Top 7 Best Solar Companies in California (September 2022)

By Dan Simms

With its incredible, almost-always-sunny weather, California is one of the best places in the country to install solar panels. Since the solar industry is rapidly growing in California, the abundance of solar installers can be intimidating to navigate, especially since it’s wise to do extensive research before you choose an installer for your solar project. That’s why we put together this list of the best solar companies in California, as well as a guide on what to look for when you’re shopping around.

Best Solar Installation Companies in California

California is the country’s number one state for solar energy, with an estimated 1.5 million solar projects generating a combined 13,000 MW. If you want to hop on the solar bandwagon but aren’t sure which solar company is right for you, this article is for you. Below you’ll find a comprehensive guide covering the seven best solar companies in California.

  • Best Customer Service: Momentum Solar
  • Best Customization Options: Palmetto Solar
  • Best for Leasing: Sunrun
  • Best Technology: Tesla
  • Best Regional Installer: Sunlux
  • Best Solar Warranty: ADT Solar
  • Outstanding Local Provider: NRG Clean Power

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Best National Provider

Best Financing Options

Best Panel Warranty

Compare the Best Solar Companies in California

The table below provides a quick look at our lineup of the best solar companies in California. We’ll include additional information on each company further down.

Company Our Take Our Rating BBB Rating Warranty In-House Installation Cost
Momentum Solar Best Customer Service 9.8 A+ 25 years for equipment and workmanship Yes $$$$
Palmetto Solar Best Customization Options 9.7 A+ 25 years for equipment, 10 years for workmanship Yes $$$
Tesla Best Technology 9.5 B 25 years for equipment, 10 years overall No $$
SunLux Best Regional Installer 9.4 A+ 25 years for parts and labor Yes $$$$
ADT Solar Best Solar Warranty 9.3 A- 25 years for parts and workmanship Yes $$$
NRG Clean Power Outstanding Local Provider 9.2 A+ 25 years for labor, variable warranty for equipment Yes $$$
Sunrun Best for Leasing 9.5 A- 25 years for leased equipment, 10 years for workmanship Sometimes $$
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Compare the Best Solar Companies in California

The table below provides a quick look at our lineup of the best solar companies in California. We’ll include additional information on each company further down.

1. Momentum Solar

Momentum Solar is a privately-owned solar installation company founded in New Jersey in 2009. The company has grown in the past decade and now provides solar services to 11 states across the country, including California. Momentum Solar installs high-quality solar panels and battery backups and offers outstanding customer service via its unique Concierge Service.

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • Values transparency
  • Solid warranties on all products
  • Familiar with California solar laws and permits

Cons

  • Product selection is good, but small

Company Profile: Cost, Warranty, & Services

Momentum Solar’s prices are competitive, but on the high side, especially when considering the relatively limited services the company provides. However, most Momentum customers are willing to pay more for the company’s streamlined installation process and top-notch customer service.

Average Cost

The average cost of installing solar panels with Momentum Solar is around $20,000. For comparison, the statewide average for systems between 5 kW and 7kW is between $14,000 to $19,000, making Momentum a bit more expensive than the competition on average.

Warranty

Momentum values its customers, and that is evident in the outstanding warranties it offers on all its solar products. The company provides 25-year warranties on equipment and workmanship, giving its customers peace of mind.

Solar Services

Momentum Solar’s weakest offering is its solar services. The company provides solar panel installation and battery backup installation but doesn’t offer more advanced options.

Financing Options

Momentum Solar offers several flexible payment options, including solar loans, solar leases, and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Customers can also pay for their panels in cash.

Specials or Incentives Offered

Momentum Solar has a Family Referral Plan, although the details are not posted on the company’s website.

In-House or Contracted Installations

Momentum Solar is an end-to-end solar company, so they handle the entire process, including installation, in-house.

Brands of Solar Equipment Offered

Momentum Solar does not disclose what panels it uses; however, the company is on record saying that it only uses Tier 1 panels. Momentum uses Enphase energy storage. Customers can choose between the smaller 3.36 kWh Encharge 3 or the higher capacity 10.08 kWh Encharge 10 systems.

