HomeNewsGreatest Photo voltaic Firms of Could 2023

Greatest Photo voltaic Firms of Could 2023

The shape beneath consists of details about our companion services and products. The corporate quotes you obtain can differ from these we have researched independently.

What’s the greatest total photo voltaic firm?

ADT Photo voltaic is CNET’s greatest photo voltaic panel firm for 2023, for providing robust warranties, high quality photo voltaic panels, backup batteries and high quality customer support. All of our high picks provide high quality gear and customarily obtain robust customer support marks, however ADT Photo voltaic’s 25-year warranties for workmanship and weatherization are on the high of the group and elevate its rating excessive. ADT Photo voltaic operates in numerous states (23 states, with seven extra coming quickly), however in case you’re not in one in all them, or ADT does not give you the very best deal to your state of affairs, you may discover various choices and steerage to discovering your greatest match right here.

If you happen to’re planning to purchase photo voltaic panels to keep away from rising vitality prices and blackouts or put money into renewable vitality, you are not alone. Residential photo voltaic installations grew by 40% in 2022 from the earlier yr, in accordance with the Photo voltaic Power Industries Affiliation.

You may get 30% of the price of photo voltaic panels again in your taxes and take part in native incentives and internet metering (the place out there). The Inflation Discount Act that was handed final yr opened up extra rebates for energy-efficient house enhancements, electrical home equipment and different renewable vitality options, which may assist you to save much more with photo voltaic panels.

With local weather change anticipated to gas extreme climate that may trigger extra energy outages, photo voltaic panels with a backup battery can hold your house powered.

Photo voltaic panels are a big funding. Since few individuals can construct their very own photo voltaic panels, you may must rigorously analysis which installer is greatest for you. Under are my selections for the very best photo voltaic firms by a couple of totally different parameters. Nonetheless, with a purchase order as huge as photo voltaic panels, do not let this listing be your solely cease. Photo voltaic panel firms, as a result of their merchandise require prolonged, skilled set up, are examined a bit in another way than different classes on CNET.

This listing and the critiques it attracts from aren’t based mostly on any hands-on testing. There isn’t any possible strategy to do hands-on testing of the acquisition course of, set up or a house photo voltaic panel array after it is put in. As a substitute, these photo voltaic firm critiques depend on interviews with firm spokespeople, publicly out there information and evaluation of tendencies (like photo voltaic panel costs). Whereas the critiques are as completely researched as doable, the character of the product means there are some limitations in comparison with one other class like moveable energy stations.

Greatest photo voltaic firms of 2023

This greatest listing attracts from nationwide and notable installers of (principally rooftop) photo voltaic panels. As we publish critiques of extra firms, this greatest listing shall be up to date to replicate our present high selections. These had been rated the very best photo voltaic firms for the variability and high quality of kit and merchandise they supplied, their said warranties and obvious commitments to customer support. (Customer support is troublesome to pin down and subsequently makes up a smaller portion of the rating, despite the fact that it is a vital a part of the buying course of.)

If you happen to’re searching for a photo voltaic panel installer, be sure you get a number of quotes together with from native installers the place doable. The specifics of a photo voltaic array may change given the form and angle of a given roof or the vitality utilization and habits of a given household. Photo voltaic could be a nice funding however requires you to do your individual analysis.

A solar panel installer working on a roof.
heshphoto/Getty Photos

ADT Photo voltaic checks a lot of the packing containers in our methodology for evaluating photo voltaic firms. It has robust warranties, gives quite a lot of high quality photo voltaic panels, photo voltaic batteries and inverters, and will get excessive marks from the Higher Enterprise Bureau for being conscious of buyer complaints. The photo voltaic panels it installs (from Canadian Photo voltaic, Silfab and Qcells) embody probably the most broadly put in residential photo voltaic panels (Qcells), a number one effectivity choice (Canadian Photo voltaic) and photo voltaic panels from an organization beginning to provide a 30-year guarantee (Silfab).

What places ADT Photo voltaic forward of all the opposite firms on our listing is its warranties. It is the one firm we have reviewed that gives 25-year warranties for the workmanship on its installations and towards leaks brought on by it.

I might prefer to see extra upfront pricing data (as I’d from nearly all photo voltaic installers), which is the largest mark towards ADT. It is simply extra proof that you need to get a number of quotes earlier than selecting an organization to put in your photo voltaic panels. Learn our ADT Photo voltaic assessment.


