Solar panel installation can benefit homeowners who want to reduce their environmental impact while also reducing their energy bills. Although Maryland may not get as much sun as the Southwestern states, the Old Line State gets enough to power the average home (especially since solar panels can produce power even on a cloudy day). Additionally, Maryland offers several generous tax incentives that can help homeowners decrease the cost of installing solar panels on their home.
Before choosing a solar company, Maryland homeowners will want to research their options to find the one that will work best for their needs and budget. We have done some of the legwork to vet the top options and determine the best solar companies in Maryland so homeowners have a place to start their research.
- BEST OVERALL: SunPower
- RUNNER-UP: ADT Solar
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Tesla
- BEST ADDITIONAL SERVICES: EDGE Energy
- ALSO CONSIDER: Lumina Solar
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Solar Companies in Maryland
Homeowners who are considering installing solar panels on their home will likely take their time to research their options before deciding on the best route to take. When researching the best solar companies in Maryland, homeowners will want to keep the following top considerations in mind.
Home Location and Roof Type
The home’s geographic location will have an impact on the cost and number of solar panels needed. Homes situated in states that have less sunshine than average may need larger solar arrays to provide ample power for the home’s energy needs. Homeowners will also need to consider whether their roof is a good candidate for solar panel installation. Homes that are surrounded by a lot of trees or large buildings may have shaded roofs that will not be compatible with solar panels. And a north-facing roof may not get enough sunlight to make solar panel installation worthwhile; ideally, the panels will be installed on a south-facing roof. Finally, older roofs or those on older homes may not be structurally sound enough to handle the weight of the solar panels, so homeowners may need to budget for roof reinforcement or replacement before installing solar panels. When looking for a solar panel company, homeowners will want to make sure they address these concerns and get good answers before moving forward with the project.
Types of Panels and Efficiency
There are several types of solar panels available. While all create electricity to power a home, they all go about it in different ways. Homeowners will want to determine their ideal solar panel type and make sure their chosen solar company offers this type of panel before signing a contract. The main types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film.
- Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient, but that efficiency comes at a cost. The high efficiency of this type of solar panel means they can turn more sunlight into energy to power the home. Monocrystalline solar panels can be identified by their black hue.
- Polycrystalline solar panels are more affordable than monocrystalline, but they are also less efficient, which means each panel produces slightly less power. This could mean homeowners would need to install more polycrystalline panels in order to get the same power output as they would from fewer monocrystalline panels. Polycrystalline solar panels have a blue appearance.
- Thin-film solar panels are lightweight and flexible, but they are also the least efficient of the three. They also have a shorter lifespan; while monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels can last 25 years or more, thin-film panels typically last only 10 to 20 years.
On-Grid vs. Off-Grid
Homeowners can choose to have their solar panel system connected to the electrical grid if they choose, but it’s not required. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option that homeowners will want to familiarize themselves with when determining the best setup for their home.
On-grid solar arrays allow a homeowner to be 100 percent energy independent. The solar panels will produce the entirety of the home’s electricity, storing any additional energy in batteries for use at a later date. This allows the homeowner to maintain power even during an outage. However, if the array doesn’t produce enough electricity to power the home, there will be no backup power available to the homeowner.
An on-grid system allows the homeowner to sell back their excess electricity to the utility company if applicable. Depending on the available options, homeowners may be able to make additional money by selling their excess power, or they may receive a credit from their utility provider to be used at a later date when the home’s energy usage exceeds the solar panels’ production. However, a grid-tied system will lose power if the utility company experiences an outage unless the homeowner has a backup battery installed (which adds to the total cost of the solar panel system).
Financing, Rebates, and Tax Incentives
When considering solar panels, Maryland homeowners may balk at the price—the average out-of-pocket cost to install solar panels on a home in Maryland is $12,027 to $16,272. But many solar companies offer several ways for a homeowner to pay for their installation if they’re unable to pay the entire cost out of pocket. The following are common financing options for solar panels.
- Solar loan: Homeowners can use a solar loan to finance the purchase of their solar panel system. Many solar companies offer financing, though customers can also opt for one of the best solar panel loans through a traditional lender. As with any type of loan, the homeowner will need to qualify, which means this may not be an option for all homeowners.
- Solar lease: Rather than owning the solar panels, the customer can sign a lease agreement with the solar company. The company will own the panels, and the homeowner will pay a fee in exchange for the use of the energy produced by the solar panels. The downside with a solar lease is that the payments may increase over time, which could lead to the customer paying above the value of the energy being produced by the panels. Although this option is typically cheaper up front, customers who choose to lease may not qualify for tax incentives.
