean energy solutions, solar power is increasingly attractive. By harnessing the sun's natural rays, homeowners can reduce their dependence on traditional utility companies. Not only does this yield significant savings on monthly electric bills (potentially even eliminating those bills altogether), but it also reduces direct contributions to atmospheric pollution.

Ultimately, the decision about getting solar panels is a highly individual one. For some homeowners, going solar makes plenty of sense. For others, it may prove unwise or unfruitful.

As you consider what's best for you, make sure you take into account your home: The surface area available on your roof, the kind of weather you get, and the level of sunlight you're exposed to.

Also think about the panels themselves: Which performance factors should you consider? Which type of panels is best? And which brand is best aligned with your needs and your budget?

By weighing all of these factors, you can make a well-informed decision about the best solar panels for your household.

Are These Solar Panels Right for Your Home?



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

Patrick Fraser / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Throughout Texas, there are a number of solar power companies that can install solar panels on your roof to take advantage of the abundant sunlight. But which solar power provider should you choose? In this article, we'll provide a list of the best solar companies in the Lone Star State.

Our Picks for the Best Texas Solar Companies

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

  • SunPower
  • Sunpro Solar
  • Longhorn Solar, Inc.
  • Solartime USA
  • Kosmos Solar
  • Sunshine Renewable Solutions
  • Alba Energy
  • Circle L Solar
  • South Texas Solar Systems
  • Good Faith Energy

How We Chose the Best Solar Energy Companies in Texas

There are a number of factors to keep in mind when comparing and contrasting different solar providers. These are some of the considerations we used to evaluate Texas solar energy companies.

Services Offered

Different solar companies may provide varying services. Always take the time to understand the full range of what's being offered in terms of solar panel consultation, design, installation, etc. Also consider add-ons, like EV charging stations, whenever applicable.

Installation Process

When meeting with a representative from one of Texas' solar power companies, we would always encourage you to ask what the installation process involves. What kind of customization can you expect? Will your solar provider use salaried installers, or outsourced contractors? These are all important questions to raise during the due diligence process.

Coverage Areas

Texas is a big place, and as you look for a good solar power provider, you want to ensure that their services are available where you live. If you live in Austin, it doesn't do you much good to have a solar company that's active only in Houston.

Pricing and Financing

Keep in mind that the initial cost of solar panel installation can be sizable. Some solar companies are certainly more affordable than others, and you can also ask about the flexible financing options that are available to you.

Industry Affiliations

To guarantee that the renewable energy providers you select are reputable, and that they have both the integrity and the expertise needed, we would recommend assessing their status in the industry. The simplest way to do this is to check to see whether they are North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified or belong to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) or other industry groups.

Types of Panels

As you research different companies, it certainly doesn't hurt to get to know the specific products they offer. Inquire about their tech portfolio, and see if they are certified to install leading brands like Tesla or Panasonic.

Rebates and Tax Credits

There are a lot of opportunities to claim clean energy rebates or federal tax credits which can help with your initial solar purchase. Ask your solar provider for guidance navigating these different savings opportunities.

Warranty

Going solar is a big investment, but a warranty can help you trust that your system will work for decades. A lot of solar providers provide warranties on their technology and workmanship for 25 years or more, but you'll definitely want to ask about this on the front end.

The 10 Best Solar Energy Companies in Texas

With these criteria in mind, consider our picks for the 10 best solar energy companies in TX.

SunPower

SunPower is a solar energy company that makes it easy to make an informed and totally customized decision about your solar power setup. SunPower has an online design studio where you can learn more about the different options available for your home, and even a form where you can get a free online estimate. Set up a virtual consultation to speak directly with a qualified solar installer from the comfort of your own home. It's no wonder SunPower is a top solar installation company in Texas. They make the entire process easy and expedient.

Sunpro Solar

Sunpro Solar is another solar power company with a solid reputation across the country. Their services are widely available to Texas homeowners, and they make the switch to solar effortless. We recommend them for their outstanding customer service, for the ease of their consultation and design process, and for their assistance to homeowners looking to claim tax credits and other incentives.

Longhorn Solar

Looking for a solar contractor with true Texas roots? Longhorn Solar is an award-winning company that's frequently touted as one of the best solar providers in the state. Their services are available in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, and since 2009 they have helped more than 2,000 Texans make the switch to energy efficiency with solar. We recommend them for their technical expertise, proven track record, and solar product selection.

Solartime USA

Solartime USA is another company based in Texas. In fact, this family-owned business is located in Richardson, which is just outside of Dallas. They have ample expertise with customized solar energy solutions in residential settings, and their portfolio of online reviews attests to their first-rate customer service. We love this company for the simplicity of their process, and for all the guidance they offer customers seeking to go solar.

