solar panel companies United States

Solar power companies in the U.S.: which should you choose?

One of the most important decisions you make when installing solar is which company will provide and install your panels. There are a few large solar players who are always mentioned in conversations about solar panel companies and your options for installation. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of these big players and if you should consider working with them for your home solar project.


Overview of popular solar panel companies

The companies listed below are some of the largest national solar panel installation companies in the United States. With a large geographic reach and many thousands of customers, these are considered the biggest players in the American solar industry.

Sunrun

Sunrun has over 130,000 solar customers in 22 states and is one of the largest national solar companies in the country. It was founded in 2007 selling and installing solar panel systems, and is now also involved in the energy storage market. Sunrun offers $0 down leases, PPAs, and ownership of their solar products. Additionally, Sunrun offers solar loans to finance your solar system.

Vivint Solar

Vivint Solar became its own company in 2011, after separating from its original parent company, Vivint Home Security. It has over 100,000 customers in the 21 states that it serves. Vivint used to install solar panels at no cost to their customers, usually through a PPA-type plan. Like Sunrun, they now offer $0 down plans, PPAs, and full ownership models, as well as a solar loan program.

Sunnova

Headquartered in Houston and serving 21 states and U.S. territories, Sunnova has a unique business model that distinguishes it from other large solar installers. Sunnova has no in-house installation or maintenance teams. Instead, they have regional partners across the country to do installation and maintenance jobs for them. Additionally, all of Sunnova’s solar options are $0 down, with options to eventually own the system or to lease it for a defined period of time.

SunPower

SunPower is primarily a solar panel manufacturer, and they produce some of the highest quality panels on the market. They partner with local installers around the country, authorizing them to use their products and become a representative of the SunPower brand. SunPower has also begun to work on community solar projects, starting in New York with plans to expand to more states soon.

SolarCity (Tesla Energy)

Recent years have seen SolarCity scale back their residential services significantly, but they are still a major player in the U.S. solar market. SolarCity was founded by cousins of Elon Musk (of Tesla fame) in 2006. The company serves 27 states, and was acquired by Tesla in 2016. The biggest news currently coming out of SolarCity and Tesla is the production of their innovative solar roof, which is being produced at a massive factory in Buffalo, NY known as the “Gigafactory 2.”

National solar electric companies vs. local installers

Large national solar panel companies have the experience and resources to perform quality solar installations around the country. However, you may want to consider working with a local installer for your solar project – finding a reputable local solar electric company has many advantages over working with national installers like Sunrun.

Here’s a few of the benefits of going with a local installer:

  • Bigger savings – local installers often quote lower prices for the same solar installations.
  • Great customer service – with smaller service areas than national installers, local solar power companies have fewer customers to worry about, and can dedicate each one more attention.
  • Better equipment – while national solar companies often buy in bulk from equipment suppliers, local companies will usually custom design their systems for individual customers with newer and better technologies.

The bottom line is that every solar installation has unique challenges and requirements that can depend on geography, shading, pricing, and much more.

For some projects, national solar electric companies may be able to provide the best overall package. However, the advantages of working with a local solar provider can often outweigh the security you may feel from working with a name-brand solar company. To understand which provider is right for you, compare options from different installers before making your solar decision.

Finding local solar electric companies is easy on EnergySage

With over 450 installers participating nationwide, the EnergySage Solar Marketplace is the best place to start your search for a solar provider in your area. All installers on the Marketplace must satisfy stringent requirements and quality checks, ensuring you will be connected with reputable local solar electric companies.

Once your property is registered and you are receiving quotes, you can compare them side by side to determine which company has the best offer for your unique solar project. If you have an existing offer from an installer outside of EnergySage, you can upload it for comparison, or even ask EnergySage installers to make a better offer.


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About Jacob Marsh

Jacob is a researcher and content writer at EnergySage, where he's an expert on current issues–and new technology!–in the solar industry. With a background in environmental and geological science, Jacob brings an analytical perspective and passion for conservation to help solar shoppers make the right energy choices for their wallet and the environment. Outside of EnergySage, you can find him playing Ultimate Frisbee or learning a new, obscure board game.

