Choosing the right solar installation company is probably the most important decision in your solar panel investment. When you’re looking for the best solar installer in Alabama, it can be overwhelming.
How do you know you’re choosing the right solar company? Like any other sector, the solar industry has its fair share of fast-talking salespeople, high-pressure tactics, and inflated performance claims.
So, we created an honest list of the best solar companies in Alabama based on several factors. We wanted a brutally honest because you, as a consumer, deserve to trust where your money goes.
Note: ZERO of these companies paid us to be on this list. This list is our unbiased take on the best solar companies in Alabama.
Best Residential Solar Companies in Alabama
Solar Technology Alabama was founded in 2008 by a former Alabama Power engineer, Ron Holland. The provider focuses on residential works. Among its services are solar panel installation for off-grid systems, grid-tied systems, and solar water heaters.
Related article: Off-Grid Home Solar Systems: What are the Pros and Cons?
The provider operates throughout the state regardless of whether you are close or far from the electricity supply network.
The firm is one of the best installers in the solar industry for several reasons. But one of them stands out; its commitment to educating people about solar instead of focusing on selling its products and services.
This is evident on their website, which contains educational materials in the form of articles and videos related to solar.
The materials educate you on the financial and environmental benefits of going solar. The videos are detailed and practical; you can even use them to install solar equipment or service your system.
The only issue with the installer is that it appears to limit its products to residential solar solutions.
The provider has a rating of 4.25/5 on SolarReviews, which indicates they are among the best solar companies in the state. Among the areas rated highly by customers are pricing, installation quality, and after-sale support.
Eager Solar & Light is one of the youngest installers in the state, having been founded in 2016. The provider is licensed by the Alabama Home Builders Association and the state of Alabama as a General Contractor for solar installations.
Eagle Solar & Light specializes in providing both residential and commercial solar solutions. Residential works include installing off-grid, grid-tied, and hybrid solar power systems.
Under commercial solar, the provider’s range of services includes installing solar systems for businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities across the state.
The company is certified by the best solar product brands in the U.S. and worldwide. This includes Tesla and the Renewable Energy Corporation (REC).
The certifications ensure that its technicians use high-quality brands during installations. Examples include the Tesla Powerwall and REC solar panels that come with a 25-year warranty.
The provider has some of the best financing options to help you go solar quickly. Here are the options available to you:
● Cash purchase
● Traditional loan
● Solar leasing
● Solar Energy Procurement Agreements (SEPAs)
Eagle Solar & Light has a review of 4.5/5 on Birdeye reviews and 5/5 on EnergySage.
SunFarm is a NABCEP certified solar contractor operating in Southern Alabama and one of the best in the renewable energy industry. The provider installs both residential and commercial solar systems. According to their website, they aim to make your home or business its own power plant with these services.
Other products and services offered by the entity include solar thermal, battery backup, and EV charging.
SunFarm uses only the best solar products in the market. This explains why they are certified by leading manufacturers such as Tesla to install unique products like the Tesla solar roof.
The installer has favorable financing options to help you go solar with ease. They include the zero-down and 0.99 interest rates options.
SunFarm takes 2-4 weeks to complete your project, depending on the size of the system. The period includes the time taken to develop a custom solar system design, obtain all approvals on your behalf, and do the installation work.
All installations done by SunFarm come with a 30-year comprehensive, third-party warranty. The warranty covers:
· The complete solar system
· Solar equipment
· Labor costs
· Transferable ownership
· Roof penetrations from the environment
SunFarm Energy is rated 4.5/ 5 on Birdeye reviews, suggesting that most customers have been pleased with their services.
The firm is one of the longest-serving solar installers in Alabama, having been in operation since 1998. This suggests that they have been involved in a lot of projects.
The solar company offers a wide range of solar solutions compliant with federal, state, and local government regulations. They include:
· Residential solar systems
· Commercial solar systems
· Installation of solar farms
· Solar pool heating
· EV charging
· Solar water heaters
As noticed from the services provided, one of the reasons why Compass Solar Energy stands out is that it also installs solar farms in communities across the state.
The installer offers financing options to both homeowners and commercial clients. They give you the option of purchasing outright or financing your system through loans, secured or unsecured.
Unlike some solar companies, Compass Solar Energy helps its customers who want a grid-tied system through the process of getting an Interconnect Agreement with the local utility provider. This includes net metering, which allows you to sell the excess energy generated by your solar panel.
A quick search on the internet shows the company has positive reviews. For example, it has a rating of 5/5 on EnergySage reviews.
How We Calculated the Top Solar Installers
We combed the web and did a deep dive into all the solar companies in Alabama. We read and averaged reviews from multiple websites. We then dug up warranties, accreditations, financing options, product options, experience, employee satisfaction, and more.
We looked at the following factors:
● Do they have NABCEP accreditation?
● Do they have BBB accreditation?
● How do their warranties look?
● Do they offer financing options?
● Do they offer product options?
● Do they use quality products?
● How long have they been in business?
● How many customers have they serviced?
● How many employees do they have?
● How is their employee satisfaction?
● Company website
The Utility Company and Electricity Rates in Alabama
The primary electricity provider in the state is the Alabama Power Company, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. The company was founded in 1906 and is a subsidiary of the Southern Company, one of the largest energy generators in the nation.
Having been in operation for more than 100 years, it has engaged in projects that have allowed it to grow into one of the best electric utility companies in the industry. Today, the company generates, transmits, and distributes electricity to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the southern two-thirds of Alabama.
