Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Houston

Houston residents looking to switch to clean energy can take advantage of a major federal tax credit and local net metering incentives to save some money.

The companies providing quotes may differ from those described in our independent reviews.
View of downtown Houston skyscrapers seen from below on a sunny day.

This view from downtown Houston raises the question: Does the sun shine a little brighter in Texas? 

Art Wager/Getty Images

Are solar panels a good investment in Houston? For many H-Town residents and businesses, the answer is yes. According to US Climate Data, Houston gets 2,633 annual hours of sunshine, an average of seven hours per day. This means solar panels in Houston have the potential to generate a lot of energy and keep you independent from the grid -- which can be even more helpful when storms strain Houston's power infrastructure, leading to rolling power outages.

The federal tax credit bolstered by the Inflation Reduction Act is a massive way for residents across the United States to save money on a rooftop solar installation. This credit provides a 30% rebate on the cost of any clean energy addition to your household once tax season rolls around.

Additionally, Texas has a number of local incentives that Houstonians can take advantage of. Net metering policies across the state help homeowners without batteries pay less in utilities when their solar panel system can't produce as much electricity, and a state property tax exemption means you won't be paying taxes on the additional value that your rooftop solar system adds to your home. More localized systems also exist, such as Green Mountain Energy Renewable Rewards Buyback Program, which grants benefits to homeowners with solar panel systems of specific sizes.

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If you're ready to take the next step and learn more about solar panel installation in Houston, these are the best national solar panel installers to look into.

Best national solar panel companies in Houston

Houston has hundreds of solar panel installers for residents and businesses, but selecting the best installer requires research and planning. Below are five solar panel companies available in Houston that we've listed among our choices for the best solar companies, based on customer data and buying trends. 

NRG Clean Power

Best in California and Texas

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NRG Clean Power brings one of the solar industry's most confident approaches to its work, offering a price match and 40-year warranty. NRG Clean Power is a solid bet as long as you live in Texas and California. NRG Clean Power does not offer leases or power purchase agreements, but it does provide solar panel cleaning and roofing services as well as a reliable equipment menu.

  • Equipment 9.3 / 10
  • Warranty 9.5 / 10
  • Service 7.5 / 10
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Palmetto Solar

Best overall

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Solar panels are typically low maintenance equipment, but they're also unfamiliar. If you want to reap the benefits of solar but will have a bit more peace of mind if someone else is making sure it's working, Palmetto might be a good fit for you. Just remember to add the cost of Palmetto's monitoring service in to your payback period calculations.

  • Equipment 9.3 / 10
  • Warranty 6 / 10
  • Service 10 / 10
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Since 1985, SunPower and its sister company Maxeon have provided solar panel installations with the most efficient residential solar panels available. Based in California, the company has a 25-year system warranty and a 10-year battery warranty, along with several financing options. Due to its sustainable practices, the business earned PV Magazine's Sustainability Award in 2019. 

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Whole home approach

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Elevation's focus on your home's energy efficiency isn't the norm in the industry. If you're planning on addressing energy efficiency first, working with Elevation allows you to keep the whole process with one company. Elevation's solar equipment comes from well-established and well-regarded companies. Elevation's warranties on workmanship and weatherization could be a bit longer.

  • Equipment 9.3 / 10
  • Warranty 6.5 / 10
  • Service 7.5 / 10
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Freedom Forever

Best for cash customers

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Include Freedom Forever in your search if you want the backing of a national company that installs a wide variety of the most popular solar equipment available. Freedom Forever also extends a couple of products that take some of the pain and risk out of going solar, like a production guarantee and an escrow option with cash purchases. Online reviews say customer satisfaction has been low of late, though the company says that's changing.

  • Equipment 9.3 / 10
  • Warranty 7 / 10
  • Service 5 / 10
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Tesla Solar

Most affordable

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Tesla's solar branch seems to be the least loved of Elon Musk's ventures. Even Tesla's Solar Roof seems to get more love.

If price is the thing you won't budge on, consider Tesla. By all accounts, Tesla installs quality panels and makes the closest thing there is to a household name in solar storage: the Powerwall.

Where you might miss out is customer service. Discussion online seems to suggest Tesla's service is a bit of a gamble.

