Does Home Depot Have Free Solar Panels?
Home solar is the most viable alternative to expensive utility electricity and can lower both your energy costs and carbon emissions.
However, as a cost savings measure, it tends to attract misinformation, shady marketing practices, and downright scams. One of the most common scams is to advertise free solar panels in an attempt to collect personal information or to trick homeowners into signing long-term lease agreements.
Based on internet search traffic, thousands of people a year are looking into claims that they can get free solar panels from Home Depot. In this article, we’ll explore this rumor and the reality of getting solar panels from Home Depot.
Can you get free solar panels from Home Depot?
No, you cannot get free solar panels from Home Depot. It’s difficult to say where this myth originated, however, it’s likely rooted in false advertising on social media.
In fact, there’s a similar myth floating around about free solar panels from Tesla that can be traced to Facebook scams designed to collect personal information. Given that Tesla and Home Depot briefly partnered in 2018, it’s possible that the myths about free solar panels cross-pollinated, too.
Regardless, there is no official communication from Home Depot suggesting that homeowners can get free solar panels.
Does Home Depot have solar panels?
Although they aren’t free, Home Depot does in fact sell solar panels and other renewable energy systems. Its solar products include:
- Grid-tied solar systems
- Off-grid solar kits
- Solar accessories (inverters, batteries, and balance of system equipment)
Let’s take a quick look at each category.
Grid-tied solar systems from Home Depot
Grid-tied solar systems are likely what you picture when you think of home solar. These systems are designed to offset a household’s electricity consumption and typically feature 10-20 panels installed by trained and certified technicians. In fact, DIY installation is typically prohibited for systems tied into the local grid.
By connecting to the local grid, homeowners can push excess solar generation onto the grid and pull electricity from the grid when their panels aren’t producing enough. As such, grid-tied systems require permitting and inspection by the local government and utility provider.
Pricing for these systems depends on your electricity consumption, sun exposure, equipment, and energy goals. Some Home Depot locations can connect you with local installers (typically SunRun installers) with varying levels of customer satisfaction, based on the available reviews.
As with any home improvement project, it is crucial to get multiple quotes from vetted local solar installers. There’s no harm in getting a quote from Home Depot. However, there’s no way of knowing if it’s your best option until you compare it with other quotes.
Off-grid solar kits
Home Depot also sells a variety of off-grid solar system kits that include panels, mounting hardware, chargers, and wire. These systems are typically used to charge batteries to power boats, RVs, and electric systems in remote areas.
These kits range from a single 5-Watt panel that can “trickle charge” small systems to 31-panel packs – none of which are free – that can be (carefully) self-installed or installed by a contractor.
While these off-grid kits make solar power more accessible to the general public, they should not be confused with grid-tied solar systems that power entire homes and reduce energy costs.
How can I get free solar panels for my house?
There are a small number of very niche government programs, like California’s Low-Income Weatherization Program, that offer grid-tied solar installations at no cost to the homeowners. However, apart from these programs, “free solar panels” are typically a red flag for scams.
Even if you are able to acquire used or recycled solar panels for free, it costs money to install and connect them to the local utility grid, and many places prohibit DIY installation for grid-tried systems.
While Home Depot offers a variety of solar products, none of them are free, and any unofficial communication that says otherwise should be carefully scrutinized.
The bottom line
Even though solar panels cost money, they’re far more cost effective than purchasing electricity from a utility provider over the long term. By purchasing a solar system, you essentially buy 25+ years of electricity at once at a steep discount and replace your utility bill with a lower payment on your system.
At its core, home solar is a hedge against energy inflation, which has been dramatic in recent years, and gives homeowners unprecedented control over their energy costs.
Connect with a solar.com Energy Advisor to design a custom solar system for your home and generate multiple quotes from trusted installers in your area.