hotovoltaics is a rapidly growing industry, with numerous businesses competing for market share. There is a wide range of solar panel and solar battery manufacturers worldwide, with some estimates putting the number at over 350, which can make it difficult for homeowners to choose a brand.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of solar installation companies. According to IBISWorld industry research, there are 13,299 installers in the U.S. alone. The national solar panel installation industry has seen an average yearly growth of 2.3% from 2017 to 2022.
So if you are trying to figure out how to pick the best solar company for your upcoming photovoltaic system, this article will be helpful. We’ll explore the best residential solar companies for those looking to invest in solar for their homes. Whether you seek reliable, high-quality panels or competitive pricing, this overview will provide valuable insights and comparisons to help you make an informed decision.
Best manufacturers of photovoltaic panels
In this section, we will look at the leading manufacturers in the industry. These top solar panel companies are at the forefront of designing and fabricating solar equipment, and their products are used for all kinds of projects globally. From residential solar panel systems to huge commercial projects, these manufacturers are pushing the solar energy industry forward with innovation and efficiency.
- SunPower (Maxeon)
SunPower is a major market player based in California. They have been around since 1985 and have expanded to operate in over 100 countries. In 2019, they started a separate organization called Maxeon to make solar panels. The following year, Maxeon became its own independent enterprise but still partnered with SunPower to produce solar modules. SunPower also offers distributed generation, storage, and energy services.
SunPower has received certification from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) as well as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).
SunPower panels, which use cutting-edge Maxeon solar technology, are highly efficient and come with a premium price tag. The manufacturer has four panel lines: the M Series, A Series, X Series, and E Series. All of these lines are made with monocrystalline silicon and have an efficiency rating of at least 20%. The main difference between the lines is the wattage output.
Hanwha Q Cells is a leading producer of solar cells and panels. It was formed in 2012 through the merger of Hanwha Group, a South Korean company, and Q-cells, a German manufacturer of solar panels. Its solar equipment is designed and certified in Germany, while the manufacturing facility is located in China.
Hanwha offers numerous series of solar panels, continuously introducing new models with improved technology. The Q.PEAK panel series is the most popular choice among consumers, featuring high efficiency ratings of up to 21.4%. The panels also come with a 25-year performance warranty.
- Jinko Solar
Founded in 2006, Jinko Solar is a top player in the solar panel industry. While most of its manufacturing takes place in China, the corporation also operates manufacturing facilities in several other countries, including the United States and Malaysia.
Jinko Solar is considered a budget option among the best Tier 1 solar brands. Their solar panels typically cost $0.25-$0.50 less than those of more premium manufacturers like SunPower. They range from 18.7% to 21.3% efficiency and come with a 25-year materials warranty.
LG's reputation for producing excellent electronics extends to its solar products. In the early 2000s, they focused on PV cell manufacturing by combining multiple research laboratories and released their first solar panel in 2004.
Right now, LG is one of the best solar panel companies. It has two main types of panels for homes - the NeON 2 and NeON R. LG panels typically have an efficiency of around 18.4%, but some of their higher-end solar products can reach up to 22.1% efficiency. These efficiency levels work well for a lot of residential solar panel systems.
- Canadian Solar
Canadian Solar was established in 2001, making it a long-standing solar producer. Headquartered in Guelph, Ontario, it has a 500 MW manufacturing facility in Canada. However, the majority of their solar panel production takes place in China. In addition to its facilities in China and Canada, the corporation also produces various solar materials in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Brazil.
For use in the US, Canadian offers two product lines: HiKu and HiDM. The HiKu line is the main focus of the company and comes in many different options using either polycrystalline or monocrystalline silicon. Canadian Solar fabricates panels with efficiencies ranging between 15.88% and 20.6%, and their materials are covered under warranty for up to 15 years.
- Trina Solar
Trina Solar, established in 1997, is a leading Chinese solar panel manufacturer with complete vertical integration. It has been dedicated to research and development, leading to numerous achievements, such as breaking 18 world records for cell and panel efficiency.
Trina Solar offers affordable options, but they also have high-performing products like the Vertex series with N-type TOPCon cells. These panels have power ratings of over 600 watts, making them some of the most powerful panels on the market. Moreover, Vertex S+ series panels are almost as efficient as some of the more expensive brands, with close to 22% efficiency.
Top considerations when selecting the best photovoltaic panel producer for your project
Choosing the right solar panel manufacturer for your project is crucial to ensuring the success and efficiency of your solar setup. Let's explore the primary considerations when selecting a solar panel producer to ensure you get the best quality panels for your needs.
Quality of materials used in panel production
The quality of materials used plays a critical role in the overall performance and durability of the panel. High-quality materials are essential for efficiently converting sunlight into electricity, as well as withstanding extreme weather conditions.
Efficiency and performance of solar panels
The efficiency of solar panels refers to the percentage of sunlight converted into electricity, and modern panels have an efficiency rate of around 18-22%. The higher the efficiency, the more energy is generated, meaning fewer panels are required to generate the same amount of electricity.
Warranties offered by the company
Warranties offered by a photovoltaic panel manufacturer are a crucial consideration when selecting the best panel for your needs. A warranty ensures that if something goes wrong with the panel, the manufacturer will repair or replace it at no cost to you.
Cost of solar panels
Photovoltaic panels can vary greatly in price, with some being much more expensive than others. It is essential to weigh the upfront costs of the panels against the long-term benefits, such as energy savings and reduced carbon emissions.
Reputation and reliability
The credibility of a solar panel manufacturer is an important factor when you try to buy the best photovoltaic panel for your needs. Check the organization's background to make sure they have a proven track record of making high-quality panels that meet industry standards and customer expectations.
