Updated: March 2023
Do you know that California is among the best states for solar power generation? This is why there is an increase in the number of solar installers in the state. Although this is advantageous because it provides options, it is also a problem. Why? It becomes difficult for homeowners to distinguish the best solar Companies in California from the rest.
Based on our comprehensive research, we found the top 5 installers in California to be:
- APG Solar
- AmeriGreen Solar
- Capital City Solar
However, remember that the best provider for you will depend on several factors, such as your location in California, the size and shape of your home, and your energy demand.
We have made finding the right installer easy by doing an extensive research to come up with this review.
Get a free custom quote from our recommended installers here.
Read on to see our choice for the top solar installers in California so you can get the right company in your area for the best solar installation for your home.
Why Trust Us
We conducted deep research on over 100 solar companies in California. We spent over 60 hours analyzing and comparing solar quotes, accreditations, warranties, financing options, and product options. In addition, we talked to customers about their solar installations and evaluated their feedback about the installers.
Review of the 5 Best Solar Companies in California
Here is our review of the top local, regional, and national installers.
1. APG Solar
Service area: California. Located in Atwater, CA.
Year started: 2005
Why we’re recommending:
APG Solar is one of the most experienced installers in California. The company has been operating for over 15 years and has completed over 650 installations.
In addition to residential installations, APG also provides related services such as agriculture and pool heating solar systems.
APG Solar hand-delivers plans and permits for your solar project to avoid potential delays when other means are used. This helps to move processes fasters, allowing them to complete and hand over the project within the shortest time possible.
APG Solar guides its clients on how to get financing for their solar systems. The options include getting loans from entities such as Merced School Employee Federal Credit Union (MSEFCU) Energy Efficient Loan or PACE Home Improvement Financing.
Most customers give APG Solar a high rating pointing out that they have a professional team and use the best solar products. Many clients also express satisfaction with the PV systems installed by APG. They note that they are effective, which has helped them cut electric bills.
2. AmeriGreen Solar
Service area: California. Located in Los Angeles, CA.
Year started: 2016
Why we’re recommending:
AmeriGreen provides free consultations and proposals that come with the proposed design, cost, incentives, warranties, and financing options. The installer also provides free energy consultations to help you understand how solar can improve your home.
AmeriGreen submits an interconnection application to your local utility on your behalf. This allows you to start enjoying the benefits of net metering from the start once the application is approved.
Once all the permits are acquired, the installer completes the installation of your system in 1-2 days, which is one of the fastest turnaround times in California.
Customer feedback: Many customers say that AmeriGreen has great warranties. Several clients note that the installer made it possible to go solar by introducing them to representatives from credit unions who assisted with financing.
3. Capital City Solar
Service area: California. Located in Roseville, CA
Year started: 2002
Why we’re recommending:
Capital City Solar is a certified SunPower elite dealer, which ensures they install your system with the best solar products. The installer is also NABCEP certified and has an A+ BBB rating.
Capital City Solar offers a wide range of services, which allows you to find all you need under one roof. In addition to residential solar installation, they offer cleaning & maintenance, system expansion, panel & inverter repair, and battery backup installation.
The installer offers flexible solar financing options that include $0 down payment programs. They also guide you on how to utilize various PACE programs such as CaliforniaFIRST, HERO, and mPOWER.
Customer feedback: Many clients note that it is easy to schedule an appointment and site visit with Capital City Solar. Several customers say that Capital City Solar has competitive prices and involves you throughout the whole process.
4. Palmetto Solar
Service area: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey. New Mexico, North Carolina, and New York.
Year started: 2009
Why we’re recommending:
Palmetto is committed to helping you achieve energy independence through solar power. That is why they provide end-to-end solar services that make it easy to go solar and get long-term maintenance and support.
Palmetto works with the best panel, inverter, and storage battery manufacturers to ensure the high performance, efficiency, and reliability of your system.
When you hire Palmetto Solar, they give you a dedicated project coordinator. Having a single point of contact eliminates confusion that can cause delays or complications with your project.
After installation, Palmetto provides you three years of proactive system monitoring and long-term performance tracking.
Customer feedback: Many clients say that the whole process to install solar panels is always seamless when working with Palmetto. Several customers add that they have managed to save thousands of dollars thanks to the efficiency of the solar panel systems completed by Palmetto.
Service area: All 50 states
Year started: 1985
Why we’re recommending:
SunPower is one of the well-established solar companies in the U.S., having been in business for more than 35 years.
SunPower stands out because, in addition to providing installation services through approved dealers, it manufactures the solar panels used to install your system. Other solar products it offers independently or through partnerships include SunPower Equinox and SunVault Storage.
SunPower has some of the best warranties in the market. You get 25 years for everything on the roof and 10 years for all the components inside your house such as inverters and batteries.
SunPower offers flexible payment options that also include a $0 down solar financing, allowing you to go solar without upfront costs.
