“Who are the top established companies that develop, manufacture and sell solar energy systems in the United States?” -A.J., Jackson, MSTwenty years ago, I could probably have named most of them just from memory, but today’s U.S. solar industry has become big business, making, selling and installing systems in every part of the country as well as throughout the world. It’s interesting to note that some of the “old-timers” from the early ’70s are still in business today, while many of America’s leading companies have bought or started new solar businesses in recent years. The good news is that it’s easy to find companies today that you can have confidence in — companies that meet certain business standards, have experience, and do quality work. I suggest you start by visiting Findsolar.com for an online directory of qualified solar energy installers around the country. Hundreds of solar water and pool heating and solar electric installers and other professionals are listed with more names added on a regular basis. Your other visit should be to the website of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association of manufacturers, contractors and installers. All their members agree to follow a code of ethics giving you added confidence in choosing from their membership. You can find their membership list online at www.seia.org/members.php and can even organize the list by state to choose a company near you. SEIA also has 14 state chapters that include membership from many retailers, distributors and installers (www.seia.org/statechapters.php). But you’re not done yet. Check with your state’s energy office for the names of universities, research centers or regional energy offices that can provide more local information for your needs. In Florida, for example, you can visit the website of the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) for a list of solar contractors and others who have taken courses in photovoltaic system installation, letting you know that these people have received training in their work.