Partnerships

Momentum is partnered with Enphase, where it gets all its microinverters and batteries. Many of its installers are also certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

2. Palmetto Solar

Palmetto Solar is one of the nation’s largest residential solar installers and is known for offering a wide range of flexible solar service options. This flexibility makes it the perfect solar company for many Californians, an impressive feat given California’s immense size and geographical variability. A unique feature of Palmetto’s business structure is its advanced protection plan, which offers customers extra monitoring and maintenance options for an additional fee.

Pros

  • High-quality solar equipment
  • Excellent monitoring options
  • Easy to use website and mobile app
  • Good financing options

Cons

  • Monitoring is only available as an add-on
  • Workmanship warranty is lacking

Company Profile: Cost, Warranty, & Services

Palmetto Solar’s prices are competitive, although customers who want access to monitoring and maintenance discounts have to sign up for the company’s protection plan, which raises monthly payments.

Average Cost

Palmetto Solar is fairly priced, with an average cost approximately equal to the California average. Unfortunately, the company’s website doesn’t provide detailed pricing information, so you’ll have to get a free quote if you want specifics.

Warranty

Palmetto Solar offers a 25-year warranty on equipment, but the workmanship warranty is only good for ten years. Palmetto uses Enphase inverters that come with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty or SolarEdge inverters that have a 12-year warranty.

Solar Services

Palmetto does solar panel installation, battery backup installation, solar monitoring, and maintenance, as well as detailed pre-installation surveys and designs.

Financing Options

Palmetto customers can purchase solar panels from Palmetto in cash or through traditional financing or can opt to lease them monthly or enter a PPA.

Specials or Incentives Offered

Palmetto Solar offers a $100 referral reward to anyone who refers a friend or family member who signs up with the company.

In-House or Contracted Installations

Palmetto’s installations are all handled in-house.

Brands of Solar Equipment Offered

Palmetto Solar doesn’t have any brand allegiance for its panels, preferring to offer whatever options are best at the time of installation. Currently, the company uses Q Cells solar panels primarily in conjunction with Enphase or SolarEdge inverters and Sonnen batteries.

Partnerships

Palmetto Solar has a partnership with Exelon Utilities to promote solar adoption by educating the public through its proprietary Mapdwell Solar API. As of late 2021, Exelon customers can access detailed data about how solar can help them reduce their electric bills, encouraging more homeowners to consider rooftop solar.

3. Tesla

Tesla’s solar equipment often takes a backseat to the company’s impressive lineup of electric vehicles, but it’s some of the best solar technology available today. Tesla’s panels are more energy efficient than most other brands’ panels, and its Powerwall lithium-ion storage leads the industry in reliability.

Perhaps more important than the company’s technological prowess is its ability to manufacture highly durable solar equipment. Californians have to deal with more natural disasters and severe weather than most people, making sturdy panels from Tesla a safer investment than many other options.

Pros

  • State-of-the-art solar technology
  • Speedy installation with short wait times
  • Price matching makes them more affordable

Cons

  • Limited workmanship warranty
  • Only sells Tesla products
  • Purchase only (no PPAs or leases)
  • Installation is contracted out

Company Profile: Cost, Warranty, & Services

Tesla knows that its strength as a solar provider lies in its technology, and leans into that advantage by only offering Tesla brand products. It also doesn’t have the best warranties and doesn’t handle installations in-house, making it a tough choice for people who value full-service solar.

Average Cost

Tesla panels have high sticker prices, but the company offers price matching that makes its panels very affordable. Pricing will vary based on what other quotes you have.

Warranty

Tesla’s solar warranties cover performance for 25 years but only offer 10 years of coverage for equipment. The performance coverage is specific and robust, guaranteeing 80% of the advertised power capacity for 25 years.

Solar Services

Tesla offers solar panels, battery backups, EV chargers, and solar roofs.

Financing Options

Tesla offers its customers the option of paying in cash or through a solar loan. The company does not offer PPAs or leases.

In-House or Contracted Installations

Tesla contracts its solar installations to local companies, adding a middleman to the process that some customers prefer to avoid. Tesla installations have mixed reviews since they’re handled by different companies depending on where you live.

Brands of Solar Equipment Offered

Tesla only sells its own equipment.

Partnerships

Tesla is a Better Business Bureau (BBB)-certified company and works with solar installers across the country.

