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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
"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 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.
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 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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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, 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 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.
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.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
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
- NRG Clean Power
- Sunworks Solar Power
- Semper Solaris
- Stellar Solar
- 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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Finally, we would recommend seeking a solar energy company that can offer a good warranty. This can be a great consumer protection as you make a big investment in clean energy.
The Best Solar Energy Companies in California
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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
By Kenny Stancil
Despite the difficulties associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the world added a record amount of new renewable energy capacity in 2020, according to data released Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency.
IRENA's annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021 shows that global renewable energy capacity grew by more than 260 gigawatts (GW) last year, beating the previous record set in 2019 by nearly 50%. Last year marked the second consecutive year in which clean energy's share of all new generating capacity increased substantially, with renewables accounting for over 80% of all new electricity capacity added in 2020.
Total fossil fuel additions, by contrast, fell by more than 6% last year—from 64 GW worth of new electricity capacity in 2019 to 60 GW in 2020.
"These numbers tell a remarkable story of resilience and hope. Despite the challenges and the uncertainty of 2020, renewable energy emerged as a source of undeniable optimism for a better, more equitable, resilient, clean, and just future," IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said in a statement.
"The great reset," as La Camera called the coronavirus-driven economic slowdown, "offered a moment of reflection and chance to align our trajectory with the path to inclusive prosperity, and there are signs we are grasping it."
The growth of renewables in 2020 tells a remarkable story of resilience & hope. Despite the uncertainties,… https://t.co/PXycDqano8— Francesco La Camera (@Francesco La Camera)1617616331.0
Referring to 2020 as "the start of the decade of renewables," La Camera noted that "costs are falling, clean tech markets are growing, and never before have the benefits of the energy transition been so clear."
Though hydropower—responsible for more than 43% of the world's total renewable energy generation capacity—still constitutes the largest global source of clean energy, other sources are catching up; solar and wind contributed 127 GW and 111 GW of new installations, respectively, together accounting for 91% of the growth in renewables in 2020.
🟢JUST RELEASED Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021 report by @IRENA shows how #renewableenergy performed in 2020 - t… https://t.co/VPwW1snMcL— IRENA (@IRENA)1617612361.0
While La Camera described the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources as an "unstoppable" trend, he also emphasized that "there is a huge amount to be done."
Notwithstanding recent momentum in favor of clean energy, La Camera said that in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC, "significant planned energy investments must be redirected to support the transition if we are to achieve 2050 goals" of net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as outlined last month in IRENA's World Energy Transition Outlook.
La Camera's words of caution about the inadequate pace of the global energy transformation echoes a recent warning by Fatih Bitrol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, who said last week that even though the world's biggest economies have pledged to achieve net zero GHG emissions by mid-century, few have implemented the policies necessary to realize that objective.
Regarding the worldwide expansion of renewable energy capacity in 2020, La Camera stressed that "in this critical decade of action, the international community must look to this trend as a source of inspiration to go further."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
Kids are the ones that will be inheriting the world from us. Getting them invested early in protecting the environment will ensure that their curiosity and interest will live on once they become adults.
Figuring out how to introduce the concept of renewable energy to kids can be tricky. The more significant challenge comes down to getting kids interested and excited versus putting them on the receiving end of another lecture.
It will take a bit of planning and creativity, but there are ways to get children interested in renewable energy even at a young age.
What to Explain
The concepts you plan on teaching children should be age-appropriate. An elementary schooler doesn't need to know the inner complexities of thermodynamics. Start small and slowly build into the topics you want to cover.
Start With Sustainability
Leaping straight into renewable energy is a quick way to lose a kid's interest. If you start throwing around terms they don't understand, they will quickly tune out. Depending on their age, you may even get an eye roll.
Sustainability means something can continue to exist for an indefinite amount of time. Gardening is an easy example to present to children for this concept. If a tomato is grown, that tomato contains seeds. Those seeds can be replanted, and the cycle will continue.
Once they understand the concept of sustainability, you can move on to the next step.
Continue With Energy Sustainability
Now that sustainability is a familiar concept, start leading them into how it applies to energy.
Most, if not all, children today know the basics of electricity as it applies to charging items they interact with, like tablets or even smartphones. Explaining to them that energy is where electricity comes from shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes.
If you want to continue the gardening analogy for continuity's sake, it's adaptable. Using energy sources like natural gas, fossil fuels, and oil, you will still get tomatoes. However, these tomatoes don't have seeds. Eventually, you won't even be able to grow tomatoes due to a lack of seeds.
Other ways of explaining it may be easier depending on the children. The key factor they need to learn is that the current energy sources are not sustainable.
End With the Types of Renewable Energy
There are five primary renewable energy types, but you don't want to introduce them all to kids in one go. Be sure to fully explore all of them so the kids can grasp how and why each one is an option.
The primary types of renewable energy to include in your discussion include:
- Solar - solar energy is one of the most popular forms of renewable energy and one of the easiest to teach kids about. Turning the sun's rays into electricity is sure to catch their interest. Teach them about how solar panels capture the heat and light (even on cloudy days) and convert all of that into usable energy. You can even describe how astronauts in space rely on solar energy on the International Space Station.
- Hydro - this is another easy renewable energy to explain. It's a rare child that hasn't interacted with a creek or river at some point. Explain that the constant movement of the water from the current can be converted into usable energy.
- Wind - show a child a picture of those massive wind turbines and they're bound to be curious. The wind turns the blades of the fan, much like a pinwheel, which then creates energy that we can use. Really get them thinking about the world around them and how something as simple as the wind can be turned into energy.
- Geothermal - geothermal energy may require a bit of extra explanation if the children haven't learned about the earth's core and how hot it is. If they already know about that, then you can show them how pipes that go deep into the ground run steam from this heat up into plants that turn it into electricity.
- Biomass - biomass renewable energy is as simple as burning a source of fuel, so most of this explanation will be what they set on fire and how do they get it. The fuel for these fires comes from byproducts of plants and animals. Manure, crops, and other waste can all apply here.
How to Explain It
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Now that you know the basics, it's time to pass that on to the kids. The big question is, how are you supposed to make all of this sound cool enough to get the kids interested in renewable energy?
Kids tend to be more into visual learning, so just telling them about these concepts isn't going to make anything stick.
There are a plethora of options online that can help teach children about renewable energy. Educational games are a great pick to get them interacting with the information, but YouTube videos or simple animations can do the trick as well.
You can use these resources to help kids understand the big picture. Or, you can find videos and games revolving around specific steps like how exactly river currents can provide energy or why fossil fuels aren't sustainable.
This is one of the best options you can choose to teach kids about renewable energy. Helping them create a science project to test out an aspect of renewable energy will be sure to hold their interest. A hands-on approach always helps with getting the information to stick.
Try these projects for an immersive adventure in alternative energy:
- Build a mini water wheel - the water wheel has been used throughout history, and having kids build their own is a great way to teach how hydropower is created. It can be as simple or as complex as you want, but used popsicle sticks can be turned into a wheel in a pinch. Having a nearby creek or river will be the most immersive way to test this project, but using the water in your sink will get the job done.
- Purify water - this is an effortless multi-day project to set up and will help you explain how versatile the heat from solar energy is. All you need is two containers (one smaller than the other), some water, food coloring, plastic wrap, and a rock. Long story short, the sun's heat will cause condensation and create a container of purified water. Bonus points if you can show the same results with your stove to show that the energy used naturally is more sustainable.