Customer feedback: Several customers say Sunpower is honest throughout and adheres to the promised timelines and deadlines. Many customers note that SunPower has the best solar products and systems.
Top National Solar Installers in California
Top Local Installers in Major Areas
Top Local Installer in North California (Includes San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa)
Top Local Installer in South California (Includes Los Angeles and San Diego)
Top Local Installer in Central California (Includes Sacramento and Fresno)
Solar Incentives and Rebates in California
California has several incentives and rebate programs that reduce the cost of going solar while also making it profitable.
The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is the most popular incentive. The incentive was initially set to 30%. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act has prolonged and improved the incentive.
The incentive is now set to run through 2032 and has increased from 26% to 30%. You are, therefore, eligible to claim a tax credit worth 30% of the total cost of your solar system. This will allow you to save between $6k-$10k on an average residential solar system.
Second, California has a Net Metering Policy that allows solar system owners to sell the excess energy generated by their panels to local power companies. With this program, you get credits that can help offset future electric bills.
Third, California has a property tax exemption incentive. This program allows you to increase the total value of your home by installing a solar system without worrying about increased tax for your property.
Fourth, California has the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program. The financial incentive helps low-income households in Investor Owned Utilities service territories go solar.
Additional solar incentives and rebate programs available in California include:
- Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) by California Public Utilities Commision
- CaliforniaFirst, (A PACE financing program)
Click here to learn more about these incentives and others available in California.
How Much Does Solar Cost in California?
The average solar installation cost for a 7 kW system is about $23,600 before the 30% federal tax credit. The payback period for such a system is 7 years.
Related article: California Solar Panel Installation Costs 2023
How Big a Solar System do I Need in California?
Many factors will influence the number of panels you reqquire for your property in California. They include the nature of your roof, the amount of sunlight in the area, the efficiency of the panels, and your energy demand. But on average, a home in California requires 12 to 22 solar panels.
Most of the installers on our list provide a free solar estimate, which is the best way to determine the exact number of panels you will need for your home.
Is it worth it to go solar in California?
Going solar in California is worth it because of the cost savings, resilience, and energy independence it brings.
According to the SEIA, there are over 1.5 million solar panel installations in California, with a larger percentage being residential systems. You, too, can join the thousands of homes powered by solar today. By doing so, we estimate that you can save up to $49,000 over 20 years.
Can I get Financing for Solar in California?
There are many financing options in California that you can take advantage of to make solar more affordable. Some of the financing options are offered by the state, and others by private entities.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs are among the options the state offers to homeowners. The PACE programs reduce financing costs, and you can even get 100% financing for your solar system.
California also has the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program. The program can provide you with partial or full incentives for your solar system.
You also have the option of financing your solar installation through a lease or secured and unsecured loans. The installer you pick can help you secure a solar system through a loan or lease option.
Can I Install Solar at my Home in California?
Most homes in California qualify for solar. This is according to Google Sunroof, which shows that 91% of roofs in California are suitable for solar electricity production. Therefore, if your roof or yard can support panels, then you can install a solar system in your home.
Several factors will determine how much you will save once you decide to go solar. Among them is the financing option your pick since it determines the incentive you qualify for and can claim.
How Does Net Metering Work in California
Net metering is a program that enables you to export the excess electricity produced by your solar system to the local grid. You are then rewarded with credits that you can use to offset your electric bill in the future.
California has one of the best net metering programs where you are credited for each kilowatt sent to the grid at the same rate you buy the unit.
The utilities offering net metering include Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SD&E).
Here is how net metering works in California:
- You apply to have your solar energy system adapted to support net metering
- You pay a one-time interconnection fee
- Your old energy meter is replaced with a new meter capable of sending electricity to the grid (if you don’t have a smart meter already)
- You transfer to a time-of-use (TOU) rate (If you are not already in one)
- The monthly electric bill considers the energy consumed minus the energy generated
- You earn credits if the power generated is more than that consumed
The Advantages of Solar in California
By installing solar in your home, you will enjoy the following benefits:
Access to Renewable Energy
Installing panels on your roof gives your home access to renewable energy that is friendly to your family and the environment.
Home Value Increase
Installing a solar system increase the value of your property by an average of 4%. This can be tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the nature of your property and where it is located.
Saving on Electric Bills
With the right solar system, you can power everything in your home with solar power. The independence allows you to avoid high electric bills each month.
Access to Solar Incentives and Lower Taxes
Installing a solar system allows you to claim state and federal incentives that are available in California, such as the 30% federal tax credit.
You also increase the value of your home without incurring additional tax on your property.
Most Reputable Solar Panel Installers in California
- APG Solar
- AmeriGreen Solar
- Capital City Solar
- NRG Clean Power
- Green Solar Tech
- Solar Optimum
How to Choose a Solar Installer in California
There are hundreds of solar installers in California. You might find it confusing and time-consuming to narrow the list to the ones that work for you. Lucky for you, we’re here to help.