4. SunLux

SunLux is an up-and-coming solar company that provides service throughout Southern California and Texas. The company has locations in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, San Diego, Rancho Cucamonga, Valencia, Irvine, and Rancho Santa Margarita. As a local Californian business, SunLux is keenly aware of the subtleties of installing solar equipment throughout the state, giving it an advantage over national solar businesses.

Pros

  • California-based company
  • Monitoring is included with all installations
  • In-house installations
  • Outstanding warranty

Cons

  • On the expensive side

Company Profile: Cost, Warranty, & Services

SunLux’s prices are a bit higher than the California average, although many customers prefer to pay more for the company’s local expertise, especially for assistance navigating California’s numerous incentive programs.

Average Cost

SunLux solar installations are pricier than most companies, but not prohibitively so. You can expect to pay above-average prices but will also receive top-of-the-line service and high-quality equipment.

Warranty

SunLux offers a comprehensive 25-year warranty that covers parts, repairs, and maintenance. This is one of the best solar warranties in the business and helps distinguish SunLux from its competition.

Solar Services

SunLux offers solar panel installation, battery backups, system monitoring, and EV charger installation. The company also offers a free consultation for prospective customers.

Financing Options

SunLux has flexible financing options, including solar loans, solar leases, PPAs, and cash purchases. SunLux offers $0 down options for qualified customers and a choice between short and long-term loans to suit your needs.

Specials or Incentives Offered

SunLux has a referral program that offers $500 for every customer you refer who signs up with the company.

In-House or Contracted Installations

SunLux is a full-service solar company and handles all installations internally.

Brands of Solar Equipment Offered

SunLux installs Panasonic and Q Cells panels and offers Enphase, Tesla, and LG Chem storage solutions.

Partnerships

SunLux is BBB accredited and partners with GAF and Owens Corning professional roofing companies.

Best Solar Warranty

  • Superlative warranty covering labor and performance
  • A- BBB rating
  • In-house installations

our rating7.3

5. ADT Solar

ADT is best known for its home security products but recently acquired SunPro to jumpstart its expansion into solar energy. The company brings a lot to the table for Californians, including excellent solar warranties, an extensive product selection, and competitive prices. Despite being a large company with locations in 20 states, ADT Solar is well versed in the unique challenges Golden State solar customers face.

Pros

  • Plenty of equipment options
  • Outstanding warranty
  • BBB accredited
  • In-house installation

Cons

  • Mediocre financing options
  • Some reports of lackluster customer service

Company Profile: Cost, Warranty, & Services

ADT Solar offers reasonably-priced solar services across a variety of products and brands, making them a good choice for California residents. The company’s solar warranty is a strong point, as is its reputation for stability and reliability.

Average Cost

ADT Solar is the epitome of fair pricing. Customer reports and online reviews suggest that the company charges average prices compared to other California solar companies.

Warranty

ADT sets itself apart from some of its competitors by offering an outstanding 25-year warranty covering parts, performance, and labor.

Solar Services

The company installs solar panels, solar batteries, and EV chargers.

Financing Options

Financing is one of ADT Solar’s weakest areas. The company accepts cash and offers traditional financing but doesn’t have leasing or PPA options.

Specials or Incentives Offered

Currently, ADT Solar is running a rewards program offering $1,000 for any referrals that lead to a sign-up. The rewards program is easy to use via a convenient mobile app.

In-House or Contracted Installations

ADT Solar handles all installations in-house, so you don’t need to deal with any outside contractors.

Brands of Solar Equipment Offered

ADT offers high-quality solar equipment from Panasonic, LG, and Tesla.

Partnerships

ADT partners with Buildpro Roofing Specialists and Energypro Home Energy Specialists and is certified by Enphase, Tesla, and NABCEP.

6. NRG Clean Power

NRG Clean Power has been serving up renewable energy solutions to Californians for three decades. The company prides itself on offering flexible service options at competitive prices and prioritizes education and individual attention over profits. The company’s website is a testament to its dedication to informing the public about the benefits of solar power and has an extensive learning center to help potential customers get up to speed on the latest developments in the solar industry.

Pros

  • 30 years of experience in California
  • Knowledgeable technicians
  • Easy-to-navigate and informative website
  • Tons of products to choose from

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer solar leases
  • Can be on the expensive side

Company Profile: Cost, Warranty, & Services

NRG Clean Power is an outstanding local solar provider and offers California-specific knowledge and experience to its customers. The company has impressive statewide coverage and will steer you toward the right solar power system for your region’s climate and sunlight characteristics.

