Top 5 Best Solar Companies in Michigan (2023 Reviews)

In this guide to Michigan’s best solar companies, you’ll learn:

  • What are the best solar installers in MI?
  • How can I save money on solar conversion in MI?
  • What are the most important traits to look for in a MI solar company?
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Michigan’s Top 5 Solar Energy Companies

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) maintains that MI is home to nearly 70 solar providers, which means you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when going solar.1 Unfortunately, that also means that you’ll need to do a lot of research on these companies to see which is the right one for your needs.

Luckily, we’ve done a lot of the hard work for you. We’ve researched dozens of providers in MI and ranked them based on factors that are likely to be most important to you. Below, we’ll include a quick list of the top installers in your area:

For more information on each of these companies, you can click on the drop-down menus below for our reasoning and fast facts.

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The Green Panel

Outstanding Local Installer

Local Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Outstanding customer service
  • Excellent reputation
  • Great warranty coverage

Cons

  • No leases or PPAs
Badge icon

Strawberry Solar

Outstanding Local Installer

Local Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Outstanding customer service
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Educational, no-pressure sales approach

Cons

  • Limited warranty coverage
  • No leases or PPAs
  • Limited brands of solar equipment available
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Windfree Solar

Outstanding Local Installer

Local Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Excellent reputation
  • Outstanding workmanship

Cons

  • Slightly limited service area
  • May be overqualified for residential systems
  • No leases or PPAs
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Michigan Solar Solutions

Solar Veteran

Local Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Pros

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Offers products from leading manufacturers

Cons

  • Slightly limited service offerings
  • No leases or PPAs
Badge icon

SunPower

Best National Provider

Nationwide Service

EcoWatch rating

Average cost

Read full review now

Pros

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

How to Save Money When Hiring a Solar Company in Michigan

houses in a neighborhood with solar panels

The average Michigander spends around $19,670 installing PV panels, or closer to $13,769 after the federal tax credit. These numbers are based on the average cost per watt of photovoltaic (PV) equipment in MI — $2.81 — and the average system size requirement to offset utility bills — 7 kilowatts (kW).

While this total price is lower than the national average, it’s still quite expensive and can be prohibitively costly for many residents. Naturally, most prospective solar customers look for ways to save money when converting to clean energy in MI. Below are some of our tips for saving on your solar system, and we’ll expand on these in the following sections.

  • Take advantage of incentives
  • Opt for high-efficiency panels
  • Install solar batteries

Take Advantage of All the Solar Incentives You Can

One of the best ways to save money on your solar conversion is to take advantage of as many solar perks and rebates as possible. Solar benefit programs from the federal government, state government, local municipalities and individual utility providers can all help reduce your up-front and long-term costs.

The table below provides a quick look at the solar incentives that are currently available in MI.

Incentive Description
Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) This is a credit to your income tax burden for 30% of your entire system cost, including panels, batteries and inverters. In MI, the credit amount averages around $5,901.
Alternative Energy Property Tax Exemption This is a property tax exemption for your PV equipment, which means your panels, batteries, inverters and other components will not cause your assessed value to go up. This helps avoid hikes in property taxes after solar conversion.
MI Local PACE Program MI provides Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to qualifying homeowners to finance conversion costs. The loans include low interest rates and affordable down payment requirements.
Michigan Saves Home Energy Loan Program This is another loan program that helps keep solar financing as accessible as possible. The program works with local lenders and installers to keep interest rates and down payment requirements to a minimum.

Choose High-Efficiency Panels

If you get a quote from a few different installers, you might find some providers’ estimates to be thousands of dollars below those of others. One reason for this could be lower equipment costs, specifically for lower-quality panels. PV panels with low efficiency ratings are cheaper, but they generate less electricity in all conditions.

MI residents see just 170 days of sunlight per year, which is well below the national average of 205.5 A lower sunlight availability means panels have less opportunity to generate electricity and offset energy bills, which means lower savings in the long run.

We strongly recommend choosing high-efficiency solar panels, like Maxeon panels, in MI. Although they might cost more, they’re more likely to pay for themselves more quickly and provide greater energy savings in the long run.

Install Solar Batteries

Solar batteries are a confusing option for many solar customers, and for good reason. They add thousands of dollars to your solar panel installation costs, and they’re often just billed as back-up energy sources in case of power outages. However, they can be quite valuable for many MI residents for two reasons.

First, you should consider that MI is ranked in the top five states for power outages.6 That means having batteries will allow you to keep your power on despite extreme weather conditions causing frequent blackouts.

