Buying solar panels to power your home can be an all-around good money decision. It can increase your home's resale value, and . Solar panels can (many warranties are for 25 years), so they should produce energy well after you pay them off. Even with these potential benefits, the initial cost can be intimidating. And, with new technologies (like ), it can be difficult to know where to shop.
Buying residential solar panels should not be one-stop shopping. It's always a good idea to get quotes from multiple installers. And, you should go in with a solid, your and and your options for . There are more tips in our .
When you're ready to shop, you have plenty of options. It's important to note that we haven't tested panels or gone through the purchasing process at any of these outlets. This guide will help you know where to look, not which solar array is best for your needs.
Perhaps the first place people turn when shopping for solar panels are the companies that do that one thing. Major companies like, , , , and have large service areas and operate in a highly competitive industry. Not all these solar companies offer the same products, prices or warranties and it pays to shop around. Often, solar companies will have online tools that allow you to estimate the cost of solar panels at your house and your long term savings. These are estimates and almost certain to change with an actual visit to your house.
When getting quotes from installers, you should also check with smaller local installers. These companies can sometimes offer lower prices because they don't have to put as much money into sales and marketing.
There are solar marketplaces that do some of the legwork of getting multiple quotes. Marketplaces like EnergySage will gather multiple quotes based on basic information like an estimated energy bill and your address.
Box store partnerships
National solar installers have partnered with box stores to increase their sales reach, and sometimes offer discounts. The national company Sunrun works with Costco. The Costco offers a few additional incentives.is largely the same as buying directly from the company, except
Qualifying purchases can receive back 10% of the equipment cost (not labor or permitting) in a Costco gift card and some extended warranties. Executive members at Costco will also get 2% cash back. Not all products or perks are available in all places, so you'll need to check.
These types of partnerships are likely to become more common. partnership with Ikea starting in parts of California in fall of 2022. Details are currently scarce, but Ikea sells home solar panels in other countries and will likely try to expand their business in the U.S.announced a
Your big-box retailers such as The Home Depot, 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 for both large and small projects. Lowe's .
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. Rooftop solar panels should always be installed by a knowledgeable installer.
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Smaller solar applications
If you're looking for portable solar panels or a a solar powered device charger, you can look a few more places than those listed above. Home improvement stores like, and carry portable solar panels that don't require expert installation. They'll often sell compatible batteries so that you can bottle that solar energy and take it with you.
For solar device chargers, you can check in on manufacturers' webpages or dive in to the plethora of options.
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, which reduce your federal tax liability by 30% of the total costs of the solar panel system. that can lower your initial investment.
Make sure youand how you'll be . Learn the best direction and angle for solar panels and when going with a less common option (like or ) makes sense. Above all, make sure you get multiple quotes from reputable installers. One stop shopping isn't for solar panels.