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Are ‘Free Solar Panels’ Really Free? (2023 Guide). Nationwide solar panels

Are ‘Free Solar Panels’ Really Free? (2023 Guide). Nationwide solar panels

    Nationwide Sun

    A score we give a solar company out of 100 based on 13 criteria that our SolarReviews industry experts believe are the best criteria to separate good and bad solar companies.

    Rating breakdown

    Litigation and background

    Verification of licenses and insurance

    Profitability of installer

    Consumer reviews performance

    Transparency of Pricing and Sales Process

    Company size and Location

    Transparency About Reputation

    Competitiveness of Loan Options

    Sustainable Pricing of Systems

    Employee Satisfaction and Safety Record


    Latest good review

    MJ | Rocklin, California | 04/26/2023

    This company was awesome to work with. The owner Frank takes care of his customers, and the entire team communicates and takes the time to explain things. I purchased my solar system from Nationwide because they were local, had a great reputation, they guaranteed in writing I would get enrolled in NEM 2.0 before the quickly approaching deadline, and on top of everything else they were the lowest price. Btw, a National company that sells through Costco was way over priced! If you go with Nationwide Sun you won’t regret it.

    All reviews

    David Crane | Cool, California | 04/24/2023

    Excellent design and installation

    Working with Nationwide Sun I was able to tailor a system perfect for my needs, using a single roof surface. They took care of all PGE applications, County permits, and helped me clear the project with my HOA. When time came to install the project the crew was efficient, considerate, and cleaned up afterwards. If I didn’t see the panels on the roof (and my PGE meter spinning backwards) I would not have known they had been there. Highly recommended.

    martin | Mill Valley, California | 01/13/2023

    Solar and battery back up

    Frank and his team went above and beyond to help replace a dysfunctional system. Could not be more happy. Great company to do business with. Highly recommended.

    Mark H | Elk Grove, California | 11/30/2022

    Superior service

    This is an awesome company to work with. They have great customer service, product was delivered on time and at cost. Very happy with the installation and post service received.

    Leonard Meza | Auburn, California | 02/08/2022

    Company was the best value and employees from top down exhibited honesty, good communication and delivered on project scope.

    Rich | Rocklin, California | 09/30/2021

    Excellent Solar Installation

    Working with Nationwide Sun was great! It seldom I run across a company with the high level of integrity I experienced with Nationwide Sun. During my solar install some tools fell off the roof and hit my car. I wouldn’t have even noticed the damage, but Frank pointed out the damage along with the team that caused the issue and made everything right. I had to take the car to a body shop and Frank and Nationwide Sun took care of everything. I was also amazed how fast this entire project took place. From beginning to end was less than 3 weeks and that includes financing. And speaking of financing, no other quote for financing came even close to the rate I got working with Nationwide Sun. Thank You for a job well done.

    Kellie D. | Lincoln, California | 05/29/2021

    Fantastic company

    From beginning to end, this company has been fantastic to work with. The team at Nationwide Sun was great to work with. From the very beginning communication,, initial quote, financing options to panel placement design. They were available every step of the way on my time. I will recommend them to everyone I know who especially if you have a busy work schedule to work around. A

    Camellia Circle | Rocklin, California | 05/26/2021

    Top notch company

    Open book with no bureaucracy. I was very pleased with how quickly from acceptance to installation they were able to complete the project. Frank explained everything in detail and helped us understand our options. Price was close to lowest so it was a no-brainer to choose Nationwide Sun.

    Mountain Solar | Georgetown, California | 05/26/2021

    Truely Knowelegeable Solar Experts

    I chose them after I talked to the Chief Engineer Frank. He knew all the issues inside and out and was able to explain them in layman’s terms. They did a complete survey of the property to find a spot to install the system which was difficult due to the Mountain Location and the amount of trees. After the review, they were spot on in their assessment and the costs were exact.

    Randy K. | Grass Valley, California | 01/04/2021

    Great Company for Installing Generac Whole House Generators

    Nationwide Sun installed a whole house generator for our home and also one for our well. Frank and team did an excellent job! We were happy with their team’s professionalism and the good communication from them. The generators worked great during the PSPS’ of 2020! We happily recommend them!