- Build a wind turbine - while you won't be able to make it as large as actual wind turbines, this is still a sure way to show how efficient it is to harness the wind's power. The items you use to build this can vary greatly but cut-up plastic water bottles tend to make solid fan blades. Once you and the kids have created the wind turbine just take it outside and watch the wind spin it around! A pinwheel works if you'd just rather explain with an example, but the act of building the wind turbine will work wonders.
- Cook using a campfire - this may sound more like a leisurely activity than a science experiment, but that was before you told the kids about using biomass for renewable energy. Unless you have casual access to manure, the fuel can just be dead branches and leaves you might find lying around. As you use the fire's heat to cook (something that requires electricity with the stove) you can show that the fuel to provide the heat came from dead plants that will eventually regrow the lost leaves and branches used. However, be sure to point out the smoke caused by the fire and how any fuel source that creates too much of that can be harmful to people and the planet.
Take a Field Trip
Field trips don't just have to be school-organized. See if you can find a day to take your child (or students) to a nearby renewable energy plant. Many of these locations are willing to give tours or educate interested people about what they do there.
This is also an excellent way to get free knowledge directly from the experts. They can answer any questions your kids may have that you would need some extensive researching to answer. It's also engaging for the children to directly see the process that they've been learning about.
Show the Impact of Non-Renewable Energy
This is far more effective when the children in question love animals and nature, but it can be useful regardless. Showing them videos of how things like pollution and global warming negatively impact nature can inspire them to start learning about renewable energy to help prevent it.
Be a Role Model
Kids do quite a bit of learning just from observing what the adults in their lives do. How you utilize energy in your day-to-day life can greatly help or hinder the learning process for the kids around you.
It's not an option for everyone, but many people are beginning to have solar panels installed on the roof of their house. Explaining to kids that their phones charge by way of the power of the sun is sure to get them interested in the overall process.
One way anyone can be a role model is to conserve energy where they can. Once your children know that most energy comes from non-renewable sources, they will realize why you always want lights off when not in use or when you try to keep your energy bills low (besides money).
How to Keep Them Interested
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Now that you have the children interested in renewable energy, you'll have to make sure that interest continues to grow as time goes on. Unless they completely fell in love with the concept, they may start to forget important information if you don't keep them engaged.
Have a Weekly Theme
This has the dual purpose of keeping children interested and getting them to look forward to learning.
Give each week a theme that you can base activities and games around. Wind Week could involve some time at the park messing around with kites, or Hydro Week could be learning new aspects of hydroelectricity like how the tides can be used as well.
Home Improvement Projects
You shouldn't trust a group of young ones to go and install solar panels on the roof, but there are smaller projects around the house or classroom that you can do with them so that they feel they are directly contributing to using clean energy.
These projects don't even have to be big ones. It could be as simple as swapping out your current light bulbs for more energy-efficient ones. The key is to make children feel involved in the process and let them know exactly how these projects are helping.
One of the best ways to get children interested in anything is to make a game of it.
Whether it's at home or in the classroom, a game will get them involved in an activity that could continue to teach them about renewable energy. It could be as simple as a made-up card game or as complex as setting up stations around the yard and have them decide which energy would work best at each station.
Some kids also enjoy incentives, so don't be afraid to offer some sort of prize or reward if they do well in the games.
Keep Your Kids Invested in Clean Energy
It can be a challenge teaching complex concepts to kids, especially if you want them to take an interest in it. Start by breaking down the basic concepts so that you can have good conversations with them about renewable energy.
Kids learn best from visuals and by hands-on learning. Showing them videos, designing and creating projects, and even taking them to a renewable energy plant are all great ways for them to learn. Just remember, they also need a role model to look up to if they are going to take a true interest.
They may stay interested on their own, but there are ways that you as a parent or teacher can help that along. Creating fun ways to bring the subject back around like setting up games, projects, or weekly topics can go a long way towards keeping them interested and invested in renewable energy.
For anyone looking to harness the clean, renewable energy of the sun, a portable solar generator is a great option. In order to use this power source, however, you will need portable solar panels to charge your power station. Our review will explain the different types of solar panels to pair with the best solar generators and recommend the top brands to purchase.
What is a Solar Panel?
At its most basic, a solar panel is simply a device that absorbs the rays of the sun and turns that energy into usable electricity. Most residential and portable solar panels work using photovoltaic solar cells made of silicon that send that energy through an MPPT charge controller to be stored in lithium-ion batteries or lead-acid batteries. An inverter can take the solar energy stored in the battery and transform them into electrical current, which you can use to power devices, run appliances, or even keep an air conditioner running.
Not all solar panels are created equal, however, and consumers are encouraged to do their homework. In this article, we'll outline some of the best solar panels available today, particularly for use with portable solar generators for outdoor activities or emergency power.
Our Picks for the Top Portable Solar Panels
- Best Overall - Goal Zero Nomad 100
- Most Powerful - Renogy 200W Eclipse Suitcase
- Best for Easy Setup - Nature's Generator Power Panel
- Best Conversion Efficiency - Jackery SolarSaga 100W
- Best Expandability - ACOPOWER 120W Mono Solar Suitcase
- Best Compatability - Suaoki Foldable 120W Solar Panel Charger
How We Reviewed Solar Panels
Before we get into specific recommendations, it's important to understand some of the factors that cause one solar panel to stand out from the next. Here are just a few of the criteria we used to assess the best solar panels for use with portable solar generators.
Type of Solar Panel
Solar panels come in three basic types: monocrystalline; polycrystalline; and thin film.
- Monocrystalline solar panels tend to be sleek and highly efficient, but they are also the most expensive.
- Polycrystalline panels, on the other hand, are a little bulkier and less efficient, but can be obtained for a lower price point.
- Thin film solar panels are the cheapest of the bunch, but also the least efficient. And, they require the most space.
As you consider purchasing solar panels, knowing what type you want is one of the first things you'll need to think about.
If you plan to use your solar panel with a portable generator, then you'll naturally want something that you can transport with relative ease. Note that solar panels can vary greatly in their size and weight. Some are so small that they can be folded into briefcases, which is obviously a boon for those seeking portability for an off-grid power supply.
Another crucial factor is power output. Different panels can produce varying amounts of energy, or wattage, which can, in turn, determine things like how many devices you can charge at one time, how long your solar generator will last between charges, and how quickly you can recharge your solar power generator.
The conversion efficiency rating tells you how much of the sunlight that hits the solar panel is actually converted into usable energy. This number is always given as a percentage. So, for example, if you have a solar panel with an efficiency rating of 20 percent, it means that about 20 percent of the sunlight that hits the surface will ultimately be turned into energy that you can use. Typically, any panel with a conversion efficiency over 20% is considered high-efficiency.
Some solar panels include a built-in charge controller. A charge controller, or charge regulator, helps to moderate the voltage/current of your solar system. Basically, the charge controller is what prevents your battery from overcharging. This is an important part of any solar system, as it helps extend the battery life of your system and prevent accidents. Look for systems that use MPPT charge controllers.
When you first start getting into solar power, you may not know exactly how many panels you need. That's what makes expandability such an important concern. Expandability tells you how easy it will be to add more panels to your solar configuration, especially with modular systems that can easily connect more panels.
Naturally, your budget is going to be a major consideration as you look for a new solar panel. Solar panels can vary in their price point, but it's not enough to look for the cheapest model. Make sure you're getting the best overall value, paying a reasonable price for a solar panel that will help you achieve your clean energy goals.
