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  • Written by
    Max Peterson
  • Fact Checked
  • Updated

San Francisco homeowners are intentional about protecting the environment and embracing sustainability. That's why many people are purchasing panels from the top solar companies for their homes. While going solar comes with upfront costs, local homeowners could ultimately save $1,600 per kilowatt on their electric bills. A professional company can help you select the best panels to maximize your savings. On this page, we'll showcase San Francisco's most reputable solar contractors and offer expert advice for your solar journey.

Best Solar Panel Leasing
Sunrun logo
4.4/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

  • Provides system monitoring
  • Offers diverse financing options for various budgets
  • Provides EV and solar battery solutions
Best Solar Panel Installation
Momentum Solar logo
4.4/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

  • Offers 7 panel brand options
  • 25-year workmanship warranty
  • Offers battery options

10 Best Solar Companies in San Francisco

Brands are algorithmically curated from a database of local service providers near you. We require a minimum number of Google reviews and average ratings for provider inclusion.

Featured Partner
SunPower Logo
Top Rated

SunPower

4.8/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 478 reviews


1414 Harbour Way S, Richmond, CA 94804

(510) 260-8200

us.sunpower.com
Save a Lot Solar Logo

Save a Lot Solar

4.7/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 15 reviews


1201 Tenth St, Berkeley, CA 94706

(833) 876-5272

www.savealotsolar.com
SolarUnion Logo

SolarUnion

4.5/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 123 reviews


1700 Montgomery St Suite 108, San Francisco, CA 94111

(888) 815-6633

www.solarunion.com

CivicSolar, Inc

4.5/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 90 reviews


304 12th St #3b, Oakland, CA 94607

(800) 409-2257

www.civicsolar.com

GRID Alternatives

4.5/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 24 reviews


1171 Ocean Ave UNIT 200, Oakland, CA 94608

(510) 731-1310

www.gridalternatives.org
Owens Electric & Solar Logo

Owens Electric & Solar

4.2/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 27 reviews


279 N Amphlett Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94401

(650) 348-5727

www.owenselectricinc.com
Earthwise Energy Logo

Earthwise Energy

4.7/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 22 reviews


1501A San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo, CA 94960

(800) 396-6949

www.earthwiseenergysolutions.com
Pac Solar Corporation Logo

Pac Solar Corporation

4.7/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 69 reviews


118 Mitchell Blvd, San Rafael, CA 94903

(415) 299-8989

pacsolar.com
Source Energy Logo

Source Energy

4.7/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 31 reviews


161 N Civic Dr #400, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 319-6634

sourcenergy.solar
SolarCraft Logo

SolarCraft

4.4/5

Ratings are based on our detailed proprietary methodology and review standards.

Based on 35 reviews


8 Digital Dr #101, Novato, CA 94949

(415) 382-7717

www.solarcraft.com

Ranking Methodology

Our team used the following criteria to determine the best San Francisco solar companies.

  • Professional licenses and credentials: Each contractor on our list meets state and city licensing requirements and keeps current with industry best practices. Many of them have been a part of the San Francisco community for more than a decade.
  • Panel quality and brand offerings: The premier solar companies remain current on new technology, offering equipment from cutting-edge and trustworthy manufacturers.
  • Service offerings and warranties: Solar contractors should stand behind their systems and services with warranties. We evaluated how each provider responds to issues and warranty claims, focusing on promptness and customer happiness.
  • Reviews and feedback from customers: Most San Francisco solar companies have both favorable and unfavorable reviews. However, a good review ratio demonstrates a company's trustworthiness and responsiveness to issues.
  • Educational approach: Solar technicians must be knowledgeable. They should use their years of experience address your questions on how to care for your system and maximize its performance.

Facts about San Francisco

  • Average Max Temperature:
    55°F
  • Solar Payback Period:
    8 years
  • Average Daily Sunlight:
    66%
  • Homes Powered by Solar:
    160,004
  • Average Annual Energy Bill:
    $1,395
  • Solar Power per Capita:
    79.8%

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy comes with multiple perks. Here are some highlights.

  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power reduces your dependence on fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases that damage the environment.
  • Better energy independence: Solar energy can keep your home running through emergencies and blackouts. You can use your solar energy anytime with an optional battery storage system.
  • Lowered energy bills: Solar panels let you generate your own energy to power your home, lowering your regular electricity costs. You can eliminate your bills completely if you go off-grid. Plus, a significant amount of states have adopted net metering, which permit you to earn money by selling your unused energy back to the grid.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to San Francisco Homeowners?

Governments and power companies often incentivize homeowners for adopting solar. Here are some of the rebates, tax credits or other programs you could qualify for.

Incentive Amount:

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

How To Choose the Best Solar Company in San Francisco

Choosing a company is the first step toward a well-oiled and valuable solar array. Consider all of these elements in your contractor search.

Licensing and Training

California requires solar companies to hold licenses for each type of equipment they install, which can include solar water heaters, HVAC, pool heaters, photovoltaic (PV) systems, and boilers. Contractors must take a highly comprehensive educational series, gain four years of field experience, and pass written exams to earn licensure. You should also visit a company's website to learn about its private credentials. Two of the most recognized are the PV Installation Professional and Solar Heating Installer certificates, backed by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Some companies don't publish this information online, so you should also ask your estimator about them.

Cost of Solar Panels in San Francisco

The style of solar panels you choose dictates how much energy you can produce. Monocrystalline panels and high-quality and give you the best performance but cost more upfront. Polycrystalline panels produce less power, but they're worth it if you want a traditional panel style without the high cost. Thin-film panels aren't recommended for large residential installations, but they are ideal for small projects like converting RVs and sheds.

If you need to charge an electric vehicle (EV) or use your solar power in cloudy weather, you can pay extra for accessories. By choosing the right components, you can make your panel array more effective and convenient to use. Not all solar contractors offer these add-ons, so look for a contractor that sells them if it's important for you.

A majority of San Francisco homeowners select solar systems rated for five kilowatts (kW) of electrical capacity. These systems cost about $17,350 to set up, considering both parts and installation. You can see more specific solar cost information in the table.

Solar Panel CostAverage Cost
Solar Monocrystalline$1,358.57
Solar Polycrystalline$1,059.69
Thin-Film$619.51
Solar Battery$869.49
Solar Home EV Charger$3,260.57

Financing Solar Energy in San Francisco

Solar companies offer multiple different financing options to increase your savings and lower your costs. Though some providers offer unique payment plans, the most common are cash payments, solar loans, power purchase agreements (PPAs) and solar leases. Though it involves a large up-front payment, cash is the most affordable choice because it qualifies you for solar incentives and doesn't accrue interest. Solar loans are the next best option. As with a car loan or mortgage, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for cost-saving solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases allow you to pay a monthly rate to rent your panels, while a power purchase agreement lets you pay a variable rate based on only the energy you use. We generally don't recommend these options since you won't own your system and are disqualified from solar incentives, but they might be suitable in particular circumstances. Look for contractors that offer multiple payment plans to find the right fit for your financial needs.

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

A 26% federal solar tax credit applies to recently-purchased solar equipment purchased through 2032. Further incentives may be available through local 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

Frequently Asked Questions about Solar in San Francisco

Sources

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