    Beau B | Lincoln, California | 09/08/2020

    Beyond Expectations on Every Level

    Nationwide Sun (Frank and his team), are absolute professionals in every way. And at the same time, they are incredibly down to earth and helpfuljust good human beings. I have found Frank and his company are one of those rare companies that fully adds to and benefits the communities around them. They are passionate for what they are doingwhich is why they do it. They are not in it for the money as the primary goal of the business, and after working with him through our solar install, that became abundantly clear. I spent 3 years looking for, reviewing, and interviewing solar installers. I am so grateful to have found Frank and his teamand to be honest I feel lucky. They don’t advertise much if at all because they mostly do commercial solar and other environmental engineering projects for bigger businesses. Most of their residential installs are word of mouth only and its a wonder that they make the time they do, to do residential at all. I can’t recommend Frank and his team more highly for solar. They met and shot through our expectations on every level. This review is long overdue by the waywe have had solar for over a year now and it has been perfect in every way. Everything we hoped for (no more electrical bill, energy monitoring, good price, etc) for met and more was given. We were absolutely blown away by Frank and his team. They were amazing and are amazing. If you are considering getting solar, talk to Nationwide Sun. You won’t be sorry and you will likely be blown away by their quality, customer care, and professional ability and passion.

    Service types

    Residential solar. Grid tied

    Commercial solar. Grid tied

    Residential solar. Hybrid solar systems

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    About Nationwide Sun

    A Revolutionary Approach to Going SolarGet a quote right now, no obligation, and no salesperson will visit.Fixed, low, guaranteed best for the best equipment.

    Servicing the entire state of California with over 1000 systems in operation and counting daily.

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    Are ‘Free Solar Panels’ Really Free? (2023 Guide)

    This guide has helped thousands of homeowners to avoid getting taken advantage of when going solar and provided them with actual ways to save money. Let’s get started!

    Each product and or company featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

    Written by Karsten Neumeister

    Karsten is an editor and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace. Learn About This Person

    Reviewed by Melissa Smith

    Melissa is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainability studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a nonprofit that’s featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral. Learn About This Person

    Why You Can Trust EcoWatch

    We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites.

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    Find the best price from solar installers in your area.

    Are ‘Free Solar Panels’ a Scam?

    You may have seen advertisements or had someone knock on your door offering free solar panels. But are “free solar panelsreally free? Let’s get this out of the way early — “free solar panels” are not really free.

    There is no such thing as free solar panels, and there is no such thing as a no-cost solar program. If you’re hearing about “free” or “no-cost solar programs,” you’re likely being fed a cheap sales pitch to tempt you into signing a solar lease, or a power purchase agreement.

    Under these solar financing agreements, a solar company installs solar panels on your home for no money down (hence, the misleading use of the word “free”), and you then pay a monthly rate for the clean energy those panels produce. Think about it as renting solar panels, or simply buying your power from a solar company instead of a utility company.

    Zero-money-down installation, free maintenance, free enrollment, guaranteed savings written into the contract — these promises are all just a little too good to be true. We’ll get into the fine print on why “free solar” is so misleading, but if you’re looking to install solar panels on your home for 0 down, it’s possible to do so with loan financing.


    SunPower designs and installs industry-leading residential solar and storage solutions across all 50 states. With a storied history of innovation dating back to 1985, no other company on this list can match SunPower’s experience and expertise.

    SunPower earns its position as the top national installer on our list for a handful of reasons: It installs the most efficient solar technology on the residential market, offers the most expansive service area and backs its installations with a warranty well above the industry standard. All the while, SunPower pioneers sustainability efforts within the industry.

    If that weren’t enough, SunPower systems come packaged with products all manufactured in-house by its sister company, Maxeon. This means that your panels, solar cells, inverters, battery and EV chargers are designed to work together and are all covered under the same warranty.