The Best Solar Panels for Portable Solar Generators
Based on these criteria, here are the solar panels that we most heartily recommend for use with your portable solar generator.
Goal Zero has a comprehensive suite of solar products, including both mountable and portable panels. For powering a portable generator, we recommend the Nomad 100 solar panel. It offers a power output of 100 watts, and is can be chained together with additional Nomad panels for faster charging of solar generators like the Goal Zero Yeti 1400 or the Goal Zero Yeti 400.
Why buy: If you're looking for a powerful yet easily transportable solar panel configuration, Goal Zero's products are resilient, reliable, and offer more than enough power for mini fridges, laptops, medical devices, and more. The Nomad (true to its name) is designed to be rugged and portable, perfectly suited for camping trips and outdoor adventures.
Renogy is another line of solar products that provides you with plenty of choices. We like the Renogy 200W Eclipse foldable suitcase model, which gives the perfect balance of power and portability. It includes Renogy's highest-efficiency solar panels in a durable, protective casing.
Why buy: For plenty of solar power that you can literally fold up and carry with you, look no further than to this outstanding option from Renogy. The Eclipse suitcase provides excellent low-light performance with enough power for recharging electronic devices on-the-go with the Renogy PHOENIX solar generator.
There's a lot that we like about these solar panels from Nature's Generator. For one thing, these panels are pretty easy to transport and are made with lightweight aluminum frames and durable wheels. They also feature summer and winter tilt positions to help you maximize the amount of sunlight the panels capture each season.
Why buy: For basic power needs, Nature's Generator produces well-made products that are lightweight and easily transportable. One panel can provide up to 100W of of solar charging power output, and they are reinforced with safety glass that is also anti-reflective.
Jackery offers foldable, portable SolarSaga solar panels that are well-suited for on-the-go adventures. You can choose between a 60W and 100W unit. We like the power output of the SolarSaga 100W option. These panels are made with high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells.
Why buy: For camping and outdoor adventure, Jackery is the way to go. Their SolarSaga solar panels are rugged, convenient, and extremely intuitive and easy to use. Plus, they offer a conversion efficiency of 23%, making them an excellent choice to use with a rechargeable solar powered generator.
ACOPower is another company offering major portability, in the form of a foldable, suitcase-sized solar panel. One major plus to ACOPower is that they have a wide range of products, allowing you to pick the solar panel that best fits your needs. The 120W lightweight solar suitcase is a great option if you're looking for something a bit heftier to help charge a backup power solar generator.
Why buy: Looking for lightweight and foldable solar panels with lots of power output? Look no further than the ACOPOWER 120W solar suitcase. This solar panel option can also easily expand to 240W by connecting an additional ACOPOWER panel to power your emergency backup solar generator.
Suaoki has a great portfolio of advanced solar technology. We especially like their 120W foldable solar panel, which provides a very decent 120 watts of power output. Made with durability in mind, Suaoki's solar panel is backed with a generous 24-month warranty. And, it's compatible with most brands of generators. A great all-around option.
Why buy: Suaoki combines many of the most important factors that consumers look for when seeking solar panels: power, portability, versatility, and excellent value. This solar panel also comes with a DC outlet and quick-charge USB ports for USB and USB-C. We especially like that these panels are designed to work with most of the top solar generators from other brands.
The Benefits of Portable Solar Panels
Portable solar panels offer a range of benefits.
- Solar panels can be paired with portable solar generators to provide you with emergency backup power in case of a power outage. Unlike gas generators, these are quiet and environmentally-friendly. Plus you will never have to purchase fossil fuels to run them as a backup generator.
- Portable solar panels can be ideal for living "off the grid," or for extended camping or RV excursions. With a good generator and the right types of solar panels, you can enjoy plenty of electrical power for cell phones and small appliances even when you're outside and far from any power outlets.
These are just a few reasons why switching to portable solar power can be beneficial, though again, you'll want to ensure you select the right solar panels to meet your goals.
Solar Chargers vs. Portable Solar Panels vs. Rigid Solar Panels
We already elaborated on some of the key differences between monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film solar panels. Now, let's turn our attention to another important area of distinction: solar chargers, portable solar panels, and rigid solar panels.
A solar charger is a small device that uses sunlight to generate electricity. These are usually used to power smaller devices, like phones or tablets, or anything you would plug in to a car charger.
Portable solar panels, like the ones we mentioned above, help absorb and capture sunlight, which you can use to power a portable generator or battery bank. These are ideally suited for camping or for an off-grid lifestyle. They can offer the same amount of energy that you get from an AC outlet.
Rigid solar panels are designed for rooftop installation to provide power to homes and buildings. Generally, these provide the most energy when connected to high-capacity battery storage.
Types of Solar Inverters
The inverter is an important component of any solar panel system because it's the component that actually takes stored solar energy as DC power and turns it into more usable AC power. There are two primary types of solar inverters used for portable solar generators.
- Pure sine wave inverters are designed to produce smooth, reliable, and quiet electric AC currents and work best at providing continuous power to delicate or sensitive electronic devices.
- Modified sine wave inverter provide a bit choppier and nosier current and are primarily meant for simple devices and appliances.
Knowing your inverter types is another important way to make an informed decision about your solar panel and solar generator purchase.
What Devices and Appliances Can You Charge With Solar Panels?
As you contemplate your solar energy needs, it's important to think about the specific devices and appliances for which you need power.
Some portable solar panel options come with 12-volt and USB ports that allow you to directly connect and charge certain devices. These can include things like smartphones, tablets, and computers. Alternatively, you can connect your panels to a generator or battery to power certain appliances that you would plug into a wall outlet like a mini-fridge, CPAP machine, or coffee maker. The specific devices you can power with energy from solar panels will depend on your system's output, run time, and battery capacity, typically measured in watt-hours.
We recommend using an online calculator to tell you roughly how much energy you'll need from your solar panel. Try this calculator to see what types of devices you can use.
Choosing the Best Solar Panels
The right portable solar panels can completely change your relationship to renewable energy. In addition to serving as a clean energy emergency backup in case of a blackout, they can also empower you to enjoy the adventurous lifestyle you crave.
As you seek the best portable solar panels, make sure you weigh all the important factors, from power output to price point. Use this guide to start your search, but also be sure to carefully assess each product according to your own energy needs.
Portable generators allow you to power your devices and certain appliances, even away from home or when your primary power source is taken offline. These devices are also perfect for camping or outdoor adventures. A portable solar generator can give you the power you need with a smaller ecological footprint by using solar panels. In this article, we'll outline some of the top options available in 2021.
Our Picks for the Best Portable Solar Generators
- Best Overall - Goal Zero Yeti 1500X
- Best High-Capacity - MAXOAK Bluetti EB150
- Best Expandable Power - EcoFlow RIVER Pro
- Best Compact Design - Renogy PHOENIX 300
- Best Portability - Suaoki S370
- Best for Camping - Jackery Explorer 300
- Best Price - Westinghouse iGen200s
How We Reviewed Portable Solar Generators
A good portable generator will offer you backup power in a convenient and reliable way. We have reviewed some of the top models on the market today, and arrived at a few that we think stand out from the rest.
To rank the best solar generators, we considered the following criteria:
- Size and weight. Smaller, more lightweight units offer much greater ease of use. We sought portable solar generators that aren't too challenging to lug around your home, or take with you when you go camping.
