Solar in the South: Does it Make Sense for Homeowners? – CNET

The south gets more sun than most of the rest of the US, but some states along the Gulf Coast aren’t doing everything they could to take advantage of this nearly limitless resource. 

Among the states we’re covering here — Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky — some are experiencing a solar boom, while others actually try to restrict its spread. 

Jill Kysor, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said that increasingly key policies are being put in place to enable more solar in the south. 

Can solar panels save you money?

Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

“It’s a pretty direct relationship: If there’s net metering available, solar adoption rates tend to be pretty strong and if net metering is not available, it definitely has tended to lag.”

Even where there’s lag, there’s still plenty of solar potential to be found for those dogged enough to capture it.

Read CNET’s coverage of other regions’ solar potential: New England, the East Coast, the Midwest and the West Coast.

Best national solar panel companies in the South

No matter how convincing reviews of solar companies are, you should always get multiple quotes before choosing one. These companies are the larger companies that CNET has put through its review process to good results. 

ADT Solar

Instantly estimate your solar cost and savings. Pick a provider later.

CNET’s highest rated solar company, ADT Solar, operates in all the southern states except for Alabama, making it a good place to start your research. ADT rises above its competition thanks to the strong warranties it offers, including 25-year warranties on the installation work and against leaks in your roof.

ADT also offers multiple options of quality equipment, though your choice may be limited by what’s available. Read our ADT Solar review.

SunPower, known for both top-notch panels and warranties, also operates nationwide, including all of the south. SunPower installs the highest performing solar panels available — which come with an industry-leading solar production warranty — but also installs Qcells panels for a more affordable but equally reliable installation. (Qcells solar panels are used in about one third of all residential solar installations in the US.) SunPower also has one of the longest track records in solar in the US. Read our SunPower review.

Local solar panel companies in the South

When it comes to available solar installers, the South is something of a hodge-podge, with some states well served and others, like Alabama and Mississippi, with just a handful of solar companies to select from.

NRG Clean Energy

Instantly estimate your solar cost and savings. Pick a provider later.

NRG Clean Energy is a solar installer in Texas (and California) that offers the longest warranties we’ve seen from a major solar installer. With a 40-year warranty covering the workmanship on the system, NRG Clean Energy beats the majority of other installers by at least 15 years. Read our NRG Clean Energy review.

How to determine which solar company in the South is best for me

Keep in mind that none of the above local companies, aside from NRG Clean Power, have gone through CNET’s review process. CNET’s reviews are based on our own research and industry knowledge; we do not directly test solar equipment or go through the ordering and installation process with any solar companies. 

When researching online, reviews like those from established organizations like the Better Business Bureau can sometimes be helpful. Keep an eye out for scams or overpromising salespeople.  

It’s imperative to do your own due diligence and research thoroughly before selecting a solar company, because each installation tends to be unique. Get multiple quotes from local installers before signing anything. Talk to friends and neighbors in your area about their experience with a solar installer. CNET has also broken down the solar scene in each state. You can find links to those articles above. 

solar-shingles-2 solar-shingles-2

Net metering Property tax exemptions Sales tax exemptions Alabama Not available Not available Not available Arkansas Available Not available Not available Kentucky Available Not available Not available Louisiana Available Available Not available Mississippi Available Not available Not available Oklahoma Available Not available Not available Tennessee Not available Available Not available Texas Through some utilities Available Not available

FAQs for solar in the South

Do solar panels save money?

Leave a Reply