What if your electric company started sending you checks? Solar panels may seem like a hefty investment at first but even small local businesses have found it possible to return the majority of the system’s initial within the first year. Switching the way in which you receive your energy also benefits our world and increases the value of your home— solar energy reduces our fossil fuel dependence and battles greenhouse gas emissions
We have analyzed the top solar panel companies in the greater Charlotte area to provide you with accurate and unbiased information to facilitate your search for a solar panel installer. We’ve done the homework so you can choose the most suitable company for you. Check out Freshome’s guide to purchasing solar panels for your home for even more information and FAQs.
Freshome’s Top Solar Panel Installers in Charlotte
Our team analyzed the solar panel companies local to the greater Charlotte area. To gain the most thorough and accurate review for each solar panel installer, we considered a few factors when conducting our research and conversing with the employees at each company. We determined the professionalism and usability of the website, experienced the customer service first hand, and reflected on the customer reviews for each business. We are confident our research will aid you as you begin shopping for a solar panel system near you.
We found that two of the three installers in the Charlotte area are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Unlike many solar panel installers that offer a variety of services, our top three picks focus on home solar systems. Keep reading for more information regarding warranties, panel types, and customer service interactions.
ReNu Energy Solutions
ReNu Energy Solutions is a full service solar installer that has only been in business for about six years, but has installed over 900 energy efficient systems. The company offers residential and commercial solar systems, in addition to energy efficient home appliances. ReNu gets their panels from SunPower. Three different panel types are available, each with 21.5 percent efficiency max wattages of 325, 335, and 345. They are available in black and white.
Make sure to take advantage of ReNu’s complimentary consultation. ReNu also offers a full bumper to bumper productivity and service 25 year warranty through the manufacturer, which is better than the industry average. ReNu Energy Solutions estimates a 7 percent return on installation within the first year.
If you are thinking about purchasing a system from ReNu Energy Solutions, it is important to note that the turnaround time for a home project is estimated at six to eight weeks.
Accelerate Solar is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and offers custom engineering, design, and installation. With over 20 years experience, Accelerate has become highly cost effective, and offers paybacks of approximately 65 to 75 percent of your entire solar energy system within the first year, including tax credits and incentives. The price for installation is dependent on the wattage, but an average installation for approximately 10 panels costs around $3,100.
Accelerate Solar purchases their solar panels and inverters from a distributor. Freshome holds standards for solar panels to have greater than a 16.5 efficiency and 230 max wattage. Accelerate exceeds both with equipment that has a 19.6 efficiency and 315 wattage. A standard 25-year warranty is also provided and the turnaround time for a project after signing takes only about three to seven days. And unlike many of its competitors, the company offers a variety of panel color options to choose from, including black, white, or a silver frame with matching or different glass sheets.
The employees at Accelerate Solar offer outstanding customer service. They were able to answer all questions asked over-the-phone and offered to email additional information to use while shopping for a system. What’s more, the representative was informative and not your typical pushy salesman.
Renewable Energy Design Group
Renewable Energy Design Group is a small business accompanied by a large set of skills. The local business is also certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and has completed more than 100 residential installations in the Charlotte area. Although they are a general contractor and licensed electrician, the Renewable Energy Design Group solely focuses on solar energy systems, offering two panel sizes: 225-285 watt panels are approximately 40” x 67” while 300+ watt panels are 40” x 78.” Since price is determined by watts, the physical size of the panel typically doesn’t matter too much. Centralized string inverters and micro-inverters are available. You can also choose from black or silver frames for your panel.
A 25-year manufacturer’s warranty is available for all solar panels, while 10-15 year warranty is available for inverters depending on the model (most models include a 10 year warranty which can be extended). Coordinating with utility companies results in a turnaround time of about six weeks for home installations.
If you are interested in contacting this company for further information, we recommend paying a phone call to the main office. Over-the-phone customer support is friendly and informative; however, we never did receive a response to our email inquiry.
Finding the best solar panels in Charlotte
If you’re looking to purchase solar panels, you’re probably living in your “forever home.” That means you shouldn’t settle for cheap panels just because they offer a 25-year warranty. Even the longest warranties aren’t created equal, and you’ll want to continue receiving the most energy from your panel while maintaining its condition. To help you determine the proficiency of a solar panel, we set the standards at a minimum efficiency of 16.5 and minimum max wattage of 230 watts. Choosing panels that meet these criteria is a great way to ensure that you’re buying a quality product. And to help give you a head start, here are Freshome’s top recommended brands:
Solar Power in Charlotte
North Carolina’s Solar Policies and Incentives
Almost every state has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) which requires utilities to source a specific percentage of their electricity from clean and renewable sources (like solar panels).