- Battery storage capacity. While your generator absorbs light through a solar panel, that energy is ultimately stored in a battery. The battery storage capacity, measured in watt-hours (Wh) determines how long you can use the generator before it requires a recharge.
- Inverter rating. Basically, inverter rating refers to the total number of watts that the solar generator can extract at any given time. Inverter rating, along with battery capacity, determine the wattage and power output of your generator.
- Expandability. Some generators come with a predetermined number of solar panels, while some allow you to add more solar panels as needed. This is an important feature to consider when looking for generators.
- Price point. Naturally, when looking for a new solar generator, staying on budget is always going to be a factor. We chose generators that are competitively priced.
The Best Portable Solar Generators
With these ranking factors in mind, here are our picks for the best portable solar generators available in 2021.
Goal Zero's line of Yeti portable power stations are well-suited for a wide range of off-grid uses, including emergency power, camping trips, and more. The Goal Zero Yeti 1500X is their most-popular large power station with enough power for everything from cell phones and laptops to medical devices like CPAP machines and even full-size refrigerators.
Why buy: The Goal Zero Yeti 1500X includes a 2000W AC (3500W Surge) inverter giving you the equivalent of a wall outlet power supply on-the-go. It also has seven different port options and a top-of-the-line app that makes it easy to monitor and manage your solar powered generator, no matter where you are.
For a high-capacity power station, check out the Bluetti EB150 from MAXOAK. Though it's not the most affordable option, you'll get a lot of features and utility for your investment. It includes a lithium ion battery capacity of 1500 Wh. When connected to three 150W solar panels, it can be recharged in about 3.5 to 4 hours.
Why buy: For a portable solar generator designed to power most household appliances under 1000W, the high-powered Bluetti EB150 is a great choice. MAXOAK also backs their product with a 24-month replacement or maintenance warranty.
EcoFlow boasts an impressive catalog of portable power stations, as well as reliable solar panels. We like the EcoFlow RIVER Pro power station because its technology enables incredibly fast recharging; you can connect it to two 110W solar panels to recharge in as little as 4.5 hours.
Why buy: The EcoFlow RIVER Pro includes a wide range of best-in-class technologies. Offering 720 Wh of power with three pure sine wave AC outlets, and weighing only 15.9 pounds, these units are well-suited for camping and hiking, as well as use around the house. You can also add an additional EcoFlow battery pack to upgrade the power of your generator as needed.
Renogy produces several different power stations and chargers, but we especially like the PHOENIX 300, a solar power solution that's extremely lightweight and compact. It comes with an easy-grip handle and only weighs 6.4 pounds, making it one of the most portable solar generators around while still offering up to 200W of AC power for off the grid activities.
Why buy: The PHOENIX 300 can provide 337 watt-hours for up to 8 hours of AC continuous power without the noise or fumes associated with gas generators. It includes a number of the most common charging ports like two AC adaptors, a USB-C, USB-A, USB, and a D-Tap port for photography equipment.
Suaoki is a company that's known for simple, functional, reliable technology. Their S370 portable solar generator isn't necessarily flashy, but it's an extremely lightweight option, perfect for camping, hiking, and other outdoor adventures. It includes 14 outlet ports and a pure sine wave inverter, making it a versatile power option.
Why buy: This is one of our top picks for camping and hiking, though it may also serve your needs as a backup power station for small appliances and electronics. A lithium-ion battery gives this generator an incredible capacity battery life, particularly in relation to its compact size.
Jackery's portable power stations are ideally suited for camping and hiking. The Explorer 300 offers great portability and fast rechargeable power at an affordable price. It includes two AC outputs, a USB-C, USB-A, USB ports, and a 12-volt car port.
Why buy: The Explorer 300 generator is a good option for those who are new to solar power, thanks to its low price and easy-to-use controls. Jackery offers a number of portable solar panel options, and the power station's MPPT technology means that it can be recharged from the sun in just 5.5 hours.
There are plenty of reasons to consider the Westinghouse iGen200s portable generator. This is one of the more affordable options on the market today, which makes it a good entry-level solar power solution. The unit offers four charging options. You can recharge with solar panels, with the power from your vehicle, with a household power outlet, or with a separate generator.
Why buy: For a simple and inexpensive solar power generator, Westinghouse makes an outstanding product. You can charge up to nine devices at a time; and, depending on how you use it, you can potentially get more than 40 hours out of your generator.
What Types of Batteries Do Solar Generators Use?
It's important to note that solar power generators may employ different kinds of batteries. The most common option is the lithium-ion battery. These tend to be more expensive than lead-acid batteries, at least on the front end. With that said, a lithium-ion battery will prove more durable, which usually makes it the smarter investment in the long run. Solar generators include charge controllers, which regulate the volts of energy coming from the solar panels to the battery to make sure the battery isn't overcharged and damaged.
The energy stored in the battery is converted from DC power into AC power using an inverter or adapter.
What Can You Power With a Portable Solar Generator?
There are different types of solar generators. A backup generator is primarily used to power your home, should your electricity go out. In this article, we focused on portable generators, which are mostly used for hiking and camping. With that said, a portable generator can also be really useful during power outages, potentially keeping your lights, electronic devices, and small devices or appliances on for several hours. Depending on the watts of power your solar system generator kit can support, you can use it to power things like phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, coffee makers, a mini-fridge, certain medical devices, and most anything you would plug into a car charger.
Some of the generators we've listed here can be charged by solar energy or via other sources, including vehicles and power outlets. These different charging solutions make a generator more versatile, though of course, solar energy is what you'll want to use if staying away from fossil fuels is your goal.
What are the Benefits of a Portable Solar Generator?
There are a number of reasons why you might consider a portable solar generator:
- These units are ideally suited for camping and hiking. The ones on our list range in weight from under 10 pounds to over 50, but they are all fairly easy to cart around as needed, or to keep in your camper or RV.
- Though they are not primarily intended to be emergency backup generators, they can certainly be used in that capacity. In particular, they can provide emergency power to important medical devices as well as phones and computers.
- Unlike gas generators, portable solar generators offer power without making a lot of noise or creating a lot of fumes. This makes them much more appealing for campsites.
- Portable solar generators are better for the environment, since they don't rely on gas or diesel fuel to run.
- Using a solar generator is ultimately more cost-effective as you will never need to purchase fuel to recharge it.
Solar Power Can Take You Further
Solar power is one of the best options for dependable, renewable energy. Not only can it help power your house, but you can use these portable generators to carry that power with you, wherever you may go.
There are clearly lots of options on the market today. We hope our guide is helpful to you as you assess our own backup power needs, and as you determine which portable solar generator will give you the greatest value. Note that you can find many of these solar power options through third-party retailers like Amazon. Do your due diligence as you seek the perfect, portable solar solution for you and your family.
A good backup generator can help you keep your home running smoothly, even in the event of a major power outage. And, when you choose a solar generator, you can power your home using clean, renewable energy from the sun. By contrast, gas and diesel generators burn fossil fuels, and are extremely loud and spew harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Here are the best solar power generators available today that can provide a cleaner alternative for home generators.
Our Picks for the Top Solar Generators
- Best Overall - Goal Zero Yeti 6000X
- Best Portability - Renogy Lycan Powerbox
- Best for Camping - Jackery Explorer 1000
- Most Affordable - Westinghouse iGen600s
- Fastest Charging- EcoFlow DELTA
- Best for Larger Appliac - MAXOAK Bluetti AC200P
- Most Powerful - Point Zero Energy Titan
How We Reviewed the Best Solar Generators
There are a number of factors we considered when choosing which solar power generators to recommend, including:
- Battery capacity. Battery storage capacity is an important ranking factor. A greater battery capacity means the generator can store more energy, which ultimately means it will last longer without requiring a recharge. This is measured in watt-hours (Wh).
