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Where can you buy solar panels?

Interested in solar panels, but not sure where to buy them? Start here.

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Buying solar panels can be a wise investment. Your home increases in value, you can take advantage of tax incentives to lower your initial costs and use the energy stored to keep your home powered through an outage. Also, with an average operational life of 25 years, your solar panels will continue to generate green for your wallet and the environment for years to come. But solar panels are also expensive and a long-term commitment. With the tech changing as new options like the Tesla solar roof are introduced, would it be smarter to wait a couple years before you buy? Check out our solar panel buying guide if you're still deciding. 

When you're ready to buy, our guide dives into where you can find solar panels. Please note: We haven't tested the solar panels and related accessories sold at these retailers (yet). This guide is intended to help you understand where solar panels are sold and what your options are when it comes to retailers. 

Hardware retailers

Your big-box retailers such as The Home Depot sell solar panels, mounting hardware, inverters and charge controllers. Home Depot makes buying solar panels simple through its website or your local store. If you want professional installation, it'll pair you with licensed, insured installation professionals. In the case of Lowe's, it'll offer a one to two-year guarantee on labor. Stores may also offer financing options, like a credit card to help you break up the upfront expenses. 

And if you are a do-it-yourselfer, these stores sell everything you need to install the system, saving you money relative to professional installation options.

Specialty options

Another route is to choose a solar company like Sunrun, which works with Costco. To start, Sunrun offers a free consultation to help you learn more about their services and equipment. 

At that time, a representative visits your home, learns more about your needs, then inspects and measures your home's roof. In the end, Sunrun will finalize the project details like how many solar panels you need and the costs. 

Sunrun even offers financing, a 10-year warranty, and 2% cashback if you have a Costco Executive Membership. However, one thing to consider with these options is they aren't available in all states. So you'll need to contact the company to determine your eligibility. 

One more option on this front is SunPower. Its website is unique in that it allows you to design your solar panel system online. And when you're ready to buy, the company will hire local, qualified contractors to complete the work. It also offers flexible payment options, including 0% down to make the system more budget flexible. 

Online solar companies

You could also select an online solar provider like Tesla. These providers design their no-grid panels with a low profile to achieve a minimalist look. Tesla stands behind its products with a 25-year warranty. 

These companies also make the process convenient. Once you request a consultation, Tesla takes aerial pictures of your home to determine the project design and costs. It takes care of permitting, allowing you to relax during installation. Further, your purchase comes with mobile monitoring, giving you access to system performance and production. 

You could also go with Zenernet Solar. It makes the whole process remote, from custom-designing your solar system to hiring reputable contractors to complete the project. You can schedule a free consultation with Zenernet

Local choices

Partnering with local companies can be the best of both worlds. You can shop online for solar panels, inverters and more. Or, you visit a local dealer to ask questions, design your system and solve grievances. Companies like Sunpro Solar and Palmetto take care of everything in-house. That way, you have a resource available that walks you through each step, keeping you informed and comfortable along the way. 

Sunpro Solar also offers roofing services to accommodate the long life of solar panels. And Palmetto provides customers with an app, allowing you to monitor efficiency. 

Other buying considerations

When considering solar options, research the companies you're considering. Examine their warranty offerings, prices, installation costs and timeframes, customer reviews, panel recycling methods and reputations through third-party resources such as the Better Business Bureau. Also, check to see if a company will assist you with permitting (if applicable). Doing the homework helps you find a reputable provider.

Moreover, consider all the financial aspects of the project. Do not forget to include costs for permits, installation and roof upgrades or replacement. Alternatively, make sure to take advantage of tax incentives like the Investment Tax Credit, which reduce your federal tax liability by 26% of the total costs of the solar panel system. States also have programs where you could receive even more perks, lowering your initial investment. 

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