We’re all looking to save money where we can these days, and one area is in our home energy. Living in an increasingly environmentally-conscious era, many homeowners are looking to solar panels to both save money on their energy bills and do their bit for the environment.
Historically, solar panels haven’t been the most cost-effective option when it comes to powering the home. Increasingly, however, solar panel installation is bringing with it much shorter payback periods as well as flexible payment options, meaning it isn’t the reserve of the rich it perhaps used to be.
As a state, Tennessee gets over 200 days of sunshine per year, so in terms of renewable options, it’s hard to look past the promise of the photovoltaic. So, if you’re in Tennessee, want solar panels installed, and want to save money on your energy bills as quickly as possible, read on!
Tennessee Incentivises Solar Power
The state of Tennessee is pretty progressive when it comes to its incentivization of solar power, not only from a tax perspective but a legislative one, too. Below, we’ve listed some of the ways you can benefit financially from going down the green route of solar energy.
Tax Incentives and Other State-Wide Benefits
One of Tennessee’s main benefits when it comes to solar power is the Green Energy Property Tax Assessment. Established over a decade ago now, in 2010, this property tax exemption relates to geothermal electricity, wind power, hydrogen power, and of course, what we’re interested in, solar photovoltaics.
The state only takes 12.5% of the project costs as taxable property value. In practical terms, this means that by installing solar panels your annual property tax bill will go up only slightly. Given that the initial financial outlay for solar paneling can already be sizeable, it’s reassuring for buyers to know that their property tax isn’t going to soar thanks to the sun.
The Dispersed Power Production Program set up by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is another thing to consider when thinking about installing PV panels on your property. This program enables both residential and commercial property owners to sell excess generated electricity back to the TVA. This offers an easy, additional (and importantly passive) stream of income.
Laws Involving Solar Power
Tennessee has laws in place to ensure that properties with solar paneling aren’t overshadowed in any way. These are known as solar easement laws and they offer handy legislative support to ensure you don’t get into any property disputes with your neighbors over your solar paneling being “left in the dark” in any way.
The Best Solar Companies in Tennessee
1. Greene Tech Renewable Energy LLC
If you want a truly local company to install your solar system for you, then you could do a lot worse than looking to Greene Tech Renewable Energy. Boasting an impressive record of never having had a consumer lawsuit, this family-owned company has a wealth of good reviews online and services that go far beyond simply solar system installation, including solar panel cleaning.
With a 4.77 star average on SolarReviews, from a not-insignificant 70 reviews, customers cited the company’s professionalism, responsiveness, and knowledge as being particularly noteworthy.
Headquarters: Johnson City, TN
2. ADT Solar (Formerly SunPro Solar)
It’s hard not to be impressed with ADT Solar‘s credentials, particularly when it comes to its warranty options; featuring a 25-year labor warranty, a 25-year production guarantee, and a 25-year solar panel manufacture warranty to name just three of its warranties, ADT Solar doesn’t pull its punches in delivering value.
Ranked #2 in the US, in 2021, by Solar Power World in its Top Residential Solar Installer list, ADT Solar even offers a roof replacement if needed, as well as a free home energy audit. 24/7 support is on hand should you ever need it, though anecdotally there have been reports that customer services have been difficult to reach.
Finally, they offer solar battery installation alongside their solar panel products, meaning if you want to live a life less reliant on the grid, then this is a great option. And, what’s more, they offer a free quote for solar panel installation, too.
Headquarters: Memphis, TN (Tennessee office)
3. Green Wave Solar
The team at Green Wave Solar set up the company in 2017. It’s now highly regarded in the industry. Offering a free consultation and with a wealth of industry partners, the team at Green Wave Solar has garnered a string of five-star reviews on both Google and EnergySage, with many reviews complimenting the company’s handling of previously installed solar systems of shoddy quality (by other companies).