- Power output. When your generator is up and running, it will put out a certain amount of energy, measured in watts. It's important to select a generator that offers enough watts for you to power your essential home appliances.
- Inverter rating. The inverter is a critical part of any backup power generator. Basically, this is the component that turns solar energy into AC (alternating current) electricity. Inverter rating, along with battery capacity, determine how much power you can get from your home backup generator.
- Expandability. In order for your backup generator to function, you'll need some way of charging it. And if you plan to rely on solar energy, that means using solar panels. Expandability means that you can add solar panels to your generator as needed, making it easier to absorb more sunlight for energy.
- Number of outlets. How many devices or appliances do you need to charge? The functionality of your backup generator will be determined by how many outlets or ports are available.
- Price. Of course, as you look for the best home backup generator, one of the most crucial considerations of all is your budget. We've sought to emphasize generators that offer maximum value.
Based on these criteria, we've determined the solar backup generators that offer the most consumer value.Check out our complete list of recommendations below. You can also read our complete review of the best solar energy companies for rooftop home solar systems.
The Best Solar Energy Generators
The Yeti 6000X is actually a portable power station that can be used for off-grid camping or powering an RV. With 6,000 watt-hours and two 2000W AC charger ports, it will give you plenty of power for your home. With a home integration kit, it's easy to use the Goal Zero Yeti 6000X to power essential circuits.
Why buy: Though it isn't exactly cheap, the Yeti 6000X power station is a great all-purpose backup generator, including a top-of-the-line charge controller and two robust AC outlets that make it easy for you to keep your household essentials up and running. It can even power a full-size refrigerator or microwave.
Renogy produces several different power stations and chargers, but we especially like the Lycan Powerbox, a solar power solution that's only a little bit bigger than a suitcase. It comes with an easy-grip handle and heavy-duty wheels, making it one of the most portable solar generators around while still offering 1200W of output, which is enough power for most electronic devices and some appliances.
Why buy: The Lycan Powerbox can provide 1075 watt-hours of continuous power without the noise or fumes associated with gas generators. It offers great portability and includes an LCD display and easy, intuitive controls that allow you to switch between DC power and AC power as needed, as well USB ports and 12 volt car charger ports.
The Jackery Explorer 1000 portable power station is one of the best all-around options, equally suited for outdoor activities and for emergency power readiness. Though it's rated for 1,000 watts, it can actually get closer to 2,000. The lithium battery pack offers a capacity of 1,200 watt-hours, and Jackery's professional MPPT technology makes it easy to get your unit fully charged in a relatively short span of time (usually just eight hours if you have two panels going).
Why buy: Jackery is one of the leading names in outdoor equipment and in clean energy products. This portable power station is a great pick for campers and can also be a very effective home backup power solution for small appliances and electronics thanks to its pure sine wave inverter AC outlets.
Westinghouse Outdoor Power
Westinghouse is another company that specializes in solar powered generators, most of which are more ideally suited for camping trips. Their iGen600s portable generator, however, offers a wattage of up to 1,200 peak watts, which can certainly function as a decent emergency backup for certain household appliances and small devices.
Why buy: For a portable yet still very versatile solar generator, Westinghouse is a company to keep on your list. The iGen600 power system can run a mini fridge for up to 42 hours or a CPAP machine for up to 46 hours thanks to its lithium-ion battery that offers 592 Watt-hours of energy and a long battery life.
The EcoFlow DELTA power station is a wonderfully rugged, dependable backup generator that can help meet your power needs during a blackout. For one thing, the charging time is incredible; you can potentially go from zero to 80 percent in under an hour with a wall outlet. Should you ever find yourself facing a power outage, this is an emergency energy solution you'll be really thankful for.
Why buy: The DELTA station from EcoFlow offers a lot of value and usability; in particular, it has one of the fastest recharging times of any solar generator, which may be reason enough for you to choose it over the competitors. The DELTA unit offers 13 ports, meaning it's compatible with pretty much any device or appliance you could ever need to charge.
For a heavy-duty emergency power solution, look no further than to MAXOAK, and particularly to a product called the Bluetti AC200P. With a 2000 Watt-hour capacity, this is one of the most robust solar generators you'll find anywhere.
Why buy: MAXOAK's Bluetti AC200P is the one you're going to want for really heavy-duty home energy backup. With massive AC inverters that offer up to 4800W surge capacity, it can provide more than enough power to fuel all your most critical home appliances, even some HVAC units. Also note the two-year warranty, a generous consumer protection.
Point Zero Energy
Point Zero Energy is one of the foremost names in disaster preparedness, and when you take a look at their product specs, you'll see why. Their Titan model solar generator offers almost twice the storage of similarly priced units with a high-capacity 2,000-watt-hour battery capacity and 3,000 watt high-efficiency inverter.
Why buy: On a purely technical level, this is the beefiest generator on our list, though of course, it's also one of the priciest. The unit is made with high-efficiency components, meaning it doesn't waste a lot of energy running the system; instead, it just supplies you with plenty of functional electricity when you need it the most.
How Does a Solar Generator Work?
Solar generators capture energy from the sun using photovoltaic solar panels, and store it in a built-in battery. Note that in order to absorb the sun's energy, your portable generator will need solar panels. These are typically sold separately, or as a package with the unit, so you'll need to factor in this additional cost. Solar panels contain solar cells, which are typically made of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicone that acts as a semiconductor.
Once the sun's energy is stored in the battery, it is converted into AC energy. This happens via a component known as an inverter. AC power is required for most of your household appliances, as well as for charging devices like your phone, laptop, or tablet that normally require a wall charger or AC outlet.
Can a Solar Generator Power My Whole House?
Generally speaking, a rechargeable solar generator won't be able to power your entire house if you lose power. With that said, even a smaller generator can be used to power key devices or appliances, sometimes for days at a time depending on its power consumption. For instance, you can keep your refrigerator up and running, and/or ensure plenty of sustained use for medical devices, like CPAP machines.
With an especially robust generator, you may also be able to connect to core circuits, running multiple appliances at one time.
So, while having an emergency power supply from a solar generator may not mean that you can go about your life just like you would normally, you can at least keep the lights on at home, run your air conditioner, or ensure your perishable food items remain fresh until your electricity comes back on.
What are the Benefits of a Solar Generator?
There are a number of advantages you can anticipate from an emergency generator, especially when you choose to go solar. Consider:
You can minimize the disruption of a power outage.
Again, inclement weather can cause power outages that last for hours, sometimes even days. During that time, you can use a backup generator to keep your essential appliances and devices up and running. This level of preparedness can offer ample peace of mind.
Solar generators offer a clean alternative to other energy sources.
Most generators are powered by fossil fuels, which means they emit a lot of noxious emissions. If you want a clean power source and a minimal environmental footprint, these solar solutions are just the ticket. They are also much quieter than traditional gas or diesel generators.
They can be very cost-effective in the long run.
While the initial purchase price of a solar generator may seem steep, keep in mind that sunlight is free. You don't have to worry about buying fuel or any additional expenses associated with your solar unit.
Find the Solar Generator That's Best for You
Disaster preparedness begins by identifying a reliable power source, and if you want that power source to be clean and renewable, solar generators are ideal. Take a moment to explore the options and find the generator that's right for you.
