Hello, let‘s discuss the 5 best solar companies in South Dakota to save you money

Going solar can be one of the smartest money-saving moves a homeowner can make. South Dakota offers excellent solar resources and incentives that make switching more affordable. This guide will explain everything you need to know about the top solar providers in SD and setting up panels tailored for your home.

An In-Depth Look at South Dakota‘s Booming Solar Market

In recent years, South Dakota has seen considerable growth in solar energy adoption. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the state currently has over 12,500 solar installations, mostly in residential applications. From 2017 to 2021, solar capacity in SD grew by over 800% as incentives sparked substantial homeowner interest [1].

The payback period on solar investments keeps dropping as well. Data shows the average breakeven point for a solar system in South Dakota is now less than eight years when accounting for incentives. After breaking even, most solar panels will still produce energy at high efficiency for 17+ more years. This makes going solar a 20-25 year money-saver for most homeowners.

And South Dakota offers some particularly appealing incentives:

Residential Clean Energy Credit

  • 30% of entire system cost returned through federal tax credit
  • Will phase down incrementally to 26% credit in 2033

federal solar tax credit details

Property Tax Exemption

  • Up to $50k or 70% of system value exempted from property taxes
  • Results in thousands saved over system lifetime

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

  • Grants and low-interest loans to subsidize rural solar projects
  • Up to 25% of costs covered through grant component

Now let‘s explore the top solar companies helping SD residents capitalize on these savings opportunities…

GenPro Energy Solutions: Leading Full-Service SD Solar Provider

Founded in 2009 right in Piedmont, SD by owners Mark Waldner and Gary Jorgensen, GenPro has installed over 500 solar energy systems across the state. They offer complete in-house services for commercial and residential solar projects – from consultation and design through permitting, installation, and maintenance.

Company History

After meeting at BHSU and working early sustainable energy jobs, Mark and Gary started GenPro to bring better renewable solutions to their local SD community…

Over the past decade, GenPro has established themselves as an SD solar leader through strong customer service and cost-competitive installs. They now employ over 15 South Dakotans and have won awards like Best SD Green Business.

Why Customers Choose GenPro

  • Affordable, Custom Systems: GenPro focuses on keeping project costs low while tailoring solar setups to each home‘s unique energy profile
  • Expert Local Teams: All designers and installers are NABCEP-certified solar professionals who understand SD building codes/permits
  • Complete SD Solar Support: GenPro handles all aspects from design to maintenance, no 3rd parties required

GenPro Service Area

GenPro primarily serves the Black Hills and Rapid City regions of South Dakota. Their business model and expertise has delivered big savings on hundreds of rural and suburban solar projects in these areas.

Sample GenPro Projects

System SizeTotal CostIncentivesYears to Break Even
5 kW$15,250$7,5006.8
7.5 kW$22,700$11,2507.1
10 kW$29,900$15,0006.9

Recent Awards

  • 2022 Solar Power World Top Solar Contractor
  • 2021 SEIA Regional Solar Champion
References: 

[1] https://www.seia.org/state-solar-policy/south-dakota-solar 

Now that you know more about the impressive solar impact GenPro Energy Solutions has made across South Dakota, let‘s look at a few other top providers…

Midwest Solar: Custom Solar Systems in Sioux Falls

Founded more recently in 2018, Midwest Solar serves the Sioux Falls area and beyond with specialized expertise in tailored solar system design. Their staff has 50+ years of combined industry experience.

Company History

Midwest Solar was started by owners Luke Means and Thomas Benzoni who met years earlier while working on renewable power projects in Hawaii. When they relocated back to Luke‘s hometown of Sioux Falls, they saw both a need and opportunity to bring more solar energy solutions to SD residents and businesses.

In just a few short years, Midwest Solar has become known locally for custom-designed solar arrays, transparent pricing, and outstanding project management…

Midwest Solar‘s Differentiator: Customization

Every home‘s energy consumption needs are unique. Midwest Solar begins each project with an extensive site assessment and data collection process to deeply understand the customer‘s goals, budget, and how their residence uses electricity.

This allows their team to tailor the perfect solar system design leveraging their deep product knowledge and supplier partnerships. They automate and optimize energy production for each location.