  • Equipment 7.3 / 10
  • Warranty 6.5 / 10
  • Service 8 / 10
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Momentum Solar

All in-house installers

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Momentum installs in 11 states without using subcontractors. While using in-house installers doesn't guarantee a better experience, it does suggest you're likely to get a more uniform experience from Momentum. The fact that Momentum backs its installations with a 25-year workmanship warranty hints at a strong belief in its crews' ability. If Momentum is part of your search, consider the warranties against leaks that other companies offer. Momentum's is five years, which isn't the best.

  • Equipment 6 / 10
  • Warranty 7.5 / 10
  • Service 7 / 10
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Local solar panel companies in Houston

Sunshine Renewable Solutions specializes in residential and commercial solar installations, along with a wide variety of inverters, batteries and EV chargers. The company offers a 10-year workmanship warranty. And the manufacturer of the solar panels you choose will offer a 10- to 25-year product warranty and a 25-year panel performance warranty. You can pay cash or finance your solar panels.

Locally owned and operated out of Houston, Texas Direct Solar says it has solar experts that are laser-focused on getting you the best possible installation. These experts don't make commission, and the company has stated employees won't try to pressure you into a sale past the consultation.

Texas Direct Solar says its model allows its customers to reap the largest possible savings.

How to determine which solar company in Houston is best for me

Here are some tips to help you find a reputable installer.

  • Understand federal, state and local solar incentives. Make sure your installer can accurately explain how tax credits and incentives work.
  • Read online reviews from multiple sources. Google and Yelp are a good place to start.
  • Get recommendations from neighbors who have solar installed.
  • Check an installer's licensing and certifications. Look for installers who are certified by NABCEP
  • Compare multiple solar quotes.
  • Ask your installer all your questions, even the difficult ones.
  • Assess your potential savings cost and your solar payback period. Your installer should be able to explain this to you.

Cost of solar panels in Houston 

Here's a look at the average cash price for a typical solar panel system in Texas before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from FindEnergy.com. Your system might become more expensive if you choose to include solar batteries or additional equipment in your purchase.

Average cost of solar panels in Texas

Typical system size (kW)Price per wattTotal installed costCost after 30% federal tax credit
Texas 9$3.33$29,970$20,979
National average 8.6$3.67$31,558$22,091

The map below provides the average total price, cost per watt and system size for solar panel systems in different states, according to data from FindEnergy.com. Values shown are not representative of any fluctuations from tax credits or state solar incentives. If FindEnergy doesn't have solar data for a particular state, it appears grayed out on the map.

Houston solar panel rebates and incentives

Homeowners looking to install solar panels can refer to the Houston incentives and rebates table below. The most well-known, cost-saving incentive is the Residential Clean Energy Credit. Homeowners who pay with cash or use a solar loan between 2022 and 2032 can receive a federal tax credit when they file their income taxes, covering 30% of the cost of a solar panel installation. A reputable solar installer can also assist with determining other local benefits available through your electricity provider or county and town governance.

Some Houston solar incentives

Energy-efficient mortgages An EEM assesses the value of future utility savings to secure better financing for the borrower. Financing terms may include larger loan amounts, lower interest rates and more.
Green Mountain Energy Renewable Rewards Buyback Program Green Mountain Energy gives bill credits to solar owners when they connect to the grid with a system size of less than 50 kW.
Net Metering Programs Houston electricity providers often offer net metering programs for solar owners. Net metering sells extra energy back to the grid for electricity bill credits. Contact your electric provider to see if a net metering program exists.
Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption Houston residents are exempt from property tax increases that occur from installing a solar panel system. Residents can apply with Form 50-123.
Residential Clean Energy Credit Houston residents can claim the Clean Energy Credit. This 30% federal tax credit is available until 2032. IRS form 5695 is needed to apply.
TXU Energy Home Solar Buyback The TXU Solar Buyback program offers electric bill credits for solar system owners who send excess energy to the grid.

How to pay for solar panels in Houston

Solar panel systems in Houston are typically paid for by one of the following options. Each payment method has pros and cons for homeowners to consider. 

  • Cash: Interest-free, but must pay upfront.
  • Solar loans: Can pay over time, but interest can accrue.
  • Solar lease: Flat monthly payments, but ineligible to claim some incentives and rebates.
  • Power Purchase Agreement: Little-to-no homeowner maintenance, but it takes longer to see a return on investment.

Cash and solar loans are the most beneficial for homeowners who want a quick solar investment return. Taking out a personal loan or opening a home equity line of credit are a couple other options to finance your panels as well. Solar leases and PPAs are best for residents who can't pay cash and may not qualify for a large loan.

