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SolarCity is a top national installer, and the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for innovative financing and technology. Its industry-disrupting solar roof tiles, which the company introduced in 2016, blend in naturally with any home. Customers who aren’t ready for a full roof replacement can opt for attractive, all-black solar panels.
The company plans to manufacture the tiles at its brand new gigafactory in Buffalo, New York. The million-square-foot gigafactory project is a the product of a partnership between Panasonic, Tesla, Inc., and SolarCity. It’s expected to create nearly 1,500 jobs in the Buffalo area.
What’s truly distinctive about SolarCity, however, is its connection to visionary businessman Elon Musk. In addition to serving as the Chairman of SolarCity, Musk is CEO and founder of electric car company Tesla, Inc. Tesla purchased SolarCity in late 2016, making it a go-to choice for consumers interested in a fully solar solution that includes solar generation, battery storage, car charging, and real-time mobile monitoring. In addition to the latest technology, SolarCity also provides top-notch service through its NABCEP-certified project managers and supervisors.
SolarCity can be reached through its website at solarcity.com, or by phone at (888) 765-2489.
Direct Energy Solar
This full-service installer launched as Astrum Solar in 2007, and ranked #2 on Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies five years later in 2012. It rebranded as Direct Energy Solar and expanded its Annapolis headquarters after Direct Energy acquired Astrum in 2014.
While it focuses on residential solar, Direct Energy Solar also handles commercial projects. Anthony Bramante, Direct Energy's head of residential solar for the Mid-Atlantic division, told the Baltimore Sun in 2017 that "The vast majority of people we hire, it's their first job in solar." However, several of its electricians and installers are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, a highly respected industry association. Direct Energy Solar has been in business for 10 years, and maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The firm’s installers attach micro-electronics to each solar panel to boost system production, rather than relying on centralized inverters. It offers a 20-year workmanship warranty, manufacturer warranties spanning 12-25 years, a 20-year production guarantee, and real-time system monitoring over the Internet.
Direct Energy Solar can be reached through its website at directenergysolar.com, or by phone at (800) 903-6130.
Solar Energy World
Solar Energy World provides turnkey solar solutions for homes and businesses, and claims to be the top Maryland-owned solar installer.
In addition to thousands of existing solar projects in Maryland and Washington, D.C., Solar Energy World averages 80-90 new installations each month, earning it a spot on Solar Power World’s Top 10 List of Solar Rooftop Installers in North America in 2015.
The firm also won the Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2015, as well as a Guildmaster Award for Service Excellence. Prospective clients are surprised to learn they can contact one of thousands of customers at random to get an objective review.
Solar Energy World installs industry-leading American and German panels manufactured by Schüco and SunPower, and doesn’t hire subcontractors. Its team of installers is supervised by NABCEP-certified solar professionals, as well as licensed master electricians. Customers can pay through an outright purchase, loan, or PPA.
Based in Elkridge, it claims to be the only solar company in Maryland whose headquarters run entirely on solar installed by its own staff. The firm is an ENERGY STAR partner and a member of the Howard County Green Business Council.
Solar Energy World can be contacted through its website at solarenergyworld.com, or by phone at (866) 856-4580.
Vivint Solar is a booming residential solar company that’s been featured by several major publications, including TechCrunch, Fortune Magazine, and Forbes. Vivint has rolled out services across 14 states since it launched in 2011, and it isn’t stopping there. It surpassed 100,000 residential customers and expanded into Orlando, Florida in early 2017.
“To reach this landmark achievement in less than six years is a testament to the outstanding work of our entire team,” said David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar. “We are proud to offer Americans the potential to save money on their electricity bills and power their homes with clean, renewable energy, and we look forward to bringing these benefits to more customers throughout the country.”
Vivint plans to go beyond basic solar services, however—it’s partnering with sister company Vivint Smart Home to offer customers a comprehensive energy solution that includes remote control of smart devices like thermostats and security sensors.
Vivint built its success by relying on in-house staff, offering a 20-year warranty, and maintaining an overall commitment to quality. While “going smart” will likely expand its customer base, homeowners can already use Vivint technology to monitor system production and home energy consumption on the Internet, or via their mobile phones.
Vivint Solar has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau. It can be reached through its website at vivintsolar.com, or by phone at (877) 404-4129.
EDGE Energy is much more than a solar company. It distinguishes itself by helping businesses, homeowners, and governments evaluate and implement various renewable energy technologies, including solar, geothermal, and wind.
EDGE also does energy audits, retrofit projects, and “green” remodels. Its staff of more than 45 employees has upgraded over 10,000 homes across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. since 2006.
The company supports local communities by hiring and training workers from nearby areas. Its project managers are certified by NABCEP and other industry associations.
As a premier dealer of American-made SunPower panels, EDGE installs solar equipment that holds the industry record for conversion efficiency. EDGE is accredited by BPI, an organization that sets technical standards for home performance. BPI-accredited contractors are required to test each job on an annual basis, and report results to the owner, utility, or U.S. Department of Energy.
In addition to SunPower’s 25-year warranty, EDGE offers a 10-year warranty for the installation work, a 10 year power production guarantee, and a two-year workmanship warranty on all roofing repairs and replacements. Customers have access to 24/7 support.
EDGE has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and a #2 ranking for job performance and customer service in Maryland at http://www.mdhomeperformance.org.
EDGE Energy can be reached through its website at edge-gogreen.com, or by phone at (888) 976-8640.
