The Best Solar Companies in Florida of 2022

Switching to solar in the Sunshine State? Consider one of the best solar companies in Florida for residential products and services.

By Glenda Taylor and Mark Wolfe | Published Sep 30, 2022 2:38 PM

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The Best Solar Companies in Florida Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Florida is one of the sunniest states in the U.S., so upgrading to solar home energy makes sense. Doing so lets homeowners take advantage of a free and plentiful energy source that will lower monthly utility bills while reducing the environmental impact on the planet. Switching to solar is a big step toward sustainability, but the process can be costly and complicated.

When a homeowner is ready to move to clean solar energy, it pays to partner with a reputable company. These professionals will help homeowners navigate system design, equipment options, installation, maintenance services, and incentive programs for the best return on investment. We’ve researched dozens of businesses to help narrow the search. Read on to learn more about our criteria and why we consider these businesses the best solar companies in Florida.

  1. BEST OVERALL: SunPower
  2. RUNNER-UP: ADT Solar
  3. BEST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: Momentum Solar
  4. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Blue Raven Solar
  5. BEST ENERGY SAVINGS: Elevation
  6. ALSO CONSIDER: Solar Bear
The Best Solar Companies in Florida Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Solar Companies in Florida

For optimal power-generating results, solar panels should be placed where they receive ample direct sunlight. Placement will be dictated in large part by the home’s position and location, the panels’ type and efficiency, and whether the yard has overhanging trees. Before selecting one of the top solar companies in Florida, it’s wise to consider critical factors affecting cost and efficiency.

Service Area

Just because a solar company says it operates in Florida doesn’t mean that it operates in all parts of Florida. Some companies may only service specific metro areas around the state. When researching solar companies, homeowners will want to ensure that the company performs work in their specific ZIP code.

Home Location and Roof Type

When an installer is placing solar panels, location is essential. In northern areas of the U.S., limited hours of winter sunlight may not be sufficient to balance out the cost of installing a solar array.

Location isn’t limited to the general geographic area; it also encompasses tall trees or buildings that can block the sun’s light for a considerable part of the day. Additionally, roof type is a concern. A roof with a south-facing slope is ideal for installing solar panels. Some homes may have a roof structure that is not structurally sound enough to support a solar array. The installer may need to repair the roof or place the panels on an independent ground unit instead of on the roof.

Type of Panels

Solar panels all create electricity, but they do it in different manners. The two primary types of solar panels are photovoltaic and thermal, and there are a few other varieties within those categories.

  • Photovoltaic: Photovoltaic panels are the most common solar panel installed today. They consist of solar cells that transform sunlight into electricity. Those looking to power a significant portion of their home’s energy requirements will typically opt for photovoltaic panels.
  • Thermal: Solar thermal panels are composed of mirrors that reflect and concentrate sunlight to make electricity, and they are not as common as photovoltaic panels. Thermal solar technology is more often used for smaller energy needs, such as powering a solar floodlight.
  • Monocrystalline: Some of the best solar panels for Florida, these panels are black and produced from a single silicon crystal—hence the prefix “mono.” These panels are compact and long-lasting, but they’re one of the most expensive options. Monocrystalline panels have efficiency ratings of 20 to 25 percent (see “Efficiency and Performance” below).
  • Polycrystalline: These solar panels are more affordable because they’re made from fragmented silicon crystals. However, polycrystalline panels are not as efficient as monocrystalline ones—they range in efficiency from 5 to 17 percent.
  • PERC: PERC stands for “passivated emitter and rear cell.” This is a new technology that enhances monocrystalline panel efficiency. PERC panels can be up to 5 percent more efficient than standard monocrystalline panels.
  • Thin-film: Thin-film panels do not contain crystalline silicon, so they’re more affordable. Depending on the panel quality, efficiency ranges from 6 to 15 percent.

On-Grid vs. Off-Grid

Homeowners can install an independent off-grid solar array or an on-grid or grid-tie system. Both come with a few benefits and considerations.

An off-grid solar array is a great choice for homeowners who want to be entirely energy self-sufficient. An off-grid system lets the homeowner generate all their electricity. Additional power generated beyond the home’s immediate needs will be stored in large batteries, and this storage can help provide electricity when it’s cloudy. If a storm or natural disaster causes a local power outage, an off-grid system can continue to operate. But if the off-grid system cannot generate power due to low sunlight and the battery storage is depleted, any electrical systems in the home won’t be able to function.