Average Cost

NRG Clean Power costs are average to above-average. Customer reviews are generally positive, with many customers indicating that they’re happy to pay more for the specialized attention they get from NRG.

Warranty

NRG Clean Power offers a 25-year warranty on parts and labor.

Solar Services

NRG Clean Power is a full-service solar energy company offering solar panels, battery storage, and EV charger installation.

Financing Options

NRG Clean Power’s financing options aren’t as comprehensive as most companies, although it does offer solar loans. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to lease panels from NRG or enter a PPA.

Specials or Incentives Offered

The company offers $500 for each of your first ten referrals and $1,000 for every referral thereafter.

In-House or Contracted Installations

NRG handles all its installations in-house.

Brands of Solar Equipment Offered

NRG Clean Power offers a range of both monocrystalline and polycrystalline photovoltaic solar panels from REC, Hyundai, LG, Panasonic, and Mission Solar Energy. The company also offers solar storage via Tesla Powerwall, LG Chem, or Enphase Encharge batteries.

Partnerships

NRG Clean Power is proudly certified by NABCEP.

7. Sunrun

If you prefer to lease your panels rather than purchase them outright — which we don’t recommend due to lower long-term savings — Sunrun deserves your attention. The company’s business model incentivizes leasing by offering better protection for leased panels compared to purchased panels. Sunrun also has more leasing options than most solar providers, making it easy to find a leasing option that works for you and your financial situation.

Pros

  • Best leasing options in the industry
  • Premium equipment from well-known brands
  • Large company with extensive coverage in California

Cons

  • Not the best choice for purchasing panels
  • Aggressive sales team
  • Some instances of poor customer service

Company Profile: Cost, Warranty, & Services

Sunrun offers residents of the Golden State several solid leasing options that make it the best company for people who don’t want to own their solar panels. It also offers solid protection plans and insurance for solar panel systems, making it a great choice in areas prone to severe weather and natural disasters, like California.

Average Cost

Sunrun is one of the most affordable solar companies in California, with costs below the state average. Specific pricing is unavailable, as there are many factors that can affect your total.

Warranty

If you purchase panels from Sunrun, be aware that they’re only covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Leasing gives you a better warranty, with Sunrun covering repairs, replacements, and maintenance for 25 years.

Solar Services

Sunrun installs solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicle (EV) chargers and provides solar monitoring services.

Financing Options

Sunrun’s financing options heavily favor customers who want to lease their solar equipment. Customers can choose to lease fully, paying the full price of the lease upfront, or lease on a monthly basis. Sunrun offers no-money-down financing for qualified customers as well.

Specials or Incentives Offered

Sunrun offers a $1,000 reward for every person you refer who signs up with the company.

In-House or Contracted Installations

Sunrun performs its own installations and uses proprietary software to customize the design of your solar system.

Brands of Solar Equipment Offered

Sunrun used to use LG solar panels but recently switched to using undisclosed Tier 1 panels after LG stopped manufacturing panels. Sunrun’s storage solutions use either Tesla Powerwall or LG Chem lithium-ion batteries.

Partnerships

Sunrun partners with CHANEL to bring renewable energy to low-income families throughout California. The company also partners with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) to certify its technicians for photovoltaic (PV) panel installations.

Best National Provider

Best Financing Options

Best Panel Warranty

Final Verdict: The Best Solar Company in California

In our opinion, Momentum Solar provides the best solar service in California. Despite the company’s above-average prices, Momentum customers have access to the best solar technology available on the market, expert support from industry veterans, and tons of great financing options. However, all of the companies on this list offer outstanding solar products for Golden State residents, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Factors to Consider When Choosing The Best Solar Company in California

If you’re having trouble deciding which solar company is right for you, check out this rundown of general things to think about when weighing your options. These factors should help you find the best company for your solar project.

Cost of Services & Installation

The most glaring factor to consider when considering switching to solar energy is the upfront cost. Many people are turned away by the steep prices they see when they request a free quote, but transitioning to solar is more affordable than many people realize.