Palmetto Photo voltaic has robust photo voltaic gear choices and extra strong service for after set up than most different firms, although it may cost a little you a bit. Palmetto gives a couple of tiers of service below the model title Palmetto Shield. All clients obtain third-party monitoring and proactive communication when some a part of their photo voltaic system malfunctions. Whereas lease and energy buy settlement clients get an influence manufacturing assure and sure labor prices coated for no additional cost, mortgage and money buy clients can get them for $20 or much less a month. Palmetto additionally receives an A-plus from the Higher Enterprise Bureau.

Palmetto does provide high quality photo voltaic gear and is likely one of the few firms to inform us they provide Sonnen’s batteries. Like many firms, Palmetto’s workmanship guarantee (10 years) and weatherization guarantee (5 years) could possibly be longer and lag behind the business. Learn our Palmetto Photo voltaic assessment.

Solar panels on a wooden house.

SunPower Photo voltaic lands in our high three, because of its top-of-the-line photo voltaic panels and robust warranties. The photo voltaic panels SunPower gives have business main effectivity marks (22.8%) and a guaranty that ensures at the least 92% manufacturing after 25 years. It earns an A-plus score from the Higher Enterprise Bureau. SunPower now installs batteries in 4 sizes, all of which include robust warranties, not restricted by the variety of instances you cost and drain it.

SunPower’s photo voltaic panels could be a bit dearer than others (although correct pricing business large is difficult to come back by). The corporate has stated it plans to proceed rolling out extra accessible photo voltaic options and began putting in photo voltaic panels from Qcells this yr. Learn our SunPower assessment.

Tesla solar panels

Tesla’s photo voltaic department appears to be the least liked of Elon Musk’s ventures. Even Tesla’s Photo voltaic Roof appears to get extra love. Nonetheless, photo voltaic panels from Tesla are more likely to be the most affordable choice the place they’re out there. It can save you hundreds of {dollars}, with out sacrificing on high quality of kit or the warranties that protects it

What you would possibly sacrifice is customer support. From delays to cost adjustments, to gradual responses, to system malfunctions, social media studies of adverse experiences aren’t onerous to search out, together with some who remorse their alternative. That is true of all photo voltaic firms, however the amount of studies regarding Tesla is regarding. Others describe experiences that are not so unhealthy, to make sure. The overall consensus is that going with Tesla is of venture.

Even with considerations about customer support and some warranties that could possibly be longer (workmanship and the weatherization of your roof), Tesla’s strong gear is sufficient to land it on our greatest listing.

Learn our Tesla Photo voltaic assessment.

Person walking on a roof with a solar panel on their shoulder.
Bloomberg/Getty Photos

Momentum Photo voltaic places Qcells photo voltaic panels on roofs in 11 states, and installs Enphase batteries alongside them in 5 of these. Whereas there is not a ton alternative within the Momentum’s most popular installations, Qcells and Enphase are two broadly put in manufacturers, although Enphase extra for its microinverters, which Momentum additionally installs.

Momentum is one of some firms that may worth match quotes from different firms. It additionally receives an A-plus from the Higher Enterprise Bureau. The corporate additionally makes use of solely in-house, Momentum-trained set up groups and backs that work up with a workmanship guarantee that lasts 25 years, matching the longest guarantee phrases within the business. Learn our Momentum Photo voltaic assessment.

Timberline Solar shingles on a roof.
GAF Power

Most residential photo voltaic clients so far have photo voltaic panels mounted on racks bolted to their roofs. That is one thing GAF Power is attempting to vary with Timberline Photo voltaic shingles, its photo voltaic roofing product. Hooked up with nails as an alternative of bolts and put in on the similar time and by the identical workforce as a brand new roof, the photo voltaic power-generating shingles sit flush to the roof. They appear a bit sleeker and could possibly be much less vulnerable to leaks than conventional photo voltaic panels.

GAF Power’s photo voltaic shingle, put in in 16 states with extra to come back, may make the choice to go photo voltaic simpler by rolling it in with the acquisition of a brand new roof. If you happen to do not just like the look of photo voltaic panels, Timberline Photo voltaic shingles have a subtler look, although they don’t seem to be invisible. You additionally get a photo voltaic roof with out the main markup of different choices, just like the Tesla photo voltaic roof. Learn CNET’s GAF Power assessment.

