We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to finding the best place to buy solar panels. Where you buy your solar panels from or who you decide to contract with for installation will depend on your personal preferences, how you want to finance the system, and the type of system you want to install. In this article, we’ll evaluate several options for buying solar panel systems, including:
- Wholesale resellers
- Large national installation companies
- Amazon solar kits
- EnergySage Marketplace
Key takeaways: solar panels for sale
- If you’re looking to buy your own solar panel equipment (maybe for a DIY solar project), online sellers like Amazon and wholesale resellers have some options
- For a full installation, solar installers have “solar panels for sale” around the country. What they really mean is a complete, ready-to-use system on your property.
- It’s always best to compare your options before buying solar panels. You can start for free on the EnergySage Marketplace and compare solar quotes from local, pre-screened installers.
Where can you buy solar panels? An overview of solar panel purchasing options
There are many options available for purchasing a solar panel system, including but not limited to the choices below:
|Buying option||Cost||Install included?||Financing included?||Best for|
|Amazon solar kits||$||No||No||DIY, small off-grid systems|
|Large national installers||$$$||Yes||Yes||Turnkey installations|
How do the details of these different options compare? Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of these options to help determine which is best suited for your own installation.
Solar panels for sale from wholesale resellers
Wholesale resellers are companies that sell equipment online to consumers looking to go solar. While labeled as “wholesale,” these items will still typically include a markup so that the company selling the product will make a profit. It’s currently not possible for consumers to purchase wholesale solar panels directly from panel manufacturers.
One of the biggest benefits of buying from wholesale resellers or other websites is that the equipment is relatively affordable compared to other options in the market when you’re searching for where to buy solar panels. If you’re working on a DIY solar project, then purchasing your solar panels and inverter through a reseller is going to be a quick and easy way to get your equipment. However, it’s not advisable to attempt a DIY solar panel system if you don’t have the proper expertise. Anyone looking to install their own solar panel system should have a thorough understanding of electrical systems prior to tackling the project.
If you buy solar panel equipment from a reseller but are not planning on installing the equipment yourself, it can be difficult to find an installer. This is because many solar installation companies only provide turnkey solutions and will not install equipment they didn’t purchase themselves.
Solar panel kits for sale from Amazon
Similar to wholesale resellers, Amazon is another way to purchase solar equipment directly. Many people most commonly purchase solar panel kits from Amazon that include the majority of equipment necessary for getting a solar panel system up and running (i.e. wiring, solar panels, the inverter, etc.). Most solar panel kits are best suited for smaller applications such as for an RV or boat instead of a home.
Solar panel kits are often used for off-grid solar panel systems, though there are grid-tied options available. It’s important to know exactly what equipment you’ll be receiving as part of the kit, as not all solar kits come with every component you need. For example, the ECO-WORTHY’s 200 Watt solar panel kit includes two separate panels and a lead acid battery, while WindyNation’s standard 200 Watt solar panel kit doesn’t include a battery (though you can add it on for an additional price).
Buying solar panels from national installation companies
One popular option for installing a residential solar panel system today is to contract through a large solar company, such as SunRun.
There are certain advantages to buying a solar panel system from a large solar company. For one, they often have proven track records and plenty of experience when it comes to installing residential solar panel systems. Additionally, they offer turnkey solar system solutions, meaning they provide equipment, labor, and a financing option as a part of your solar package, albeit sometimes at a higher cost. As a part of their total price, large solar companies also handle any permitting and interconnection processes necessary to get your solar panel system up and running. There are also many third-party ownership options like leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Buying solar panels from EnergySage
Last but not least, EnergySage: we don’t actually sell solar panel systems directly. Our online Solar Marketplace allows you to receive and compare up to seven custom solar quotes from installers near you. All of our installer partners go through a stringent screening and vetting process prior to quoting on the Marketplace; we ensure they’re an experienced, reputable company with proper insurance and licensing
The installers that provide you quotes through the Marketplace are likely smaller in size than the SunRuns and Vivints of the world. However, there are benefits to choosing a local installer on EnergySage over larger national companies. For one, they’re more likely to offer better pricing and higher quality equipment from a top manufacturer. Smaller installation companies often have lower overhead costs, therefore can charge less for similarly-sized installations.