    SunPower’s biggest downside? Its high-efficiency panels are considerably more expensive than most of its competitors’ products. However, its powerful panels are workhorses that make up for the initial cost with more backend production (think about this like spending more money for a car that gets more miles per gallon).

    Facts and Figures: SunPower

    EcoWatch Rating Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating Year Founded Average Cost (-) Solar Services Brands of Solar Equipment Offered Warranty Coverage
    Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, EV Chargers, System Monitoring
    SunPower Panels
    25-year all-inclusive warranty

    Blue Raven Solar

    We like Blue Raven Solar because it understands that, for most homeowners, the cost of solar presents the biggest barrier to entry.

    For that reason, Blue Raven Solar developed an innovative solar financing plan that offers in-house, flexible, zero-money-down options. The results speak for themselves, as Blue Raven Solar is now one of the fastest-growing solar companies in the nation and was recently acquired by SunPower. Its BluePower Plus plan (exclusive to Blue Raven) mimics the flexible structure of a lease while still providing the greatest benefits of owning your system.

    Eligible homeowners enjoy 18 months of solar power before having to pay their first bill. When coupled with the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), the initial energy savings can offset more than a third of the overall cost of a system before requiring a dollar down.

    In contrast, other installers can only offer similar financing through solar leases, PPAs or third-party providers (such as Mosaic or Sunlight). Third-party loan providers can complicate the process, while opting for a loan or PPA will disqualify you from some of solar’s biggest benefits (additional property value, federal solar tax credit and local solar incentives).

    Facts and Figures: Blue Raven Solar

    EcoWatch Rating Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating Year Founded Average Cost (-) Solar Services Brands of Solar Equipment Offered Warranty Coverage
    Solar Panels, System Monitoring
    Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, SolarEdge, Silfab, SunPower
    25-year manufacturer warranty; 10-year workmanship warranty, 2-year production guarantee

    ADT Solar

    ADT Solar sets the industry standard for warranty coverage by including a multifaceted guarantee, making it one of the top installers for homeowners who want added peace of mind.

    Its warranty coverage includes all of the following for 25 years:

    • Power Production Guarantee: Also known as a performance guarantee, this ensures your solar system will produce the amount of electricity that’s outlined in your proposal, or ADT will write you a check for the difference.
    • Labor Guarantee: This covers any issues with the installation of your system and is also known as a workmanship warranty.
    • Panel Module Performance Guarantee: This is what ADT Solar refers to the manufacturer warranty as, and it ensures that any manufacturing defects are repaired or your ineffective panels replaced.
    • Enphase Microinverters Guarantee: This backs the performance of your inverters.

    Though in recent years other solar companies have started to offer similar guarantees, ADT Solar has been at it since 2008, performing over 30,000 installations across the country.

    Facts and Figures: ADT Solar

    EcoWatch Rating Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating Year Founded Average Cost (-) Solar Services Brands of Solar Equipment Offered Warranty Coverage
    Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, EV Chargers, Energy-Efficiency Upgrades
    Silfab, Panasonic and others depending on location
    25-year all-inclusive warranty

    What Are Legitimate Solar Panel Financing Options?

    The marketing strategies advertising “free solar panels” are designed to entice, but in many cases, solar leases and PPAs end up being impractical choices for homeowners. In some severe cases, solar companies have even faced lawsuits over falsely advertising “free solar panels” to unsuspecting customers who lost thousands by signing unfair contracts.

    The average solar lease can indeed save a customer money, but only when things go smoothly. If you sign a solar lease and change your mind, sell your home or your system experiences production issues, you can run into costly surprise bills. Here’s why:

    • Lease agreements have hefty cancellation fees, sometimes as high as 20,000.
    • If you ever decide to sell your home, transferring a lease to a new homeowner can be challenging. If the new owner doesn’t agree to assume the solar lease, you might have to pay to move the panels to a new residence, or worse, be forced to cancel your lease.
    • In a worst-case scenario, hiring a low-quality solar panel installation company can lead to issues with your home or roof. Solar leases may not offer workmanship warranties, so you could face bills for any damage to the integrity of your home.