A Renewables Portfolio Standard requires utilities in the state to eventually source at least a certain percentage of their electricity from clean, renewable sources like solar panels. North Carolina’s RPS requires that investor-owned utilities produce 12.5 percent renewable energy by 2021. This requirement has since been lowered to 10 percent by 2018. Considering how low NC’s RPS is, utility companies local to Charlotte don’t have much incentive to use renewable energy as it costs them more money when we don’t use their power. This being said, the RPS in Charlotte doesn’t exactly promote solar panel investments. Tax credits, exemptions, and rebates however, do aid in promoting solar investments.
Rebates for solar panel investments work just like large box store rebates and North Carolina holds the nation’s 14th best solar rebates. Duke Energy customers qualify for a rebate of $250/kW on the solar panel system installation in addition to a $4.50/kW credit applied to every monthly bill. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) customers also have the opportunity to receive $1,000 after the installation. The Federal government also offer a 30 percent tax credit for solar.
What to Expect
Charlotte receives approximately 1,825 harvestable kWh per year with the average residential price per kW being about 11 Cents. As a North Carolina resident, you can acquire a home-equity line of credit for $18,750 with a fixed 5 percent rate and a 15-year repayment period. After the 15 years, you will start earning money from the long-term investment while increasing the value of your home and benefitting our planet.
Here are some examples of how much money’s worth of power you could produce in a year in Charlotte:
How do solar panels work?
Converting the sun’s rays to usable home energy is a surprisingly simple process. First, photovoltaic panels collect the sun’s rays and the panels create DC power to send to the inverter. The inverter then converts the DC power to AC power (the power your home uses). The AC power is distributed to the main meter panel to be generated by your solar system. The savings are retrieved through any excess power. This surplus of power is sent back to the utility thus providing you with a fiscal credit.
On the grid or off the grid? (net metering vs. batteries)
Since the 1990s, the great majority of solar energy systems utilize a utility grid instead of batteries. The grid and net metering store excess energy resulting in greater savings for you as the homeowner. The continuous growth of on the grid solar energy systems has caused drastic drops in equipment cost, almost 75 percent in the last 10 years.
While batteries or off the grid is a much more dated method of operating a system, it is still effective and will most likely reduce in cost soon like on the grid systems. In most cases, a special class of battery, deep cycle batteries, are required. These batteries are more durable allowing them to withstand constant discharge and re-charging. The energy, density, and calendar life are also explicitly laid out; however, battery life is limited in proportion to how much energy it can store. If you are thinking of purchasing a battery powered solar panel system, make sure to check with your installer about the temperature limitations the battery can withstand in the scorching summers in the Tar-Heel state.
How long does the install take?
Installations differ by company but generally only take a week or two to complete after signing. With solar panel installations become ever more popular in the Charlotte area, installations are becoming quicker and more efficient thus saving you money.
Does color matter?
The color of your solar panels’ frames and cells only affects the appearance of your home. Different color panels do not affect your system’s retrieval of energy very much. Several companies offer various colors for matching your home design. Expert solar panel installers in the greater Charlotte area find black to be the most popular and aesthetically pleasing color. With several color choices available, we urge you to choose the shade you prefer most to further enhance the beauty of your home.
How durable are solar panels?
Solar panels are about 3 feet by 5 feet with 3.2mm thick tempered solar glass. The glass can withstand hail and high winds. If you are concerned about your solar panels being damaged, ask your homeowners insurance if they cover solar panels as many do.
How do solar panels benefit the environment?
The impacts solar panel systems have on our world are incredible. They take pure energy from the sun and turn it into energy your home can utilize. On the contrary, standard electricity is derived from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. These fossil fuels are burned to produce energy and in doing so emit toxic gases which are a main cause of pollution and climate change.
The typical SolarCity solar power system counterbalances 178 tons of carbon dioxide over a 30 years time span. This is like planting 10 football fields with trees or saving enough water used in electricity production to fill over six olympic-sized swimming pools. The positive impacts of solar energy are vast in number and crucial to our planet’s well-being.
As a homeowner, installing solar panels on your house can seem like an expensive addition, but with rebates, tax incentives, and energy savings, purchasing a solar panel system for your home is a worthy investment. North Carolina offers a 13.1 percent investment return on solar panel systems putting the Tar-Heel state at 21st in the nation on the 2016 Solar Report Card. Don’t forget the beneficial impact solar energy systems offer. Switching to solar could save you money while saving our planet.
We recommend reviewing Freshome’s top picks as well as checking out your neighborhood companies. The cost of installing solar panels differs tremendously by brand, watt size, and the overall energy intake. Don’t hesitate to phone any local installers to determine a quote for your home.