Find the Best Solar Panels

How do you find the best solar panels?

We are passionate about solar and believe that sourcing only the highest-quality products is best for the health and long-term viability of our company, our customers, and the solar industry. Whenever someone spends their hard-earned money with us, we make sure they get the very best solar power system that money can buy. How do we choose the best solar panels? We take our role as a technology expert/advisor very seriously for every project, from the largest to the smallest. We’re in this industry for the long haul and are determined to be here when less-careful solar installers fall away.

In evaluating solar panels and related equipment, we employ three main filters:

  1. Quality of the solar technology platform
  2. Specific solar performance indicators coupled with industry reputation
  3. Financial stability of the solar manufacturer

Some products perform, while others fall short. This is true in solar as well as all other technologies. We choose only the top performers to build our reputation upon. Our network of national peer companies amplifies our internal ability to vet and process the best available solar products. We are well-connected by virtue of our 20 years of industry leadership as well as our president’s positions on the NABCEP and SolarTECH boards of directors. We have interviewed executives and key science and operations officers at all of the solar manufacturers that we recommend and we monitor the real-world performance of their equipment at multiple test sites around the world.

We do not recommend a product lightly. As a case in point, we are proud to have warned against using Solyndra, due to its unproven technology as well as the instability of its parent company. We had many customers asking for Solyndra panels when they were the “hot new thing.” We’re proud to have held those customers off by advising them, “that technology is not yet proven in the real world—we’re not using them. If and when they prove to be everything they claim, we’ll consider using them.” They never did, and despite government backing, Solyndra went under—and gave the entire industry a black eye.

In addition to quality, performance, and long-term warranty assurance that apply to every job, for those customers who are concerned about where the products are manufactured, we can apply geographic filters as well. Whenever appropriate, we are pleased to provide equipment made in America, or made even more locally, such as in the Midwest.

On this note, it is important to point out that providing equipment that comes with a “Made In America” label is often more nuanced than it might appear. Per the “U.S. made solar panels” label, we always urge our customers to consider that statement in light of the global manufacturing basis for virtually all products. The Toyota Corolla is a Japanese car—made in California. BMW builds some of its “German” cars here in the U.S. Suniva designs and manufactures its solar cells here in the U.S., then ships them to Taiwan for final assembly of the solar panels. In many cases, for many products, the “Made in USA” label should have an *asterisk—because the final assembly is completed overseas.

Today, there are nearly 80 solar panel manufacturers offering approximately 600 different models of solar modules. There are also hundreds of inverter models and myriad solar racking manufacturers. Every solar system includes each of these three main components. The main components are generally not “mix-and-match” and they are not plug-in interchangeable. While each of the respective technologies has matured and we have highly-reliable options for panels, inverters and racking, there are as yet no industry standards for evaluating the performance of the completed system as a whole. We are pushing hard for those standards to be established—for the good of consumers AND the good of the reputable firms in the solar industry.

Our best solar advice to you: spend time choosing an experienced solar installer who will advise you and guide you toward the best solution for your energy needs, unique site characteristics, and budget.


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Solar Champion Referrals


We are expanding our Solar Champion referrals program. Take a look here for all the details.

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Solar for Doctors

Rooftop solar
Rooftop array on a dental practice

In the changing landscape of medical practice and insurance, there are some common issues facing many doctors and practice managers.

  • Patient churn/lack of loyalty
  • Need for new patients
  • Need to increase patient referrals
  • Need for more self-pay, affluent, well-insured patients

Along with these issues come related challenges:

  • Managing operating costs amid a changing landscape
  • Retaining good staff
  • Easing administrative burdens
  • Desire for autonomy—independence—and value growth

Solar energy for medical practices offers positive effects for all of these issues. Solar offers documented payback in its ability to help businesses of all kinds to:

  • Manage for energy efficiency and sustainability
  • Gain positive press & community goodwill
  • Enhance public image & reputation
  • Recruit top talent & retain best employees
  • Sustain high staff morale
  • Enter new markets & attract new clientele
  • Increase property’s value

If you are a medical practitioner—a member of the caring profession—does an investment in solar make sense for you? As you look after your patients’ best interests, solar can help protect the environment we all share while communicating that your practice uses the latest technology and offers top-quality care.

