Insights from Solar Power World’s Top 100 Solar Contractors

Simply The Best

solar contractors logoAll companies love to be ranked. Whether it’s by the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List or the Inc. 5000, company rankings give us a measure of how we stack up against the competition and gives us a sense of what we have to do to get better.

That’s why Solar Power World decided it was time for the industry to recognize its outstanding leaders in the fields of utility, commercial and residential installations.

We launched the Top 100 Solar Contractors survey on Aug. 1 and closed it in the middle of October, and we were pleased with the response. In all, almost 200 companies took time to fill out the application (the full rankings can be seen here).

We compiled the data, analyzed it and created several lists based on the number of megawatts (MW) companies installed in 2011. We broke the overall list down into utility, commercial and residential contractors so companies were only competing against businesses of similar sizes. We’ve presented the results on the following pages, but we wanted to highlight the top-ranked companies in all three categories here.

We’d like to congratulate First Solar of Tempe, Ariz., for topping the overall list and ranking No. 1 on the utility-scale installer list, with 400 MW installed in 2011. The people at the company clearly worked hard despite serious headwinds in 2012, and we’re pleased to give them top honors.

Swinerton Renewable Energy of San Diego, ranked No. 11 overall and led our commercial company list with 33.5 MW installed. Verengo Solar of Torrance, Calif., finished No. 28 overall and topped our residential installer list with 10.1 MW installed.

Here are some other interesting data we collected:

• Not surprisingly, California had the most companies on the list with 24. New Jersey came in second with 11, and Pennsylvania ranked No. 3 with 7.

• The Top 100 companies installed a combined 1.3 GW of solar power in 2011. The average number of MW installed was 13.2. The median was 3.

• The Top 100 companies employ 25,868 workers, or approximately 22% of the 119,000 solar workers projected to be in the workforce by the end of the year. The number rises to 32,515 employees, or 27%, if all applicants are factored into the equation.

• The average number of employees in the Top 100 is 259. The median is 35.

• The mean year companies on the list were founded is 1997. The median year is 2005.

Swinerton Renewable Energy (presumably in a different form) is the oldest company on the list, founded in 1888. Solar United Network of Roseville, Calif., Gehrlicher Solar America Corp. of Springfield, N.J., Clark EcoEnergy of Smoketown, Pa., and Crider Americas Solar of Cedar Creek, Texas, are the youngest companies on the list, founded in 2010.

Sunpower had the most companies cite them as their preferred panel supplier, with SolarWorld coming in second. MAGE finished third.

SMA nearly doubled its closest rival Enphase as the most preferred inverter manufacturer (43 to 24).

Unirac dominated the racking-and-mounting solutions category as the preferred racking supplier of 33 companies. Ironridge ranked second, and Schletter ranked No. 3.

And now, without further ado, we present to you the Solar Power World Top 100 Solar Contractors.

Top 100 Contractors Interactive List
Top Residential Companies
Top Commercial Companies
Top Utility Companies
Other Voices

Frank Andorka/Editorial Director

Frank Andorka/Editorial Director

Solar Power World