5 Best Solar Companies in California (2022 Reviews)

We recommend vetted solar companies that have:

  • Availability in your area
  • Affordable pricing and financing options
  • At least 5 years of experience
  • Outstanding customer reviews
Ecowatch Author Karsten Neumeister

By Karsten Neumeister, Solar Expert

Updated 5/9/2022

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Best Solar Companies in California

California has long been on the leading edge of clean energy, both in volume and in policy. So, as you begin your search for a top solar installer in California, you’ll find that there are a lot of providers to choose from.

The good news is that a number of the nation’s top solar companies got their start in the Golden State, so its residents have access to some of the best solar panels and services in the nation.

To help you in your search through the wide variety of California solar installers, we’ve narrowed in on a list of the top eight.

Best National Provider
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Nationwide Service

Ecowatch rating

Average cost

$$$$$

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SunPower

  • Pros icon Most efficient panels on the market
  • Pros icon National coverage
  • Pros icon Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Pros icon Great warranty coverage
  • Con icon Expensive
  • Con icon Customer service varies by local dealer

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon EV Chargers
  • Service icon System Monitoring
Best Technology
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Nationwide Service

Ecowatch rating

Average cost

$$$$$

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Tesla Energy

  • Pros icon Price-match guarantee
  • Pros icon Sleek, efficient and durable solar panels
  • Pros icon Best solar battery on the market
  • Con icon Some reported issues with customer service
  • Con icon Customer service varies by local dealer

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon EV Chargers
  • Service icon Solar Roof Shingles
  • Service icon System Monitoring
Best for Leasing
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Regional Service

Ecowatch rating

Average cost

$$$$$

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Sunrun

  • Pros icon Expansive service area
  • Pros icon Many financing options
  • Con icon Some reported issues with customer service
  • Con icon Some reported issues with door-to-door sales

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon EV Chargers
  • Service icon Energy-Efficiency Upgrades
Great Warranty Coverage
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Regional Service

Ecowatch rating

Average cost

$$$$$

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NRG Clean Power

  • Pros icon Industry-leading warranty
  • Pros icon Outstanding customer service
  • Pros icon Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Con icon No leases or PPAs
  • Con icon Can be slightly expensive

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon Solar Roof Shingles
  • Service icon EV Chargers
  • Service icon System Monitoring
Outstanding Local Installer
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Local Service

Ecowatch rating

Average cost

$$$$$

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Stellar Solar

  • Pros icon Educational, no-pressure sales approach
  • Pros icon Offers products from leading manufacturers
  • Pros icon Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Con icon Slightly limited service offerings

Services Offered

  • Service icon Solar Panels
  • Service icon Solar Batteries
  • Service icon EV Chargers

EcoWatch Preferred Partners

Here is a list of preferred partners in this area.

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Comparing the 5 Best Solar Companies in California

NRG Clean Power

Service Area: State of California; based in Los Angeles

What We Like: NRG Clean Power is a total home performance company, offering a fully comprehensive approach to designing the perfect clean energy system for your home. With accessible prices, flexible solar financing options, lifetime warranties and a great reputation to boot, NRG Clean Power tops our list of the best solar companies in California.

What We Don’t Like: NRG Clean Power doesn’t offer solar leases, which can exclude homeowners who value helping the environment more than saving money by purchasing a system of their own.

What Customers Are Saying: “I highly recommend this solar company. They have the process mastered. I was well-informed of the whole process, especially on the aspect of the expenses. All questions were answered promptly — just a great team!” — Chai via Better Business Bureau

NRG Clean Power at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 1992
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup batteries, electric vehicle chargers, roofing and energy efficiency upgrades
  • Warranty: Lifetime labor warranty, product-specific warranties for photovoltaic panels and inverters
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan

Sunrun

Service Area: State of California

What We Like: When it comes to flexible, affordable home solar backed by a rock-solid warranty, Sunrun is a tough option to beat. Sunrun offers excellent solar lease options and solar financing with zero money down, customizing its services around your needs.

