Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Wisconsin – CNET

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The state of Wisconsin doesn’t rank well in comparison to other states in terms of solar panel system installations, but that’s beginning to change — the Badger State is the 12th fastest growing state in terms of solar installation and adoption, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

This rapid increase in adoption is likely happening in part because of federal and local incentives encouraging solar installation. The biggest recent federal incentive is a major tax credit included within the Inflation Reduction Act, offering a 30% rebate on the cost of any clean energy additions to a household.

Wisconsin residents can take advantage of strong local policies, too. Net metering policies let you send excess energy produced by your rooftop solar system to the grid, accrediting you to pull energy from the grid when your system doesn’t produce enough to power your household. The Badger State also provides a flat rebate to ease the cost of your rooftop solar system.

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Before you make the switch to clean energy, you need to do the proper research and understand your installation options. Here are the best national solar installation companies operating within Wisconsin.

Best national solar companies in Wisconsin 

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, 182 solar companies operate in Wisconsin, including 73 solar installers. Below, we’ll highlight five of the companies working in the state, including companies featured on CNET’s solar company best list

Finding a trustworthy solar installer that fits your budget, can meet your timeline and offers the products you want is crucial. It’s also important to read customer reviews and get several quotes from different installers. We’ve compiled a list of solar panel installers that stand out in the market, but be sure to do your own research before signing a contract. 


If you’re looking for top-of-the-line solar panels, SunPower is your best choice. But don’t write it off if you’re looking for a less flashy installation that will get the job done. This year it started installing Qcells panels, which should make an installation from the longest-tenured company on our list available to more people.

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Include Freedom Forever in your search if you want the backing of a national company that installs a wide variety of the most popular solar equipment available. Freedom Forever also extends a couple of products that take some of the pain and risk out of going solar, like a production guarantee and an escrow option with cash purchases. Online reviews say customer satisfaction has been low of late, though the company says that’s changing.

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Tesla’s solar branch seems to be the least loved of Elon Musk’s ventures. Even Tesla’s Solar Roof seems to get more love.

If price is the thing you won’t budge on, consider Tesla. By all accounts, Tesla installs quality panels and makes the closest thing there is to a household name in solar storage: the Powerwall.

Where you might miss out is customer service. Discussion online seems to suggest Tesla’s service is a bit of a gamble.

Local solar companies in Wisconsin 

All Energy Solar provides solar and energy storage services for residential, commercial and utility-scale customers in the Northeast and Midwest, including Wisconsin. The company manages the entire purchasing process in-house, including solar system design, installation, local permitting and post-installation monitoring. All Energy Solar partners with large solar manufacturers like Enphase Energy, Q Cells, Tesla and SolarEdge Technologies. The company provides up to 10 years of quality-of-work warranties in Wisconsin. All Energy Finance offers direct financing to its solar customers, which means you work directly with the installer to pay for your loan.

Solar Power World magazine, a leading solar publication in the US, ranked Arch Solar as one of the top solar installers in Wisconsin in 2022. With more than 90 employees, Arch Solar handles the installation in-house. The company partners with solar and battery industry manufacturers like Enphase, Generac, SolarEdge and Tesla. While solar panels and inverters come with a 25-year warranty, Arch Solar provides only a five-year quality-of-work warranty for residential customers. 

Endries Solar and Electric provides full-service solar and battery installations for residential and commercial customers. The company customizes each solar system to suit the client’s needs and it’s a certified installer of Generac solar batteries. If you need solar financing, Endries Solar and Electric consultants can walk you through your loan options and payment strategies. The company provides a five-year quality-of-work warranty.

Want something smaller than a whole-home solar system? See our picks for the best portable solar panels and solar generators

Cost of solar panels in Wisconsin 

Here’s a look at the average cash price for a typical solar panel system in Wisconsin before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from Your installation will become more expensive if you choose to include solar batteries or additional equipment in your purchase.

Average cost of solar panels in Wisconsin

Typical system size (kW) Price per watt Total installed cost Cost after 30% federal tax credit
Wisconsin 6 $3.88 $23,280 $16,296
National average 8.6 $3.67 $31,558 $22,091

The following map provides a visualization of the average total price, cost per watt and system size for rooftop solar systems in different states, according to data from The prices shown do not represent fluctuations from tax credits or state solar incentives. If FindEnergy doesn’t have solar data for a particular state, it appears grayed out on the map.

Wisconsin solar panel incentives and rebates 

While solar panel costs have decreased over the last decade, they still cost thousands of dollars to own. Wisconsin residents can take advantage of the federal solar tax credits and state incentives to reduce the initial cost of solar. You can deduct 30% of the cost of a solar system from your federal income taxes through the federal Residential Clean Energy Credit (previously available under the Investment Tax Credit). This credit applies to systems of all sizes installed between 2022 through 2032. The credit decreases to 26% in 2033, 22% in 2034 and ends in 2035.

You can claim the Clean Energy Credit by completing and submitting form 5695 (PDF) to the IRS. Read through the IRS instructions on how to fill out this form. Once the IRS signs off on your paperwork, you will receive your solar savings in credit when you file your federal tax return for the year.

