The City’s 5 Best New York Solar Installers
Thinking about installing solar in the New York City area? Big guns like Sunrun and SolarCity operate in New York, but in such a solar-friendly state, there are literally dozens of smaller companies with great reputations, great service, and low prices. Today, we’re going to highlight some of the best New York solar installers working the NYC area.
Why smaller companies?
With fewer customers, smaller service areas, and lower overhead costs, local installers can oftentimes provide more attentive and knowledgeable customer service than national solar companies – and even offer lower prices as well!
Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to look at smaller, local installers. Not only can you get a quality installation, but you’re directly contributing to your local economy as well. Pretty cool!
What to look for in a solar company
Before we move on to our list of best solar companies in New York City, let’s take a look at what makes a good solar company, and what you should look for before signing a contract with any installer.
#1 Financing that matches your needs
Pretty much any solar installer – regardless of size – can work with cash payments or loans. Some will even have a preferred lender with that offers low rates for solar. If you want to take out a lease or PPA, your choices are a bit limited, as many smaller installers don’t have the ability to offer leases.
Don’t worry though! If you want to install with a small company, but are interested in taking out a lease, below we’ve highlighted several local installers that offer all types of financing.
#2 Good reviews/recommendations
This should go without saying, but remember to talk to people who have used the company and read reviews before moving forward with any solar installer.
Of course, people tend to go online to either complain or praise (who writes reviews for ‘average’ service?), but those comments will still give you a good understanding of what you can expect when working with a company. Do they provide excellent service after installation, or do they drag their feet with maintenance calls? You can learn all this and more through online reviews.
#3 Experience installing solar in your area
This should also go without saying, but you don’t want to be the first installation a company takes on. You want to know that they’ve done this before (preferably many, many times) and are familiar with your utility’s and local building department’s requirements. Having an installer that knows how your local system works is invaluable, as city inspections and requirements can stall projects and cause huge delays.
In our list of installers below, we highlight each company’s age and total number of installations, if available, so you know how our picks fare in this category.
#4 Competitive prices
If your solar company charges you to the point where you’re not even saving money each month, or it will take forever just to break even, that’s probably not the company you should work with. And once you’ve signed the dotted line, that’s it. You’re stuck.
That’s why bidding out the installation is so important. Receiving estimates from different companies gives you context to weigh each bid and allows you to find the best deal.
Of course, the lowest bid isn’t always best, which is why we list it as just one factor to consider. Remember that service, installation quality, and equipment are important too!
5 Best New York solar installers: New York City area
Below, we highlight five companies that install residential solar in the New York City area. While there’s plenty of other installers out there that might match the companies below in price, quality, or service, our list is a good place to start. We’ve researched and vetted each of these, so any (or all of them) should be on your short list! Review information is correct as of December 2017.
Sound good? Let’s do this!
Empower Solar has been around since 2003 – longer than many solar companies (including giants Sunrun and SolarCity). They focus on both residential and commercial solar and have installed over 1,700 system since their founding. Amazingly, they enjoy a perfect score on Yelp. Customers consistently praise the salespeople and installers’ professionalism and speed.
Here’s Robert on Yelp:
“We installed solar panels with SunPower by EmPower Solar approximately 8 years ago and they were first rate throughout the estimate and installation process. The system has generated the savings they estimated and when we have questions they respond quickly. We have a high degree of confidence in this company and recommend them.”
Empower Solar installs high-end Sunpower panels and was even named Sunpower’s Residential Regional Dealer of the Year in 2016. They also install Tesla Powerwalls if you’re looking for backup energy storage. Unfortunately, their website doesn’t specifically state what financing options they offer, so we assume they don’t offer any lease/PPA option and work with cash and loans only.
Empower is based in Island Park, but installs throughout Long Island and New York City.
Bottom Line: Empower installs high-quality equipment (including the Powerwall!) and customers continually praise their professional and honest staff. If you’re looking to take out a lease/PPA though, you’ll likely need to look elsewhere.
While Brookyln SolarWorks is quite young and doesn’t have much info on their website (do they install outside Brooklyn? What equipment do they use? How much experience do they have?), their unique business and good reviews land them a spot on our list of best installers in New York City.
Brooklyn SolarWorks is unique in that they install exclusively on flat rooftops. For those of us that live in a home with a flat roof (which includes myself), this mission really is a blessing. Why? Because most homes in the US have angled roofs with shingles, and that’s what solar installers have the most experience in.
Why is that a problem? Depending on the area, some branches of national installers refuse to install on flat roofs because they think it is too much work (I saw this first hand in Arizona when I was a project manager at a big installer). And since most installers don’t have a lot of experience with flat roofs (and there’s more risk of water leakage if installed improperly), there’s a greater risk that something could go wrong with your installation.