Just looking for an emergency backup? Check out portable solar panels and solar generators.

Installation factors to keep in mind

The decision to invest in solar to gain more energy independence involves many contributing factors. Is solar worth it for you? To make the best decision, consider these factors of solar installation, ownership and maintenance.

Factor Details
HOA rules HOAs cannot ban solar panels in Houston due to Texas solar rights laws, but your neighborhood could have rules around the placement or aesthetics of solar panels. Look into your HOA agreement to see if any restrictions apply.
Home insurance Your home insurance may go up by adding solar panels to your home, but it's important to insure your investment. Speak with your home insurance company in advance to see how adding solar panels will affect your coverage.
Home location Solar power captures energy from the sun, so sunlight is essential for an effective array. Although panels can still generate energy in cold or shaded areas, extreme cover is unfavorable.
Own or rent Ask your landlord if installing solar is permitted at your home if you rent. If not, you can consider community solar programs like Arcadia to use solar energy and possibly see savings on your electric bill.
Roof condition Trusted solar installers will analyze roof quality and age to include any needed repairs when creating an initial solar panel quote. The roof's size and slope are also a factor in how many solar panels are required, which will affect the productivity of the solar array.

How we found the best solar companies

Our methodology

The companies we listed above as "the best" are curated from CNET's best solar companies list. Companies making the best list are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we've completed a full review on a company or not, it's always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

Houston solar power FAQs

Are solar panels in Houston required on new houses?

No. New homes in Houston are not required to have solar panels. However, as of April 2021, all new homes are subject to Houston's Solar Ready provision. According to The Houston Chronicle, the Solar Ready provision means "developers must incorporate the potential for their installation in the future into their plans." 

How much solar power do I need to run a house in Houston?

The amount of solar power needed to run a home depends on that household's size and energy consumption. Larger Houston homes, especially those with pools or saunas, will require more energy than the average home to provide electricity for the entire house. In Texas, the average solar system size is 8.9 kW. 

Look at your energy bills over the past 12 months to see how much energy your home uses in a year. Past bills are usually available online at your electric provider's website and will state how much kWh is used per month. By adding the kWh per month for the past year and dividing by 12, you can get an average of your home's kW use and then plan accordingly for the right–sized solar array. A reputable solar installer will do this part for you. In a power outage, a solar battery can keep essential appliances running temporarily. Solar panels will not provide electricity during a power outage without a solar battery because a connection to the power grid is required. 

What are the best solar panel companies in Houston?

Palmetto, Sunrun, SunPower and Tesla Solar are five solar companies with good reviews that service the Houston area. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, over 500 solar panel companies exist in Texas, so choosing the best company depends on what qualities you are looking for in a solar installer. Homeowners looking for a low upfront cost may find Sunrun to be the best for them. Those looking for a hands-off approach to solar installation might prefer a company that handles all the small details like Palmetto. Solar users that prefer a legacy brand with a long history in the solar industry might consider SunPower. 

Lisa Iscrupe Contributor
Lisa Iscrupe is a CNET contributor and a writer for CNET's sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com with a background in residential energy and solar power. She explores a spectrum of energy-adjacent topics, from saving money on electric bills to finding the best electric vehicle charger. Readers can expect straightforward explanations, reviews and advice on all things energy. CNN, The Daily MBA, The Media Bulletin and other national media outlets have referenced her articles.
Expertise Solar power, energy
Lisa Iscrupe
Lisa Iscrupe is a CNET contributor and a writer for CNET's sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com with a background in residential energy and solar power. She explores a spectrum of energy-adjacent topics, from saving money on electric bills to finding the best electric vehicle charger. Readers can expect straightforward explanations, reviews and advice on all things energy. CNN, The Daily MBA, The Media Bulletin and other national media outlets have referenced her articles.

Article updated on February 15, 2024 at 4:01 AM PST

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Lisa Iscrupe Contributor
Lisa Iscrupe is a CNET contributor and a writer for CNET's sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com with a background in residential energy and solar power. She explores a spectrum of energy-adjacent topics, from saving money on electric bills to finding the best electric vehicle charger. Readers can expect straightforward explanations, reviews and advice on all things energy. CNN, The Daily MBA, The Media Bulletin and other national media outlets have referenced her articles.
Expertise Solar power, energy
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