A grid-tie system is popular because homeowners can often sell the excess energy generated back to the utility company. And if there’s not enough sun to fully power the panels, the home can still draw power from the grid. But if the utility company experiences an outage, a grid-tied system will shut down. This is a safety precaution: It would be unsafe for a technician to work on a down power line if a home solar array sent electricity into the line. Those with grid-tie systems can mitigate the effects of utility power outages by installing battery storage.

Efficiency and Performance

Solar panels are becoming more productive as manufacturers integrate more advanced technology. But how can consumers determine if a certain panel is better than another? It all comes down to percentages. Most solar panels have efficiency ratings of 15 to 20 percent. This means that when sunlight hits the panel, the panel will transform between 15 to 20 percent of the sun’s energy into usable electricity.

Some high-efficiency solar panels have efficiency ratings up to 25 percent; however, the highest efficiency available today is around 22.5 percent. Industry experts are working on ways to augment solar panel efficiency, and research shows future solar panels could have efficiency ratings of 40 percent.

Manufacturers vs. Installers

Some solar companies can install more than one brand of solar panels, but other companies manufacture and install their own panels. The distinction may not mean much to some customers, especially if they want a good panel installation price. However, this difference often affects the installation company’s guarantees. Manufacturers/installers may be more likely to offer stronger warranties. Conversely, a company that only installs panels but doesn’t manufacture them may require the customer to contact the manufacturer directly for any issues with the panels.

Consultation Process

Most solar companies provide free consultations. The consultation typically includes assessing the home’s location and gauging the amount of direct sunlight the solar array would receive. As part of the process, the company often suggests a specific type of solar panel array. The consultation process will also provide the homeowner with an estimate of how much they could save on their current utility bill.

Pricing and Financing

The cost to have solar panels installed in Florida usually ranges between $10,000 and $15,000, depending on the number of panels needed and the panels’ efficiency. Most homeowners will pay an average of $13,000.

Homeowners may be able to take advantage of financing through a solar company or a private lender. Private lenders may want the homeowner to take out a second mortgage on their home to secure the loan.

Many customers find leasing solar panels to be a favorable alternative. Solar leases allow homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy bills, and the leasing company owns the panels. Leases can last anywhere from 5 to 25 years. The leasing company also typically takes care of any repairs or maintenance required.

Permits

In many municipalities, a permit must be obtained before installing solar panels. The permit cost depends on local regulations, but the installer usually includes it in the installation cost. Additionally, the installer often pulls the permit for the customer.

A permit lets the local building authority know a homeowner intends to install solar panels. The building authority will then send an inspector to inspect the solar array installation before the installer can turn on the system.

Installation

The preliminary consultation and then acquiring the permit are the first two steps in the solar system installation process. Then, the installer can order the panels and any required equipment.

Installation is an exciting process, as it realizes the project’s planning. The installer will make any needed roof adjustments or repairs to support the array. The electrical system will be installed, and the mounted panels will be hooked up to the system.

The final step of turning the new system on may have to wait until an inspector examines everything. An installer will typically notify the inspector when installation is complete, so there should be minimal downtime between installation and when the system can be used.

Guarantees

In the solar business, a limited 25-year warranty is standard. This comprises replacing components that fail due to factory defects and installation errors or repairing the panels. But customers will want to be cautious because not all warranties are equally generous.
Some warranties provide only the cost of replacement parts, leaving the homeowner responsible for paying the repair technicians. Other companies guarantee certain system features for shorter periods. For example, a company might provide a 25-year warranty on the panel performance and a 12.5-year warranty on the inverter.

Rebates and Tax Incentives

A tax credit is a percentage of what the homeowner spent on solar panels that can be taken out of the amount of income they claim. The federal government provided a 30 percent tax credit until 2019. In this case, if the solar panels cost $10,000, the homeowner could reduce their income tax liability by $3,000 (30 percent of $10,000). But the federal tax credit has been reduced in the years since. The tax credit will be 26 percent through 2022. By 2023, it will drop to 22 percent. In 2024, the federal tax credit expires unless Congress moves to extend it.

States and local communities may offer their own tax incentives. Solar companies and manufacturers may also offer rebates, but the availability often changes. The solar installer is usually the prime source for up-to-date rebate and tax information.

Customer Support

Purchasing a solar system is expensive, and if something goes awry, it’s comforting to know the solar company is available to take care of the problem. Solar companies will have a call-in customer service number, and many will also have an emergency number for after-hours calls. Others provide customer support via chat or email with interactive troubleshooting to help the homeowner figure out the problem and schedule repairs (if needed). The more customer support options a company offers, the higher the customer satisfaction.

