The Leading Solar Panel Brands in 2023 [Installation & Manufacturing]
As solar panels’ prices decreased in the past decade, their popularity increased. Now, more solar panels are installed year after year, and the big expansion of the market has led to a number of new solar energy companies emerging. However, most solar panels installed in the US are not manufactured here.
Most of them are imported from China or so has been the case. However, as a new 30% tariff has been imposed, more US companies started producing solar panels. Currently, there are several US-based solar panel manufacturers. You can read more about how solar energy helps the planet and your wallet.
As solar panels create over 2.5 times more jobs for every $1 invested when compared to fossil fuels, individual states with high solar potential began offering state incentives for solar systems. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit offered up to 26% back for any solar installation. This way, solar panels are made into the energy source of the future, and every solar energy system is sure to pay off in record time.
Top Solar Panel Companies in the US
However, browsing all these companies and ensuring you find the best deal for your solar energy systems can be a big hassle. As little is generally known about these companies, making sure that you get a contract with a good solar company cannot be easy. The installation process is complex, coupled with the cost of solar power systems, which is very expensive, hiring the best solar panel companies will be crucial. Here is some information on the top US solar energy companies:
|Company Name||Company Headquarters||Year Established|
|Blue Raven Solar||Orem, Utah||2014|
|Elevation Solar||Chandler, Arizona||2014|
|Momentum Solar||South Plainfield, New Jersey||2009|
|Palmetto Solar||Charleston, South Carolina||2010|
|PowerHome Solar||Mooresville, North Carolina||2014|
|SunPower||San Jose, California||1985|
|Sunpro Solar||Wildomar, California||2008|
|Trinity Solar||Freehold, New Jersey||1994|
|First Solar Inc.||Tempe, Arizona||1999|
Top Solar Panel Installation Companies
Now that you have basic info on the best solar panel installation companies let’s move on to find out more about them. When deciding which solar contractor to hire, details such as revenue, net income, and market cap can be a big help in deciding which company you want to do business with. Furthermore, knowing the pros and cons of these companies before installing solar panels can spare you a lot of headaches.
Blue Raven Solar
Blue Raven Solar 2021 estimated revenue was $135 million. It is a private company with more than 1,000 employees. It was founded in 2014 in Utah and is currently one of the fastest-growing companies so far. It is known for its mission to make solar power owners’ lives easier and to be one of the best solar panel companies in the market.
Blue Raven Solar works in 17 different states. Blue Raven also offers financing on its solar system solutions. As one of the top solar panel installers, this company also does the financing for you and estimates the payback time. For their tip solar panel systems, the payback time is as low as 18 months. The company also allows you to lease solar panels and also purchase entire solar power systems so that once they’re paid off, you actually own your system.
Elevation Solar had revenue of less than $50 million in 2021. This is still a very good result, especially for a company established in 2014. With less than 500 hundred employees, it is still considered a large private company. Their mission is to elevate energy experience for all who would like to go for solar energy systems and those who want to make their homes more energy-efficient.
Elevation solar only services five states so far. As one of the fastest-growing companies in the solar industry, the company is still one of the best for home solar solutions. In 2020, Elevation acquired Curb Energy so that it now offers smart energy storage and energy use monitoring systems, ensuring high-quality service for long-term satisfaction.
Momentum Solar has been voted the 58th best place to work in 2022. With over 2,000 employees, it is one of the bigger companies on our list. The company did not disclose their revenue, but the fact that they’ve been in the market since 2009 speaks for itself. This is one of the leading renewable energy installers in the US and one of the leading residential solar energy contractors.
Momentum Solar offers an all-in-one solution. From drafting the system design, inspecting the location and your roof to installation and maintenance of your solar panels. The company offers combo products as well. These products save you money as you purchase them all at once and make a single payment. Their unique approach to customer service means that you will only be talking with a single person who is in charge of taking care that the installation process goes smoothly.
On the other hand, Momentum Solar is only available in 10 states. This may be a downside to some, as the solar market is flooded with companies working in 30+ states. However, if you would like a complete set of solar services, choosing the best means choosing Momentum Solar.
As a private company with over 50 employees, Palmetto Solar is a smaller but stable renewable energy installer in the US. Their mission is to make solar panels installation an easy and smooth process and to join the list of the best solar energy companies one day. For now, they focus on spreading the best solar energy practices to help fight climate change.