Residential solar energy companies are helping more and more homeowners upgrade their properties to clean energy sources. Solar energy companies can equip you with the technology you need to harness the amazing power of the sun and reduce your need for fossil fuels. In this article, we'll review some of the most trustworthy providers and installers of solar power.
Our Picks for the Best Solar Companies
The first step in the process is researching some of the top companies in the solar industry. Here are the ones that stood out in our research.
How We Chose the Best Solar Energy Companies
How did we determine which solar power companies to recommend?
To begin with, we took a deep dive into each company's offerings, assessing them for the following criteria:
- Range of services offered
- Pricing/affordability and financing options
- Extent of service area
- Solar panel efficiency
- Temperature coefficient (e.g., how much high temperatures affect efficiency)
Additionally, we weighed membership and certification by professional associations like the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Affiliation with these groups is a good indicator that a solar energy company is reputable, and that their work is up to the highest standards within the industry.
The Best Solar Energy Companies
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With these criteria in mind, consider our picks for the best solar panel providers and installers in the industry.
If you're looking for a company that can walk you through the process of upgrading to solar power for an easy and convenient experience, look no further than to SunPower. The company offers:
- A "design studio" app, allowing you to safely and seamlessly design your own solar power system so that you can see a visual of what the finished product will look like once installed.
- Online calculators that make it easy for you to determine about how much electricity you will save once you upgrade to solar panels.
- Virtual consultations, allowing you to chat one-on-one with a solar power expert and to ask any questions you might have.
SunPower offers leading solar panels and energy storage technology to homeowners across dozens of states. And, they are also the preferred solar partner of many major businesses, including Walmart, FedEx, and Lowes.
Why buy: SunPower is a reliable solar energy company with an impressive tech portfolio and an extremely easy, intuitive process.
Upgrading to solar power can seem a little intimidating, but SunRun is out to bring simplicity. Their approach makes it extremely straightforward to select a custom solar energy plan for your household. Here's what to know about SunRun:
- They offer virtual consultations with solar energy experts, making it simple to explore your options and determine which solar set-up is right for your home energy needs.
- Each system they design is completely customized to address the customer's needs. SunRun doesn't do "one size fits all" solar equipment options.
- Their guarantee, the best in the industry, offers extraordinary peace of mind that your solar system will prove durable and reliable.
- SunRun also leads in terms of flexible financing options, making solar power accessible and affordable.
Why buy: With SunRun, the name of the game is customization. This is one of the best solar installation companies to turn to for solar power solutions that are truly made with you in mind.
You probably associate Tesla with their electric vehicles, but did you know that the company also produces high-efficiency solar panels? Depending on your needs and your budget, Tesla can hook you up with an array of solar panels or even a solar roof, making it easy to cut electricity costs and power your home via the sun's vital energy.
Some fast facts about choosing solar power from Tesla:
- They offer a price match guarantee and affordable financing options.
- Their advanced solar panel technology offers a low profile, a sleek style, and long-term durability.
- Home battery backups allow you to save solar power and then access it on demand, whenever you need it.
Why buy: Tesla offers sophisticated solar products for what the company claims is the lowest price of any national provider, which they back with a price-match guarantee. Plus, all of their solar panels come with a solid 25-year performance guarantee.
LG is another well-known tech company that is also a leader in solar energy. Some of their solar panels use a bifacial solar module that captures energy from two directions to increase their efficiency. While they are a solar panel manufacturer, they can also help you with the installation process by finding an LG Pro installer in your area.
- They offer an online "solar concierge" service that allows you to evaluate your home energy needs and to compare different options for going solar.
- LG offers a 25-year warranty, not only on their technology but also on the work their of their solar installers.
- They offer a range of solar panels and supporting products, and they supply you with plenty of information to make a fully informed choice.
Why buy: LG is a company that knows technological innovation. Their award-winning solar energy products are reliably efficient, well-priced, and designed for maximum efficiency.
Panasonic has one of the most impressive tech portfolios in the solar energy industry. Their products boast some of the highest conversion efficiency rates, along with the lowest degradation rates. And they back everything with a generous warranty.
Some additional reasons to choose Panasonic:
- They offer a range of solar panels to choose from. With Panasonic, you'll find that you have plenty of options.
- They also provide a lot of great online support and consumer education, ensuring you'll get the most out of your solar technology.
Why buy: Panasonic is a solar panel company with products that are tough to beat. Both their pricing and warranties are very appealing, and their HIT high-performance solar panels offer some of the best power conversion rates of any product.
Vivint is a company that offers a full spectrum of services, including solar power consultation, design, and installation. A few reasons why homeowners trust their solar power needs to the Vivint team:
- Everything Vivint does is customized. They tailor everything to fit your roof and to help you achieve your home energy goals.
- They make the entire process simple, handling all of the little details for you. This includes securing permits, filing the right paperwork, etc.
- They emphasize safety, using only the highest caliber of solar panels and backing everything with a world-class warranty.
Why buy: Vivint is noteworthy for their focus on customization, their commitment to safety, and their one-stop-shop solar power solutions. In addition to solar panel installation, they also offer other specialized technology, including solar-powered electric vehicle chargers.
Enphase is another company that stands out, both for their robust technology as well as for their commitment to customization. Their microinverter technology makes their solar system safer by reducing the likelihood of arc fault fires.
- They design their solar technology with safety in mind, including fire safeguards that other companies can't match.
- Their solar panels are built for durability and can hold up even through the most extreme kinds of weather.
- Enphase uses smart technology to update itself; all you need to do is connect it to your home Internet.
- They also have one of the best apps in the solar industry, making it simple to monitor your home energy use.
Why buy: Enphase is a company of innovators, and their solar portfolio has a lot to offer. Their system is also modular, meaning you can easily add more panels to your system as you need them.
This solar power provider has won recognition not just for their excellent technology, but also for their sincere commitment to sustainability and to ecological stewardship. And don't let the name throw you off: Though Canadian Solar is based in Canada, they provide solar power solutions in the U.S. and other countries.
Some additional facts about Canadian Solar:
- They offer a wide range of products, from energy converters to storage solutions.
- Their solar panels boast exceedingly high energy efficiency rates.
- Canadian Solar has won a number of awards for its first-class innovations, and one of their products even set a world record for conversion efficiency in 2020.
Why buy: This company has a proven track record of technological excellence, plus a real commitment to ecological stewardship. They also closely monitor their supply chain to ensure that no goods or materials used in their products come from prohibited forms of labor.
First Solar boasts an impressive track record of advocacy for solar power and for renewable energy sources. And, thankfully, they back their advocacy with some excellent solar technologies.
A few reasons to choose First Solar solar panels:
- Their technology offers an outstanding temperature coefficient, meaning they won't lose performance during high temperatures.
- Their solar cells are among the most reliable and most efficient in the clean energy sector.
- First Solar also offers a lot of post-purchase, post-installation help, as needed.
Why buy: First Solar is a great option for anyone who's serious about renewable energy, and who wants the best performance from their solar panels.
The biggest drawback to Go Solar is that, right now, their work is limited to just a few states. But if you happen to live in that part of the country, you're in luck. Go Solar's panels are uniquely calibrated to take advantage of the western region's abundant sunlight. Some additional reasons to pick Go Solar include:
- They offer free home solar assessments.
- They custom-design solar systems to meet the needs of your home.
- They have some of the most trusted installers in the solar power industry.