Our Top Picks

Solar is one of the most popular renewable energy sources for Florida homeowners. Whether a customer is looking to reduce their carbon footprint or to go completely off-grid, the following are some of the top solar companies in Florida.

Best Overall

The Best Solar Companies in Florida Option SunPower
Photo: sunpower.com

Why It Made the Cut: SunPower boasts decades of experience offering excellent customer service, top-quality solar equipment, and a process that prioritizes simplicity, reliability, and efficiency.

SunPower could be the answer for those wondering who is the best solar company in Florida. It currently serves customers nationwide, including those in Florida. SunPower offers some of the industry’s top products and services, like Maxeon monocrystalline solar panels. These panels have a superior 22.8 percent efficiency rate, making them some of the best solar panels in Florida. Plus, the Maxeon panels are sleek and low profile with built-in microinverters, so homeowners don’t have to worry about sacrificing their home’s curb appeal. However, they’ll have to remember that SunPower solar panels can be more expensive than others on the market.

SunPower’s entire design process can be done virtually, thanks to the interactive online design studio. It’s also important to note that SunPower’s equipment is certified by Cradle to Cradle, meaning it maintains a minimal environmental impact through sustainable, circular production. Current or prospective SunPower customers can get in touch with a support representative via a phone call.

Specs

  • Type of panels: Maxeon monocrystalline
  • Payment options: Buy, finance, lease
  • Guarantee: 25-year complete-system warranty
  • Customer support: Phone

Pros

  • High 22.8 percent efficiency rate
  • Cradle to Cradle–certified equipment
  • Interactive online design studio feature
  • Sleek design with built-in microinverters

Cons

  • Prices may be relatively high
  • Customer service only available by phone

Runner-Up

The Best Solar Companies in Florida Option ADT Solar
Photo: goadtsolar.com

Why It Made the Cut: ADT Solar designs and installs residential solar systems with equipment from top manufacturers and backs them up with an incredibly comprehensive 25-year warranty.

ADT acquired Sunpro Solar in 2021, and it is now one of the top 10 solar companies in Florida. The aspect of ADT Solar that stands out within the industry is its warranty. ADT offers a comprehensive warranty that guarantees the solar system will produce at its estimated level for 25 years after purchase. However, it’s unclear which solar panels ADT Solar installs, which could significantly affect a homeowner’s power production. Luckily, customer support is available by phone or email to answer any questions.

Customers of ADT Solar will also appreciate the company’s 24/7 solar monitoring that ensures a home’s panels are running properly at all times. The company’s solar installation technicians can also make roofing repairs before or during a solar panel installation. This can streamline the process and means that a homeowner doesn’t need to hire an additional contractor.

Specs

  • Type of panels: Not specified
  • Payment options: Buy, finance, lease
  • Guarantee: 25-year power production guarantee
  • Customer support: Phone, email

Pros

  • Generous 25-year power production guarantee
  • 24/7 solar monitoring
  • Additional roofing repair services available

Cons

  • Solar panel information not readily available

Best Customer Experience

The Best Solar Companies in Florida Option Momentum Solar
Photo: momentumsolar.com

Why It Made the Cut: Momentum Solar offers a personalized customer experience with a single point of client contact throughout the design and installation process.

Momentum Solar has steadily gained ground in the solar industry since it began operating in 2009. Its one-on-one sales and service model promises a single point of contact for each customer from consultation to installation. In addition to building better relationships, the unique approach helps clients take advantage of the full range of regional and local incentive programs. The company also handles all of a customer’s paperwork and permits, helping to relieve the homeowner’s stress and burden. The information readily available on Momentum’s website is slim, but customers can contact a representative via phone or email with any pressing questions.

Specs

  • Type of panels: Monocrystalline (various manufacturers)
  • Payment options: Buy, finance, lease
  • Guarantee: 25-year equipment and labor warranty
  • Customer support: Phone, email

Pros

  • Streamlined “concierge” service offered
  • All paperwork and permits handled on behalf of the customer

Cons

  • Somewhat limited information available online

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Solar Companies in Florida Option Blue Raven Solar
Photo: blueravensolar.com

Why It Made the Cut: Blue Raven Solar offers top-quality solar equipment, an easy start-up process, and the full benefits of solar system ownership for up to 18 months totally free before the first payment is due.