Renewable Energy Corporation
This dedicated solar company installs panels, hot water systems, energy storage systems, and attic fans. It also sets up Power-Save electricity controllers that reduce power draw by collecting and storing the energy created by rotating motors inside a home.
Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) is a family business that’s been serving homeowners in Maryland, Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware, and Southern Pennsylvania for more than a decade. The company has built up a customer base of hundreds of people since 2002, and adds 500-600 kilowatts of solar energy to the Northeast’s energy mix each year.
Customers who choose REC get top-quality, American-made SolarWorld panels. While REC hasn’t developed its own monitoring software, it hooks customers up with a third-party service so they can check system output on a PC, tablet, or smartphone. The company provides support in the form of ongoing inspections, maintenance, and service.
REC claims that the capacity it has installed so far has prevented nearly 100,000 pounds of coal from being burned. It uses efficient lighting in its warehouse and consolidates shipments to reduce its own emissions. It supports the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the ASPCA, Heifer International, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and other nonprofits. While REC isn’t currently rated by the Better Business Bureau, it’s a member of the American Solar Energy Society and Maryland’s Green Registry.
Renewable Energy Corporation can be reached through its website at renewableenergysolar.net, or by phone at (410) 449-5270.
This major player in the Washington, D.C. metro area solar industry installs solar electric and thermal systems for homeowners, businesses, and government entities.
The White House, Pentagon, State Department, Maryland Science Center, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and other agencies have all chosen Aurora Energy for their solar projects. The company also won the Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Aurora has three NABCEP-certified solar professionals on staff. It’s also an Elite Dealer of SunPower products. SunPower solar panels are manufactured in the United States, and hold the industry record for efficiency. Aurora complements the panels with its StorEdge battery system, which releases excess solar power overnight and during grid outages.
Installation takes approximately 2-3 days, depending on system size. Afterwards, customers have access to the SolarEdge monitoring system, which displays data on power generation, home energy consumption, and battery status through an online dashboard.
Based in Columbia, Aurora Energy serves customers in Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Charles, St. Mary’s, Calvert, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline and Talbot Counties in Maryland. It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Aurora Energy can be reached through its website at aurorasolarenergy.com, or by phone at (410) 505-4848.
SG Solar Stepping Stones
This Rockville-based company manufactures, sells, and installs a variety of custom outdoor materials for walkways and patios that contain solar-powered LED lights. Its base product is an embeddable, recessed brick light for stone, brick, and concrete surfaces.
It also offers solar stepping stones for walkways, solar steps for stairwells, and an overhead Solar Dock Light system. The stepping stones come in bluestone, limestone, and sandstone.
They store solar energy in rechargeable batteries, then automatically switch on at night. The overhead dock doubles its light output when it detects motion nearby.
The company says that the lights work year-round within its service area, down to -17F. The LEDs provide up to 12 hours of light at a time when fully charged, with a total life of 100,000 hours.
SG Solar Stepping Stones also provides design ideas for yards, patios, and walkways. While it only does installations in the Washington, D.C. metro area, customers outside the company’s service area can shop online and install the materials themselves. Local residents can also visit the company’s outdoor showroom in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. in person.
SG Solar Stepping Stones can be reached through its website at solarsteppingstone.com, or by phone at (202) 489-1339.
This design firm has been planning and implementing bespoke spaces since 2009. It’s the brainchild of Estonian-born designer Silver Sammelselg, who’s been designing in the Washington, D.C. metro area for more than 15 years.
Sammelselg’s landscapes incorporate solar-powered LED lighting products manufactured by Maryland company SG Solar Stepping Stones, including recessed brick lights, illuminated stairs and stepping stones, and overhead lighting. The outdoor illumination integrates naturally into garden spaces, walkways, driveways, porches, and decks, where it creates ambiance and enhances safety.
Silva also fashions unique concrete countertops with embedded LED lights, as well as elegant fire tables that run on clean-burning, bio-based ethanol fuel. Sammelselg’s travels in Europe have influenced his designs, which blend elements of indoor and outdoor environments together. Site visitors can view a gallery and several videos of his work online.
The firm may be a good choice for homeowners, businesses, organizations, and governmental organizations looking to package interior and exterior design together by working with a single company. It is not currently rated by the Better Business Bureau.
Silva Group can be reached through its website at silvagroupllc.com, or by phone at (202) 489-1339.
Love's Heating & Air
This locally-owned business offers a range of unique approaches to solar power, including solar air conditioning, radiant floor heating, hot water, and pool heating. It also specializes in geothermal heat pumps.
The company sets up highly efficient absorption chiller air conditioners to run on solar energy, creating what the company says is the lowest-cost air conditioning system in the world. It uses evacuated tube solar thermal collectors for solar heating, either through air ducts or a radiant heating system.
Love’s is an approved dealer of Solar Panels Plus hot water and pool heating equipment. It installs the products, and also sells them for DIY projects. The solar water heater is maintenance free, and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
The firm also offers radiant floor heating, thermostat upgrades, humidifiers, maintenance, and round-the-clock emergency service. While Love’s will make calls beyond its core service area, it may charge additional fees.
Employees have more than 20 years of combined experience in HVAC contracting. The company has been serving residential and commercial customers in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's counties since 2002.
Love's Heating & Air can be contacted through its website at lovesheatingandair.com, or by phone at (410) 551-1376.