Kosmos Solar

Next on our list is Kosmos Solar, another Texas-based solar company. They're based in the northern part of the state, and highly recommended for homeowners in the area. They supply free estimates, high-quality products, custom solar designs, and award-winning personal service. Plus, their website has a lot of great information that may help guide you while you determine whether going solar is right for you.

Sunshine Renewable Solutions

Sunshine Renewable Solutions is based out of Houston, and they've developed a sterling reputation for dependable service and high-quality products. They have a lot of helpful financing options, and can show you how you can make the switch to solar in a really cost-effective way. We also like that they give free estimates, so there's certainly no harm in learning more about this great local company.

Alba Energy

"Powered by the Texas sun." That's the official tagline of Alba Energy, a solar energy provider that's based out of Katy, TX. They have lots of great information about solar panel systems and solar solutions, including solar calculators to help you tabulate your potential energy savings. Additionally, we recommend Alba Energy because all of their work is done by a trusted, in-house team of solar professionals. They maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and they have rave reviews from satisfied customers.

Circle L Solar

Circle L Solar has a praiseworthy mission of helping homeowners slash their energy costs while participating in the green energy revolution. This is another company that provides a lot of great information, including energy savings calculators. Also note that, in addition to solar panels, Circle L Solar also showcases a number of other assets that can help you make your home more energy efficient, including windows, weatherization services, LED lighting, and more.

South Texas Solar Systems

You can tell by the name that South Texas Solar Systems focuses its service area on the southernmost part of the Lone Star State. Their products include a wide range of commercial and residential solar panels, as well as "off the grid" panels for homeowners who want to detach from public utilities altogether. Since 2007, this company has been a trusted solar energy provider in San Antonio and beyond.

Good Faith Energy

Good Faith Energy is a certified installer of Tesla solar technology for homeowners throughout Texas. This company is really committed to ecological stewardship, and they have amassed a lot of goodwill thanks to their friendly customer service and the depth of their solar expertise. In addition to Tesla solar panels, they can also install EV charging stations and storage batteries.

Free Quote: See How Much You Can Save on Solar Panels in Texas

Find the best company in your area: Complete this form to see if you can save up to $2,500 each year on your electric bills and receive a state tax rebate.


What are Your Solar Financing Options in Texas?

We've mentioned already that going solar requires a significant investment on the front-end. It's worth emphasizing that some of the best solar companies provide a range of financing options, allowing you to choose whether you buy your system outright, lease it, or pay for it in monthly installments.

Also keep in mind that there are a lot of rebates and state and federal tax credits available to help offset starting costs. Find a Texas solar provider who can walk you through some of the different options.

How Much Does a Solar Energy System Cost in Texas?

How much is it going to cost you to make that initial investment into solar power? It varies by customer and by home, but the median cost of solar paneling may be somewhere in the ballpark of $13,000. Note that, when you take into account federal tax incentives, this number can fall by several thousand dollars.

And of course, once you go solar, your monthly utility bills are going to shrink dramatically… so while solar systems won't pay for themselves in the first month or even the first year, they will ultimately prove more than cost-effective.

Finding the Right Solar Energy Companies in TX

Texas is a great place to pursue solar energy companies, thanks to all the natural sunlight, and there are plenty of companies out there to help you make the transition. Do your homework, compare a few options, and seek the solar provider that's right for you. We hope this guide is a helpful jumping-off point as you try to get as much information as possible about the best solar companies in Texas.

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

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Much of the conversation surrounding the ecological benefits of tropical rainforests focuses on South America's Amazon. However, the forests of Central Africa are just as important. While the Amazon is the largest contiguous rainforest in the world, Central Africa's rainforests are the world's second largest, Nature reported. They store more carbon per hectare than the Amazon and host a higher concentration of large trees than any other continent.

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tree beside house under clear sky
Photo by Vivint Solar on Unsplash

One of the best ways to power a home or business while minimizing your environmental footprint is by harnessing the renewable energy provided by the sun. The good news for Californians is that the state has long been on the leading edge of green energy; as you seek solar energy companies in California, you'll find that there are plenty of options choose from.

In this article, we'll look at some of the top solar energy companies servicing homeowners in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and throughout CA.

Our Picks for the Best Solar Energy Companies in California

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

  • NRG Clean Power
  • Sunworks Solar Power
  • Sunrun
  • Semper Solaris
  • Stellar Solar
  • Tesla
  • Vivint Solar
  • Sunlux Energy
  • Solar Optimum

How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in California

There are a number of factors to consider as you search for the best solar installation company.

Some of the specific factors we used for our rankings include:

Services Offered

For one, it's important to note that different solar companies may offer slightly different services. Most CA homeowners will want a company that provides a diverse portfolio, assisting with everything from an initial consultation on their solar energy system to solar panel installation.

