How to search and compare prices from solar providers near me
Written by Andrew Sendy
Updated August 12, 2021
4 minutes read
Categories: Solar 101, Solar panels, Solar power
When shopping for solar panels, you are looking to achieve three things. You want to find the best solar equipment, the best solar company near you to install it, and the best possible price on the system you need.
Why is comparing prices and reputations of solar companies online important?
Government research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, also known as NREL, shows that homeowners comparing solar prices online save around $2,800 when buying solar compared to those that don't compare prices online. This is why it is not surprising that a number of sites have popped up offering to introduce consumers to solar companies near them.
However, most of these websites fail because they are overly simplistic. They can't tell you important things you need to know before you even start a price comparison process, such as how many solar panels you need to power your home or what the best brands of solar panels on the market in 2020 are.
There is no point in price shopping when you don't yet know what size system you need or what brand of equipment you want.
Most of these sites also ignore other details that are important to your solar panel shopping process, such as how many solar panels will fit on your roof and how much energy solar panels will produce on your home given the direction and tilt angle of your roof.
Without knowing these things, online price comparison is not very effective because solar companies know they are dealing with an uneducated consumer. It is an age-old truth that educated consumers get offered better deals. This is why we have developed the functionality to answer these questions for your home before the price comparison process starts.
How we help you find the best solar providers near you
At Solar-Estimate, we have spent the last 10 years building what is, by far, the most accurate and comprehensive online home solar estimator in America. We can tell you how many solar panels your home needs, how many can fit on your roof, where they should go, and how much power they will produce - all before we start the price comparison process. We can then offer a meaningful price comparison between our network of over 300 pre-screened solar companies on the right system for your home.
We have helped more than 1 million US homeowners find the best solar provider for them. We arm consumers that use our estimator with enough information that solar companies know they have to be both competitive with pricing and accurate in their advice to Solar-Estimate users. Otherwise, they will be found out quickly and removed from the platform.
We are also a sister company to SolarReviews.com, the largest dedicated consumer reviews site for the solar industry. Through this relationship, we are able to offer comparisons between installer prices and reputations through our platform.
You can start the process above by simply entering your zipcode.
Which solar companies near me should I request solar quotes from?
While there are now many installers performing high-quality solar panel installations, it is difficult to know who is both reputable and likely to be around to honor their 25-year (or more) warranties.
Research over many thousands of installations shows that there are several good reasons to go local. SolarReviews data, from tens of thousands of reviews of solar companies, shows that local, family-owned solar companies record far higher levels of client satisfaction.
So, let's dive into the following questions: why you should go local and how to find the best solar deal from the best solar companies.
Why should I go local when buying home solar?
It's certainly easy to find a national installer like Sunrun, Tesla (formerly SolarCity) or Vivint Solar. But there are distinct advantages to going local, such as:
Lower prices: Without the overhead necessary to maintain a call center sales force, local installers can offer you significantly lower rates. A national study from NREL found that local installers can save you almost $2,500 as compared to the national chains. That is not an insignificant amount of money.
Better customer service: National chains are more interested in initial sales volume than they are about long-term customer service. As long as their salespeople bring new customers in through the front door, they're not too worried about the number of dissatisfied customers leaving out the back door.
Local residential solar power system companies, on the other hand, have reputations to keep, and they exist in your community. They are much more interested in keeping long-term customers because they don't have the workforce to make their money on volume. Their focus is on you as the customer—and that leads to better customer service in the long run.
Workmanship: Local companies are more likely to have the time to spend doing the job properly with the proper equipment and installation. They also know that you are more willing to recommend them if the job gets done right the first time, so they are often ready to spend the extra time on workmanship.
Are there other ways to find solar installers near me?
Now that you've decided to hire a local installer, how do you go about finding one? Well, there are numerous ways, but here are some of the ones we like the best:
Ask friends and neighbors. The best recommendation is from someone who has had the work done by a contractor. In fact, some say solar is contagious. If you're looking into getting solar installed, there's a good chance that someone in your neighborhood has already had it done. Ask them who they used and if they were satisfied.
Check local government websites. Local governments are encouraging more people to move to solar and other clean energies. As a result, they may have a list of preferred vendors and installers with whom they recommend you work.
Find your best local installer at SolarReviews.com. With thousands of reviews from real customers, SolarReviews.com is the perfect place to start your search. Just type in your zip code and voila—the best-reviewed local installers are right at your fingertips. SolarReviews also has a list of pre-screened companies so you can be assured these are amongst the best contractors in your city.
Read the reviews yourself and determine which local firm suits your needs best. It's one of the simplest ways to find local pros who can help you go solar at a reasonable cost.
What training and accreditations should I look for when hiring a solar contractor?
An installation company should have a contraction license, an electrical contractors license in your state, and NABCEP-certified installers.
Can I rely on solar providers to forecast how much solar will save me?
It is not necessary to only rely on the advice of your contractor. The online solar estimator on this site is able to provide you with a fairly accurate ballpark estimate of the cost and savings you will face. The estimator takes into the account the tax credit and other local solar incentives that may be available in your city.