What We Don’t Like: The size of Sunrun can make it vulnerable to issues with communication after a sale. Some customers report having a hard time connecting with customer service.

What Customers Are Saying: “Sunrun walked me through the pros and cons of purchase versus leasing. Also battery versus no battery. Decided to purchase panels and install them. Three months later, everything is working great. Should easily be able to break even in about eight years. Thanks for great service!” — Bruce via BBB

Sunrun at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2007
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup batteries, EV chargers
  • Warranty: 10-year all-inclusive warranty and product-specific warranties
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan, solar lease/power purchase agreement (PPA)
  • Learn More: Sunrun Review

SunPower

Service Area: State of California; based in San Jose

What We Like: SunPower has long been one of the top national solar companies — both in the quality of its products and its installations. Manufacturing its own industry-leading solar panels, SunPower delivers efficient, all-in-one solar systems with the best warranty in the business to customers throughout California and the entire U.S.

What We Don’t Like: SunPower outsources its work to certified dealers throughout the country. Though the company still maintains stellar reviews, your experience can be dependent on which dealer you live nearest.

What Customers Are Saying: “I was not the original customer. I bought the residence with SunPower’s system already installed and assumed the lease. Lease is reasonable and does not increase over time. Customer service has been excellent when contacted. Any and all issues resolved with just one call.” — Kevin via BBB

SunPower at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 1985
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup batteries, EV chargers
  • Warranty: All-in-one 25-year warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan, solar lease/PPA
  • Learn More: SunPower Review

Stellar Solar

Service Area: Southern California; based in San Diego

What We Like: Voted San Diego’s best solar company in 2021, Stellar Solar’s team of experienced solar energy consultants uses a consultative, educational, no-pressure approach to both residential and commercial solar projects. This approach pays dividends for Stellar Solar, as the company boasts exceptional customer reviews and builds its business on a booming referral network. Stellar Solar offers some of the best solar products from SunPower, Enphase, Panasonic, LG and more.

What We Don’t Like: We’d like to see Stellar Solar offer electrical services and energy efficiency packages along with its solar, battery and EV chargers.

What Customers Are Saying: “Wonderful experience with Stellar Solar… The reps from Stellar are highly professional, timely and courteous. They took the time to clearly explain the process from start to finish. The installation process was straightforward. The crew was very considerate and they left the project site clean and neat.” — Madeline via Google Reviews

Stellar Solar at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 1998
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup batteries, EV chargers
  • Warranty: 25-year workmanship warranty, 10-year roof warranty, product-specific warranties
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan, solar lease/PPA

Tesla

Service Area: State of California; currently based in Palo Alto (CEO Elon Musk has announced the company will be relocating its headquarters to Austin, Texas)

What We Like: A household name in electric vehicles and solar energy, Tesla offers some of the most advanced and aesthetically pleasing solar technology on the market. Though not a solar installer like the other names on this list, Tesla will match you with a solar technician near you that is certified to install its products. Tesla also guarantees to price-match any solar system in order to offer the most affordable solar panels in the country.

What We Don’t Like: Installing your solar system through Tesla does come with a few downsides. The work is outsourced, and customers have experienced long wait times when reaching out with service and warranty questions. The popularity of Tesla can also lead to long wait times for products like the Powerwall 2.

What Customers Are Saying: “Tesla Energy partnered with Sunworks to install my solar panels, and I was super impressed with them. They provided better financing than any other companies, and they were so quick to get everything up and running. It’s only been a year, and I’ve already saved tons of money on my electric bill. Well worth it.” — Benjamin via Yelp

Tesla at a Glance:

  • Year Founded: 2003
  • Services Provided: Solar panels, backup batteries, EV chargers, solar roofs
  • Warranty: 25-year panel performance warranty, 10-year comprehensive warranty
  • Financing Options: Cash purchase, solar loan
  • Learn More: Tesla Solar Review

How We Chose the Best Solar Companies in California

We researched the product ranges, services, financing options, customer feedback and industry reputations of every major California solar installer. Using this methodology, we rated and ranked each company to narrow down our picks for the best solar companies in California.