Currently, the total number of customers relying on supply from the provider is over 1.5 million.
According to the company’s website, it owns or operates 77 generating plants with a total capacity of 12 million kilowatts. The energy comes from various sources, including hydroelectric, coal, and nuclear plants.
Related article: How Efficient is Solar Compared to Fossil Fuels?
Apart from Alabama Power, other smaller utility companies supply electricity in selected communities or regions across the state. These providers include the North Alabama Electric Cooperative, Athens Utilities, and the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative.
Electricity Rates in Alabama
The rates in Alabama are favorable to customers. Still, they are not the most affordable in the U.S.
According to the reliable website Find Energy, the average rate in Alabama is 13.16 cents per kWh. This is less than the national average of 13.99 cents per kWh.
The 13.16 cents per kWh puts Alabama in position 29 in the U.S list of lowest priced states by average rate.
Alabama Power Company Electricity Rates
Since Alabama Power is the main utility company in the state, you should be familiar with its rates. The knowledge will help you understand your electric bill and how adopting renewable solar energy will help you cut this cost.
The provider has different pricing and rate plans for homeowners and businesses that determine your monthly bill.
The residential pricing and rate plans available to you as a homeowner are:
● Family Dwelling Rate Plan
● Family Dwelling-Demand
● Family Dwelling FlatBill
● Time Advantage Rate Plans
● Renewable & Alternate Energy Rate Plan
As a property owner, the amount of energy you consume per month and the resulting electric bill will always vary depending on the chosen rate plan.
For example, the Time Advantage Rate Plan will bill you 7.54 cents per kWh during economy pricing hours, 9.54 cents during winter peak hours, and 27.54 cents during summer peak hours.
This means you can save more during specific periods and spend more on others. Thus, your average electric bill can either be high or low, depending on consumption throughout the month.
Going Solar in Alabama
Now that you are aware of the electricity rates in Alabama and how they influence your electric bill every month, it’s time you consider going solar.
Below we provide you with everything you need to know about solar to help you decide whether you should adopt this clean energy.
Climate, Weather, and Solar Irradiance in Alabama
One of the factors that you should consider before going solar is the climate and weather in your area throughout the year. The conditions will determine whether investing in solar for your home or business will be wise. The factors will also influence the size and number of panels you need for your system.
With this in mind, does Alabama have a favorable solar energy generation climate and weather? The answer is yes.
The state of Alabama experiences four seasons throughout the year: winter, summer, autumn, and fall. However, even with the variations throughout the year, the weather is generally conducive for solar panels.
This is because most areas enjoy the sunshine for 213 days a year, which is above the country’s average of 205 days. Furthermore, the shortest length of the day is 9 hours, which happens in December, while the longest is 15 hours in June.
The long length of the day indicates there are enough hours to capture the sun’s energy and generate solar power for most of the year.
However, it is worth noting that long hours of the day do not always mean more sunlight falling on solar panels. This is where solar irradiance comes in.
Solar irradiance is the rate at which solar energy falls on a panel. The higher the irradiance in an area, the more energy an installed solar panel generates. This is affected by your area’s geographical position, which determines the angle at which sun rays hit panels.
Solar Irradiance in Alabama
The Global Horizontal irradiance is over 4 kilowatt hours per square meter per day (kWh/m2/day) in most parts of the state.
For example, Birmingham experiences 4.45 kWh/m2/day while Huntsville experiences 4.35 kWh/m2/day. The rates are among the highest countrywide, which results in more power being generated by panels installed in Alabama.
Click here to check solar irradiance in your area during peak sun hours. This will help you determine the irradiance on your property.
How to Choose the Top Solar Installer
Now that we have established Alabama provides a conducive environment for solar, the next step is to identify the best solar company to install a system in your home.
Here is what you should do if you want to find and hire the best installer:
● Read up on the installer’s reviews and client testimonials
● Check out the quality of solar equipment or brands used
● Find out about the warranties offered
● Check the solar installer’s credentials and accreditations
● Ask for the turnaround time
● Look for customized solutions for your project
● Decide whether you want a national or local solar installation company
● Get multiple quotes and compare. Get a quote from at least three solar panel companies
Alabama Solar Energy Incentives
The state has several incentives meant to ease the financial burden on homeowners and businesses when going solar.
Alabama residents can take advantage of the 30% federal investment tax credit (ITC). A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your total income tax liability.
If your system costs $10,000, you could claim a $3,000 tax credit on the federal taxes you owe. The tax credit carries forward multiple years if your federal tax liability is low.
Other solar financial incentives to look for (not available in every state):
● State tax credits
● Net metering
● SRECs – Solar Renewable Energy Certificates
● Utility companies sometimes offer incentives
● City and county-level incentives
● Tax exemptions – sales and property value increase
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Alabama?
The average cost of solar panels in 2022 is $2.45 per watt. A 5 kW solar system will, therefore, cost you an average of $12,250. This will reduce to $9,065 after taking advantage of the available federal tax credits.
Average payback period: 6 years
Average 20-year savings: $37,600
Factors that determine your total cost
Apart from the price of a solar panel, many other factors determine the total cost of your system in Alabama. They are:
● Size of the solar system
● Quality of solar equipment, which influences the prices
● Solar installation company
● Solar incentives, tax credits, and rebates
● Solar financing options
● Payback period
● Electricity rates in Alabama
● Roof condition
● Costs by city
● Home value increase