Installation Process

Also consider the specific steps in the solar panel system installation process. How long will it take to have your solar panels placed? Will the panels be installed by a trained member of the solar energy company, or will it be a third-party contractor?

Coverage Areas

Some solar companies have a wider field of service than others. It doesn't do you much good to hire a solar power company that's only active in Sacramento if you live closer to Los Angeles in southern California.

Pricing and Financing

You'll want to consider your budget, which can be a determinative factor. Keep in mind that most solar companies are going to have fairly steep upfront costs, but you'll ultimately save a lot of money in the long run, thanks to the reduced electric bills. Also, we have tried to celebrate companies that offer flexible financing options like solar leases.

Professional Memberships

We would generally recommend working with a company that maintains membership in the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) or other professional association. Membership in these groups is a great indicator of the company's professionalism, workmanship, reputation, and reliability.

Types of Panels

Pay attention to the specific type of solar technology that is offered. Is the company certified to install leading brands like Tesla Powerwall, Panasonic, and LG? It never hurts to take a closer look into the company's tech portfolio.

Rebates

You can likely find solar energy rebates or federal tax credits by making the switch to solar energy. Will your solar energy provider help you make the necessary arrangements? It is often wise to inquire about these incentives on the front-end.

Warranty

Finally, we would recommend seeking a solar energy company that can offer a good warranty. This can offer great consumer protection and peace of mind as you make a big investment in clean energy.

The Best Solar Energy Companies in California

NRG Clean Power

NRG Clean Power claims to do solar "the smart way," and they have a great reputation in the solar industry. They make solar panels accessible and affordable, without any financing gimmicks or middlemen to complicate the process. They have an admirable vision of decentralizing and deregulating power supplies, making it easier for all of us to participate in the clean energy revolution.

NRG Clean Power offers solar roofing, energy storage, and EV charging solutions, as well as flexible payment and financing options.

Sunworks Solar Power

Sunworks Solar Power is a company that supplies affordable and reliable solar energy solutions to homes, businesses, and even farms across the state. They actually boast more than 30 years of experience in the solar space, which makes them a true standard-bearer within the industry. In addition to some significant home energy savings, Sunworks Solar Power can also benefit you by providing a generous 25-year warranty.

There's a lot to love about Sunworks, specifically that they handle the entire solar energy process from start to finish.

Sunrun

When it comes to flexible, affordable solar solutions, Sunrun is a great option. You can actually get financing for your panels and other equipment with zero money down, making it incredibly easy to get up and running. Additionally, Sunrun assists with claiming any tax incentives that are available to you, either at a state level or the federal level. They also do an excellent job customizing their services, helping each homeowner get exactly the solar setup they need.

Learn why Sunrun is one of California's photovoltaic leaders.

Semper Solaris

Semper Solaris is owned and operated by American military veterans, which is just one of many reasons why it ranks so high on our list. We also love the fact that the company showcases a wide range of solar services, including heating and air conditioning assistance, solar batteries, and of course home solar installation. Also note that Semper Solaris offers service across California, with offices in San Diego, Inland Empire, Fresno, Concord, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, and beyond.

Semper Solaris is easily one of the best solar energy companies in California, and a great option for solar and battery storage installation.

Stellar Solar

Stellar Solar is primarily available in the San Diego area. They offer some incredible solar deals, including affordable equipment fees, low-interest financing, and access to some generous rebates and tax credits. Stellar Solaris has been around since 1998, and in that time, they have assisted more than 12,000 customers go solar.

If you live the San Diego area, Stellar Solar is one of the best solar contractors available.

Tesla

You may know Tesla from their electric cars. What you might not know is that Tesla has brought a similar sophistication to the solar energy industry, developing premium solar panels that have been adopted by other solar providers in the state. Of course, you can always go straight to the source, having your panels installed directly by Tesla themselves. Tesla also guarantees to match any price on solar systems in order to offer the lowest prices in the country.

Tesla's solar panel systems feature sleek designs, ensuring that your solar paneling isn't just functional, but also aesthetically pleasing.

Vivint Solar

Vivint Solar is a solar installer that really excels in customization. They understand that no two homes are quite alike, and they tailor their solar designs accordingly. Additionally, their top-notch panels are backed with a 25-year warranty, which should give you ample assurance as you consider choosing Vivint for your home energy needs.

Vivint Solar also provides a complete service experience to help you with everything from system design to permits and installation.

Sunlux Energy

Sunlux Energy delivers solar energy solutions in California as well as Texas, and they really have a lot to offer. Specifically, they can furnish solar panels and batteries, full home automation options, and even EV charging stations for your garage. They give free consultations, and they come backed with a great portfolio of online reviews.

Sunlux Energy is great for their full-service process, system warranty, and solar financing options.