Palmetto Solar has been graded as one of the best solar companies in the United States. This solar installer offers a decentralized installation process, which is a unique approach in the industry. This and other optimization solutions have made the company one of the cheapest in the market. It offers financing starting as low as $79 per month.
PowerHome Solar employs more than 2,000 people. Established in 2014 in Mooresville, North Carolina, this private company has made it their goal to help as many residential solar and commercial solar customers install the best solar panel systems they can. It works in 15 states and looks to expand even further.
PowerHome Solar has been in the business for more than eight years. They mostly rely on monocrystalline solar panels to deliver high-efficiency panels and ensure maximum power yield for the surface covered in solar panels. PowerHome Solar also offers smart home solutions that drive down your energy use and reduce the initial costs of going solar.
With a revenue of $1.9 Billion, SunPower is one of the top US solar companies. Its net income was $8.4 million, which may be a bit low for a company of this size, but it translates to lower pricing, so it ensures stable income. With a market cap of $1.8 Billion, it is also one of the big names on our list.
SunPower works in 50 states and offers unique product combos. It can deliver utility-scale solutions, and its design app allows even newbies to get an estimate of what their solar system should look like. The company also offers packaged solar panels and solar batteries. However, some customers report less-than-ideal customer support, especially once the installation is finished.
Established in 2008, Sunpro Solar now employs more than 500 people and has a revenue of between $50-$100 million. It is one of the top solar power companies in the country. It designs solar energy systems for both commercial and residential solar customers. Since it was established in 2008, it already has a good history and plenty of positive reviews.
Sunpro Solar has so far installed over 30,000 solar power systems. It is one of the largest solar installers in the US, and it offers residential and commercial solutions. It is a subsidiary of ADT, so you can order home security solutions at the same time. This company is the perfect solution for those looking for high-quality and high-efficiency solutions for their new homes. Some customers have reported that the service quality suffered during the pandemic, but that is expected to alleviate as the measures lift.
Tesla used to be called Solar City. It was established in 2006 and, after a few years of hardship, has joined Tesla to benefit from mutual research and funds. Now known as Tesla, it is one of the rare top solar panel manufacturers that also install their solar panels and can combine them with another product of its own: Tesla Powerwall. The company aims to help the world transition to a future powered by renewable energy and to alleviate the stress on the environment.
Tesla offers a price match guarantee, Powerwall with every installation that has been designed by them, as well as Tesla solar roof installation for those who would like to realize the full potential of their sun exposure. On the downside, customers have reported problems with their Tesla solar roof shingles, and you can expect significant delays, as the company takes more orders than any other solar installer.
Tesla is one of the top solar panel manufacturers as well. It also produces its own energy storage solutions and EVs (Electric Vehicles). Voted by many as the best solar energy company in the United States market, choosing the best for a complete solution means choosing Tesla.
Trinity Solar is the oldest solar installation company on our list. The company offers employment to over 1,000 people and is privately owned. Established in 1994, this solar installation company has a long history of solar works. So far, it has installed over 50,000 solar systems and works in eight states.
With more than 25 years in the business, Trinity Solar now works in nine states. It is a trusted name in the solar industry, and there are more than 50,000 satisfied customers to testify to this. Trinity Solar offers a power purchase agreement, paying in installments as well as the full immediate purchase of their solar panels.
First Solar Inc.
With total revenue of $3.1 billion and a net income of $98.8 million, this is one of the top companies on our list. The company provides solar panels for both commercial and residential solar solutions and is one of the first US companies to also focus on the recycling of solar panels. It also offers financing for those who want to go solar right away.
First Solar Inc. is one of the few truly responsible solar companies working in the market. It offers some of the best solar panels in the market and does so in a responsible way: you can always check their water and carbon footprint reports to make sure your solar installation does not put too much burden on the planet. They focus on solar that meaningfully fights climate change.
Top Solar Panel Manufacturers
The company that installs your solar panels is usually not the company that produces them. With a notable exception of Tesla, solar panels are usually produced by solar panel manufacturers. These companies are usually foreign companies that can afford to produce solar panels at reduced costs thanks to mass production, low labor costs, and foreign government subsidies.