Equipment and Damages Warranty

Unfortunately, California is a state known for natural disasters, making solar systems a risky investment if you don’t choose a company that offers a comprehensive warranty. The best Californian solar companies offer 25-year warranties on parts, labor, and performance, and we highly recommend giving some weight to the warranty when choosing which company to patronize.

Solar Services Offered

Some companies offer barebones solar installations that are comprised of just panels and batteries. If you’re only looking for a simple installation that might work for you, but want advanced features like EV charging, detailed monitoring, or solar shingles you will need to choose a more flexible company.

Financing Options

Financing is an important factor for many would-be solar customers. If you can’t afford to purchase your solar system in cash, you’ll need to find a company that offers financing. Many California solar companies offer solar loans and leases, and some offer PPAs as well. If you have good credit, it won’t be hard to find a company that offers no money down options at competitive rates.

Do They Contract Installation?

Many people incorrectly assume that all solar companies perform their own installations. While the industry as a whole is moving toward a full-service structure, many companies still contract installations out to third-party businesses. Customer service is less consistent when you’re dealing with an external installer, although this is the only option for many companies, even well-known ones like Tesla.

Brands of Solar Equipment Offered

Solar technology is improving rapidly, but most Tier 1 solar panel manufacturers make panels with similar efficiency statistics. Still, you can squeeze a bit more out of the best panels, so consider a brand like Tesla if you’re looking for the best panels.

Solar systems are made of more than just panels, so don’t forget to consider what inverters and batteries a company uses before signing any contracts. Enphase is an industry leader for inverters, and LG, Tesla, and Enphase offer what many people consider the best solar battery technology.

Average Online Rating and Customer Reviews

Online ratings and reviews shouldn’t be the only things you rely on when choosing a solar company, but they help paint a picture of what it’s like to be a customer. You should read as many reviews as possible from a variety of sources to get an unbiased view of the public opinion on any companies you’re considering. Be wary of companies without reviews, especially newer companies where a lack of reviews may indicate a lack of experience.

Industry Partnerships

Partnerships are a sign that a solar company is important to the industry as a whole. Companies with many partners are more likely to stick around, giving you additional peace of mind.

Size of Company

Some people prefer the name recognition of a large, national company, while others are happier to do business with a smaller, regional company if it means more personalized attention. One is not obviously better than the other, so choose a company that matches your size preferences after filtering out companies that don’t meet your other requirements.

FAQs

Below, we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about going solar in California.

Is solar worth it in California?

Absolutely. California is the number one state in the country for solar energy — and clean energy in general — with more than 1.5 million solar projects generating an astounding 13,000 MW across the state. Southern California is especially well-suited for home solar installations, but even the northern parts of the state can benefit from solar systems.

Does California offer solar incentives?

Yes! California is a pioneer when it comes to solar incentives and one of the best states for affordable solar. California residents are eligible for the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion, and the Single-Family Affordable Housing (SASH) Program. San Francisco and Sacramento residents also have access to several Local utility company rebates, depending on their utility provider.

Is solar energy efficient in California?

California is a big state, so how efficient solar energy is for you depends on where you live. Solar energy is an excellent value in southern California, where sunlight is direct and intense, but residents of northern California can also benefit from installing rooftop solar. Residents in areas with more frequent cloud cover or people who live in the northern parts of the state may need larger systems to match the energy production of homes in sunnier regions.

How much does it cost to get solar panels in California?

The average cost of solar panels in California is around $14,000 for a 5 kW system. Larger 10 kW systems cost $28,000 on average, and smaller 3 kW systems can be had for as little as $8,000. However, your system total can vary quite a lot based on the equipment you install, the contractor you hire, and many other factors.

Does solar increase home value in California?

Yes. A study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that adding solar panels to your home increases its value by about 3.74%. Buyers purchasing homes with solar systems installed understand that it means lower or non-existent energy bills, which is a huge incentive.

Who is the most affordable solar company in California?

SunRun is the most affordable solar company in California, although this company mostly pushes leases, which aren’t as appealing as purchase options. Tesla is the most affordable company for purchasing solar panels, as it offers price matching to compete with other companies.

What is the most experienced solar installer in California?

NRG Clean Power has 30 years of experience installing solar technology throughout California, giving it a big leg up on the competition. However, SunLux also has California-specific experience, and national companies like Tesla and Palmetto are well-versed in addressing the nuances of installing solar equipment in California.

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