Solar Optimum

Solar Optimum is an award-winning company known for its professional installation services, including a distinction as the 2020 Installer of the Year for Panasonic solar panels. They also back their products with reliable warranties and guarantees.

Solar Optimum offers true solar expertise, and their 25-year warranty covers the panels, inverter, racking, roof, and workmanship.

Free Quote: See How Much You Can Save on Solar Panels in California

Fill out this 30-second form to get a quote from one of the best solar energy companies in California. You could save up to $2,500 each year on your electric bills and receive both federal and local tax incentives and rebates.

How Does Solar Panel Installation Work?

As you consider hiring a solar energy company, you may have some questions about the installation process. What exactly is involved in having your home enhanced with solar paneling?

The process should always begin with a consultation. A solar expert will evaluate how much energy you need, based on factors such as your home's square footage, appliances, and the number of people in your home. Additionally, the consultant will help you determine the best places on your roof to place solar panels so that they maximize solar energy absorption.

The company will then install the panels onto your roof and make sure that they are connected to your home and operating properly. Once installed, these solar panels will capture the sun's energy and store it in a battery. A component known as an inverter will then take this solar power and turn it into AC electrical current, which is the kind of energy you'll need to power your appliances and home electronics.

The goal is that the renewable energy you get from the sun will be sufficient for you to stop using electrical power from a utility company. What's more, making the jump to solar energy can help you reduce your environmental footprint. For those seeking clean and (in the long run) cost-effective home energy, solar power can be tremendously advantageous.

What Do You Need to Go Solar in California?

Are you a good candidate for solar power? First and foremost, you'll probably need to own your own home. And second, you'll want to have a rooftop that receives plenty of sunlight.

One important note is that in California, depending on the city where you live, you may actually work with the local utility company, like PG&E, for a power purchase agreement or net metering service. The utility will still be connected to your home, but you will receive credits on your bill for the extra energy generated by your home's solar system.

This can be a little bit cumbersome, and you'll probably want to work with a solar energy company that can help you coordinate with your local utility provider as well as helping you get the permits and approvals you need. For residents of California, this is something to ask about as you seek the best solar energy partner.

The Benefits of Going Solar in CA

If you're interested in going solar in California, the first thing you'll want to do is research different companies so that you can find the one that best fits your budget and your needs.

Solar energy can make a world of difference for you and your family. We hope this guide will be useful to you in evaluating some of California's top solar energy providers.

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

Frederic Stevens/ Getty Images News / Getty Images

For nearly as long as solar panels have been gracing rooftops and barren land, creative people have been searching out additional surfaces that can be tiled with energy-generating photovoltaic (PV) panels. The idea has been pretty straightforward: if solar panels generate energy simply by facing the sun, then humans could collectively reduce our reliance on coal, oil, gas and other polluting fuels by maximizing our aggregate solar surface area.

So, what kind of unobstructed surfaces are built in every community and in between every major city across the globe? Highways and streets. With this in mind, the futuristic vision of laying thousands, or even millions, of solar panels on top of the asphalt of interstates and main streets was born.

While the concept art looked like a still from a sci-fi film, many inventors, businesses and investors saw these panels as a golden path toward clean energy and profit. Ultimately, though, the technology and economics ended up letting down those working behind each solar roadway project — from initial concepts in the early 2000s to the first solar roadway actually opened in France in 2016, they all flopped.

In the years since the concept of solar roadways went viral, solar PV has continued to improve in technology and drop in price. So, with a 2021 lens, is it time to re-run the numbers and see if a solar roadway could potentially deliver on that early promise? We dig in to find out.

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brown brick house with solar panels on roof
Photo by Vivint Solar on Unsplash

There are plenty of perks to living in Arizona, and one of the biggest is all the sunshine. Living in a sun-soaked part of the country allows you to take full advantage of clean energy solutions, specifically power that's generated by a solar system. In fact, Arizona ranks fifth on the list of states with the most solar energy.

For residents of Arizona, there are solar power companies that provide service in Tucson, Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, and beyond. How can you be sure you're choosing the best solar installer? In this article, we'll highlight our top 10 Arizona solar companies.

Our Picks for the Top Solar Companies in Arizona

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

  • Arizona Solar Wave & Energy
  • Sunrun
  • Sunpro Solar
  • Sun Valley Solar Solutions
  • Verde Solar Power
  • Arizona Southwest Solar & Electric
  • Arizona Solar Concepts
  • Solar Topps
  • Arizona Energy Pros
  • Streamline Solar Power

How We Chose the Best Solar Energy Companies in Arizona

Before sharing our picks for Arizona's best solar contractors, it's important to highlight some of the criteria we used. When comparing different solar energy providers, there are quite a few factors to keep in mind.