Additionally, by shopping on the EnergySage Marketplace, you can ensure you’re getting the right system for the right price. Installation companies large and small charge different amounts based on the quality of the equipment, the manufacturer, the size of the system, their own installation services, and more. Your solar panel system is an investment, and by looking at multiple offers, you can better understand average market prices for the level of service and equipment you’re looking for.
Our quote comparison tool also standardizes assumptions for cost and savings calculations. Offline, you’ll likely receive quotes directly from installers that assume different utility inflation rates, degradations, or incentives that can misrepresent one company’s offering over another. Standardization of these factors ensures that every quote is on an even-level playing field.
That said, our Marketplace isn’t the best solution for every type of installation. Similar to the national companies, installers on EnergySage provide turnkey quotes that include equipment, financing, and installation. If you’re looking to solely purchase equipment for a DIY project or are looking to install a small, portable off-grid system, wholesale resellers or Amazon may be the most suitable option.
What is the best place to buy solar panels for you?
Every solar project has its own unique characteristics. For some, buying equipment directly from Amazon or wholesale resellers is going to be the best place to buy solar panels, and the most affordable option. For others, a large, national company may be able to provide you with a better deal than you can find on the EnergySage Marketplace.
How to buy solar panels
Using the EnergySage marketplace, buying solar panels is easy.
- Add your property
Using our site, create your property profile by simply entering your address and creating an account.
- Receive quotes from qualified installers
Once you’ve entered your property information, multiple pre-screened installers will be able to send you comprehensive solar quotes tailored to your address and your needs.
- Compare your solar quotes
After you have received multiple quotes, you can look over your savings summary, read product and installer profiles and reviews to find what is best for you. Want help comparing? Set up a free appointment with our Energy Advisors to look through your options.
- Select an installer
Once you’ve compared your solar quotes and found the best price and package for you, pick the best quote easily using EnergySage and have peace of mind that you’re getting a great deal from a reputable company.
- Wait and save
Once you have a quote, you just have to wait and keep in contact with your installer until your panels are installed. There are many factors that can affect how long it takes to install a solar panel system – on average, it can take about three months from contract signing to actual installation
Commonly asked questions related to buying solar panels
Whether you decide that the best place to buy solar panels is Amazon or our own Marketplace, it’s still important to take all factors into consideration including efficiency, installation costs, and how many panels you’ll need. Check out a few frequently asked questions we’ve come across:
Most solar panels on the market are between 15 percent and 20 percent efficient, with some outliers on either side of this range. Also, there are a variety of factors that affect efficiency like wiring and busing, reflection, wavelength and frequency, positioning, and weather. With that being said, the top three companies that sell the most efficient solar panels are SunPower, LG, and REC Solar. Read our article about the most efficient solar panels on the market to see the full list, and dive deeper into how solar panel efficiency is calculated.
The average home needs between 20 and 25 solar panels to cover the entirety of its electricity usage. The actual number you need will depend on various factors like location, efficiency, panel power output, and your energy consumption. Learn more by reading our article that walks through how many solar panels you’ll need.
On average, a 10 kilowatt (kW) solar panel installation costs about $20,500 after taking the federal solar tax credit into account. For more information, learn about how much the average solar panel installation costs in the U.S.
Compare your options before making a final solar decision
Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important to shop around before writing a check or signing a contract. If you’re interested in comparing turnkey installation options, registering on the EnergySage Marketplace is a great way to start. If you’re just starting out in your solar research and want to see some ballpark numbers of what it would cost to install solar panels on your home or business, try our Solar Calculator.