  • Sharpen your appeal and earn more loyalty with educated healthcare consumers.
  • Earn more referrals among green-leaning consumers (LOHAS*) who see solar as a sign of technological advancement, caring, competence, and intelligence.

*Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability—a fast-growing consumer market segment

Here are the bottom-line benefits of going solar:

  • Solar can pencil out to a 2-year pay-back and double-digit IRR. Not many investments can make that claim these days.
  • Solar can make operating costs more predictable and lower over time, and protect you from energy rate inflation.
  • Solar is a strategic way to manage costs and build the long-term value of your practice.
  • Solar increases the value of your clinical property.

See what these New Jersey doctors have to say about going solar.

Geoff Greenfield on Diane Rehm Show

Diane Rehm Logo

On Wednesday, June 5 Geoff Greenfield participated in a segment of the Diane Rehm Show (national NPR, WOUB in Athens, Ohio). The segment topic was “America’s Energy Future Beyond Oil and Gas” and the participants included Christine Todd Whitman of the CASEnergy Coalition, former governor of New Jersey and former administrator of the EPA; Rhone Resch of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA); Robert Gramlich of American Wind Energy Association; and Coral Davenport of National Journal. The full transcript is available here.


All right. To Athens, Ohio. Good morning, Geoff.


Hi. Good morning, Diane.


Hi there. Go ahead, please.


Thanks, Diane. First off, I’m a big fan, and thanks a lot for focusing your show on this important subject.


Indeed. You’re welcome.


So 14 years ago, we started Third Sun Solar. We’re a solar company here in Ohio. We’re what you’d call an installation business. We work on residential rooftops and commercial buildings across the Midwest. Right now, it’s a beautiful sunny day here, and our crews are out on the job today building clean power plants and earning a great living. So these are the jobs that really can’t be shifted overseas.

The part of the solar value chain that has to be local is on the rooftop and out in the solar, you know, field. So I’m wondering why we don’t hear as much about this incredible opportunity for economic development and job creation that solar and wind power present.




Well, there’s over 120,000 people employed in the [solar industry in the] United States today. And the great thing about solar, you create more jobs per megawatt than any other energy technology out there. So you really have a confluence of both energy policy, environmental policy and economic policy when you’re growing the solar industry. And as Geoff points out, these are small businesses, right?

These are the backbone of our economy. These are roofers, electricians, plumbers. But those were let go by the housing industry starting a new business. You know, Third Sun Solar is a great example of somebody coming out of the housing and electricity industry and creating a solar business that’s thriving in creating jobs.


And you’re listening to “The Diane Rehm Show.” Gov. Whitman, you wanted to say something.

Find a good solar installer

Third Sun Solar
A Third Sun Solar installer crew at work

We get many kinds of questions from prospective customers—some who are merely curious about solar energy, others who are more serious about going solar. Often we are asked about our track record as a solar installer, and we’re asked to compare ourselves to our competitors. While national standards are sorely lacking, we have always ranked among the best solar installers in Ohio and the region; we have had experienced utility officials tell us we’re the best Ohio solar installer and the best Ohio solar company. But we don’t hang our hat on heresay—our project experience speaks for itself, and the compliments that mean the most to us come from our customers (see our home page for some of those). Here are the bare facts:

  • We have been in business since 2000.
  • We have completed over 350 successful renewable energy projects.
  • Our founder, Geoff Greenfield, has been building solar projects since 1997.
  • Geoff now sits on the Board of Directors for NABCEP, the “gold standard” certification body for solar installers.
  • Geoff also sits on the board of SolarTech, an initiative of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group—working to establish quality standards for the solar industry.
  • We offer a strong workmanship warranty on all of our solar projects.
  • Our reputation is worth more to us than money.
  • We are in it for the long haul. We build top-quality solar energy systems that are designed to produce clean electricity for 30+ years. We’ll be here to make sure they do.
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