Second, net metering, which lets you overproduce energy with your panels and use the excess to pay down future electricity bills, is not mandated in Michigan. Since many customers will be without net metering, they’ll have to pull from the grid at night and during cloudy days when production naturally drops.

Those natural dips in production will eat into your savings because the cost of energy in MI is significantly higher than in the rest of the country. Even those who do have access to net metering usually get credited at a below-retail rate per kWh, so solar batteries can help maximize savings over time.

Will Solar Increase Your Home Value in Michigan?

Yes! Solar panels do add value to your home in MI — often close to what you pay for them. Reports from Zillow suggest that homes with solar sell for around 4.1% more than those without solar systems.7 With an average home value in MI of around $237,000, that’s an added value of around $9,717.8

When you consider that the average system in the area — after the ITC — costs just $13,769, converting to renewable energy suddenly becomes a very valuable investment. Plus, home prices in The Great Lakes State have risen over 10% in the past year, so solar investment could become even more valuable if that trend continues.

It’s worth mentioning that solar conversion is most valuable in areas where home values are the highest. These include:

  • Ann Arbor
  • Birmingham
  • Troy
  • Rochester
  • Novi
  • Farmington Hills
  • East Grand Rapids

Should Michigan Residents Hire a Professional Solar Installer or DIY?

DIY solar installation seems like an appealing option for many homeowners because of the relatively low cost compared to a professional solar project. However, we believe it’s a much better option to pay a premium to have a professional solar installation company or electrician do the work for you.

DIY solar installation can help save money but might not always be worthwhile
Credit: Bill Mead / Unsplash

There are a few reasons for this, including:

  • High risk of roof leaks
  • Lower panel efficiency with DIY solar kits
  • Less appealing warranties with DIY panels

We’ll explain the importance of these factors below.

DIY Installations Lead to More Issues

As you might expect, installing solar panels yourself will naturally leave your home at greater risk of roof leaks. Unfortunately, even professional installers can’t always prevent leaks resulting from the roof shingle penetrations required for solar conversion.

DIYers are far more likely to make mistakes that lead to leaks and eventual water damage. While you might save money installing panels yourself, the savings can quickly be offset by repairs required if you make errors while installing your panels.

DIY Solar Panels Have a Lower Efficiency Rating

As we mentioned above, MI receives far less sunlight than most states in the U.S., which means residents need to maximize panel efficiency to offset energy bills. Choosing a brand with a higher efficiency rating almost always leads to a faster panel payback period and greater savings in the long run.

Most DIY panels have an efficiency rating well below the industry-leading efficiencies of brands like Maxeon, Tesla and Panasonic. Again, you will spend less installing DIY panels, but you may not save as much over time as you would by having a professional solar panel company install top-quality panels.

Your Warranty Coverage Will Be Less Appealing

Solar power systems in MI will always be at elevated risk of damage because of the severe weather that frequents the area. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can put panels at risk of serious damage, which could necessitate expensive repairs or replacements.

With professionally installed panels, you can get warranties that average around 25 years for damage. DIY panel kits more often top out at around five years, which provides far less peace of mind.

DIY solar panels cost less, but having to replace damaged panels could result in overall higher solar energy system costs in the long run in MI.

What Should Michiganders Look For in a Solar Installer?

There are several important things to look for in an installer if you’re planning to go solar in MI. We’ll list some of the most important factors below and explain why each is important in the sections that follow.

  • Panel brands offered
  • Efficiency warranties
  • Physical warranties
  • Solar services provided

Panel Brands Offered

MI receives around 20% fewer sunny days per year than most other states and sees a relatively low sunlight intensity, given its northern location, so most residents will want to maximize panel efficiency to ensure they offset as much of their electric bills as possible. This is especially important given that the energy costs in MI are well above average in the U.S.

It’s worth looking at the panel brands offered before choosing an installer. Some companies keep installation costs down by providing below-average equipment brands. We recommend choosing a company that has leading brands like Maxeon/SunPower, Tesla, Panasonic, LG, REC, Qcells, Trina and Canadian Solar.

Efficiency Warranty Coverage

Next, we recommend prioritizing companies that offer robust efficiency warranties. Since sun availability is relatively low in MI, you want panels that are guaranteed to maintain peak production for years to come.

Efficiency warranties do just that — they guarantee a minimal drop in efficiency over the warranty period. Some of the best panel manufacturers guarantee no lower than 80% efficiency after 25 years.

