Explore What Residential Solar Companies Have To Offer

When it comes to home solar power, companies offer a wide range of services. From solar panel companies that specialize in manufacturing to solar installation companies that are experts in panel layout design and installation, the marketplace has something for every step in the process. Increasingly, top solar companies are expanding their services to meet growing demand. In particular, rising fossil fuel prices are driving up utility rates prompting more solar energy companies to enter the landscape. For consumers, this means a greater variety of options and better deals.

How do I choose a solar power company?

With so many residential solar companies to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. The first thing to consider is whether you want to buy or lease your solar panel system. Each option has its own set of perks and drawbacks.

Buying from a solar panel company

If you purchase a system from a solar power company, you get to enjoy the benefit of owning the system outright. As a solar power system owner, you can take advantage of federal, state and local incentives, such as tax credits and deductions, rebates and special financing programs, while they last. Solar panel system ownership also means that if you ever sell your home or move, you can take your panels with you or convey them to the next owner, no strings attached.

Despite some financial perks, buying solar panels can be expensive. Residential solar companies charge anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 for panels and installation, depending on the size of the system and which solar installation company you choose. Of course, when you generate electricity on-site, you can save on your monthly electricity bill or eliminate it altogether. How quickly your system pays for itself depends on many factors, such as monthly usage, current and future utility rates and system performance.

Beyond all the paperwork associated with permitting and inspecting to get the solar system installed and applying for the financial incentives, there is a downside of ownership. As the owner, you are responsible for maintenance and repairs. Failure to properly maintain your solar panels can result in diminished system performance. Although many residential solar companies offer initial warranties on the hardware, the warranty terms can vary widely. If buyers don’t read warranties carefully, they may get stuck footing the bill for solar panel repairs.

Leasing from a solar energy company

Many solar energy providers are branching out to offer solar leases, and more new solar power companies specializing in leases are popping up across the U.S. Solar leasing offers some of the same benefits as ownership (on-site green power generation and lower electricity bills) with a low upfront cost. Some solar energy companies offer leases for as little as $0 down.

One reason why solar leases are gaining popularity is that the residential solar companies maintain ownership and responsibility for system performance. The solar energy companies take care of applying for permits, facilitating inspections and filing all the necessary paperwork. Typically, the solar power companies also include installation at no additional cost. The time and money saved from the start is motivating many homeowners to choose a solar lease over panel ownership.

One of the main drawbacks to solar leasing is that the homeowner cannot take advantage of tax breaks and government incentives. Since the leasing company technically maintains ownership of the panels, it is entitled to receive the benefit of these perks. Also, since the homeowner does not own the panels, the panels and the lease usually stay with the house if the homeowner leaves before the end of the lease term.

  • Agreement Features
  • Sunrun
  • Solar City
  • Vivint Solar
  • Sun Power
  • NRG
  • SunEdison
  • Remote roof analysis
  • Exclusive focus on residential solar
  • Years of installation experience
  • 17
  • 9
  • 4
  • 30
  • 5
  • 56
  • Roof Warranty
  • 10 years
  • 1 year
  • 1 day
  • Limited
  • Limited
  • Free Monitoring
  • Free overproduction
  • BBB rating (as of 6/15/15)
  • A+
  • A+
  • A-
  • A+
  • Information unavailable
  • Not Accredited