Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Puerto Rico – CNET

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Residents of Puerto Rico may deal with power outages, rolling blackouts and surges on any given day. But they pay triple the amount for electricity people pay on the mainland. 

“The costs for nearly everything in Puerto Rico are higher, including electricity, because the materials or goods are all imported,” said Lauren Rosenblatt, the co-founder and CEO of solar nonprofit Barrio Eléctrico. 

That’s one reason island residents are converting to solar power, which is cheaper and more reliable than fossil fuels. Solar panels are also capable of withstanding natural disasters, which have been targeting Puerto Rico with more regularity in recent years.

“There is an incredible demand for solar and energy storage — much higher now than it was before Hurricane Maria in 2017, which shed light on the vulnerability of the electrical grid,” Rosenblatt said. 

Six years after hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated the island and its power grid, Puerto Rico is now making significant progress toward improving solar adoption among its 3.2 million residents. Puerto Rico ranks seventh among all US states and territories in rooftop solar installations per capita, and the island is working to meet its electricity needs with 100% renewable energy by 2050

If you’re thinking about installing solar panels in Puerto Rico, here are some of the providers that operate there.

Watch this: New Solar Shingles You May Not Even Notice


Solar panel companies in Puerto Rico 

Sunrun installs more solar panels than any other provider in the US. The San Francisco-based company uses monocrystalline solar panels and installs batteries made by Tesla, LG Chem and Lunar. Most of Sunrun’s customers lease their equipment or enter power purchase agreements, where the company installs panels on your property and sells you the energy at a below-market rate. You also have the option of purchasing a solar system. 

Customers who buy power from or rent Sunrun-owned solar panels can get battery storage and a “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, which includes monitoring, maintenance and insurance for up to 25 years.

If you purchase the panels instead of leasing or entering a PPA, you’ll use the manufacturer’s warranties, which can vary in length and coverage. Sunrun also offers a weatherization warranty, which protects your roof from leaks caused by the installation for 10 years.

Read our Sunrun review.

With more than 348,000 customers, Sunnova is one of the biggest solar-power providers in the US. The Houston-based company works with dealers in all US states and territories. It offers monocrystalline solar panels, inverters from SolarEdge and Enphase, and lithium-ion batteries made by Tesla, Enphase, Generac, SolarEdge and FranklinWh. Customers get a 25-year service guarantee, which means the company will service, repair and care for your solar system.

Sunnova offers several payment plans, including power purchase agreements and options for purchasing, leasing or financing a solar system. The company is also partnering with the US Department of Energy to offer solar loans to people with lower credit scores. Through Project Hestia, the federal government will guarantee up to 90% of $3.3 billion in loans originated by Sunnova. However, the company does not offer a price-match guarantee.

Read our Sunnova review.

WindMar, which was founded in 2002, says it’s the largest renewable energy company in Puerto Rico. It also offers solar services throughout Florida. The company uses Tesla Powerwall batteries and has installed solar panels on more than 40,000 homes. 

Purchase options include leasing, financing and a cash buyout, but WindMar doesn’t offer power purchase agreements. 

If you rent a solar system from WindMar, your monthly fee covers insurance and maintenance for up to 25 years. Purchasing the system requires you to maintain and insure the system yourself. 

Read full review

How to determine which solar company in Puerto Rico is best for me?

There are many solar companies in Puerto Rico, so finding the right one can feel overwhelming. We’ve put together some guidance on how to find the best company for your situation.

First contact a few companies that install solar panels in Puerto Rico. You can start with the ones on our list or get recommendations from people you know. Reading through some online reviews from multiple third-party sources can help you get a better understanding of a solar company’s reputation. These companies should have at least a few dozen reviews with a relatively high customer-satisfaction score. 

Once you have a list of a few decent providers, call at least three of them for a quote. Ask at least the following questions:

  • Do you have experience working with the type of roof I have and the type of system I’m installing?
  • Are you certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, or NABCEP?
  • Are you licensed to work in Puerto Rico?
  • What’s a realistic deadline for my project?
  • What kind of financing options do you offer?

When you speak with a representative or salesperson, they should clearly explain the project and address any questions you have. They should also have knowledge of the local permit requirements, the process of connecting with the local utility company, HOA rules, and tax credits and incentives.

How much do solar panels cost in Puerto Rico?

The cost of solar panels depends on factors like the size of the solar panel system, where the panels are installed, the equipment that’s being used, and labor costs in your area.