Services Offered

Keep in mind that different solar energy companies are going to offer slightly different services. Design and installation of solar paneling is one thing, but will the company also help install battery storage and an EV charging station for your electric car? Will they provide windows or weatherization to help boost your household energy efficiency? You want to choose a full-service solar company whenever possible.

Installation Process

Before you hire a solar roofing company, it's helpful to ask about the installation process. Find out what the customization and design elements will encompass. Also find out whether the installation will be handled by trained and salaried employees, or by solar contractors.

Coverage Area

While some companies may offer coverage across the state, others may be limited to a particular market. If you live in Tempe, it may not do you much good to hire a solar company that's only active in Glendale. Always confirm the scope of coverage before hiring a solar energy provider.

Pricing and Financing

Installing solar equipment can cost a lot (more than $10,000) on the front end, but may ultimately pay for itself in terms of tax incentives and monthly electric bill savings. If that initial investment is a bit steep for you, you can always ask about payment plans and solar leasing opportunities.

Professional Reputation

To ensure that the solar provider you hire is reputable and trustworthy, we recommend hiring a company that's held in high regard within the industry. Specifically, look for a provider with Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) affiliation and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification.

Technology Portfolio

It may also be useful to determine if the company you hire uses a trusted brand of solar paneling; for certain brand names like Tesla and Panasonic, the company must be certified to install these panels.

Rebates and Tax Credits

As we mentioned, there are rebates and tax incentives to help offset the initial cost of your solar installation. Look for a solar power company that can help you navigate these offers and obtain the savings you need.

Warranty

Most solar installers will include a warranty on their technology, with 25 year warranties being the industry norm. These warranties can give some much-needed peace of mind on both the technology and workmanship behind your new photovoltaic system.

The 10 Best Solar Energy Companies in Arizona

Arizona Solar Wave & Energy

Arizona Solar Wave & Energy is a top-rated solar contractor in the state. They provide best-in-class customer service and also assist customers looking to navigate all the different rebate and incentive offers. With 17 years in the industry, Arizona Solar Wave & Energy has experience helping homeowners make the switch to solar. They are NABCEP-certified, and offer free repair and maintenance for the life of your solar system.

Sunrun

Sunrun has long been a leading name in the solar industry. They offer virtual consultations and custom solar designs, allowing you to be involved in the development of your home energy solution from the ground up. We also like them for their first-rate customer service guarantees, their generous tech portfolio, and their prestigious reputation within the industry.

Sunpro Solar

Sunpro Solar is active in 22 states, and their goal is to make the solar energy transition as simple, seamless, and cost-effective as possible. Sunpro's installers will present you with a free quote for your system, and also offer you support in claiming clean energy tax incentives, including the state's property tax exemption. Sunpro boasts a ton of positive customer reviews, testifying to their high standards of service.

Sun Valley Solar Solutions

Sun Valley Solar Solutions made our list because they utilize the very best in solar technology. They are certified Tesla Solar Roof and Tesla Powerwall installers. Additionally, they go out of their way to help you find affordable solutions and claim any savings opportunities that are available to you. Sun Valley Solar Solutions professionals are NABCEP-certified and offer award-winning customer service.

Verde Solar Power

Verde Solar Power is another company that's native to Arizona, and covers areas including Sedona, Cottonwood, Camp Verde, and more. This company helps Arizonans take advantage of the 300+ days of sunlight they get each year, with custom energy solutions that allow for clean and affordable home power. They are NABCEP-certified and offer a free solar solar assessment.

Arizona Southwest Solar & Electric

Arizona Southwest Solar & Electric is one of the most experienced solar installers serving the southwestern part of the state. True to the company's name, they provide both solar power as well as comprehensive electrical services as needed. We'll also note that they have a very admirable mission statement, with a commitment to clean and renewable energy solutions. These are just a few of the reasons why Arizona Southwest Solar & Electric makes our list.

Arizona Solar Concepts

If you're seeking an experienced solar company with deep roots in AZ, Arizona Solar Concepts is a must. This family-owned and operated company has been serving local homeowners since 2006, and in that time, they have helped more than 5,000 Arizonans make the switch to solar power. They are offer high-quality solar technology as well as generous warranties and guarantees, and are Tesla Powerwall Certified Installers and SunPower Master Certified.

Solar Topps

Solar Topps provides easy and efficient consultation, fast installation, and customer support representatives who are available 24/7. They are also authorized dealers of some of the top solar panel brands on the market today, including Panasonic and Enphase. Finally, they offer a lot of really helpful information on their website, including a calculator that will generate an instant quote for solar services.

Arizona Energy Pros

Arizona Energy Pros, a company that's been around since 1977, is one of the most experienced solar providers on the market. This is a comprehensive home energy company, and a lot of their services involves electrical work, but they also offer solar energy services. Arizona Energy Pros has excellent financing options, including opportunities to get solar installation with zero money down. Note that they are only available in the Phoenix area.