Canadian Solar is an all-in-one solar manufacturer. It manufactures some of the best solar panels available in the US. As the company is available on the stock exchange market, it is a reputable company, with over $3.2 Billion in revenue. It produces high-quality solar panels for residential, commercial, and industrial customers.
Canadian Solar also produces other elements you may need for your rooftop solar system. Solar inverters are one of those and are our recommendation, especially if you use them with Canadian Solar panels. In case you are looking for a complete solution, Canadian solar can also help you design your own solar system and deliver the entire solar kit to you. This way, you know that your investment is worth it, for one warranty covers the entire system.
First Solar is among the top solar panel manufacturers in the US. First Solar uses thin-film semiconductor technology to manufacture solar panels with a higher level of efficiency. The company offers a variety of products. The services that they provide include construction, solar panel maintenance, and recycling of solar panels. The latter puts them at the top of our list of solar manufacturers who focus on sustainability in their operations.
Hanwha Q Cells
Hanwha Q Cells is also one of the top solar panel manufacturers in the world. This company took the lead of LG Solar and has also introduced plans to open a solar panel factory in the US. This company ranks the second most popular among US customers on several lists, as it offers panels of great quality. A giant in the field of solar panels production, this solar panel manufacturer plans on opening a total of 1.6 GW of annual production capacity and flooding the market with high-quality solar panels.
JA Solar was established in 2005. Since then, the company has chosen the mid-cost range of customers as their target group. JA Solar manufactures half-cell technology and is known for affordable products with little loss on the efficiency of the panels. JA Solar solar panels are especially suited for large-scale operations, such as powering large agricultural farms and running machinery.
Jinko Solar is a Chinese company working on US soil. Although the company itself did not open any factories in America, it has established a partnership with NextEra Energy, where the solar panels they produce are the result of joined efforts of the two companies and their research.
Jinko Solar has aimed its production towards big players in the solar field. Florida Light & Power, a daughter-company of NextEra Energy, have announced they would be buying solar panels produced by Jinko Solar to a total number of seven million panels. This many solar panels will be used in establishing large-scale solar farms to power more than a single household.
LG Solar is one of the top solar panel manufacturers in the world. This South Korean company has started opening their production facilities in Alabama, US, as then-President Trump introduced measures to limit foreign imports and increase domestic production. With very developed technology, this solar panel manufacturer offers some of the best solar panels in the market.
With further investments into the technology of the solar cell and extending their solar system warranty, LG Solar is likely to stay one of the top solar panel manufacturers in the world. Their latest factory in Huntsville, Alabama, can produce as much as 500 MW of solar panels annually. Thanks to domestic production, LG Solar offers solar panels of great quality at reasonable prices.
LONGi Solar is among the best Chinese companies for solar panel production. In 2020 alone, during the lockdown measures, the company has managed to ship as much as 14.5 GW of solar panels. This is more solar capacity than entire countries have installed so far, putting LONGi at the very top of the world’s solar panel manufacturers. It produces monocrystalline solar cells assembled into ready-to-use solar panels.
Panasonic is a Japanese solar panel manufacturer. Through their partnership with Tesla, this company also makes solar cells in the USA. The manufacturing takes place in Tesla’s gigafactories and is one of the largest-scale solar panel operations in the world. Joined, these two companies make some of the best solar panels on the market and employ many Americans in doing so. As the majority of the production process takes place on US soil, this is one of the best solar panel manufacturers in the US.
SunPower is a US-based solar panel manufacturer. SunPower is famous for its A-Series and X-Series solar panels. Both these lines of solar products have efficiency levels topping 22%. With efficiency this high, you may need fewer solar panels installed on your rooftop, bringing down the installation cost and ensuring home energy production is feasible to more people.
However, due to the high price of their solar panels, their best panels are produced abroad, mostly in the Philippines. SunPower, for now, does not intend to introduce their most-efficient production lines in the US, as the price of the products would be very high and unaffordable to many. Most of their solar cells are for now produced in Asia and are assembled in Mexico and France for the European solar panel market.
Tongwei Solar is one of the best solar panel manufacturers out there. Tongwei Solar was established in 2009 and has since then managed to expand its solar production lines to 12.1 GW of annual output. Their products and services include the manufacturing of solar panels and solar cells by customer demands. An operation of this scale is always aimed at high players in the field, with a large purchase power and most outreach.
How To Compare Solar Companies?