    Solar leases and solar PPAs are not themselves scams, but homeowners should be cautious and educate themselves before signing a lease. Make sure to always read the fine print. So, if “free solar panels” aren’t really free, what is the best way to pay for solar panels?

    Paying for Solar Panels in Cash

    Paying for solar in cash will yield the most long-term savings. By purchasing a home solar system outright, you’re essentially paying for about 25 years of discounted electricity at once. A cash purchase allows you to calculate home energy costs decades in advance, avoiding interest rates, fees and utility rate hikes.

    Solar Panel Installations Nationwide

    If you’re looking for a reliable and experienced solar panel installer for your home then we can help.

    We specialize in rooftop solar PV installations nationwide and are committed to providing our customers with high-quality, cost-effective solutions for their energy needs.

    Our Services

    At DNK Renewables, we offer a range of solar panel installation services to meet the unique needs of our customers. We will work with you to design and install a solar PV system that is tailored to your budget, home and energy needs. Some of the benefits of choosing us as your installer include:

    • Expertise in solar panel installation
    • High-quality materials and equipment
    • Competitive pricing
    • Excellent customer service

    Equipment we Use

    Based on your individual energy requirements and budget, we’ll select the best combination of solar panels and inverter that we know will work best for your situation. Below is a list of some of the solar equipment manufacturers that we use (it’s not reflective of the complete range we use, by any means!):


    • Sunsynk
    • Givenergy
    • FoxEss
    • Growatt
    • Solis
    • LuxPowerTek

    Contact Us

    If you’re ready to start enjoying the benefits of solar energy, contact us today for a quote, or call us during office hours on 01709 862 026 to schedule a consultation. We’ll work with you to design and install a solar panel system that meets your unique needs and budget.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How much does a solar panel installation cost

    The cost of a solar panel installation can vary depending on a number of factors, including the size of the system, the type of panels used, and the complexity of the installation. At DNK Renewables Ltd, we offer competitive pricing and financing options to help make solar energy more affordable for our customers.

    How long does a solar panel installation take

    The timeline for a solar panel installation can vary depending on the size and complexity of the system, as well as other factors such as weather conditions and permitting requirements. Typically, we can complete a residential solar installation in a single day, but if you have large energy needs that also include battery backup, then it could be longer.

    Interested in a solar installation for your home? Contact us for a free quote to get started.

    What is the lifespan of a solar panel?

    The average workable lifespan of a solar panel is around 25-30 years. Bear in mind that even at this stage, most solar panels will still retain around 80% of their original power output. With proper maintenance and care, however, some panels can last even longer. At DNK Renewables Ltd, we provide our customers with guidance on how to properly care for their solar panels to ensure maximum lifespan and energy output.

    free, solar, panels, really, 2023, guide

    Will solar panels work on my roof?

    Whether or not solar panels will work on your roof depends on a number of factors, including the orientation and pitch of your roof, the amount of shade it receives, and for much older properties, the structural integrity of the roof.

    At DNK Renewables Ltd, we offer a free solar assessment to determine if your roof is suitable for solar panel installation.

    How much energy can I expect to generate from my solar panels?

    The amount of energy generated by a solar panel system can vary depending on a number of factors, including the size of the system, the location of the panels, and the amount of sunlight the panels receive.

    On average, a residential solar panel system can generate anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

    What happens if my solar panels don’t generate enough energy?

    During the Spring and Summer months, a typical system will meet the energy needs of the average household. In Autumn and Winter, most UK households supplement solar production with power from the Grid.

    This is why we will often recommend adding battery backup to your solar panel installation, so you can store any excess daytime energy to be used when the Sun isn’t shining.

    The added advantage of a solar backup battery is that you can charge it up via cheap rate electricity during times when the weather is set to be cloudy, and then use that energy the following day, often at 50% (or less), of the cost of daytime energy tariffs.