Streamline Solar Power

Streamline Solar Power is a solar installation company serving Valley Wide, Tucson, Yuma, and surrounding areas. They are authorized dealers for some of the top solar panel brands, including Tesla, and they custom-design and install every system themselves. If you're looking for an all-in-one, AZ-owned solar company, this is an excellent pick.

Free Quote: See How Much You Can Save on Solar Panels in Arizona

Fill out this 30-second form to get a quote from one of the best solar energy companies in Arizona. You could save up to $2,500 each year on your electric bills and receive both federal and state tax rebates.

What are the Benefits of Going Solar in Arizona?

By making the switch to solar energy, you can potentially reduce your household utility bills considerably, even eliminating month-to-month energy expenses altogether.

Even more importantly, switching to solar energy can help you to minimize your environmental footprint. For those looking to break away from polluting fuel sources, embracing solar power is a no-brainer.

There aren't many states that get as many days of consistent sunshine as Arizona, meaning that it's easy to generate household power harnessed purely from the sun.

The biggest advantage to doing so is that it allows you to utilize renewable energy sources as opposed to toxic fossil fuels.

How Much Does a Solar Energy System Cost in Arizona?

Solar costs can vary from home to home, depending on factors like your household energy use, sun exposure, and the surface area of your roof. With that said, the average price for going solar is around $13,000. Note that once you factor in tax incentives and rebates, that price should drop by several thousand dollars. And of course, those monthly utility savings will ultimately offset the cost of solar installation.

Going solar requires an investment, and it won't pay for itself overnight, but with so many tax rebates and other incentives, many Arizonans find it to be more than cost-effective.

Going Solar in the Grand Canyon State

Making the switch to solar energy can be a great choice not just financially but also ecologically. And for those who live in Arizona, the opportunities to transition to solar power are bright.

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

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Visitors look at a Volkswagen ID.4 electric car at the Autostadt promotional facility next to the Volkswagen factory on Oct. 26, 2020 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

By David Reichmuth

Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.

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How to Install Solar Panels: 2021 Solar Panel Installation Guide
Juan Silva / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Whether you're installing a DIY solar panel system or having a top solar company handle the details, you'll want to choose the best solar panels for your home. But with so many options, it can be hard to know which panels you need.

In this article, we'll narrow down the 10 best residential solar panels based on materials, price, efficiency and more. All homes are different, so there's no one best solar panel for every system. It's important for homeowners to assess their specific needs and to select the right solar panels to accommodate their household energy requirements.

Our Top Solar Panels for 2021

For those who wish to take advantage of solar power, the first step is assembling a solar system for home use. This system will generally include a battery, an inverter and of course an array of solar panels. Based on factors such as efficiency, durability, warranty, price point and temperature coefficient, these are the 10 best solar panels for home use:

  1. LG: Best Overall
  2. SunPower: Most Efficient
  3. Panasonic: Best by Temperature Coefficient
  4. Silfab: Best Warranty
  5. Canadian Solar: Most Affordable
  6. Trina Solar: Best Value
  7. Q Cells: Consumer Favorite
  8. Mission Solar: Best Small Manufacturer
  9. Loom Solar: Most Reliable
  10. WindyNation: Best for Backup Power

As you can see, each of these solar panels excels in a certain area, and each one comes with its own pros and cons. Again, as you seek the best residential solar panels, it's crucial to consider the specific needs of your home and your solar power system.

Are These Solar Panels Right for Your Home?

How We Ranked the Best Solar Panels

In choosing our rankings, we carefully researched many types of solar panels from the industry's top manufacturers, evaluating them according to several criteria. Some of the factors we used to arrive at our rankings include:

Efficiency

The efficiency rating of a solar panel refers to the amount of captured sunlight that it can actually convert into useful energy. Keep in mind that solar panel efficiency tops out just over 20%, and generally speaking, the most efficient solar panels will yield the greatest energy savings for your home.

Durability

Solar panels represent a significant investment, and naturally, homeowners want to select products that are going to hold up over time. This means you'll want to buy solar panels that are made to be durable, and to withstand even intense weather.

Warranty

A good, strong performance warranty can give peace of mind after you purchase residential solar panels. In this industry, a decent warranty may be anywhere from 10 years to 25.

Price Point

Naturally, you will want to consider your budget before investing in solar panels. The cost of solar panels can fluctuate based on many factors. As you think about a panel's price tag, however, also factor in things like durability and warranty, which provide you a fuller sense of overall value.

Temperature Coefficient

Another important ranking factor is temperature coefficient. With solar panels, temperature coefficient refers to how much (or how little) the panel's productivity is diminished when the external temperature rises. How solar panels work in extreme heat plays a key role in year-round power output.