- Power purchase agreement (PPA): Similar to a solar lease, a PPA means the homeowner will not own the solar panels—the solar company will purchase and install the system on the home, and the homeowner will pay the solar company for the energy they use. This typically means that the homeowner will pay less for energy than they would from a traditional electricity provider, but like a solar lease, the costs for a PPA can go up over time, and customers may not be able to take advantage of tax benefits.
Homeowners can take advantage of two tax benefits when they install solar panels in Maryland. The state’s Property Tax Exemption for Solar and Wind Energy Systems means homeowners won’t pay any additional taxes if their home increases in value after installing solar panels. In addition, homeowners won’t pay any taxes on their solar power system thanks to the Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Equipment.
On top of this, Maryland homeowners who purchase their solar panels (either outright or through financing) are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, formally called the Residential Clean Energy Credit, which equals 30 percent of the solar energy system cost. Those who choose to lease a system will not be eligible for this tax credit.
Maryland homeowners can also take advantage of the state’s residential clean energy grant program, which pays homeowners a flat $1,000 for installing solar panels. The state also offers solar renewable energy certificates (SREC), which are granted to homeowners for each megawatt-hour of energy their panels produce. The homeowner can then sell their certificates in the SREC market to earn additional money from their solar energy production. In addition to these perks, Maryland offers net metering, which gives homeowners credit on their electricity bills for any additional unused energy produced by their solar panels. This allows customers to “bank” this additional power, saving it for the times of the year when they may use more energy than their panels can produce.
When researching different solar companies, homeowners will want to consider whether each company offers a guarantee—and if so, on what. Some common guarantees include the following.
- Equipment guarantees show homeowners that the solar company backs its panels and other equipment for the long term. A longer guarantee on equipment can give homeowners added peace of mind when choosing a solar company. A 25-year equipment guarantee is common with many solar companies.
- Labor guarantees cover the actual installation of the solar panel system, which means any roof or home damage that’s found to be caused by improper installation will be covered. Such a guarantee suggests that the company stands behind its installers and is confident they will install the system properly. Many solar companies offer labor guarantees ranging from 10 to 25 years.
- Power production guarantees ensure that the system will produce a certain amount of power for the length of the guarantee period, which is typically 20 to 25 years.
It’s important for Maryland homeowners to be able to contact their chosen solar company if and when they have questions or issues. Most solar companies offer customer support via phone, though some may also offer email or live chat support. Customers will want to think about their preferred method of communication and ensure that the company they choose offers that method for customer support.
Our Top Picks
After thoroughly vetting a number of solar companies, we landed on some that stood out as the best solar companies in Maryland. Homeowners can review the information on the following to see whether any company stands out as the best option to meet their needs.
Why It Made the Cut: SunPower boasts the highest solar panel efficiency rate in the industry, as well as a lengthy system and labor warranty, making it a solid choice for Maryland homeowners.
Customers who install solar panels on their home through SunPower will enjoy an impressive 22.8 percent efficiency rate, which is the highest in the industry. This means the panels will produce more energy than less efficient panels from another company. Additionally, SunPower offers a 25-year warranty on the solar panel system, installation labor, and power production, giving homeowners peace of mind that their solar panels will perform as intended.
Although customer service is only available by phone, new customers will be able to use SunPower’s interactive online design-studio feature to plan their solar panel project and determine the number of panels they’ll likely need. This can help homeowners come up with a realistic budget before they contact the company for a quote. The solar panels themselves have a sleek design intended to blend in with the roof, and they also have built-in microinverters to maximize the solar production of each individual panel.
Finally, SunPower’s solar panels are certified by Cradle to Cradle—an organization that inspects products and materials for sustainability. Cradle to Cradle found that SunPower’s Maxeon monocrystalline solar panels are not made with substances that can cause health issues, and that the company uses renewable energy in its manufacturing process. This certification signals SunPower’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing.
- Type of panels: SunPower Maxeon monocrystalline
- Payment options: Buy, finance, lease
- Guarantee: 25-year complete-system and labor warranty
- Customer support: Phone
- High 22.8 percent efficiency rate
- Generous 25-year complete system and labor warranty
- Cradle to Cradle–certified equipment
- Interactive online design-studio feature
- Sleek solar panel design with built-in microinverters
- Customer service only available by phone
Why It Made the Cut: With a lengthy power production guarantee and 24/7 solar panel monitoring service, ADT Solar has a lot to offer homeowners in Maryland.
ADT might be primarily known for its home security systems, but the company’s solar panel systems are equally impressive. Although ADT Solar doesn’t provide any information on its battery warranty online, the company offers a 25-year power production guarantee. This gives homeowners peace of mind that their solar power system will produce a guaranteed amount of energy during that time frame.
In addition to this guarantee, ADT Solar offers 24/7 monitoring of a customer’s solar panel system via the Enphase App. Using this app, customers can view in real time the exact amount of power their system is producing, as well as check to see if their system is operating properly. This monitoring allows ADT Solar and the customer to identify potential issues early so they can be fixed and the customer’s power production won’t be interrupted.