Currently available to Florida clients in the Orlando and Tallahassee metro areas, Blue Raven Solar opened in 2014 and has rapidly grown to serve 17 states across the country. It works to increase homeowners’ access to low-cost renewable energy. While there’s no solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) option, Blue Raven offers a BluePower Plus+ financing program, allowing homeowners up to 18 months of free solar energy.

Blue Raven Solar specializes in affordable, dependable solar panel and inverter installations. It only installs high-efficiency monocrystalline panels from reliable, cost-effective brands such as Trina and Canadian Solar. At this time, battery backups are unavailable through Blue Raven, but they may be in the future. The Blue Raven Smart Start program also allows customers to pay a reduced monthly price. Plus, customers can receive a free energy-saving kit with a smart thermostat and an LED light package to help them save even more money.

Specs

  • Type of panels: Monocrystalline (various manufacturers)
  • Payment options: Buy, finance
  • Guarantee: 25-year manufacturer warranty, 10-year labor warranty
  • Customer support: Phone, email

Pros

  • Flexible and affordable BluePower Plus+ financing option
  • Money-saving Smart Start program available
  • Complimentary energy-saving kit

Cons

  • Service area restricted to 2 Florida metro areas
  • No solar lease option
  • No solar batteries available

Best Energy Savings

The Best Solar Companies in Florida Option Elevation
Photo: poweredbyelevation.com

Why It Made the Cut: In addition to solar installations, Elevation provides home energy monitoring services and efficiency upgrades that reduce the total cost of energy.

Elevation is an integrated solar company with a whole-home approach. Instead of simply selling and installing power generation equipment, it first audits the client’s home-energy efficiency. It offers solutions to minimize wasted consumption before designing and installing a right-size solar system. The result is reduced home-power usage, less money on solar panels, and lower operating costs. The Curb monitoring system then keeps track of power consumption inside the home and generation at the solar system. It shows in real time where energy is being used and how much is generated, which keeps users apprised of any issues.

Elevation currently serves clients in five states, most recently starting operations in Florida. Information on financing and the type of solar panels used aren’t readily available on Elevation’s website, but homeowners can reach out to a customer support representative with any questions.

Specs

  • Type of panels: Not specified
  • Payment options: Not specified
  • Guarantee: 25-year products and labor warranty
  • Customer support: Phone, email

Pros

  • Maximized energy savings with whole-home efficiency approach
  • Innovative energy usage monitoring available

Cons

  • Solar panel and financing information not readily available

Also Consider

The Best Solar Companies in Florida Option Solar Bear
Photo: solarbear.com

Why It Made the Cut: Solar Bear offers a wide range of renewable energy systems for a more customized solution to clean power.

Solar Bear has been installing renewable energy systems in Florida since 2015. The company offers a full range of clean energy–production solutions, including solar, geothermal, biomass, and wind systems. (Homeowners looking for solar battery storage will need an outside party for installation.) These options, combined with whole-home insulation services, mean that customers will get even more mileage out of their new solar panels. Customers needing roofing repairs before installation begins can also count on Solar Bear to handle any issues. Homeowners can contact Solar Bear by phone or email to ask about warranties and the types of solar panels used.

Specs

  • Type of panels: Not specified
  • Payment options: Buy, finance (through third party only)
  • Guarantee: Not specified
  • Customer support: Phone, email

Pros

  • Maximized energy savings with whole-home efficiency approach
  • Geothermal, biomass, and wind energy systems available
  • Additional roofing repair services available

Cons

  • Solar panel and warranty information not readily available
  • No solar batteries available

Our Verdict

Installing a solar energy system is one of the most expensive renovation projects most homeowners will tackle. It’s wise to use trusted experts with a reputation for great customer service who install excellent equipment. SunPower is precisely that kind of business. Customers who want to ensure long-term results will appreciate the generous warranty ADT Solar offers.

How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in Florida

Switching from conventional grid power to clean solar electricity requires a major commitment on the homeowner’s part, and finding a reputable provider presents challenges. Hundreds of solar installers operate in Florida, along with a crowded field of sales and marketing companies that rely on subcontractors to provide installation services. Coming up with a short list of the best options was no small task.

Our team researched the top local and nationwide businesses to identify the best solar companies in Florida. Because each customer and installation is unique, we favored businesses that prioritize operational flexibility and transparency. We searched customer reviews, Better Business Bureau ratings, and industry awards to find out which companies had the best reputations for customer service. Then we dug deeper to confirm that business processes were in place to support those high ratings into the future.

Home solar equipment and installation are significant up-front expenses that eventually pay off through reduced utility bills. With this financial burden in mind, our team ensured that the companies we recommend offer customer assistance for access to applicable incentive programs.