10 Best Solar Panels for Home

Based on the criteria outlined above, these are our picks for the top 10 best solar panels available in 2021.

1) Best Overall: LG

For our top selection, and our vote for all-around best residential solar panel, we're going with LG. LG is a top-tier electronics company, and its solar panels are known for their quality and durability. Truly, these are premium products that work well with almost any home solar configuration.

A quick look at LG's technical stats confirms this. In terms of efficiency, LG solar panels are almost unbeatable. (They are rated as 22% efficient; the only brand we've found that can surpass that is SunPower, and by less than a full percentage point.) A competitive price point and robust 25-year warranty just sweeten the deal and make LG the most recommendable of home solar panels.

2) Most Efficient: SunPower

If you're buying residential solar panels based solely on their efficiency, SunPower is the name to beat. (Remember, efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight that the panels can absorb and turn into useful energy for your home.) SunPower has the highest efficiency we've seen from any solar panel: 22.8%. And on top of that, we'll note that SunPower is reasonably priced and comes with a decent product warranty.

The bottom line: If you're mainly looking for a powerhouse, SunPower is definitely a solar panel manufacturer for you to consider.

3) Best by Temperature Coefficient: Panasonic

Panasonic is our choice for the solar panel with the best temperature coefficient. Basically, that means it will continue to perform at a peak output even when the external temperature rises. For those who live in extremely warm climates, this is an important consideration. (As for technical specs, note that the temperature coefficient rating for the Panasonic solar panel is -0.26.)

Beyond that, this is another example of a well-made product by a top-tier electronics company, and we think homeowners will love it for its durability and its overall quality.

4) Best Warranty: Silfab

When it comes to solar panels, the typical warranty may be anywhere from 10 years to 25 years. There are actually a number of products that hit that 25-year mark, including some that we've mentioned already, but we'll give the honor to Silfab. Not only does this solar panel come supported by a robust warranty, but it routinely wins accolades for longevity and for overall customer satisfaction.

Silfab is a less prominent name in the solar energy space, but it really deserves your attention. It's a great product that offers tremendous value and is one of our top picks for best solar panels for home use.

5) Most Affordable: Canadian Solar

If you're looking to secure some decent solar panels for a lower price point, Canadian solar may be your best option. This company makes high-quality panels that are not too far off from the industry leaders with regard to efficiency, temperature coefficient and other technical considerations. However, Canadian Solar makes its panels available at a much cheaper price.

One caveat: The warranty for Canadian Solar panels is 12 years, which is reasonable, but certainly a far cry from the industry-leading 25 years. With that one quibble, though, we believe Canadian Solar represents one of the best overall values for home solar panels.

6) Best Value: Trina Solar

Speaking of value, we also want to mention the residential solar panels from Trina Solar.

Trina Solar is a Chinese company, and like Canadian Solar, it does an admirable job of producing premium-quality cell technology at competitive price points. Their panels are almost as cheap as the ones from Canadian Solar, and come with a comparable 12-year warranty. They may actually be just a tad more durable, which is why we rank them as a slightly better value overall. Keep this brand in mind as you seek the best use of your solar dollar.

7) Consumer Favorite: Q Cells

As we considered the best solar panels on the market today, we took into account consumer reviews. Basically, we wanted to get a sense of how actual homeowners rank the leading products. The results were somewhat surprising: Based on reviews from a number of different websites, we found that a smaller company called Q Cells consistently rose to the top.

In terms of sheer customer satisfaction, this may be the company to beat… and of course, Q Cells also offers excellent efficiency, value, durability, and more.

8) Best Small Manufacturer: Mission Solar

The residential solar space is dominated by big tech and electronics companies like LG, Panasonic and even Tesla. For some homeowners, though, there's something appealing about going with a smaller, more niche brand. And if that's the boat you're in, then we're happy to recommend Mission Solar.

These panels are made in the San Antonio, Texas, area, which makes them some of the best U.S.-made products in the solar field. The technical specs are all on point, and the company pulls some robust customer satisfaction numbers, too. Keep Mission Solar on your radar as you seek the best solar panels for home use.

9) Most Reliable: Loom Solar

Buying solar panels is going to require a significant investment, even if you opt for some of the cheaper options. Naturally, you'll want to select robust technology that will withstand the test of time, and also hold up well in extreme elements.

Loom Solar panels are well-regarded for their ruggedness and durability. They are carefully designed to perform well even in intense storms. What's more, they are calibrated to run well even in low light or under cloud coverage.

As you seek solar panels that have a long lifespan and will work well no matter the weather, Loom Solar is a company to keep in mind.

10) Best for Backup Power: Windy Nation

Windy Nation makes panels that are a bit smaller and less robust, so you may not wish to use them as your primary energy source. However, they work extremely well for backup power options, and are also great for powering your RV or your cabin with renewable energy.