Why buy: For solar solutions that are tailored to the climate of the American West, definitely consider Go Solar. Plus, with their Give Solar International partnership, they give an equivalent solar panel system to a family in Uganda for each system sold.
How Does a Solar Energy System Work?
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As you explore the different options for embracing solar power, it may be helpful to have a baseline understanding of how solar energy systems actually function.
Generally speaking, solar energy systems involve solar panels installed on your roof. These panels absorb the sun's energy, storing it in what are known as photovoltaic cells. These cells convert the solar energy into direct current (DC) energy, then use an inverter to convert that DC energy into alternate current (AC) electricity. AC electricity is what you need to power all your home appliances.
It's important to note that, before you purchase solar panels, it's worthwhile to meet with a solar energy consultant who can tell you more about how many panels your home will require, and also to let you know how those panels should be ideally positioned on the roof.
One more note: If you're concerned about the affordability of solar power, it's important to remember that most solar energy companies provide a host of options, including flexible financing and solar lease options for a system rather than purchase it outright. As you talk with different solar energy companies, don't hesitate to inquire about these leasing and financing options.
Benefits of Solar Energy
Installing solar panels on your home can yield a number of benefits. Here are just a few examples.
One of the main reasons why homeowners choose to install solar cells is that it allows them to truly embrace clean energy sources. Rather than depend on fossil fuels and power plants, you can power your home with renewable energy that comes straight from the sun. This can be a highly effective way to minimize your environmental footprint.
Solar Tax Credits and Rebates
There are a number of ways in which choosing renewable energy can save you money, starting with the fact that there are so many rebates and tax credits available. Essentially, both the federal government and many state governments want to encourage people to "go green" as much as possible, and they will make it worth your while by allowing you to claim these important tax incentives. Some utility companies also offer rebates that can help pay for the upfront costs of solar projects.
Lower Electricity Bills
Of course, embracing solar power will also help you save money by slashing your electricity bills. Most solar energy companies offer online calculators that allow you to see for yourself how much money you'll save over time, simply by changing to a renewable energy source. There is also an option called a power purchase agreement (PPA) that can allow you to host a solar or renewable energy system from a utility provider in exchange for lowered energy rates. If your solar panel system generates excess energy, the utility will then purchase that energy from you in the form of a net metering credit on your bill.
Make a Smart Choice About Solar Power
There are obviously a lot of perks to choosing solar energy for your home. And yet, it can also be a rather daunting process, simply because there are so many solar energy companies to choose from.
Using our guidelines and rankings, start doing your due diligence, seeking the solar power company that's right for you. Remember to look for a company that's well-regarded within the industry and get a consultation before you buy. Always be sure to ask some direct questions about the financing options that are available to you.
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More and more homeowners in Raleigh, NC, have embraced renewable energy like solar power. This popular option allows residents to fuel their homes cleanly and effectively, minimizing their home's environmental footprint while lowering their monthly utility bills. What are the best solar companies in Raleigh, NC? We'll show you the top options, plus provide important information on solar panel systems, federal tax credits, and more.
If you're looking to adopt solar energy in Raleigh, North Carolina, one of the first steps in the process is to find the best renewable energy company. Thankfully, there are a number of excellent solar power providers throughout the area. They can provide the expertise and reliable technology you need to upgrade your home and truly take advantage of solar energy systems.
Our Picks for the Best Solar Energy Companies in Raleigh
- 8M Solar
- NC Solar Now
- Sunpro Solar
- Blue Raven Solar
- Renu Energy Solutions
- Emerald Energy
- Covenant Solar Tech
- Yes Solar Solutions
- Sun Dollar Energy
- Duke Energy
How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in Raleigh
In order to create a list of the best solar power installers in Raleigh, North Carolina, we compared each company on a number of important categories. Our picks for Raleigh's best solar energy companies are based on the following:
- Coverage area. Some companies offer wider, more consistent coverage areas than others. We sought to include companies that make solar power readily available to both Raleigh and nearby areas like Durham and Cary.
- Services. We also ranked Raleigh's local solar providers on how many total services they offer. For instance, how much help do they offer in terms of consultation, solar system design, and installation?
- Installation process. We also evaluated local solar energy providers on the basis of whether they can install your new solar panels. Do they send an installation team to your home, or do you have to contract with a separate installation company?
- Pricing and financing. As you look for the best solar company in Raleigh, you'll definitely need to think about your budget. We've tried to evaluate companies on the basis of affordability and flexible financing options.
- Panel efficiency. Solar panels can vary quite a bit in terms of how much sunlight they absorb, and how efficiently they convert that solar energy to a usable AC stream. We've selected local companies that offer exemplary technology with the highest solar panel energy efficiency.
- Rebates. Along with flexible financing options, some solar installers make it easy for you to claim clean energy rebates, another useful way to offset your total energy cost.
- Warranty. When investing in a significant piece of technology, such as a solar panel system, it makes sense to seek some consumer protections. A good warranty can offer ample peace of mind.
- Professional affiliation. We looked for companies endorsed or certified by leading professional organizations. These include the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and more. This is one of the easiest ways to evaluate a solar company's reputation.
With these factors in mind, we're now ready to take a look at a few of the most highly recommended solar power and renewable energy companies in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Best Solar Energy Companies in Raleigh, NC
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Based in Wake Forest, 8M Solar is one of the best-rated clean energy companies in North Carolina. Their services are NABCEP-certified, they are SolarEdge and Tesla certified installers, and they are endorsed by Duke Energy. The owners are directly involved in all aspects of solar panel system design to provide hands-on expertise, and their panels come with generous 25-year warranties.
Why buy: Simply put, 8M Solar is one of the best companies to choose if you're looking for a straightforward way to go green and decrease monthly utility costs. The company claims that their rates are, on average, 10 percent lower than their competitors. Formidable expertise, best-in-class technology, robust warranties, and affordable pricing make 8M Solar a top choice.
Since 2010, NC Solar Now has been a dependable clean energy partner to homeowners throughout the state. Their company is built around a vision for sustainability and ensuring that all families have access to affordable energy. The company is a member of the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA), the NC Clean Technology Center (NCCTC), is endorsed by Duke Energy, and was chosen as one of the top 20 solar contractors in the US by General Contractor Magazine.
Why buy: NC Solar Now is a great all-around option for anyone looking to embrace the promise of clean solar power. They are locally owned and operated, they offer flexible pricing for both residential and commercial properties, and they can help you take advantage of all available solar incentives and rebates.
Sunpro is a nationally known and NABCEP-certified company. They offer cost-effective pricing and leading rooftop solar technology that allows you to save big bucks on your home utility bills. SunPro takes a lot of pride in having first-class customer service and their team is also available to help you claim clean energy tax incentives.
Why buy: Sunpro is one of the most-trusted solar energy installers in the country, and even ranked #5 on Solar Power World's 2020 list of the Top Residential Solar Installers in the U.S. They handle everything from design to installation, and offer 25-year guarantees on labor and equipment.
Blue Raven Solar is one of the fastest-growing solar companies in the country, operating in a number of states throughout the Southeast and beyond. They're passionate about helping homeowners save money on their electricity bills, and that's allowed them to become a clean energy provider of choice in the Raleigh-Durham area, as well as Asheville, Charlotte, and Greensboro.
Why buy: Blue Raven Solar offers a truly comprehensive solar energy service, including surveying, solar panel system design, installation, and more. The company also offers highly competitive pricing and excellent financing options (including $0 down), and has received rave reviews from their customers as one of the most trusted solar energy companies around.