What Midwest Solar Offers

  • Site Assessments: Shading analysis, roof structural reviews, energy load calculations
  • System Design: Panel array modeling for maximum production given home factors
  • Project Management: Handle permitting, coordination, and install
  • Maintenance: System monitoring and upkeep services

Midwest Solar By the Numbers

  • 50+ years team industry experience
  • 100+ residential installs
  • 10+ commercial solar projects
  • Local employee solar training

Whether your high-efficiency home needs a smaller solar system or your outdated building could utilize larger arrays, Midwest Solar has demonstrated solar expertise across various SD properties.

Black Hills Solar: Local Team, Proven Reliability

Started in 2009 by South Dakota native Carrie Sanderson, Black Hills Solar serves the counties in and surrounding the SD Black Hills region. While one of the smaller solar providers covered, their specialization in the western SD area, solar pedigree, and exceptional performance record makes them a top choice for certain homeowners.

Black Hills Solar‘s Legacy

Carrie got her start in renewable energy shorty after completing her Engineering degree at SDSMT. She moved to the Southwest U.S. for a utility job constructing massive solar fields across Nevada and California deserts. This is where Carrie gained invaluable first-hand experience on solar planning, development, and maintenance best practices.

When returning home to South Dakota years later, Carrie founded Black Hills Solar to provide homeowners around her community the money-saving solar solutions she installed out West for major power companies.

Their Competitive Advantage

While small, the Black Hills Solar team includes two NABECP-certified solar experts and an electrician with 30+ years regional experience. This seasoned group focuses on reliability and code compliance.

Homeowner references rave about their professionalism through accurate assessments, neat panel installations, and transparent pricing.

Core Offerings

  • Residential solar system installs
  • Commercial rooftop arrays
  • Solar maintenance and roofing

For those located in the Black Hills vicinity seeking reputable solar expertise without big corporate markups, Black Hills Solar is worth strong consideration.

Lakota Solar Enterprises: Off-Grid Specialists

Moving from local companies to one serving remote regions, Lakota Solar Enterprises operates from the Pine Ridge Reservation providing solar to underserved Native communities across South Dakota.

Empowering Rural Areas

Many rural towns and reservations have inadequate access to electrical infrastructure. Lakota Solar founder Henry Red Cloud saw too many families lacking reliable energy, or reliant on highly-polluting diesel generations.

Henry started Lakota Solar in 2003 to deliver remote households and buildings solar energy independence. Lakota Solar specializes in full off-grid installations allowing members to control their own electricity self-sustainably.

Unique Offerings

  • Complete off-grid solar systems: panels, batteries, inverters
  • Custom small wind turbines
  • Microgrid community systems
  • Appliances optimized for solar efficiency
  • Native American workforce training programs

For remote properties without electrical access, Lakota Solar provides solar expertise and affordable off-grid systems. Their projects also create jobs while reducing pollution across SD reservations through renewable transitions.

SunPower: Premium High-Efficiency Panels

Last but not least, no solar company overview would be complete without mentioning SunPower and their industry-leading panel technology. While SunPower contracts local SD installers rather than doing direct regional projects, their world-class solar products make the list.

What Makes SunPower Different

SunPower manufactures the world‘s most efficient silicon photovoltaic solar cells commercially available – called Maxeon 5. Competitor panels traditionally hold 15-22% efficiency ratings, converting that percentage of sunlight striking them into actual usable electricity.

The SunPower Maxeon 5 achieves radical 22-25% efficiency. This allows homeowners to get substantially more power generation per panel. SunPower offers industry-best 25-year performance guarantees well-warrantying such high efficiency too.

SunPower Advantages

  • 22-25% panel efficiency (best on market)
  • 40% more energy yield over 25 years per square footage than typical panels
  • Superior low-light/high-heat performance
  • All-black sleek aesthetic
  • Industry-leading warranty

While their premium Maxeon tech comes at a higher sticker price, SunPower delivers exceptional long-term value from space savings, yield gains, and resilience. For homeowners prioritizing panel performance guarantees or maximizing power from limited roof capacity, SunPower should be strongly considered.

Their dealer locator tool shows local SD installers to call for project bids featuring SunPower equipment.