Data for the entirety of Puerto Rico isn’t readily available. Across the US and its territories, the median price per watt for a solar system in 2022 is $2.99, with the median system costing $23,920, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

US average solar panel costs

System size (kW) Price per watt Installed cost
8 kW $2.99 $23,920

Puerto Rico solar panel incentives and rebates

Residents of Puerto Rico who are looking to install solar panels may benefit from several incentive programs. 

The federal solar tax credit allows you to claim 30% of the total cost of your solar panel system on your federal income taxes. This applies to solar systems purchased from the beginning of 2022 through 2032. However, very few Puerto Rico residents can claim this tax break. “The benefit is a credit against a federal tax bill, and most Puerto Rican residents do not pay federal taxes,” Rosenblatt said.

But residents may benefit from net metering, which allows them to sell their excess solar energy to the power grid. 

Additionally, the costs of solar equipment and installation are exempt from sales tax. And while solar panels can increase the value of your home — and therefore increase your property tax bill — all eligible renewable energy equipment is exempt from property taxes in Puerto Rico. 

Program Details
Federal solar tax credit Claim 30% of the total cost of your solar panel system on your federal income taxes.
Net metering Sell your excess solar energy to the power grid.
Tax exemptions The costs of solar equipment and installation are exempt from sales tax, and all eligible renewable energy equipment is exempt from property taxes.

How to pay for solar panels in Puerto Rico 

Buying and installing solar panels in Puerto Rico can cost $10,000 or more, but you have a few payment options to consider. Each payment method comes with benefits and drawbacks. 

While the upfront costs can be high, “the fuel for solar energy is perpetually free,” Rosenblatt said. This gives you control over the amount and cost of the energy you use.

Here are some payment options to cover those initial costs:

  • Cash: You’ll save on interest costs, but you’ll need to foot the entire bill upfront. 
  • Solar loans: The solar company may offer this type of financing, where you buy the solar system and make installment payments over time with interest. 
  • Solar lease: You pay a monthly fee to rent the solar panels. But you may not be eligible for certain incentives. Since the federal tax credit goes to the owner of the system, you won’t receive it.
  • Power purchase agreement: The company installs the panels on your property and sells you the electricity at a reduced rate. There are few or no upfront costs or maintenance, but you might not qualify for tax incentives.
  • Local financial assistance: Some nonprofits in Puerto Rico help make solar services more accessible to low- and moderate-income households. For instance, Barrio Eléctrico installs solar equipment at your home and charges you for the solar energy you use at a reduced rate.

Installation factors to keep in mind

When you’re thinking about installing a solar system to power your home, there are many factors to consider. Take time to investigate the following factors.

Insurance: Once the solar panels are installed, you’ll need to tell your homeowners insurance agency and update your insurance policy. “This normally entails a rider and a slight increase in the annual premium,” Rosenblatt said.

Homeowners association: Check your HOA or other neighborhood association rules regarding solar panels. “Some, but not all, states have solar access laws that prohibit local governments or HOAs from prohibiting a solar installation,” Rosenblatt said.

Maintenance: Solar panel maintenance is minimal, but it still involves cleaning and checking the panels. You can do this yourself or outsource the task. Meanwhile, “inverters and battery backup systems typically come with a service plan [and a warranty],” Rosenblatt said.

Replacement: Solar panels typically have a lifespan of over 20 years, but inverters and batteries may need replacement between the 10th and 15th year.

Location: Solar panels are most efficient when they’re installed under direct sunlight. And batteries typically perform best in an enclosed space, like a garage, in extreme heat — which Puerto Rico often receives.

Rent or own: Homeowners shouldn’t have problems installing solar panels on single-family houses. But renters may be prohibited from making changes to the property without the landlord’s permission. 

Roof condition: “The roof has to be in good condition before installation,” Rosenblatt said. “It is not easy to uninstall a solar system to fix a bad roof.” The solar panel installer should inspect the roof beforehand and give you a report.

How we found the best solar companies in Puerto Rico

Our methodology

The companies we listed above are curated from CNET’s reviews of solar companies list. Companies are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Local companies typically haven’t been reviewed. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we’ve completed a full review on a company or not, it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

Puerto Rico solar power FAQs

Is solar power good for the environment?

In short, yes. “Solar energy is clean, emission-free power,” Rosenblatt said. “The more solar we have, the less we need to rely on fossil fuel energy sources that create greenhouse gas emissions that damage our air quality and contribute to climate change.” 

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