The 5 Best Solar Panel Installation Companies of 2020

Solar panels on roof

Getty Images/Kerstin Klaassen

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The 5 Best Solar Panel Companies of 2020

Best Overall: SunPower

SunPower

SunPower 

SunPower is our favorite option because of the company’s dedication to using environmentally friendly materials, upholding production standards, and reducing its carbon footprint. Homeowners can choose from four types of panels, ranging from 320 watts to 470 watts with efficiencies between 19% and 22.7%—the most efficient on the market. Wood Mackenzie Energy Research named SunPower the number one commercial solar provider in the U.S. in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

If you’re considering a transition to solar energy but aren’t sure where to start, you can visit the SunPower Design Studio that outlines the shape of your roof and identifies obstructions that might limit the efficiency of your solar panels. The machine learning-powered tool then creates a rendering showing optimal solar panel placement, calculates panel output, and estimates your potential savings. Pricing isn’t available online, but you can contact customer support via phone or online form to get a quote.

In addition to SunPower’s industry-leading solar panels and equipment, the company generally boasts excellent reviews, with customers highlighting the company’s customer service team and panel quality. Plus, when you buy SunPower solar panels, they’re covered by a 25-year complete system warranty that promises 92% DC power output in year 25—the highest in the industry.

Best Flexible Financing: Vivint Solar

Vivint Solar

Vivint Solar 

Vivint is a home and commercial solar panel company that also offers storage systems and at-home vehicle chargers. The solar company stands out, though, because of its flexible financing options that include solar purchase, solar power purchase agreement (PPA), solar loan, and solar leasing. In addition to providing basic financing options, Vivint’s PPA and lease options make solar power accessible even if you can’t afford any upfront installation or equipment costs.

Like SunPower, Vivint Solar features an online design tool that lets homeowners search for their house and evaluate the feasibility of a solar system. Prospective customers also get a free home energy consultation and continued design and installation support throughout the entire process. Although the company has some negative service-related reviews, most are positive and focus on price and ease of the installation process. As with several options on our list, the company does not list pricing online, but you can contact Vivint for a free consultation and quote.

Vivint is only available in 22 states and the District of Columbia, making it less prevalent than some of the other options we evaluated. However, if you’re not already in one of Vivint’s existing markets, you can join the waiting list and be notified when the coverage area expands. Vivint is a top pick for Treehugger because its flexible payment options make solar power accessible to more homeowners. 

Best Portable & Outdoor: Renogy

Renogy

Renogy 

If you need solar panels for your RV, small off-grid home, or campsite, Renogy offers state of the art solar panel and charger technology on the go. For solar converts who prefer the road less traveled, Renogy offers a compact electronics charging kit, flashlight, and power stations that can be a real lifesaver for outdoor enthusiasts.

Customers that want larger portable systems can also choose from options designed for vans (about $310), travel trailers (about $465), and RVs (roughly $800). Renogy also sells solar panel kits for off-grid tiny homes, cabins, and larger homes ranging from $3,159 to about $6,500, depending on the size of the system. Budget-conscious buyers can also take advantage of Renogy’s free shipping and financing through Bread.

Unfortunately, Renogy’s website doesn’t provide details about wattage or other specs for its solar kits. This can make it difficult to know what you’re getting if you want a more custom solar setup. In that case, we recommend building your own portable system with Renogy’s selection of individual panels, batteries, inverters, and other add-on equipment, which—like the solar kits—is extremely well-reviewed. No matter what option you choose, we love Renogy because its products are built for a more sustainable, off-grid lifestyle.

Best Do-It-Yourself: Wholesale Solar

Wholesale Solar

Wholesale Solar

Wholesale Solar specializes in a wide range of do-it-yourself grid-tie, off-grid, RV, and marine solar panels—including individual components and complete systems. Grid-tie kits range from about $4,000 to over $50,000. The size of the system and whether it includes micro-inverters to maximize panel efficiency determines the pricing. Off-grid solar panel kits for RVs range from about $750 to $1,800, and residential systems range from $1,500 up to $35,000.

In addition to buying a pre-designed kit, you can design a completely custom system with solar panels and other components from brands like SunPower, Solarland, and LG. Start by using Wholesale Solar’s Cost Calculator to get a ballpark estimate of what your system might cost, including equipment and installation. Then, contact customer service via phone or online form to get a more detailed quote within three to five days.

Because Wholesale Solar focuses on helping consumers build the perfect system to fit their unique needs, the website also provides DIYers ample resources to guide them through the solar design and installation processes. You can start from scratch using the website’s cost calculators, battery bank calculator, permitting information, videos, and other guides. When you’re ready to purchase, Wholesale Solar can also guide customers through financing options. 

Best Large Residential: LG Solar

LG Solar

LG Solar

LG Solar makes both residential and commercial solar panels, some even for small homes with modest energy usage. However, LG Solar’s high efficiency, durable, and attractive panels make it the best choice for complex residential systems. To get started on your own, check out LG’s extensive online resources for solar panel specs and general information. Like SunPower and Vivint, LG also has a Solar Concierge that evaluates your roof and energy use to design a unique system just for you.

Plus, LG connects customers with LG PRO installers across the country who can give quotes, answer questions, and help design and build the best system for your home. If you’re not quite ready to talk to an installer, you can also submit questions through LG’s website and expect a response within 48 hours. And, while LG Solar doesn’t include pricing information online, you can submit an online inquiry to get a quote.

Like SunPower, LG Solar products come with a 25-year warranty that covers equipment, performance, and labor. Customers also get access to 100% online leveraging with the help of an LG Concierge Energy Advisor, which can be especially helpful when building an extensive system. Most importantly, though, LG Solar stands out because it makes switching to renewable energy aesthetically pleasing, reliable, and accessible—no matter how much power you need.

How We Chose the Best Solar Panel Companies

When evaluating the best solar panel companies, we looked at a variety of factors, including price, selection, installation, and overall user experience. Pricing can be difficult to compare because of how widely solar panels and kits differ, so many solar panel companies don't publish their pricing online. Where possible, we obtained pricing information to evaluate how accessible each solar panel company is to readers.

The thought of transitioning to solar power can be intimidating, so each option that made our list offers multiple customer support channels—including design tools, calculators, and other online resources. We also read reviews to identify the most user-friendly options and looked at whether each solar panel company offers a 25-year warranty or just the 10-year industry standard.

In general, solar panels are a straightforward way to make your home more sustainable. However, our top pick—SunPower—stands out because of its "Beneficial by Design" philosophy. Not only does the company produce "top of the line" solar components, but it also has an award-winning dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainable manufacturing.