Each of our reviews, scores, and rankings are derived from our proprietary Ranking Criteria™. We do not have any relationships with companies that guarantee position, rank or score . . . and we never will. Like many sites, we are compensated through affiliate relationships with each company we review; however, our Ranking Criteria™, along with real consumer reviews from people like you, ensure we remain honest and unbiased. Read on to discover more about how user review moderation and expert scoring is processed or select an industry to see our full ranking criteria.

How we rank for

20%Equipment

The Solar industry offers a variety of different solar panels and inverters. Solar panels are tested and assigned a module efficiency rating that shows how efficient the solar cells are in absorbing energy from the sun. Solar inverters are also tested and given a peak maximum efficiency rating. Solar companies that offer the more efficient solar panels and inverters to customers will provide the better equipment to consumers and in turn, score higher.

25%Payment Options

The Solar industry offers 4 main payment options:
  • Purchase – the consumer purchases the solar equipment upfront. Though upfront costs are considerably higher, the discounts and tax breaks are the greatest with this option.
  • Loan – similar to purchasing the equipment outright, the loan option is a way for the consumer to work toward solar ownership without all of the capital upfront. Consumers receive financing either through the company, a solar financing company, or a third-party financial institution. Loan lengths and interest rates vary greatly based on location, credit score, size of the solar system, etc. Because the consumer is working toward owning the solar equipment, consumers qualify for tax breaks with the loan financing option. However, it may take a few years for you to receive the full tax credit based on how much you spend up front.
  • Lease – with leasing, consumers need very little to no money down. The solar company remains the owner of the solar equipment, the consumer simply pays a small fee to essentially rent the equipment as well as the cost of the energy produced. The consumer does not get a tax break with the lease option.
  • Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) – PPA is similar to the leasing option. With PPA, the solar company remains the owner of the solar equipment, and thus they receive the tax credit, not the consumer. This option is great for the person who wants to pay less on their energy bill without a desire to own a solar system, and without the need for a lot of money upfront.
Companies who offer more payment options receive a higher score as they can meet more consumers' needs.

8%Warranty

Solar ownership is often a consumer's second largest investment, behind a home mortgage. Having a comprehensive warranty provides consumers with the peace of mind they need to commit to a solar contract. Across the industry, warranties vary greatly, from 10-year limited warranties to comprehensive, no questions asked lifetime warranties. Companies with more comprehensive warranties receive a higher score.

10%Availability

Because of new tax-break solar initiatives, the solar industry is growing tremendously and many new companies are created all the time. With that being said, their aren't any "national" solar companies. In fact, there are few companies that service more than 15 states. This makes it hard for consumers to find the best provider in their state. This is why we give companies who service more states a higher score.

8%Active

This criterion is related to a company's activity and the accuracy of its profile on our site. To get credit for this criteria, a representative of the company verifies to Best Company that the information about their company listed on our site is correct. Additionally, the company agrees to help us gather a minimum of five new reviews per month to be featured exclusively on bestcompany.com. These reviews are gathered either through our site or through our proprietary review acquisition process. Either way, each review undergoes a validation process by Best Company's integrity team to ensure reviews on our site are verified and legitimate. We feel strongly that the information we feature on bestcompany.com must be accurate. A company that fails to increase their review count by at least five reviews each month is marked as "not active" and the company's overall score is reduced accordingly.

4%Viability

This criterion is related to the company's ability to service customers. Over time, as we learn more about each company and the industry, we are privy to details the general public may, or may not, be privy to. This information could include the financial stability, legal standing, or business practices of said company. Each company listed on our site is initially given full credit for this criteria. However, if we deem a company's ability to service customers becomes compromised, we reserve the right to deduct points from their viability score.

25%User Score

Here at Best Company, we believe a company is only as good as what its customers say about it; feedback from real customers is crucial to understanding how a company truly operates. For this reason, we have allocated more than half of a company’s overall rating to verified customer reviews. The customer reviews score is broken down into three metrics:
  1. The average user score
  2. Total number of reviews
  3. Total number of reviews in the last 12 months
These three metrics not only help us understand what customers are saying, but they also help us determine a company’s relevance and to how many people—all of which are critical to understanding the value of a company in the eyes of the customer. Note: this is different from the “User Score” that is displayed on each company profile, which is simply the average of all user scores published for a given profile, and is independent from a company’s overall score.

User Review Moderation

In order to prevent false and misleading user reviews, Best Company employs a Review Moderation Team specifically assigned to vet all user reviews for all companies listed on the site. This team follows a very specific and strict moderation process that has been designed to gauge the validity of each and every user review submitted to our site.

The Flag System

This moderation process involves a “flag” system, where a flag is assessed for each negative attribute associated with a user review. Too many flags result in a rejection of a user review. Some of the things our moderation staff looks for and assigns potential flags to include the following:
  • Email address verification of the user
  • IP address duplication and region check
  • User review semantic verification
  • Is the user an employee of the organization?
  • Is the user associated with a competitor of the organization?
  • Foul language of any kind
  • Relevance of the content pertaining to the company and the review
As you can probably tell, we take our user review moderation process very seriously. We believe accuracy and authenticity are critical when it comes to user reviews, and are constantly finding new ways to make our user moderation process better. Please note that while we do our best to manually moderate each and every user review, mistakes can occasionally be made; however, we are dedicated to resolving any errors in our process and delivering you better data so you can make a better decision.