How we consider photo voltaic firms

Reviewing photo voltaic firms in a hands-on method is troublesome. Accounting for all of the variations challenge to challenge is unimaginable. To supply a useful assessment, we targeted on what we will measure and meaningfully examine amongst firms.

We give attention to three buckets of standards: gear, warranties and repair. 

Inside the gear class, firms obtain scores for the panels, inverters and batteries they set up. Warranties embody the ensures on the panels, workmanship and weatherization towards leaks. Firms earn factors for service if they provide a worth match, a significant stage of worth transparency and a well-rated app for monitoring photo voltaic manufacturing. They lose factors if there are main points pertaining to customer support (lawsuits, investigations or clear reputations for shoddy service). These points will all the time be detailed within the assessment.

You possibly can learn an in depth take a look at how the scoring breaks down.

We do not contemplate the common worth of an organization’s installations of their rating. This data is troublesome to search out and onerous to check throughout service areas (and even roof to roof). Firms are sometimes gradual to reveal it, too. We additionally omit simply discovered however not helpful data like what number of states an organization operates in.

Different firms we reviewed

We have reviewed different photo voltaic firms that do not seem in our greatest listing above, together with some that scored larger total than Tesla’s photo voltaic panels. Given the character of the photo voltaic panel business, which shifts from state to state and roof to roof, a few of these different firms could be higher suited to your state of affairs. 

  • Qcells: This photo voltaic panel producer with factories in Georgia will join you with an installer that works with its merchandise. It does not have in place the identical ensures or insurance policies a lot of the installers on this listing have, so it does not get a rating, however in case you’re excited by its high-quality, American-made panels, we wrote up all the small print.
  • Smartflower: The photo voltaic sunflower is a gorgeous strategy to set up photo voltaic panels. Until you are attempting to promote your inexperienced commitments or discover a assertion piece to your yard, it is seemingly an excessive amount of cash for too little photo voltaic.
  • Sunnova: Sunnova not too long ago gained mortgage ensures from the US authorities to assist low and reasonable revenue households undertake photo voltaic. You probably have less-than-stellar credit score, Sunnova could be a great choice for you, although you need to nonetheless store round. It installs all kinds of batteries and gives some robust warranties. It has had customer support points previously and misplaced its Higher Enterprise Bureau accreditation, a problem the corporate and the bureau each stated they had been working to rectify.
  • Sunrun: The largest photo voltaic firm in America. Sunrun gives high quality panels, a alternative of a few batteries and high quality inverters. It additionally gives robust warranties. Most of its enterprise is in leases or energy buy agreements, and Sunrun offers stronger warranties for energy buy agreements than purchases. Its total rating is larger than Tesla’s, however simply missed edging out the others as a result of its missing a price-match coverage.
  • Tesla Photo voltaic Roof: Tesla’s Photo voltaic Roof is an thrilling strategy to think about photo voltaic. It is modern, it is low profile, nevertheless it’s very costly. Relying on the scale of your roof and your location, it may be a number of instances dearer than photo voltaic panels. 
  • Trinity Photo voltaic: For some time, Trinity was CNET’s high firm for customer support and nonetheless receives high marks for there. It additionally gives high quality gear and warranties, although a few of its warranties, like its workmanship guarantee, are a bit weaker than different firms’. 

How to decide on a photo voltaic installer

Selecting a photo voltaic installer is like selecting a contractor for any house enchancment challenge. It’s a must to ask a variety of questions, get a number of quotes and decide on some mixture of who’s supplying you with the very best deal and who you’re feeling most assured in working with. There are some ideas for selecting a photo voltaic installer, although.

  • Get a number of quotes and examine: That is presumably the only most vital step. You possibly can’t know in case you’re getting ripped off with out checking a quote towards one thing else. 
  • Perceive your native incentives: Be sure you know whether or not your native authorities and utility have solar-friendly insurance policies that may make photo voltaic a safer monetary wager.
  • Learn critiques and complaints: On-line critiques aren’t the gospel reality, however they’re helpful for educating your self on the problems which may crop up and customary experiences that clients have had with an organization.
  • Speak to your neighbors who’ve photo voltaic panels: Ask your neighbor how nicely their chosen firm communicated, caught to the schedule, navigated the allowing course of and supported them after set up. If the corporate has a referral program, you possibly can kick a couple of hundred {dollars} your neighbor’s method, too.
  • Test licenses and certifications: You possibly can examine the North American Board of Licensed Power Practitioners for licensed installers close to you. There are different certifying organizations although, so ask installers the place their licensure comes from.
  • Ask you installer questions: A good installer should not be afraid of questions. If you happen to really feel you are getting the run-around, ask different installers the identical and examine their solutions.
  • Calculate your financial savings: If an organization appears to be promising an excessive amount of, it may not be on the up and up. Photo voltaic panels can prevent some huge cash in the long run, however not in all conditions. Learn the way to calculate your anticipated financial savings with photo voltaic panels. In case your calculation is available in a lot decrease or larger than a salesman’s, ask about it. 