Apart from the Clean Energy Credit, Wisconsin provides several incentives to encourage the development of the residential solar sector.

Program Description
Net metering Net metering lets you send your excess solar generation to the power grid and lower your next utility bill by receiving a credit. The state’s Public Service Commission mandates that utilities provide retail rate net metering credits equivalent to a solar customer’s monthly power consumption.
Focus on Energy rebates All qualified homeowners in Wisconsin can receive a flat, one-time $500 solar rebate when buying and installing new solar panels on their rooftops, regardless of system size. It’s essential to check the Focus on Energy’s site to confirm whether your utility takes part in this program.
State solar sales tax and property tax incentives Wisconsin provides sales and property tax exemptions on solar equipment. Thanks to these incentives, you won’t pay taxes on the added home value from your solar system. You can claim these exemptions when you file your state tax returns.

Important installation factors

Condition and angle of your roof Your roof’s pitch can add to how much a solar project will cost. Find out if your roof has the right angle to make the most of solar generation. According to the US Department of Energy‘s estimates, an angle between 15 and 40 degrees is optimal for solar panel efficiency. It’s also essential to hire an experienced solar installer who can advise you on your roof’s condition and whether it needs replacing before installing solar panels.
Investment vs. time Think about the length of time you will live in your home before taking on a solar loan or entering a long-term PPA or leasing. All these options are long-term commitments. If you move several years after getting solar panels, a solar investment may not be worth the effort and expense. The average payback period for solar ranges between six to nine years.
Insurance coverage Including a solar system in your homeowner’s insurance policy is a good idea as it can offer more protection for your solar equipment. Consult with your insurance company about your policy’s coverage of a solar system.
HOA and neighborhood rules Wisconsin’s solar access rights allow homeowners unlimited access to the sun. It means that homeowners’ associations and neighbors won’t prevent you from installing solar panels on your property in Wisconsin.

How to pay for solar panels in Wisconsin

Purchase the system in cash

This option requires you to have the cash available to pay for the system. You can avoid financing costs and use a high-yield savings account to save up

Finance the system with a solar loan:

Solar loans are often offered by the solar installer, usually in partnership with a financial institution. This option might be quicker to access than other types of financing, but you should make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Other types of financing

Home equity loans and lines of credit are often used to pay for home improvements, and may have better rates than solar loans. They’re secured by your home, so make sure you can pay them back or you risk foreclosure. Personal loans are generally unsecured, but often come with higher rates and shorter terms.

Solar lease or power purchase agreement

If you sign a solar lease or PPA, you won’t own the solar panel system. This means you won’t qualify for incentives or tax credits and your long-term savings will be lower. However, solar leases and PPAs are more affordable than purchasing the system outright.

How to determine which solar company in Wisconsin is best for me

Tips when choosing a solar installer:

1. Get multiple quotes and compare: This is possibly the single most important step. You can’t know if you’re getting ripped off without checking a quote against something else. 
2. Ask you installer questions: A reputable installer shouldn’t be afraid of questions. If you feel you’re getting the run-around, ask other installers the same questions and compare their answers.
3. Talk to your neighbors who have solar panels: Ask your neighbor how well their chosen company communicated, stuck to the schedule, navigated the permitting process and supported them after installation. If the company has a referral program, you could kick a few hundred dollars your neighbor’s way, too.
4. Understand your local incentives: Make sure you know whether your local government and utility have solar-friendly policies that can make solar a safer financial bet.
5. Read reviews and complaints: Online reviews aren’t the gospel truth, but they’re useful for educating yourself on the issues that might crop up and common experiences that customers have had with a company.
6. Check licenses and certifications: You can check the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners for certified installers near you. There are other certifying organizations though, so ask installers where their licensure comes from.
7. Calculate your savings: If a company seems to be promising too much, don’t commit and investigate further. 

How we evaluate solar companies

Our methodology

The companies we listed above as “the best” are curated from CNET’s best solar companies list. Companies making the best list 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.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. 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.

Wisconsin solar power FAQs

Will I lose power with my solar panels if there’s an outage in my area?

Yes, for most solar systems. After your solar system is installed, your home remains tied to the main electric grid to use it as a backup when the sun isn’t shining and powering your solar panels. You could store excess energy in a battery back up and use it during an outage. 

Does Wisconsin provide a solar tax credit?

Wisconsin doesn’t provide a solar tax credit if you acquire solar panels. You can use the 30% federal tax credit and state and local incentives to reduce the initial cost of solar panels. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency offers an exhaustive list of solar incentive programs in Wisconsin, which can help you find more cost-saving opportunities.

Is it worth getting solar panels in cold states like Wisconsin?

Yes, it’s often worth going solar in Wisconsin. It’s possible to produce solar energy even in Antarctica. Solar panels need sunlight, not heat, to generate power. Cold weather provides optimal efficiency and operation for solar panels because their highest efficiency internal temperature is between 59 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. That said, certain types of solar panels are more efficient than others. Your solar installer can help you decide which panels make sense for your rooftop.

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