We may be compensated if you purchase through links on our website. Our Reviews Team is committed to delivering honest, objective, and independent reviews on home products and services. More

Best 5 Solar Companies in Oakland, CA

Get matched with a top local pro
Join the 10,601 people who have received a free, no-obligation quote in the last 30 days
  1. Home
  2. Local Pros
  3. Solar
  4. CA
  5. Oakland
Written By Max Peterson|Last Updated: February 05, 2024

Oakland homeowners enjoy 7,000,000 sunny days per year, making the city an ideal environment for solar power. Solar contractors take a uniquely educational approach, helping homeowners understand the underlying technology and adapt it to their needs. Discover Oakland's top-rated solar companies and learn vital decision-making strategies on this page.

Best High-Efficiency System
4.8
  • Builds custom, high-efficiency solar systems suited to each home
  • Extensive coverage area throughout the country
  • Offers energy storage and EV charger add-ons
Best Solar Panel Leasing
4.4
  • Provides system monitoring
  • Offers diverse financing options for various budgets
  • Provides EV and solar battery solutions
Best Solar Panel Installation
4.4
  • Offers 7 panel brand options
  • 25-year workmanship warranty
  • Offers battery options

Top Oakland Solar Companies

Save a Lot Solar Logo

Save a Lot Solar

4.7/5
Based on 15 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Off-Grid Solar SystemsPanel InstallationBattery StoragePermit Assistance

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Informative resources
  • Free quotes
1201 Tenth St, Berkeley, CA 833-876-5272 savealotsolar.com
SolarUnion Logo

SolarUnion

4.5/5
Based on 123 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Battery StorageCleaning And MaintenancePanel InstallationSkilled RepairsConsultationSolar Panel Upgrades

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Informative resources
  • Free quotes
1700 Montgomery St Suite 108, San Francisco, CA 888-815-6633 solarunion.com
CivicSolar, Inc Logo

CivicSolar

4.5/5
Based on 90 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Battery StoragePanel Installation

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Reliable customer support
  • Clear pricing policy
304 12th St #3b, Oakland, CA 800-409-2257 civicsolar.com
GRID Alternatives Logo

GRID Alternatives

4.5/5
Based on 24 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Battery StoragePanel Installation

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Reliable customer support
1171 Ocean Ave Unit 200, Oakland, CA 510-731-1310 gridalternatives.org

More Local Solar Companies

Source Energy

User Reviews: 4.7/5 

161 N Civic Dr #400
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

NorthStar Solar Inc

User Reviews: 4.7/5 

822 Hartz Way STE 240
Danville, CA 94526

Solar Technologies

User Reviews: 4.5/5 

14 Beta Ct
San Ramon, CA 94583

Got Watts?

User Reviews: 4.6/5 

2045 Commerce Ave
Concord, CA 94520

Owens Electric & Solar

User Reviews: 4.2/5 

279 N Amphlett Blvd
San Mateo, CA 94401

Complete Solar

User Reviews: 4.3/5 

3000 Executive Pkwy Suite 504
San Ramon, CA 94583

solarXperts

User Reviews: 4.3/5 

2150 John Glenn Dr Suite 250
Concord, CA 94520

Sol R Us

User Reviews: 4.2/5 

1050B Shary Ct
Concord, CA 94518

Skytech Solar

User Reviews: 4.1/5 

2355 Whitman Rd
Concord, CA 94518

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviewsteam@thisoldhousereviews.com.

Ranking Methodology

We reviewed a multitude of Oakland solar companies, using the following criteria to choose the best:

Get Your Solar Project Quote Today

Get matched with a top local pro

Please enter a valid 5-digit zip code!

Facts about Oakland
Average Max Temp:70°F
Solar Payback Period:6.8 years
Average Daily Sunlight:68%
Homes Powered by Solar:78,449
Average Annual Energy Bill:$1,538
Solar Power per Capita Percentile:48.0%

Expert Tips By

This Old House empowers homeowners with the knowledge and tools they need to tackle various projects and navigate the complexities of homeownership.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy provides several advantages that will enhance your home for years to come.

  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power means you're less dependent on fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gasses.
  • Better energy independence: Solar panels can keep your home running through emergencies and blackouts, giving you additional security. You can use your solar energy anytime with optional battery storage.
  • Lower energy bills: Sourcing some or all of your own power will spend less on electricity long-term.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Oakland Homeowners?

California homeowners who decide on solar could qualify for tax credits, special financing, rebates and reimbursements. Here are just a few of the region's incentive programs.

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Website: boe.ca.gov

Incentive Amount:

100% of system value; 75% of system value exemption for dual-use equipment

Incentive Type: PACE Financing

Website: wrcog.us

Incentive Amount:

Eligible products can be financed for up to 25 years, depending on the useful life of the eligible product.
Minimum financing: $5,000
The financing may not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the market value of the property, up to the first seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) of the property’s market value, and ten percent (10%) of the remaining value of the Property above seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) minus any PACE assessment on the propertyThe total amount of any annual property taxes and assessments shall not exceed five percent (5%) of the property's fair market value, determined at the time program financing is approved.

Incentive Type: PACE Financing

Incentive Amount:

Locally determined

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: selfgenca.com

Incentive Amount:

For projects 30 kW or larger, 50% of incentive will be received up-front; 50% will be received based on actual kWh production over the first 5 years. For projects under 30kW, 100% of the incentive will be paid up front.
Incentives will step down over time. See below for incentive amounts.