Here are some considerations you should keep in mind.
- Identify the type of solar company you need
- Decide whether you want a national or California-based solar installation company
- Check the level of expertise and experience
- Check if the installer is certified by NABCEP and the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB)
- Check whether the provider is insured
- Check the quality of solar equipment used
- Read up on the solar installer’s reviews and client testimonials
- Find out about the warranties offered
- Ask for the turnaround time
- Establish whether the installer provides customized solutions
- Get multiple quotes. Get a quote from at least 3 solar installers in California
How we Researched the Best Solar Installers in California
Here are the factors we considered to ensure we came up with a dependable list of the best installers in California:
- Accreditation and certification
- NABCEP accreditation
- Certification by the state of California
- BBB accreditation
- Expertise and experience
- Number of years they have been in business
- Services offered
- Number of customers served
- Number of projects completed
- Process and quality of installations
- Free consultations
- Non-obligation quotes
- Quality of solar products
- Nature of warranties
- Financing options offered
- Customer reviews
Going Solar with Electric Utility Companies in California
Utility companies in California, such as PG&E and SCE, do not have programs that directly support private rooftop solar. They only have resources that help you understand the importance of solar and guide you in finding the right installer.
However, you can still go solar with the utilities by participating in programs that allow you to purchase solar power without having to install panels on your roof. For example, PG&E has the ‘Solar Choice’ program, which gives you access to solar power generated by the company’s pool of solar projects.
The only way utilities in California appear to encourage private rooftop solar installation is net metering. The companies agree to purchase the excess power generated by your system in exchange for credit.
However, utilities like SCE only approve applications into the program for systems that are designed to match your electricity needs. Thus, you cannot invest in a solar system that exceeds your energy needs and expect to sell the excess to the local utility.
The net metering policy in California continues to undergo changes. Currently, the state is using the Net Metering 2.0 policy as residents wait on a decision on the proposed Net Metering 3.0, released in December 2021. The proposed changes will affect the costs and benefits linked to net metering in California.
Cost of Electricity in California
The average cost of residential electricity in California is 30 ¢/kWh. The rate is a 24% increase from 2021, when the average cost was 22.82¢/kWh. This shows that the cost of electricity in California continues to rise every year.
Electricity in California is quite expensive, given that the 30 ¢/kWh is higher than the national average of 18 ¢/kWh. When you invest in solar, you will never have to worry about the high cost of electricity.
Climate, Weather, and Solar Irradiance in California
California has some of the longest days. The shortest day is in December, when it lasts for 9.5 hours. The longest day comes in June, lasting for almost 15 hours.
The many hours of the day are favorable for solar power production since there are enough peak sun hours in California. The average peak sun hours is 5 hours, with the peak sun hours in summer being 6 hours and 3 hours in winter.
On the negative side, California is one of the states that have suffered from repeated heat waves in recent years. This extreme weather increases the demand for electricity as people try to cool their homes. Utilities have struggled to meet the high demand during heat waves, sometimes resulting in power outages.
Such unfavorable weather conditions are the reason you need to go solar. While doing so, make sure you hire an installer capable of installing solar systems that can withstand extreme heat waves.
Solar Irradiance in California
The solar irradiance levels in California are suitable for solar power generation. According to Solar Energy Local, most areas experience a Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) and a Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) of over 5 kWh/m2/day.
In Los Angeles, for example, the DNI is 5.72 kWh/m2/day while the GHI is 5.3 kWh/m2/day.
You can find the irradiance levels in your area here.
Environmental Benefits of Going Solar in California
Going solar is one of the best things you can do for the environment if you want a sustainable planet for future generations. This is because making a move to solar will;
- Reduce pollution from fossil fuels
- Prevent destruction of ecosystems caused by the mining of fossil fuels
- Help mitigate climate change caused by the emission of greenhouse gasses
California Solar Energy by the Numbers
According to the SEIA, California is ranked 1st nationally in the total solar capacity installed with 38,145 MW. The capacity is from over 1.5 million installations and is enough to power 10.1 million homes.
The SEIA revealed that solar power accounts for 27.3% of California’s electricity. Statistics further show that prices of solar in the state have fallen by 53% over the last decade, and the total solar investment has now reached $80.8 billion.
California has one of the largest solar markets in the U.S., with solar power contributing to 26% of the total electricity in the state. You, too, can go solar and enjoy the many benefits it offers. When searching for an installer, get at least three quotes from local, regional, and national installers to ensure you get the best provider and competitive prices.
California solar energy resources
This is an association that protects and promotes the interest of the solar industry in California.
This is the commission tasked with ensuring Californians get safe, clean, and affordable utility services.
The commission is California’s primary energy policy and planning agency.
This website provides information on solar incentives and policies in California.
This website contains energy data for all states, including California.