Based in Charlotte, Renu Energy Solutions provides dependable solar energy services to homeowners throughout the state. Since 2010, this locally-owned and operated company has been one of the Charlotte area's trusted names in solar energy. They offer free solar assessments, along with plenty of assistance finding flexible financing solutions.
Why buy: This is another great example of a local business with world-class solar expertise. Choose them for friendly service, competitive pricing, and high-quality tech. Plus, Renu offers manufacturer's warranties of up to 25 years (depending on the specific solar panels you choose).
Emerald Energy is a Raleigh-based contracting company best known for offering design, consulting and installation for solar energy solutions. They offer zero money down and no interest financing on systems, and can help you take advantage of the many solar rebates and incentives that are offered in North Carolina.
Why buy: For a fully-licensed local contractor with real clean energy bona fides, Emerald Energy is one of the best companies you'll find. Their in-house system design and installation services can help you enjoy cleaner electricity, energy independence, and lowered utility bills.
Covenant Solar Tech is locally owned and operated in Raleigh, North Carolina. They deliver a full spectrum of services, including consultation, design, installation, financing, and beyond. For those exploring solar energy options, they offer free solar estimates, and boast some truly outstanding customer reviews.
Why buy: Covenant Solar Tech offers expert installation with friendly, personable customer service. They are one of the best local Raleigh companies in the solar energy game. Their solar energy expertise and experience was also recently enhanced by the company's purchase of Sun Dollar Energy.
Yes Solar Solutions is a terrific clean energy company located in Cary, NC. Their installers proudly service residents of Raleigh and the surrounding area. The company has been around since 2009, and in that time they've helped more than 1,000 homeowners go solar. They are a certified installer for Tesla solar equipment, offer free assessments and various financing options.
Why buy: Yes Solar Solutions is NABCEP accredited and has a long history, an impressive track record, and plenty of ways to help you cut energy costs. Reviews of the company attest to their excellent customer service in helping people go solar.
Sun Dollar Energy started a family-owned solar power contractor serving homeowners throughout North Carolina. The small solar company with local roots offered a personalized experience for customers. In January 2021, the company was purchased by Covenant Solar Tech, but will still provide the same reliable service under the Sun Dollar Energy name.
Why buy: Sun Dollar Energy powered by Covenant Solar Tech is your best bet for a truly homegrown, local solar energy provider. They offer years of experience and their licensed, NABCEP-certified installers helped them become a leading provider in the area, with positive customer reviews for their easy installation process.
Duke Energy might not be the first name you think of for this list, but they provide a wide range of solar energy solutions across the Raleigh area. Not only does Duke Energy provide solar rebates worth up to $6,000, they also offer services like net metering that can help offset your electric bill with the energy from your solar energy system.
Why buy: Duke Energy has made some admirable commitments to renewable energy in recent years. With programs like NC Shared Solar, the company allows you to support solar energy generation and development each month even if you can't install solar panels on your own home, making solar energy more accessible.
What Types of Solar Energy are Available in Raleigh, NC?
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As you consider your options for solar energy in the Raleigh area, it's important to note that different companies provide varied kinds of access to the sun's energy.
For instance, most of the companies on our list are truly solar installers, which means they can help you upgrade your home with solar panels and batteries, allowing you to directly absorb the sun's rays, convert it to electricity, and use that electricity to power your home.
But a few companies, like Duke Energy, do something a little different: They essentially allow you to choose a plan where you get solar power straight from Duke's solar energy facilities as part of your home's energy, but also use regular electrical power when necessary.
Make sure you understand these different models as you seek the right solar power provider for your home.
How Does Solar Panel Installation Work?
It is also helpful to know more about the process of having solar panels installed on your home.
Usually, the process begins with an energy audit. A certified installer will arrive at your home, assess your energy needs, and also evaluate how much sun exposure you get. They will then recommend the number of panels that need to be installed on your roof, as well as the ideal locations for those panels.
Once installed, these solar panels draw energy from the sun and store it in a battery. This solar power is then converted to AC power, using a component known as an inverter, which can then power all your home appliances and devices.
If you have any specific questions about the installation process, it's usually best to go straight to your installer. Note that while the initial investment in equipment can be steep, that's usually it in terms of overall solar expense: the sun's energy is free, and you won't need to invest in any further fuel sources.
Choose the Best Rooftop Solar Company in Raleigh
There are countless reasons for Raleigh homeowners to embrace clean energy: it's a great way to minimize your environmental impact; it can lower your household energy expenses; and you can take advantage of the many rebates and tax advantages offered in the state.
As you consider different players within the solar industry, choose wisely, starting with some of the recommendations we've offered here. These are renewable energy companies that have solid reputations and proven track records of solar energy service.
Fortune reported that Tesla employees are currently on the U.S. territory installing the batteries and repairing solar systems, as well as coordinating efforts with local organizations.
Much of the island's 3.4 million American citizens are currently without power and disconnected from modes of communication. Officials estimate that some areas will not see their power restored for months. As Climate Nexus pointed out, "the future of the island's bankrupt and corrupt utility and its fossil-fuel-heavy colonial legacy are now top of mind as experts and officials begin to tackle the best way to restore power and rebuild the island's power grid."
While there is still a long way to go rebuild, Tesla's batteries will help enable the island's generation of clean and renewable solar energy in the interim and in the future.
The company previously made headlines for helping Model S and Model X owners in Florida escape Hurricane Irma by extending the battery range of its cars.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also personally donated $250,000 to the relief effort, Electrek noted.
A number of companies and business leaders have contributed to hurricane relief efforts. Fellow billionaire mogul Richard Branson, who faced two damaging hurricanes in a row from his home in the British Virgin Islands, has met with government representatives from Britain and the U.S. to set up a green fund to rebuild the hurricane-wrecked Caribbean.
"As part of that fund we want to make sure that the Caribbean moves from dirty energy to clean energy," Branson also told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"If all that money could be invested in clean energy, in powering the world by the sun and by the wind, where we won't have to suffer these awful events in the future, how much better than having to patch up people's houses after they've been destroyed?" the Virgin Group founder said.
It just got a whole lot easier to decide whether or not to get solar panels for your roof. Google's Project Sunroof site will help you locate your home, see how much sun it gets on average and what you could save if you purchased panels.
The project was initially launched in 2015, but has become more popular as solar technology gets more affordable. Google uses a combination of Google Maps, Google Earth and machine learning technology to calculate the sun's path to give an accurate account of your solar situation. It then uses industry standard models to tell you the cost benefit analysis of going solar.
The project is still in progress, but 60 million buildings have been analyzed across 50 states. From that information alone, Google was able to calculate that 79 percent of all rooftops could go solar and in Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, 90 percent of homes are viable. Houston, Texas has the most viability as a whole with an estimated 18,940 gigawatt-hours of solar generation from rooftops per year.
Once homeowners see the potential, they can use the site to see how much they will save on their monthly electricity bill based on typical utility rates in their location, as well as annual savings. The site then tells users how much square footage of solar panels to get and how to finance them.
There's even a function to see what an entire community could save should they collectively decide to go solar. For example, in Fresno, California, 92 percent of the rooftops are viable and if they reached full solar capacity, it would be equivalent to taking 261,000 cars off the road each year or planting 31 million trees.
It's still a common misconception that solar is too expensive or that an area doesn't get enough sunny days. Now, homeowners can see for themselves what their potential is and make a more conscious decision about where their energy comes from.