Incentive Type: Feed-in Tariff

Website: cpuc.ca.gov

Incentive Type: Feed-in Tariff

Website: ladwp.com

Incentive Amount:

$0.17/kWh adjusted by a time of delivery multiplier
Base price will step down over time as certain MW goals are met

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov

Incentive Amount:

Step 1 Incentive Rates (contact utility to determine current incentive levels):
Single Family Residential Incentives:
Systems that displace natural gas: $29.85 per estimated therm displaced
Systems that displace electricity or propane: Funding has been exhausted
Commercial/Multifamily Incentives:
Systems that displace natural gas: $20.19 per estimated therm displaced
Systems that displace electricity or propane: $0.42 per estimated kWh displaced *** Note, funding has been exhausted in this category for SCE and PG&E
Solar Pool heating: $5.00 per estimated therm displaced

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: ecowatch.com

Incentive Amount:

30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Oakland

Choosing a company is the first step toward a well-oiled and valuable solar energy system. Make your choice based on the following vital factors.

Licensing and Training

California requires solar companies to hold licenses for each type of equipment they install, which can include solar boilers, water heaters, HVAC, photovoltaic (PV) systems, and pool heaters. Contractors must take a highly comprehensive educational series, gain four years of experience as an apprentice or journeyman, and pass written exams to earn licensure. Look for private accreditations from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), one of the solar industry's most trusted trade groups. Its program includes certifications for both solar photovoltaic and water heating installers.

Cost of Solar Panels in Oakland

Different solar panel types look and perform differently. Monocrystalline panels offer the best energy production but cost more than other options. Polycrystalline panels produce less power, but start at a more budget-friendly price point. Thin-film panels work well for small projects like RVs and sheds, but they're not ideal for larger installations due to their low performance.

You can also add battery backups and electric vehicle (EV) chargers. These will increase your total project price, but they can increase your solar system's efficiency. Not all solar companies offer these add-ons, so look for a contractor that installs them if it's essential for you.

If you're a resident of Oakland and want a five-kilowatt solar energy system, you could expect to pay about $17,350 for parts and installation. See more information on specific component and panel costs in the table.

Solar Panel CostAverage Cost
Solar Monocrystalline$1,417
Solar Polycrystalline$1,105
Thin-Film$646
Solar Battery$907
Solar Home EV Charger$3,401

Financing Solar Energy in Oakland

Solar contractors offer multiple different financing options to lower your costs and increase your savings. Though some providers offer unique payment plans, the most common are solar loans, cash payments, power purchase agreements (PPAs) and solar leases. We advise paying with cash or securing a solar loan for the best return on investment (ROI). Cash payments require a hefty sum up-front, but you’ll pay the least long-term by avoiding interest. You’ll also own your system and can apply for solar incentives to minimize your total costs. Solar loans are another solid option if you don’t want to make a big initial investment. You can pay for your system in installments while still benefiting from energy bill savings and solar incentives. However, you’ll pay more in total due to accruing interest. Solar leases let you use your panels for a fixed monthly rate, while PPAs let you pay just for the energy you use, similar to an electric bill. Both options disqualify you for solar incentives and do not provide you system ownership. Solar experts generally don't recommend them, but they might be suitable in some cases. We suggest working with a company that offers multiple financing options. Talk to each salesperson about what's available, and acquire more than one estimate for the best odds of staying within your spending limits.

The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Oakland.

A 26% federal tax credit applies to recently-purchased solar equipment purchased through 2032. Additional incentives may be available through city and state governments, usually in the form of rebates and special financing programs.

Solar System CapacityEstimated Payback period
1 kW1.4 years
2 kW2.7 years
5 kW6.8 years
10 kW13.7 years

Ready to Get a Quote on Your Solar Project?

Get matched with a top local pro

Please enter a valid 5-digit zip code!

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Oakland

How much money could I save by going solar in Oakland?

On average, Oakland homeowners spend approximately $1,538 per year on energy bills. Once you pay off your solar array, you could reduce your costs by $1,749.02 for every kilowatt you produce.

Is solar energy easily accessible in Oakland?

Yes, solar energy is on the rise in Oakland. Some homes already generate solar power on-site or through utility grids, and they're backed by a state solar economy with 74255 job opportunities and counting.

Should I expect a boost in my property value after going solar?

Yes, a solar PV system will boost your property value. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), for every dollar you reduce on energy bills, your home value increases by $20. So, if your panels save you $600 per year on energy costs, your property could appreciate $12,000.

Is solar panel installation a quick job?

Your solar job's duration will depend on its complexity and size, as well as Oakland's permit and inspection procedures. It could take a couple of weeks to two months on average.

What maintenance do my solar panels need, and how frequently do they need it?

To preserve your solar system's performance, inspections and cleanings every six months are usually adequate. In dry or dusty seasons, your panels might need cleanings every one to two months. Your provider can recommend a maintenance schedule. Its team could also do the cleaning for you.

What's the average solar system size in Oakland?

The average Oakland solar system size is 3.0 kilowatts (kW). However, your final system size depends on your household's electricity usage. Your panel model, roof size, and surrounding shading could also impact your final result. A professional solar provider will consider these factors and determine the right system size for your home.

What is "net metering," and how does it work?

Most utilities and states offer net metering programs, and some mandate homeowners to join. Once you enroll, you can get a bill credit or check for any surplus electricity you generate and send to the grid. Generally, power companies compensate solar homeowners at an "avoided-cost" or wholesale rate.

What's the difference between a PPA and traditional financing?

A PPA is a contract between you and your installer. They install, own, and maintain the panels, and you purchase the generated electricity from them for 10–25 years. There will usually be options to extend the agreement and buy out early to own your system.

In contrast, solar loans can come from specialty lenders, the government, local banks and installer. You'll need to pass a credit check to qualify for most of them. While the upfront costs are more expensive, and you'll be responsible for maintenance, you'll also have full ownership rights and can apply for many more benefits.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviewsteam@thisoldhousereviews.com.

Sources