Physical Damage Warranties

The extreme weather in MI and the above-average tree coverage both put MI PV panels at an elevated risk of damage.9 We suggest looking for companies that provide a lengthy physical damage warranty. This will help you avoid repair and replacement costs after installation.

Solar Services Provided

Finally, we suggest looking for a company that has a good selection of solar services. Most solar companies will install panels, but not all of them will also offer batteries, EV chargers and other solar equipment or energy efficiency upgrades.

As mentioned above, solar batteries can be a great option in MI. They add quite a lot to your total system cost, but they help you maximize the value of your energy production since the state doesn’t mandate net metering.

Additionally, batteries can help maintain electricity through the frequent power outages in MI, providing you with peace of mind regardless of the weather conditions.

Methodology: How We Ranked Michigan’s Solar Companies

man installing solar panels on roof

We start our solar ranking process by assessing the top solar installers that serve MI customers. We then research each provider to determine the cost, warranty coverage, panel brands offered, customer service provided and more. Finally, we weight those factors based on what we believe is most important to you and use those to rank the companies.

Below is a list of some of the most crucial things we look for in solar providers in MI. We’ll also explain in the sections below why these are our top priorities for local solar companies.

  • Panel brands that meet MI’s efficiency needs
  • Warranties to keep panels protected in extreme weather
  • Years in business
  • Overall pricing and financing options
  • Industry affiliations

Panel Efficiency to Offset Lack of Sunlight in MI

MI sees less sunlight than most states, and the solar energy that does touch down is less intense than it is in states located further south in the U.S. This being the case, it’s crucial to install panels with a high efficiency rating, as that helps you offset energy bills as much as possible, leading to greater overall savings.

For this reason, we prioritize companies that carry high-efficiency panel brands, like Maxeon, LG, Panasonic, Tesla and Qcells.

Warranty Coverage for Extreme MI Conditions

Next, we look at the warranty coverage that each company provides with their solar arrays. Solar warranties usually cover panel efficiency, panel damage, workmanship or a combination of the three.

In MI, we believe efficiency warranties are the most valuable, as they help guarantee maximum energy production to offset the above-average energy costs for years after installation. Next, we prioritize physical damage warranties, which help provide peace of mind through the local thunderstorms, tornadoes and other extreme conditions.

Years in Business Given Recent Local Industry Growth

The local solar industry in MI has gotten stronger in the past few years, and with that increased popularity has come a slew of new solar installers to capitalize on the demand. Unfortunately, that means a lot of companies might be focused more on profit than on anything else.

That’s why we prioritize companies that have years of experience in the industry and in MI in particular. This helps ensure that you’re getting quality service and a commitment to sustainability from your installer.

Pricing and Financing to Combat High Local Equipment Prices

Next, we look at the pricing of a solar system from each company, including the price per watt and the overall costs, as well as financing options available.

Solar equipment in MI is more expensive than in most other states, averaging around $2.81 per watt as opposed to the U.S. average of $2.66. This means your money won’t go as far, so it’s important to choose a company that balances cost with value.

We consider both the pricing of each installer as well as the quality of the equipment and customer service provided to bring you the best companies possible.

Industry Affiliations

Many solar companies are founded with strong mission statements focused on bringing renewable energy solutions to consumers to better the environment.

We assess companies based on their affiliations with solar organizations like the Michigan Community Solar Alliance (MCSA), Michigan Saves and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Affiliations like these are a good sign that a company is motivated by making clean energy more accessible and reliable rather than by profit alone.

Read More About Going Solar in Michigan

FAQ: Best Solar Companies in Michigan

Below, we’ll include our responses to some of the most common questions we see about converting to solar in The Great Lakes State.

Blog author image
Article author
Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.
Reviewer image
Expert reviewer
Tori is an editor, writer, rock climber and travel enthusiast. A native New Yorker, she graduated from the College of Saint Rose with a degree in communications and journalism. Before joining EcoWatch, Tori helped to oversee communication strategies for the City of Philadelphia. Her experience also includes communications work in the nonprofit and academic sectors. A journalist by trade, she started her career covering political, environmental and social issues in New York's Hudson Valley. In her spare time, Tori can be found in the mountains climbing boulders, traveling to new cities or at one of Philadelphia's many music venues.

Comparing authorized solar partners

EcoWatch rating
Average cost
Pros
Cons
BBB Rating
Year founded
Service Area
Brands of Solar Equipment Offered
Warranty Coverage
  • 5.0
    • Outstanding customer service
    • Excellent reputation
    • Great warranty coverage
    • No leases or PPAs
    A+
    Outstanding Local Installer

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