Finally, ADT Solar offers roofing installation and repair services through Buildpro. If a homeowner is looking to replace their existing roof before installing solar panels, they can have both completed through ADT Solar. In addition, Buildpro will ensure that the solar panels are installed in a way that will not damage the roof, which means fewer issues down the road.
- Type of panels: Q Cells, Silfab, Canadian Solar
- Payment options: Buy, finance, lease
- Guarantee: 25-year power-production guarantee
- Customer support: Phone, email
- Generous 25-year power-production guarantee
- 24/7 solar monitoring
- Additional roofing repair services available
- Warranty information on battery not readily available online
Why It Made the Cut: Tesla offers a generous price-match guarantee on its solar panels, so customers can feel confident they’re getting the best deal on their system.
In addition to electric cars, Tesla manufactures and installs solar panels and solar roof tiles to help homes produce sustainable energy. One of the most notable things about Tesla Solar is its generous price-match guarantee. If a customer can produce a recent quote from a competing company that includes a system of comparable size and an inverter, and has a 10-year minimum warranty, Tesla will review the quote and match the price if it deems the quote to be valid. This guarantee can give customers peace of mind that the price they’re paying for their system is fair and that they are not being overcharged. The guarantee applies to Tesla solar panels only.
Homeowners looking into leasing solar panels will need to look elsewhere because Tesla does not offer this form of financing. However, those who want to pay in full or finance their system can easily get an instant quote online to determine the price they’ll pay to install solar panels on their home, which can help them come up with a realistic budget.
- Type of panels: Tesla monocrystalline, Tesla solar roof tiles
- Payment options: Buy, finance
- Guarantee: 25-year performance guarantee, 10-year comprehensive warranty
- Customer support: Live chat
- Traditional solar panels and sleek solar tiles available
- Generous price-match guarantee
- Instant online quotes available
Why It Made the Cut: In addition to solar panel installation, EDGE Energy offers several additional home services, allowing customers to bundle multiple services under one company.
As a local company serving Maryland and Virginia, in addition to Washington, D.C., EDGE Energy is familiar with the needs of homeowners in this region. EDGE Energy uses SunPower Maxeon monocrystalline panels, which have the highest energy efficiency in the industry at 22.8 percent. That means customers will get more energy production using fewer panels than they would need with another company offering less-efficient options.
Although EDGE Energy doesn’t offer a solar lease option, the company has many additional perks to offset this potential downside, including several services beyond solar panel installation and maintenance. Customers can use EDGE Energy for projects involving HVAC systems, roofing, painting, and drywall, which means they can stick with one trusted contractor for many of their home repair or renovation needs. EDGE Energy also offers home energy audits, in which a specialist will examine the home and provide recommendations on how the homeowner can make their home more energy efficient and maximize their savings.
- Type of panels: SunPower Maxeon monocrystalline
- Payment options: Buy, finance
- Guarantee: 25-year equipment warranty; unspecified labor warranty
- Customer support: Phone, email
- High 22.8 percent efficiency rate
- HVAC, roofing, painting, and drywall services offered
- Home energy audits offered
Why It Made the Cut: Lumina Solar boasts strong communication, a smooth installation process, and additional services such as roofing and solar maintenance.
Maryland homeowners considering installing solar panels on their home may want to consider getting a quote from Lumina Solar. This company services the Mid-Atlantic states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C. Customers who have worked with Lumina Solar report that the company has strong communication and that the installation process is smooth, which can be comforting for customers who are uncertain about what solar panel installation entails.
Although Lumina Solar doesn’t list information on its website about the types of solar panels it uses or the guarantees it offers, customers who choose this company for their solar project can bundle their roofing needs under one company. Lumina Solar offers roofing services, as well as solar maintenance, so homeowners know who to call if they have any issues after the solar panel system has been installed.
- Type of panels: Not specified
- Payment options: Buy, finance, loan
- Guarantee: Not specified
- Customer support: Phone, email
- Reports of strong communication and smooth installation
- Solar maintenance and roofing services offered
- Guarantee and solar panel information not readily available online
We chose SunPower as the Best Overall solar company in Maryland because it offers highly efficient solar panels, a generous warranty, and an easy-to-use online design studio. With 24/7 solar monitoring, a 25-year power production guarantee, and additional roofing services, ADT Solar was chosen as our Runner-Up.
How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in Maryland
To determine the best solar companies in Maryland, we considered several different factors. First, we looked into the types of solar panels offered by each company and their efficiency to ensure that the final list included companies with high-efficiency and high-quality products designed to maximize energy production for homeowners. We also reviewed each company’s guarantees, checking to see the length and details of guarantees on labor, materials, and power production. Finally, we considered customer support—how can customers get in touch with the company if they have questions, and how responsive can they expect the company to be? Once we reviewed these factors, we came up with the solar companies included in this list.