17 thoughts on “Solar power companies in the U.S.: which should you choose?

  1. Allan Davis

    So I went with Freedom Forever and I’ll have to say before going with them I was pitched by literally over a dozen of solar companies. This guy knew his stuff and didn’t push me to sign right away. He told me to hear everyone out and go with what I felt was most reliable and comfortable with. They were all about the same but not really. All these sales reps put other companies down except the sales rep from Freedom Forever. He made it easy and fast. His name is Danny I don’t remember his last name exactly but what a great guy Abbadi or Abbade something like that. I def recommend them. Not only did I go with him but I was happy and so were my Neigbors. Clean fast and reliable. Thanks Freedom. Give Danny a raise I gave him a hard time

    Reply
    1. Lou pereira

      If you don’t mind saying what was the cost per kilowatt I’m looking to put another on my roof I spoke to someone from freedom forever. The panels I have now I pay the same rate for 20 years that was put in five years ago freedom for ever what did he is telling me it’s a 25 year deal and it goes up two dollars per month every year

      Reply
  2. Beans

    Will all the solar roof installations please stand up? What is the actual count of delivered solar roofs??

    Reply
  3. Dave

    Taryn, SolarCity is a subsidiary of Tesla. Since it merged with Tesla, it is now known as Tesla Energy. Not only are they still installing solar panels and manufacturing their panels in the Gigafactory in Buffalo, they are also manufacturing and installing solar roofs, which is a game changer for the solar industry. I personally don’t think anybody will be able to compete with Tesla in the future. They are, after all, the pioneers in the industry and the leading company in quality renewable products (electric cars, solar panels/roofs, and home batteries).

    Reply
    1. Dan

      This is interesting. You had me until you commented on the quality of tesla solar panels/roof. Turns out, that is the problem. They are innovators, pioneers, and so on, but you specifically stated “quality”. They happen to be possibly the lowest rated panels on the market. When I heard that they were going with Panasonic, I thought we had something. But they are touting the roof now. Time will tell, but it’s pricey. Too pricey when considering that they haven’t brought a single quality solar product to market. Cars, batteries… absolutely. But they kinda seem to suck at solar. At least at for now. I think I would need some better history before trusting them to power my home. I’ll take the power wall. But the LG products are gaining ground, albeit they don’t seem to be inexpensive. But tesla and b solar… go for it. Just be prepared and set your expectations appropriately. Think I might pay a little more for a better solar shop that will not send back deposits, or lean on their local installers (if they can find them) to deal with the mess they leave behind. Sunrun, Vivint, Sonpower… not the cheapest. But you get what you pay for. If you want to save money, and be pretty confident that future costs and headaches won’t come back to bite you… how much do you need to save? Is not a futures option / contract. It’s not something that you can try out and just change your mind later. It’s on your home.

      Reply
  4. Keren Brooks

    I personally went with LA Solar Group that is not listed here. I am very happy with my Panasonic panels and SolarEdge inverters, and also I honestly can’t believe LA Solar is not in this list- they are the best! I recommended them to all of my friends and family. Also if anyone is reading I want to recommend Ani (our consultant from LA Solar-she is highly knowledgable) she was very helpful throughout the entire process.

    Reply
  5. Ayub

    I am working as sunrun direct solar consultant love the company the only one company who pay employees salaries and full benefit I can help you with you with solar project

    Reply
  6. Charles Prasnicki

    Heliene Solar panels in Mountain Iron Mn. Are a great product. We at Heliene respect other companies as well but we feel our product runs right up there with the best of them.

    Reply
  7. R f

    I have purchased some solar panels.etc. from harbour freight. I plan to install on my own. Will i be able to do this with instructions included. They cost125.00 for each 100 sq.

    Reply
  8. Camille Devaux

    Now that my sister is moved into a new home, she wants to look into getting a solar contractor. It might be a good idea for her to do this since there are several benefits. She would love the idea that there are bigger savings related to this installation.

    Reply
  9. Doreen Capozza

    I have 20 acres in Northern Westchester County, NY. that can be used to install a solar farm.

    Can you give me the names of companies that can purchase this land to develop a solar farm?

    Reply

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