When comparing solar companies, it is important at first to establish what type of solar companies you would like to compare. As there are two types of solar companies we have covered so far (solar installers and solar manufacturers), it is important to establish the difference between them and to understand what each of these companies does. As there are companies with a combined approach to solar systems, you should understand how both types work.
Firstly, solar installers are companies dealing with installing solar panels on your rooftop. The services they provide include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Rooftop inspection,
- Power use estimation,
- Direct sunlight estimation,
- Designing your solar system,
- Making a suggestion on the solar equipment you should use (solar inverters, solar power storage systems),
- Purchasing of the solar panels (not obligatory for every installer),
- Helping you deal or dealing with permits,
- Installing solar panels and other parts of the system: inverters, solar power storage units, etc.),
- Solar system maintenance, etc.
Therefore, when comparing solar installers, the most obvious parameters to compare them by are the price of their service, the scope of the services they offer, the reviews and possible recommendations by their previous clients, as well as the length of warranty you get for the work that is done. It is best to note these details and any questions you may have for company representatives.
Secondly, solar manufacturers are companies that manufacture or make solar panels that you can see on so many rooftops throughout the US. Solar manufacturers are not involved in the process of solar panel installation and cannot provide you with any similar service. The work that solar manufacturers do can be boiled down to the following:
- Research into novel solar technologies and improving the old ones,
- Research into the market needs per segment (residential, commercial, or industrial customers),
- Purchase of materials,
- Manufacturing solar cells,
- Assembling solar panels,
- Ensuring safety, longevity, and durability of the panels themselves,
- Ensuring the solar panels can withstand all weather events with no damage,
- Applying for certification, patents, etc.,
- Selling the solar panels on a wholesale market to retailers.
As the scope of work of a solar manufacturer is very different from the job of a solar installer, you should know what parameters to compare solar manufacturers by. You should only check the solar manufacturers once you know which solar panel brand you would like to purchase or which solar brand is offered by your solar installers. You should pay attention to the solar panel type, efficiency, the quality of connections, how well the panels perform in partial shade, etc.
Finally, there are also companies that combine the notions of the first two types. These companies both manufacture and install solar panels for you. On our list, there is only one such company, Tesla. Tesla manufactures solar panels and solar storage (with integrated solar inverters), and they also offer the service of installing these on your roof. However, this business model has its cons as well, as the waitlists are really long, and you may expect to wait up to a year for a Powerwall installation.
Who Is The Largest Manufacturer of Solar Panels?
The largest solar panel manufacturer in the US is First Solar. This company alone can produce 1.9 GW of solar panels per year. In the world, it is the LONGi Solar company, which can manufacture up to 14.5 GW of solar panels per year (2020 data). Some other companies may exceed this level of production, but they are not included in our list of largest manufacturers of solar panels, as they may only assemble solar panels.
Which Solar Company is Best?
Which solar company is the best depends on what you are looking for. Tesla offers the best complete solution, from manufacturing to installation. SunPower is generally considered to be the best solar installer in the nation, while Blue Raven Solar offers the best financing solutions. Always understand your solar and energy needs before choosing one solar company over another.
Who makes Solar Panels?
Solar manufacturers make solar panels. Most of these companies are situated in China, with only a portion of them working in the US. Luckily, the number of US-based solar manufacturers keeps growing year after year, especially thanks to incentives established by the US government. In recent years, many foreign companies also increased their presence in the US solar market, predominantly by opening factories here.
Are any Solar Panels made in the USA?
Yes, there are several brands of solar panels that are made in the US. The most notable example is the Tesla Solar company, which manufactures their own solar cells, assembles the solar panels, and installs them on your rooftop. Thanks to the changes in the US policy towards the import of solar panels from abroad, the number of companies manufacturing their panels in the US is expected to grow.
Where are LG solar panels made?
LG solar panels are made in Gumi, South Korea, and Huntsville, Alabama. These panels are then sold worldwide, with the majority of the US-produced solar panels being kept for the US market. As the company headquarters are in South Korea, all solar panels are designed there first before being manufactured elsewhere.
Over the past ten years, the price of solar panels has dropped by around 75-80%. This has made solar panels available to more people who are now set for an energy-independent future. If you, too, are considering switching to solar power to run your appliances and power your home, you should first understand which solar companies have withstood the test of time and then decide on who you want to install your solar panel array on your rooftop.