Before You Work With One of the Best Solar Companies in Maryland
Although the solar companies listed here are among the best choices out there, that doesn’t mean they will be the best for all homeowners in Maryland. Customers will want to do their own research, including looking for local companies that may be a better fit, asking local friends and family if they have recommendations, and reading online reviews of each company they’re considering.
Once they’ve decided on a solar company, it’s important for the customer to read the contract in full before signing to ensure they understand every aspect of the agreement. Customers will want to ensure that the contract includes the correct number of panels for their home based on their energy needs and usable roof space, as well as the price they were quoted for solar panel installation. They’ll also want to make sure that the proposed installation timeline matches what they were quoted so they’re not waiting around for the installation to begin. Homeowners will want to ask their solar panel provider a number of questions, including financing options, estimated system production, and process to request service. Any reputable solar company—whether on this list or not—will be happy to answer any questions a homeowner may have to ensure they enter into the agreement with confidence.
Finally, customers will want to make sure they’ve fully considered all the applicable factors before they commit to installing solar panels. The Maryland Attorney General offers several things for homeowners to consider to ensure customers are going into this project with their eyes fully open.
Cost of Working With One of the Best Solar Companies in Maryland
The exact cost of solar panels in Maryland will depend on several factors, including the company a homeowner uses, the size of their home and available roof space, and the type of system they have installed. However, on average, Maryland homeowners can expect to pay between $12,027 and $16,272 out of pocket to install solar panels on their home. This equates to a net savings of $16,943 to $22,923 over 20 years, or an electricity bill offset of 78 percent to 106 percent. The cost of solar shingles will likely be higher than solar panels, so homeowners will want to keep this in mind when deciding on the type of solar roof they want.
It’s important for homeowners to note that the average cost of solar panel installation in Maryland does not take into account any tax credits or rebates, so the actual cost a homeowner will pay will likely be less than the average range of $12,027 to $16,272. To get a cost estimate, homeowners can reach out to several solar companies for quotes, comparing the quote amount to the average amount to ensure they’re getting a good deal.
The Advantages of Working With One of the Best Solar Companies in Maryland
A homeowner who decides to install a solar panel system on their home will enjoy many benefits, including a lower carbon footprint, reduced energy costs, and a potential increase in home value. In addition to these general benefits, the best solar companies can offer Maryland residents numerous benefits, such as the following.
- Lengthy guarantees on installation, equipment, and power production;
- Easy quote processes, often through a user-friendly online tool; and
- High-quality and high-efficiency solar panels from reputable manufacturers.
Solar panel installation is a huge undertaking for any homeowner, so it’s no wonder that customers have questions before making the decision to go solar. The following questions and their answers can help provide some clarity to Maryland homeowners considering solar panel installation.
Q. Is Maryland a good place for solar energy?
While the exact answer will be different for each individual homeowner, solar energy is generally worth it for many Maryland residents. Maryland is average when it comes to the amount of sun it gets—and solar panels can still produce energy even on a cloudy day. In addition, the tax incentives offered by the state can help homeowners decrease their out-of-pocket costs, making Maryland a good state for solar energy overall. Homeowners who are on the fence about installing solar panels can review the Maryland Energy Administration’s Guide to Solar for more information.
Q. What is the highest solar panel efficiency?
Currently, SunPower has the highest solar power efficiency of 22.8 percent.
Q. How much does it cost to install solar in Maryland?
On average, it costs $12,027 to $16,272 to install solar panels in Maryland. However, the exact cost could be higher or lower depending on the home’s size, energy needs, and usable roof space. Maryland homeowners can also take advantage of several tax incentives to help lower the cost of installing solar panels on their home.
Q. Is solar free in Maryland?
No, solar energy is not free in Maryland. According to the Maryland Energy Administration, any company advertising free solar is likely trying to take advantage of homeowners who want to save money. However, Maryland does offer several incentives to help homeowners decrease the cost of installing solar panels.
Q. Is solar energy the best energy?
For many people, solar energy is the best option. The sun is a fantastic source of clean energy, and solar panels don’t omit greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere like other means of energy production do.
Q. Is solar exempt from sales tax in Maryland?
Yes—homeowners who install solar panels on their home will not pay taxes on the system. According to the Comptroller of Maryland, “Sales of all solar energy equipment are now exempt in the state of Maryland regardless of when sold.”
Q. Does Maryland have net metering for solar?
Yes, Maryland does have net metering. This allows homeowners to get a credit on their energy bill for any power their panels produced that went unused. Homeowners can save that additional energy and apply it to their bill during months when their panels may produce less energy than their household uses, such as during the winter.