    The only situations where a battery backup isn’t optimal, from a cost perspective, is when a household’s annual usage is very low (typically less than 1500kWh annual usage), in which case a small rooftop solar panel installation is perfectly adequate.

    Get Your Quote

    Click the GET YOUR QUOTE button below to contact us. we’ll get back in touch to see how we can best help you with a renewable energy solution that fits your needs and budget.

    We’re passionate about making the world a greener place and aim to deliver the latest innovative renewable products, so that you can live more sustainably and lower your energy bill too.

    Solar Panels in North Carolina: The Best Companies, Costs and Incentives

    Solar panels can help you save on your power bill, but they’re expensive. Here’s how to make the most of incentives in North Carolina.

    Lisa Iscrupe is a CNET contributor and a writer for CNET’s sister publication with a background in residential energy and solar power. She explores a spectrum of energy-adjacent topics, from saving money on electric bills to finding the best electric vehicle charger. Readers can expect straightforward explanations, reviews and advice on all things energy. CNN, The Daily MBA, The Media Bulletin and other national media outlets have referenced her articles.

    North Carolina exceeds the national average for sunny days, with 213 per year on average, according to Current Results. That means it has near-perfect conditions for maximizing solar panel efficiency year-round.

    You have plenty of incentives for switching to solar power in the Tar Heel State. And while North Carolinians see some of the lowest electricity nationwide, according to CNET’s sister publication SaveOnEnergy, Duke Energy, the primary electricity provider in the state, raised by as much as 9.5% in 2022, according to WCNC.

    North Carolinians looking to avoid future electricity cost increases can explore solar power for green energy options that can keep rates stable for years to come.

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    Average cost of solar panels in North Carolina

    Here’s a look at the average cash price for a 5-kilowatt system before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from

    North Carolina solar panel costs

    How to pay for solar panels in North Carolina

    The most popular way for state residents to pay for solar panels include the following:

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    Cash is often endorsed as the best payment method when installing solar panels because it is interest-free and makes you eligible for all solar tax incentives and rebates. Solar loans also qualify for tax incentives and rebates, but the payback period is longer, and interest will accrue. Finally, solar leases and Power Purchase Agreements have a set monthly fee, but the homeowner has less control over the solar array, and incentives are unavailable.

    You can also explore alternative financing methods such as personal loans. home equity loans or government financing programs such as the Property Assessed Clean Energy program. PACE programs allow a property owner to finance the upfront cost of energy or other eligible improvements on a property and then pay the costs back over time through a voluntary assessment. The unique characteristic of PACE assessments is that the assessment is attached to the property rather than an individual, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy.

    North Carolina solar panel incentives and rebates

    With these local and state solar incentives, North Carolinians have many opportunities to save on solar panel costs. The residential clean energy credit is perhaps the biggest opportunity for North Carolina residents to save thousands on a home solar system, allowing you to claim 30% of the total cost of your system back in tax credits.

    free, solar, panels, really, 2023, guide

    Here’s a look at solar incentives available in North Carolina.

    ProgramDescriptionCustomers earn bill credits through solar energy generation at an amount equal to the most recently approved rate schedule.NC Duke Energy customers with a residential solar system can earn bill credits for sending excess energy generated by the array back to the power grid.This incentive is a one-time rebate for NC Duke Energy customers who own a solar array. The rebate amount is based on the solar system size. A 7-kilowatt system will generate a rebate of around 2,800. Homeowners must submit a Solar Rebate application within 90 days of installation.Various North Carolina electric providers offer net metering programs. Check with your provider to confirm availability near you.Solar owners in the state can claim a property tax exemption for 80% of the appraised value of their solar system. Apply with the NC Dept. of Revenue here.This federal incentive, available for homeowners, offers a 30% tax credit for systems installed from 2022 to 2032. Apply through the IRS.

    The best national solar companies in North Carolina

    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more 200 solar companies operate across North Carolina. Several big-name solar companies operate nationwide. Here’s a look at the top national installers, according to our ratings, that operate in the Tar Heel State.