Choosing the Best Solar Installer for Your Home

Keep in mind that everyone’s needs are different when it comes to solar, so what may be the best solar company for your neighbor might not be right for you. Consider the following factors and place more weight on what’s important to you when choosing the best company for your installation:

Services Offered

For one, it’s important to note that different solar companies may offer slightly different services. Most California homeowners will want a company that provides a wide range of services, assisting with everything from an initial consultation to panel installation to applying for financial incentives. But you may also want specialized services such as other home energy efficiency upgrades or an EV charger installation.

Installation Process

Consider the specific steps in the panel installation process. How long will it take to have your solar panels placed? Is the solar provider insured? Will the panels be installed by a trained member of the company, or will it be a third-party contractor who does the work?

Solar Pricing and Financing

Sticker shock is common with solar systems, but keep in mind that you’ll ultimately save money in the long run thanks to the reduced energy costs. In addition, California offers statewide solar incentives that can help you reduce these upfront costs. Budget can be paramount for homeowners considering solar, and some companies are more flexible than others.

Industry Affiliations

We generally recommend working with a company that maintains membership in the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) or other professional associations. Membership in these groups is a great indicator of the company’s professionalism, workmanship, reputation and reliability.

Types of Panels

Pay attention to the specific type of solar technology that is offered. Is the company certified to install leading brands like Tesla, Panasonic and LG? It never hurts to take a closer look into the company’s tech portfolio. If you have a specific brand of solar panel or battery in mind, check that the company you’re speaking with is certified to sell and install those products.

Incentives, Rebates and Tax Credits

In California, it’s likely you’ll be eligible for solar rebates and federal tax credits after making the switch to solar energy. Will your solar installation company help you make the necessary arrangements? Be sure to ask your provider about what’s available in your area. Even better, ask if the company has experience applying to these incentives.

Warranty

Finally, we recommend seeking an installer that can offer a good warranty. Panels can last 25 to 30 years, and you will want to ensure your investment is protected for as long as possible. The top solar installers will offer 25-year warranties for roofing, performance, and workmanship.

EcoWatch Preferred Partners

Here is a list of preferred partners in this area.

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Cost of Solar in California

As of 2022, our market research and data from top brands show the average cost of solar panels in California is around $2.73 per watt. This means a 5-kW system would cost around $10,101 after the federal solar tax credit is applied. Keep in mind that a 5-kW system is about the minimum size you’ll need for your home.

The state of California also offers a variety of solar incentives to help offset the cost of your system.

California Solar Incentive Incentive Overview
Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) The SGIP offers rebates for storing solar energy at both residential and non-residential facilities.
Active Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion This property tax exclusion ensures the addition of your solar equipment doesn’t raise homeowners’ property taxes. (Solar will still increase your property value, however.)
Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program Deployed by the California Solar Initiative (CSI), SASH provides fixed, up-front incentives on qualifying affordable single-family housing.

How to Find the Best Solar Installer in California

California is a big place, and as the leading state in solar energy, has a lot of reputable solar companies operating it. When evaluating the best solar installer for you, we recommend placing more emphasis on local companies that may have even more experience than some of the national leaders. Familiarity with local energy rates, utilities, incentives, and the weather is often an underrated factor when it comes to finding the right solar provider.

Again, we understand that the significant cost of solar can deter some readers from making the switch. Solar is a significant investment, after all. This is why we recommend taking the simple, no-pressure first step of getting a few quotes from the best California solar installers and hearing what they have to say about your home’s qualifications.

Comparing quotes from multiple companies can help you gauge whether a solar system is within your budget and can save you thousands of dollars on your installation.

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Karsten Neumeister

Solar Expert

Karsten Neumeister is a solar energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the renewable energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on solar energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.