Where to buy solar panels in 2021?

Updated

a suburban area featuring homes with solar panels on their roofs
There are many ways to utilize solar power, and whichever way you choose depends on what you're looking to gain from your installation.

When buying solar panels, there are several options you can choose from in 2021. There is no one-size-fits-all for solar. This is because every installation is different, and every homeowner’s goal for their solar system varies. 

Today, I’ll review the 5 most common ways people buy solar panels, along with the best-rated equipment. 

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    5 common ways homeowners buy solar panels

    1: Solar panel kits

    Solar panel kits are best for small DIY off-grid systems and you can find many on Amazon. Most solar panels kits will not generate enough power to cover the electricity bills for a home. However, they are a great option if you are looking to generate power for limited use and/or short amounts of time, like for an RV.

    Solar panel kits are great for supplying power to places with no access to electricity, at a reasonable price. You can also claim the federal solar tax credit on solar kits, which is huge because it covers 26% of a solar panel kit’s cost.

    2: Going DIY with wholesale solar companies

    Wholesale resellers are companies that do not install solar panels. What they do is sell everything you would need for a solar installation - online. Despite buying them “wholesale”, these companies still make a profit on the equipment they sell. However, it is much cheaper than buying an entire solar energy system from an installation company. 

    Installing your own system is a very time-consuming and complicated process; we strongly recommend only taking on this kind of project if you have knowledge about PV electrical systems. It is also potentially dangerous.

    That being said, if you have the skills, performing your own solar installation could be the right option for you. Check out our DIY solar panel installation guide here.

    3: Large multi-state solar companies

    Some large multi-state solar companies can still be a good option when going solar. However, here at SolarReviews, we have typically found that customer service falls as solar companies grow to multi-state size. 

    The reason this happens is as a solar company grows, the owner has to rely on a manager for each state branch, so customer service becomes much harder to maintain. 

    This is why multi-state companies usually charge more for solar because they have more overhead costs than local installers.

    4: Local solar installers

    The most common way homeowners buy solar panels is through local solar companies. Choosing a local installation company over a large solar chain usually means you get better customer service and a lower price when going solar. 

    According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), local solar installers’ pricing is an average of 10% lower than the multi-state residential solar installers. This is because local solar companies have less overhead costs, meaning they can sell solar systems at a lower price.

    5: Buying solar panels using SolarReviews

    SolarReviews can be of immense value for homeowners thinking about going solar. We have various solar-related tools on our website that save homeowners money and time when shopping for solar panels.

    Our solar calculator provides homeowners with helpful information for their specific home, such as:

    • How many solar panels you will need
    • Recommended system size
    • The cost of going solar
    • The savings over your system 25-year lifespan
    • The payback period for your solar system

    This calculator gives homeowners the information to decide whether solar is feasible for their home before talking to solar companies.

    You may be asking yourself, “How can I know a solar company is trusted before I go through with such a big purchase?” Luckily, homeowners can read reviews from past customers using our site. We are the biggest industry-specific reviews site for solar. This is because we pride ourselves on removing any fake reviews and not being involved with any solar companies. 

    In fact, homeowners have saved thousands of dollars when using our website to go solar.

    After using our solar tools, you can decide if you want to receive a quote from 1-4 installers in your area. You can then compare these solar quotes and choose which company, if any, best fits you.

    Calculate how much solar will cost

    Top rated solar panels and inverters

    Whichever way you choose to install your solar power system, it is important that the quality of the equipment holds up. A good solar company sells you equipment that is safe and is going to last 25 years - which is the life expectancy of your solar panel system. 

    The upfront cost of your solar system may be higher, but it’s more likely to last longer, leading to more savings. Good solar companies charge a little extra, to ensure they can afford to honor your warranty period.

    If you buy any of these brands in 2021, we are confident they will perform well if installed correctly.

    5 top trusted solar panel brands in 2021
    # Solar panel brand Reviews score out of 5 Number of reviews
    1 Panasonic 4.83 stars Reviews: 324
    2 Q CELLS 4.81 stars Reviews: 534
    3 LG Solar 4.77 stars Reviews: 924
    4 Canadian Solar 4.68 stars Reviews: 165
    5 SunPower 4.58 stars Reviews: 1,011

     

    3 top trusted solar inverter brands in 2021
    # Solar inverter brand Reviews score out of 5 Number of reviews
    1 SMA America, LLC 4.33 stars Reviews: 112
    2 Enphase Energy 4.20 stars Reviews: 401
    3 Fronius USA 3.98 stars Reviews: 66
    Calculate how much solar will cost for your home
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Oliver Sendy

    SolarReviews Blog Author

    Oliver is very passionate about the solar industry. He loves that solar is great for the environment but is also an excellent investment. He has gained hands-on experience working for a solar installation company, which informs his writing about solar.

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