A notoriously obscure and complex industry, Green Wave Solar’s website makes a big point about being “100% transparent” during the solar installation process. Something which has been echoed by recent reviews, with one happy customer stating that the Green Wave team, “brings a refreshing clarity to the confusion within the solar panel industry”.
Headquarters: Manchester, TN
4. Shine Solar
Similar to ADT Solar in that it operates out of several states, Shine Solar is one of the bigger companies on our list. Alongside offering an excellent 4.81-star rating on SolarReviews (from an even more impressive 570 reviews), the company provides attractive, flexible payment options; the company offers zero down, zero payments, and zero interest for 12 whole months.
What’s more, the company utilizes a nifty, satellite-based means of calculating an accurate estimate for a custom solar quote in just a few minutes. Tennessee is one of Shine Solar’s most recent new areas, and as such covers a more limited area than some of the other companies on this list.
If you live in the Greater Nashville area, however, then Shine Solar should certainly be on your radar.
Headquarters: Bentonville, AR
5. LightWave Solar
If you’re looking for bundles of experience to go with your bundles of solar panels, then look to LightWave Solar. The company has been operating within the solar industry for nearly two decades. The company is just as dynamic as some of the newer companies, though, when it comes to its industry outlook.
With five NABCEP Solar PV professionals on their staff and over 250,000 solar panels installed, this is one of the most dynamic and hard-working solar companies working out of Tennessee. Something backed up by its 4.8-star review on Google and 4.6* review on SolarReviews.
LightWave offers a free consultation for solar panel installation in Tennessee. You can book this through Calendly on the company’s website.
Headquarters: Nashville, TN
How Much Does it Cost to Go Solar in Tennessee?
Although this is a bit of a, “How long is a piece of string?” question there are some general factors that affect how much it will cost you to go solar in Tennessee. These include property size, parts, and labor costs, and whether you make use of a payment plan (and if so, the particular details of said plan).
On average, a Tennessee resident can expect to pay between $20,000 and $30,000 mark for solar installation (with no exemptions added). This reduces to $10,000 to $20,000 once you apply the 30% federal solar tax credit. Find out how Tennessee compares to Massachusetts and Iowa when it comes to its approach to solar.
Types of Solar Power
Before you get smart and tell us there’s only one type of solar power, and that it comes from the sun, that’s not what we mean. We’re talking about whether your solar power is grid-tied, off-grid, or a hybrid of the two.
Grid-Tied Solar Power
Having a PV system hooked up to the mains grid brings with it several benefits; mainly, the convenience and ease of maintenance. It also means you can significantly lessen your bills by returning excess electricity to the grid.
The disadvantage of this setup is that your power goes out during grid outages. Also, if you live in a particularly remote area then the cost of extending power lines can make an off-grid setup more attractive.
Off-Grid Solar Power
An off-grid solar power system involves photovoltaic panels generating electricity. A solar battery then stores this and your property draws its power from it. This means you’re not at all reliant on the mains grid, however, you are reliant on the panels themselves. You need a heavier-duty/more powerful solar panel system if you’re not going to have a grid to rely on.
Increasingly popular is the hybrid setup. This features both a grid connection as well as a solar battery to store excess power. This means you don’t waste excess electricity and that you have access to power in the event of a power outage. What’s more, you still have the convenience of a grid connection as and when you need it.
To Buy or to Lease
Another question regarding investing in solar panels in Tennessee is whether you buy your solar panels or lease a system.
The benefits of buying your solar panels outright are much the same as the advantage of purchasing anything in one lump sum, rather than entering a finance agreement; namely, you pay a larger sum upfront, however, you don’t have to pay subsequent payments (which have interest on).
Conversely, solar panels aren’t cheap, and so a loan or lease agreement is therefore a more viable option for many homeowners. With the flexible payment options offered by many solar panel installers (like the ones mentioned above), the leasing route can be preferable if you’re looking to spread the financial hit.
So, there you have it – the five best solar companies in Tennessee. All of which can save you money on your energy bills with their systems. As with any investment, before committing, make sure you shop around and see which of the companies best suits you.