For a company to focus exclusively on flat roofs means a few things:
- The solar industry is maturing to the point where a specialized installation company like this can exist and flourish. Very cool!
- There’s a lot of flat roofs in NYC (you probably knew that already)
- This company has a lot of experience installing solar on flat roofs, so if you’ve got one, add Brooklyn SolarWorks to your short list.
Customers love working with the company, too. Here’s Vinz talking about the exact experience we described above:
“This company is absolutely top notch. I’ve researched various companies and was told my property wasn’t suitable for solar. Not the answer I got from BK SolarWorks. They study and check out your property, come up with creative solutions and execute it swiftly and professionally.
For that it is a somewhat complex process they make it as easy as it can get from helping to secure loans to navigating and giving tips with the tax refunds.
After I spent 1 1/2 years renovating my house, dealing with various contractors and headaches, Brooklyn Solar Works was the most relaxed and secure I felt in a long time. Zero drama, 0 headaches and all promises fulfilled ahead of schedule!”
You can’t get better than that. They work with cash and loan financing (no leases/PPAs) and install both residential and commercial installations.
Bottom Line: If you’ve got a flat roof, certainly add Brooklyn SolarWorks to your list.
Green Street Solar Power
Green Street Solar Power is one of the few small installers in the NYC area that offer every type of financing, including leases, loans, and cash. To that end, if you’re only interested in leasing solar panels, certainly keep Green Street Solar Power as an option next to the big boys like SolarCity.
They’re a Sunpower Elite Dealer (meaning they’ve gone through additional training from Sunpower on the equipment and installation techniques) and install both residential and commercial installations.
While they don’t have too many reviews online, what’s there shows a caring and capable company. Here’s Karen:
“Working with Green Street has been a pleasure. They are so responsive, you can tell they care about their customers. Also– The install team was great, they left my property just as they found it.”
Bottom Line: If you’re looking to lease your solar installation and want to avoid the national installers, reach out to Green Street Solar Power.
Grid City Solar
Grid City Solar is based on Long Island and handles both residential and commercial installations. They’re the oldest company on our list, with over 40 years as an electrical contractor. They claim they’re one of the few solar installers that’s actually seen the end of their customers’ solar contracts. With the typical contract being 20 years, we’d say that’s highly likely.
They are based in, and focus on, Long Island (specifically Cedarhurst), but install throughout New York City. They cover all financing, including cash, loans, and lease – so if you’re looking to go solar via a long-term lease, Grid City Solar both offers it and has the proven longevity to let you enjoy your system without worrying if they’re going to be around in 20 years.
If you want to install solar and support a cool local company, Grid City is also woman-owned – quite a rarity in the solar industry (and, indeed, in the business world at large) and worth supporting.
On Yelp, they enjoy a perfect 5 stars. Customers report Grid City Solar offers competitive prices and their staff are very knowledgeable. Here’s Anatoli:
“I have called many other Companies prior Choosing Grid City Energy, they were very professional, explained me all the rebates, they gave me best price and excellent job.”
Bottom Line: A local, trustworthy, woman-owned company that offers good prices and leasing to boot – can’t get better than that.
Sunrise Solar Solutions
Sunrise has installed about 430 residential solar systems – much less than the others on our list. However, their excellent review scores, equipment offerings, and financing options land them a place in our top 5.
Sunrise Solar Solutions focuses on premium equipment instead of bottom-of-the-barrel prices. They only install Enphase microinverters and offer premium Sunpower solar panels as well. They’re only 1 of 2 companies on our list that install energy storage, carrying the sonnenBatterie which, while not as well-known as the Powerwall, is a great product. (For more information on the sonnenBatterie, read our review How Much Does the sonnenBatterie Cost?)
They offer cash, loan, and lease financing. Sunrise customers praise the company for their excellent post-installation support (truly a rarity in the solar industry!) and employees’ attentive service. Here’s Noah:
“We are very satisfied with our experience with Sunrise Solar. [Employees] and their team were extremely efficient, responsive, and answered all of our questions as novices in solar energy production… Moreover, the installation happened quickly, allowing us to begin making energy as soon as possible… We really appreciate the personal touch, and they made us feel like we were all partners in the project.”
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for top of the line products and attentive service – but not necessarily the lowest upfront cost – keep Sunrise Solar Solutions in mind.
A final word from us about New York solar installers
There are sure to be other great installers in the NYC area, but the five above install solid systems and enjoy great reputations. We hope this list gives you some confidence in what to look for and helps you to go solar!
Remember that even if one of the above installers really catches your fancy, reach out to multiple installers for estimates before moving forward. You never know what pricing and equipment other installers can surprise you with!
And, if you are one of the many renters in New York City and can’t actually install a system, you may still be able to use solar energy through a co-op program!
Did we miss any great solar installers in the New York City area? Tell us about them in the comments below!