How does photo voltaic panel set up work?

The method of getting photo voltaic panels seems to be a bit totally different from firm to firm, however the broad strokes are the identical.

After preliminary contact with the corporate, somebody ought to go to your house. Whereas elements of the design and quoting course of would possibly contain taking a look at satellite tv for pc imagery, having knowledgeable truly go to your home permits them to consider bushes which may have grown because the aerial pictures had been taken. They will additionally have the ability to assess the well being of your roof and whether or not it must be changed or not and establish some other limitations to going photo voltaic.

Then the system shall be designed, accredited by you, and permitted. After the corporate receives permits from the required authorities, your set up shall be scheduled. Set up sometimes takes a day or two.

Set up, until you are putting in sure photo voltaic roofs, requires drilling holes via your roof and into the joists that help it. It’s a necessity to maintain your photo voltaic panels securely hooked up, however you may wish to pay cautious consideration to how lengthy your installer ensures these penetrations will stay watertight.

Set up may also require new wiring to be put in. Generally which means new conduit being hooked up to the surface of your home, although some firms will set up it in your attic at no cost or for a further cost.

After set up, you may must get permission to function out of your utility, which must approve new electrical energy technology of their service space, until your system is off grid. As soon as you’ve got acquired permission, you may transition to producing vitality, monitoring your array’s efficiency and sustaining your photo voltaic panels to maintain them up and operating for many years.

Whereas the timeline will range, it normally takes a number of months to design, allow, set up and swap on residential photo voltaic arrays. You need to ask installers you interview for his or her estimated timeline.

What photo voltaic gear goes right into a photo voltaic system?

Whereas the panels are probably the most seen and well-known part of a photo voltaic array, there are different obligatory and non-obligatory items of kit you may must know.

Photo voltaic panels

Practically 100% of the residential photo voltaic panels put in immediately are monocrystalline, in accordance with the Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory (PDF). Some polycrystalline panels are nonetheless put in although. They’re cheaper, however much less environment friendly, although it seemingly will not be a priority for you.

Photo voltaic inverters

Photo voltaic panels produce electrical energy in direct present. Our homes and all of the home equipment inside them use alternating present. The photo voltaic inverter converts the electrical energy from direct to alternating present.

There are two important sorts of inverter in use: string inverters and microinverters. String inverters rework the electrical energy from a bunch (or string) of photo voltaic panels. This implies you solely want one per residential array, sometimes, however all the array is affected by the bottom performing panel. If one in all your panels is shaded, it is going to scale back the output of the remainder of the array. String inverters are sometimes cheaper to put in, however include shorter warranties.

Microinverters function on the panel stage, which implies if one is shaded, the remaining can hold producing at full capability. As a result of they’re put in on the roof with the panel, they’re sometimes a bit more durable to service, however produce a bit extra vitality. Microinverters value a bit extra to put in, however typically include 25-year warranties.

String inverters may also be put in with energy optimizers, which carry out an analogous position to microinverter. The vitality remains to be translated to alternating present on the central string inverter, however the energy optimizer lets panels work independently of one another.

Photo voltaic backup battery

Backup batteries have gotten a extra in style addition to photo voltaic arrays. Time of use charges from utilities (the place electrical energy is usually cheaper when photo voltaic panels are producing and dearer after they’re not) make batteries a extra financially possible alternative for a lot of. Photo voltaic panels will not generate electrical energy throughout a blackout until they’ve a battery that enables them to go off the grid quickly, a course of referred to as islanding.

Backup batteries do not all the time make monetary sense, so be sure to perceive whether or not or not it does for you earlier than diving in. If you happen to’re hoping to have energy throughout a blackout, the monetary calculation could also be much less vital to you.