Availability of technical support
It is also important to consider the availability of technical support from the manufacturer. A top solar company must have a solid technical support team able to troubleshoot any problems and provide timely solutions, ensuring that your solar panel system is operating at its maximum efficiency.
Best solar panel Installers
Choosing the right solar panel manufacturer is only half the battle. It is equally important to find a reliable and experienced solar specialist to ensure that your photovoltaic system is set up correctly and efficiently. In this section, we will delve into the best solar panel companies in the installation industry.
SunPower is not only a leading manufacturer of solar panels globally but also a dominant installer with a focus on the residential market. They provide the best solar and storage solutions for homes in every state in the United States. The firm offers high-end solar technology, has a large service area, and a warranty surpassing industry standards. One of the major drawbacks of SunPower is its significantly higher price tag than that of its competitors.
Momentum's service area is quite limited compared to the other companies on this list, as it only operates in 11 states. However, this is a deliberate decision as the company only chooses to work in states that offer favorable net metering programs and other beneficial solar incentives.
Momentum has a diverse selection of solar panels and energy storage systems and provides a range of solar financing options. They also prioritize helping customers enroll in the most beneficial government solar programs available in the United States.
ADT Solar (formerly Sunpro Solar) has been operating in the solar industry in the Southeast region of the U.S. since 2008 and now provides services in 21 states. ADT delivers some of the most efficient solar panel and backup storage options, including brands such as LG and Panasonic, which are reputed for their durable and high-quality products at a reasonable cost.
ADT is renowned for its exceptional warranty coverage, setting the bar for the industry. While many top solar panel companies only provide product and workmanship warranties for a maximum of 10 years, ADT goes above and beyond by offering a 25-year comprehensive warranty that ensures your solar panel system will perform at its estimated rates for many years after purchase.
Blue Raven Solar
Blue Raven, a well-established firm that has rapidly expanded since its inception in 2014, was acquired by SunPower in the fall of 2021.
The cost is often the main obstacle for homeowners who want to switch to green energy, so Blue Raven has created a unique financing plan that allows customers to go solar without having to pay any upfront costs. The BluePower Plus+ plan combines the benefits of owning a photovoltaic system with the flexibility of a lease.
One potential disadvantage of Blue Raven Solar is that they currently only offer limited services, for example, they do not have a diverse selection of power storage products.
Palmetto is a top solar company with a comprehensive service range that spans 24 states. The firm has outstanding customer service, including a Peace of Mind Protection Plan with real-time monitoring and quick customer support. Additionally, out of all the enterprises on the list, Palmetto might offer the most services overall, including panel cleaning and roof leak protection.
However, it doesn't have many options for financing solar projects, and the decentralized network of offices means the quality may vary based on location.
Sunrun is one of the largest players in the industry based in San Francisco, California that specializes in installing customized solar arrays and backup storage systems. The company is well-known for its efficient and quick work, thanks to its large team of technicians. In addition, it provides a popular leasing program for its customers. Sunrun does not manufacture photovoltaic panels or storage solutions in-house but instead collaborates with other producers such as LG, LONGi, and Tesla.
However, although the installer offers attractive financing options and has a good selection of panels, some customers have complained about poor customer service and slow responses to requests for maintenance.
Factors to consider when selecting the best company for your solar panel project
Choosing the right installer is crucial to ensure that the project is completed efficiently and effectively. Here’s a look at some key considerations you should take into account when choosing among suppliers.
Experience in the solar industry
Installers need industry experience so that they can have a thorough understanding of the different technologies and systems used in solar energy production. This knowledge allows them to assess the needs and capabilities of a specific site and design a solar panel system that will function optimally.
Reputation among solar customers
You should check out reviews from previous customers and do your research before picking an installer. This will give you a better idea of the company's reliability and the level of satisfaction their customers have experienced.
Quality of solar products and services offered
It is important to consider the quality of the products and services the seller offers. This includes the quality of solor panels, inverters, and other equipment set up on your property. Also, consider the quality of the assembly process itself, as well as the maintenance and repair services.
Customizing solar panel solutions to fit individual needs
An installer who can tailor their solar panel solutions to the unique energy consumption patterns of individual homes is the best choice because it ensures that the pannel system will be able to meet the energy goals of the property and be the most cost-effective solution in the long term.
Financing options and affordability
A solar panel system can be a significant financial investment, and it is vital to find a company that offers a range of financing options to fit your budget. Some installers may offer such financing options as loans, leases, or power purchase agreements, which can make it easier to afford the upfront cost.
Strong customer service and communication
The process of going solar can be complex and involves much decision-making, so it's essential to have a reliable and responsive team to help you through it. Good communication is critical to ensure that you are informed and satisfied throughout the process.
Bonus: best solar storage producers
There are several solar batteries companies that stand out in the market. One of the best is Tesla, which offers high-quality lithium-ion batteries for solar panel systems. They have a long lifespan, high energy density, and low self-discharge rate, making them an excellent choice for storing energy.
Another leading manufacturer is LG Chem, which produces a range of high-performance storage systems for reasonable prices. These products are designed to withstand extreme temperatures and have a long service life. In addition to these manufacturers, several other solar batteries companies also offer high-quality products, including Sonnen, Sunrun, and Enphase.
Final thoughts: Selecting a top solar company takes effort, but it's worth it
In conclusion, choosing a solar producer and an installer can be time-consuming, but it is essential to ensure the success of your photovoltaic system. It is worth taking the time to research and compare different manufacturers and installers to find the best fit for your specific needs and budget. By carefully considering factors such as product quality, customer service, and warranty options, you can feel confident in your decision and know that your investment in solar energy will pay off in the long run.