We'll also note that, for their size, Windy Nation panels are quite efficient. And, they come backed by a 25-year warranty, which should instill some confidence as you buy.

How to Choose the Best Home Solar Panels for You

When looking for the best residential solar panels, here are a few tips to ensure you're picking the right products.

Consider Efficiency

The efficiency of your solar panels is going to be one of the key drivers of how much you cave on monthly utility bills and how quickly you recoup your investment. Each solar panel is rated for a particular efficiency level; the industry standard is between 16 to 18%, so anything in that range is going to be pretty decent. We'll note that SunPower's panels, with 22.8% efficiency, represent the highest rating we've come across.

Check Warranty Information

We also recommend comparing a panel's warranty against the industry standard. Hopefully, any solar panels you buy will come with a warranty of 10 years at a minimum. If you find something with a warranty of 25 years, that's ideal.

Compare Price and Efficiency

Something else to keep in mind is that the most efficient solar panels are not always the most affordable. In some cases, opting for a slightly less efficient product will actually provide superior value. You'll also want to think about the cost of solar panel installation and additional parts such as inverters and battery banks when setting your solar budget.

Think About Your Home Energy Needs

In assessing your solar needs, think about things like your roof's exposure to the sun, the surface area available on your roof and the amount of energy your household consumes on a monthly basis. These factors are all important in determining the number of solar panels you need, as well as the type of solar panels.

What Are the Different Types of Solar Panels?

When shopping for residential solar panels, it's also helpful to know the basic types that are available. The three basic categories are monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film. Each type of solar panel comes with its own list of pros and cons.

Monocrystalline: Monocrystalline panels are made from a single, pure crystal of silicon. This allows them to have higher efficiency levels, but they also tend to be more expensive due to a more costly manufacturing process. Note: If you have less space on your roof and can only fit a small number of panels, monocrystalline solar panels may be the only viable option.

Polycrystalline: Polycrystalline solar panels are also made of silicon, but in this case, they are assembled from smaller fragments. This means they are often a little less efficient than monocrystalline panels, but they are also a more affordable option.

Thin-Film: Finally, thin-film solar panels can be made from a variety of ultra-thin materials. Thin-film panels are recommended when you need something that's lightweight, flexible and portable; they may work better for RVs and campsites than for homes. Thin-film panels can be relatively low in efficiency when compared to the other two options.

Do Solar Panels Require Maintenance?

When weighing solar energy pros and cons before making an investment, one of the most common questions that homeowners have is whether their solar panels will require maintenance.

For the most part, all the hard work comes on the front end. Installing a home solar system requires in-depth knowledge of electronics as well as solar power, and in most cases, a solar installation will take a few days. We recommend outsourcing this to trained solar professionals.

Once your system is in place, however, the level of upkeep required is extremely minimal. You will likely have little or no issue with your solar panels for 20 to 30 years. And if you do run into an issue, your warranty will hopefully cover it.

What Impacts Solar Panel Performance?

Solar panels can vary quite a bit in their overall performance and productivity. There are a number of specific factors that can impact how your residential solar system performs, including:

  • Orientation: When your solar system is designed, your installer will be careful to position each panel in a way that maximizes its exposure to sunlight. If the orientation is even a little bit off, it can compromise the efficiency of your entire system.
  • Weather and sun exposure: If you live in a part of the country that doesn't get consistent sunlight, or if your solar panels are often under cloud coverage, you're not going to produce as much clean energy for your home. (There is a reason why solar panels are especially popular in the Sun Belt.)
  • Cleanliness: While solar panels are fairly low maintenance, you may occasionally need to wipe them down, especially in the aftermath of an intense storm. If panels become covered with grime or debris, they may not be able to absorb as much sunlight.
  • Shade: Keep in mind that any shade cast over your roof is going to impact the efficiency of your solar panels. If your house is surrounded by tall trees, for example, that could impede solar production.

Bottom Line: Are Solar Panels Worth it for Your Home?

As more and more homeowners seek clean energy solutions, solar power is increasingly attractive. By harnessing the sun's natural rays, homeowners can reduce their dependence on traditional utility companies. Not only does this yield significant savings on monthly electric bills (potentially even eliminating those bills altogether), but it also reduces direct contributions to atmospheric pollution.

Ultimately, the decision about getting solar panels is a highly individual one. For some homeowners, going solar makes plenty of sense. For others, it may prove unwise or unfruitful.

As you consider what's best for you, make sure you take into account your home: The surface area available on your roof, the kind of weather you get, and the level of sunlight you're exposed to.

Also think about the panels themselves: Which performance factors should you consider? Which type of panels is best? And which brand is best aligned with your needs and your budget?

By weighing all of these factors, you can make a well-informed decision about the best solar panels for your household.

Are These Solar Panels Right for Your Home?



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