Photo voltaic panel FAQs

How a lot do photo voltaic panels value?

Are photo voltaic panels price it?

Photo voltaic panels will seemingly be price it, relying on the small print of your particular state of affairs. If you happen to use little or no vitality or have very low cost vitality, you will not be saving as a lot cash every month and it’ll take longer to your panels to pay for themselves. Likewise, in case you dwell below deep tree cowl, rooftop photo voltaic panels seemingly will not generate sufficient electrical energy to be price it. 

Nonetheless, photo voltaic can repay in vitality financial savings for many years. Decreasing the associated fee with rebates and tax credit will assist repay your photo voltaic panels sooner. The way you pay to your photo voltaic panels will have an effect on that calculation, too. It’ll take longer to recoup your prices in case you take out a mortgage, which can accrue curiosity and include charges. You possibly can calculate your payback interval if you understand the price of photo voltaic panels after rebates and the way a lot you may save on vitality prices annually.

How lengthy do photo voltaic panels final?

If you happen to purchase photo voltaic panels immediately, there is a good likelihood they will be below guarantee for 25 years. You will typically see that listed because the lifespan of the panels, however that is not fairly correct. That guarantee covers manufacturing out of your photo voltaic panels. Photo voltaic panels lose their potential to provide photo voltaic electrical energy as they age for any variety of causes, so a guaranty will assure a sure stage of manufacturing after a sure variety of years. For instance, Q Cells gives a 25-year guarantee, which ensures that your panels will produce at 86% of their rated capability at that time.

This does not imply these photo voltaic panels die on the finish of 25 years, they will simply produce much less. Photo voltaic panels can produce nicely after their guarantee expires, although given that giant numbers of photo voltaic panels are simply now being put in, we’ll proceed to get a greater thought of how they age in years to come back.

Ought to I rent a photo voltaic panel installer?

Whereas expert do-it-yourselfers would possibly have the ability to pull off a photo voltaic panel set up, it is undoubtedly not beneficial. Going via a good and licensed photo voltaic installer provides you numerous protections. Putting in photo voltaic panels just isn’t so simple as plugging in a big equipment. A certified photo voltaic installer will have the ability to navigate native code and ordinances, and make sure that the guarantee on the panels stays intact. They may also have the ability to let you know in case you want a brand new roof or different upgrades earlier than putting in photo voltaic panels.

A photo voltaic installer may also have the ability to design your photo voltaic system to greatest suit your objectives and habits by figuring out the most efficient areas in your roof and angling panels to gather probably the most solar. Additional, your installer ought to have the ability that will help you troubleshoot any issues that come up after set up.

How do I do know if the quote I’ve is an effective one?

One of the best ways to inform is to get a number of quotes. With a purchase order this huge, you need to get a number of, together with one or two from native installers who would possibly have the ability to give you larger alternative.

There are additionally assets from the federal and plenty of state governments to information you thru the method. You possibly can look out for a couple of pink flags from salespeople, too. 

Are native photo voltaic installers a great choice?

Native installers sometimes have much less prices for promoting and gross sales than the massive, nationwide companies. That represents doable financial savings that could possibly be returned to clients. Then again, with a long-term funding like photo voltaic panels, it could really feel safer to have the backing of a big company. And bigger firms could possibly provide cheaper costs because of the quantity of installations they do.

Once you’re gathering quotes for a photo voltaic panel set up, be sure you contact native installers, too. The photo voltaic business is a aggressive one, and checking round may prevent hundreds.

Will photo voltaic panels work in my local weather?

An identical photo voltaic panels will produce totally different quantities of electrical energy after they’re uncovered to totally different ranges of daylight. So, photo voltaic panels in sunnier locations (just like the American southwest) with extra direct daylight (like within the south) will produce extra electrical energy. However different elements make photo voltaic a great deal for owners.

New England has one of many highest regional adoption charges for residential photo voltaic within the US. That is not as a result of it has a ton of sunshine yr spherical, however as a result of it has favorable photo voltaic insurance policies, like internet metering and rebates. Photo voltaic panels would possibly make monetary sense even when they will be put in below steadily cloudy skies. 

Can I get the federal tax credit score?

Correction, Jan. 31, 2023: An earlier model of this text misstated the Higher Enterprise Bureau’s grading course of. Any firm can obtain a grade from the Bureau, no matter whether or not it has paid to undergo the accreditation course of.

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