Before You Work With One of the Best Solar Companies in Florida

Before preparing to spend tens of thousands of dollars, it’s a good idea for homeowners to take a few steps and protect themselves.

Ahead of inviting a solar company to bid on the project, homeowners will want to find out if it can live up to the requirements. Customers will want to know where the company is physically located and where its shop or warehouse is located. If those are not within a reasonable distance from the installation site, how will warranty, service, and maintenance issues be handled?
Homeowners will want a detailed plan before signing a contract or paying a deposit. This includes itemized equipment to be installed, a schematic of the installation, and a work timeline. This can help ensure that the contractor arranges the pre-work permitting process and post-work inspections.

It’s important to understand that many of the companies selling solar in Florida are sales and marketing enterprises that outsource installation work to subcontractors. The safest bet is to work with a company that installs the projects it sells.

Homeowners can clarify if the company subcontracts out the installation. If so, it’s important to learn about the vetting process. Is the subcontractor licensed, insured, and trained to install the equipment in the contract? Has the contracted company even worked with this particular subcontractor in the past? Who from the contracted company oversees the subcontractors? Will that person be on-site during installation?

Cost of Working With One of the Best Solar Companies in Florida

The average cost of solar installation in Florida averages $2.55 per watt, or between $10,000 and $15,000 for a whole-house system, but several variables beyond the price of equipment and installation influence actual costs and savings.

Buyers take on a more significant up-front financial burden and added maintenance responsibilities, including hiring one of the best solar panel cleaning services to keep panels running efficiently. Paying for the system in full upon installation typically leads to the lowest cost and highest savings. Financing the system extends the payment period and may add interest or other fees. However, it still affords the benefits of tax incentives and significant operational savings thanks to the ability to sell excess electricity to the power company.

Customers who lease solar systems and therefore do not own them benefit from a reduced power bill but not the additional offset from selling excess power back to the utility. Also, lease customers do not qualify for many tax incentives buyers receive. Those who lease end up paying the most for solar in the long run.

The Advantages of Working With One of the Best Solar Companies in Florida

With hundreds of solar companies in Florida to choose from, it pays to work with top-tier businesses. The best Florida solar companies have been in business long enough to develop excellent reputations for quality work. Not only that, but they bring other benefits to the table as well.

  • Expert design and installation ensure a seamless transition to clean energy.
  • Proactive customer service minimizes confusion and start-up problems and maximizes access to clean-energy incentive programs.
  • Top companies offer quality equipment at fair prices for a balance of durability, efficiency, and budget-friendliness.

FAQs

For homeowners who are considering one of the best solar panel companies in Florida but still have lingering questions, the following information may answer some commonly asked questions.

Q. Why does Florida not offer power purchase agreements (PPAs)?

A PPA, or power purchase agreement, is often negotiated by a solar developer to provide low-cost solar power to a homeowner for some time in exchange for the opportunity to use their property for solar power generation. In this arrangement, the developer retains ownership of the solar system, receives any qualifying tax incentives, and profits from electricity sales back to the utility. The homeowner buys electricity from the developer at a rate usually lower than the utility rate. Florida is one of only a handful of states prohibiting customers from buying electricity from entities other than utility companies.

The only reason Florida currently does not allow PPAs is because it has not enacted legislation to allow them. The decision would be up to either a state legislative act or ballot initiative.

Q. What is the advantage of having a solar energy system during a power outage?

Depending on the system’s design, a solar system could keep the home functioning normally during a grid power outage. It is important to note that grid-tied solar systems cannot operate while grid power is down to protect utility workers as they repair the lines. This could leave solar customers with a problem unless they can disconnect from the grid as needed. Also, functioning while the grid power is turned off requires that a solar system include battery storage, which would need to be intentionally designed into a grid-tied system. Off-grid systems would operate as normal.

Q. Do solar panels increase property taxes in Florida?

No. Although the property value may increase with the addition of a solar system, the state of Florida provides a 100 percent tax exemption on the solar system, including battery storage devices.

Q. Does the federal tax credit expiration date mean I can’t move to solar energy after 2024?

No. Although that tax provision is set to expire on December 31, 2024, solar energy equipment will remain available. The cost is expected to become more affordable as the technology becomes more widespread.

Q. Does Florida have a solar tax credit?

No. Florida does not offer a state-specific tax credit for solar.

Q. Is the Tesla solar roof available in Florida?

Yes, the Tesla solar roof is available in Florida.

Sources: EnergySage