Solar Payment Options: Purchase vs. Loan vs. Lease

Once you‘ve selected a qualified local solar provider like those covered above, next comes deciding how to pay for your new panels.

The three most common options South Dakota homeowners choose between are:

1. Cash Purchase – Upfront payment to buy and own system

2. Solar Loan – Financed over time through lending partner

3. Solar Lease/PPA – No purchase, pay monthly fee to system owner

Let‘s compare the pros and cons of each path.

Solar Purchase Options

Cash PurchaseSolar Loan
Pros– Own system
– No interest fees
– Pay over time
– Own system
Cons– High upfront cost– Interest costs
Cost Examples$24k purchase
$0 interest
$24k system
$5k interest

Purchasing your solar panels, especially with cash-on-hand, provides the most long-term savings by earning free electricity after paying off the system – which retains usage/generation value. Inventory or low intro rate solar loans can assist with affordability.

Solar Leasing Option

Lease/PPA
Pros– Little/no upfront cost
– No system maintenance
Cons– Monthly costs
– No ownership equity
Cost Example– $0 upfront
$100 monthly fee

Leasing avoids major upfront bills by paying a solar company over decades for panel usage/generation. But you don‘t retain any resale value. Monthly fees typically exceed eventual purchase costs.

Below is a sample 20-year total cost projection comparing buying vs. leasing in South Dakota. Your savings may differ depending on local electric rates, incentives, and system factors.

purchase vs lease cost comparison

Based on your current budget and financial situation, both paths offer means to start benefiting from solar. Purchasing tends to provide the most money saved over the full 25-30 year system lifespan.

Key Solar Setup Considerations

Before installing panels, keep a few tips in mind:

Review HOA Rules

If part of a homeowner association or renting, ensure no complex regulations impeding solar installation exist. Get necessary approvals first.

Inspect Your Roof

Old or structurally weak roofs won‘t support panels well. Have an expert assess integrity and expected remaining life before attaching new equipment.

Check For Shading

Scan for obstructions that could block sunlight like trees or other buildings casting shadows. Trim back branches or shift panel positioning to maximize light exposure.

Understand Local Permitting

Research permit requirements through your county or town building codes office based on proposed project size. Solar providers can also guide you.

Add Solar to Insurance

Inform your home/rental insurance provider and ensure your policy includes the value of new solar panels. This guarantees full protection.

Following these steps prepares both your home itself and related financial protection for harnessing the sun.

Let‘s Go Solar, South Dakota!

I hope this guide has helped demonstrate the outstanding solar options and incentives awaiting you here in South Dakota. Homegrown companies like GenPro Energy Solutions have installed hundreds of rooftop systems helping residents gain energy independence while saving substantially on monthly bills.

And South Dakota‘s solar future keeps looking brighter – employment in the local industry has grown 300% since 2015. More qualified providers are offering competitive installation pricing. Technological advances make panels themselves more affordable, efficient, and reliable with each passing year.

Ready to learn more about solar panels or connect with one of these top local solar companies for a site assessment? Reach out today! The decades of free renewable energy await.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much maintenance do solar panels need?

Quality solar panels require very little annual upkeep – mostly just visual inspection and occasional surface dirt cleaning. Many installers provide maintenance bundles or warranties too.

What about hail/storm damage?

Reputable solar panels hold robust construction and impact ratings to withstand severe weather up to 1-inch diameter hailstones and 110+ mph winds. Premium panels like SunPower further protect systems with steel backing and protective glass shielding.

Do solar panels work in winter?

Yes! Solar efficiency drops slightly in extreme cold but modern panels operate year-round even through snow and low daylight. Grid connectivity keeps energy flowing consistently.

Can I add batteries for overnight/outage use?

Absolutely. Many providers offer supplemental battery storage add-ons to cache solar energy for overnight or backup applications. Lakota Solar specializes in fully off-grid set ups.

Is it difficult to sell a home with solar panels?

Not at all – solar systems can actually boost home appraisal value and appeal to buyers with the promise of lower electric bills and sustainable living. Just share energy production records from your panels during sale.

I‘m always happy to elaborate on other questions about powering your home with renewable solar energy!

Max Burns
Solar Energy Analyst

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