    ADT Solar

    ADT Solar is a nationwide brand that installs solar in North Carolina. Parent company ADT Security has been around for over 100 years, which may appeal to homeowners who want to stick with an established business. ADT Solar also offers a price-match guarantee, so shop around before signing an agreement. ADT offers batteries from Tesla Powerwall and Enphase IQ, financing through solar loans and a 25-year warranty agreement.

    Palmetto Solar

    Founded in 2010, South Carolina-based Palmetto Solar is a good choice for North Carolinians. Palmetto has a national footprint, assists you through the installation process and backs its work with a 25-year performance warranty. Palmetto offers several financing options, such as a solar loan, lease or PPA. You can add on a Sonnen battery for solar energy storage.

    free, solar, panels, really, 2023, guide

    SunPower Solar

    SunPower is a major player in the residential solar installation landscape. The company was founded in 1985. SunPower are higher than other solar installers because the California-based company uses high-efficiency Maxeon brand panels and its own branded SunVault battery. If you choose SunPower, you can pay with cash, a solar loan or a lease. You’ll get a 25-year system warranty and a 10-year battery warranty.

    Tesla Solar

    In addition to being a huge name in electric vehicles, Tesla is a major player in the solar industry. It’s known for its sleek, relatively affordable solar panels and its popular Tesla Powerwall battery. Tesla offers price matching, making it an affordable national option. The company has a reputation for lackluster customer service, however.

    free, solar, panels, really, 2023, guide

    How we chose the best solar companies

    Solar panels are difficult to put through hands-on testing, so our reviews are based on research on each company’s offerings, focused on what we can measure. CNET’s list of the best solar companies was selected based on the equipment they offered, their stated warranties and apparent commitments to customer service. Here’s a detailed look at our selection methodology.

    Local North Carolina solar installers

    While national brands get a lot of the attention, the solar industry is full of small, local companies that can install and maintain your panels. Here are a few we identified through our research that operate in North Carolina.

    8M Solar

    8M Solar is a local company founded in 2009. 8M has locations in over a dozen North Carolina cities, including Charlotte, High Point, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. The company has an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau and is endorsed by Duke Energy. 8M offers batteries from top brands such as the Tesla Powerwall and Sonnen, a 25-year warranty on solar energy systems and financing options through a third-party lender.

    Yes Solar Solutions

    Founded in 2009, Yes Solar Solutions is a family-operated solar business based in Cary, North Carolina. Yes Solar Solutions doesn’t rely on subcontractors, instead opting to invest in its employees through ongoing training and development. Yes financing assistance uses its network of partners to help customers find a low solar loan rate. For solar storage solutions, the company has certified Tesla Powerwall installers on staff, and solar panels come with a 25-year guarantee.

    Installation factors to keep in mind

    Consider these five factors before deciding on a solar panel solution for your North Carolina home, so you don’t have any surprises before or during installation.

    • Rent or own: Homeowners typically have more free rein to make changes to their property. Renters, however, may be ineligible to install solar without landlord approval, but community solar programs. can be a solar alternative.
    • Roof condition: A trusted solar installer will determine if your roof requires maintenance before installation. Based on the condition and age of your roof, you can anticipate whether repairs may be necessary before solar installation.
    • Home location: North Carolina residents typically have plenty of sunlight to generate solar energy all year. However, homes with ample tree cover or facing away from the southern sky could produce less-efficient solar systems.
    • HOA and neighborhood rules: Consider your HOA rules or neighborhood restrictions to avoid complications before or during installation.
    • Home insurance policies: Most home insurance companies can add a solar system to your policy. Start communicating with your insurance company before getting solar panels to notify them of your home upgrade.

    North Carolina solar power FAQs

    Does North Carolina offer solar incentives?

    Yes. North Carolina solar incentives include net metering programs, property tax exemptions and state and federal rebates for installed solar panels.

    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 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.


    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 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 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.

    reading on EnergySage

    Looking to go solar? Here’s everything you need to know in… Best solar panels in 2023: Top products compared Are solar panels worth it in 2023? How to install solar panels Solar shingles: what you need to know in 2023

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