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  • Written by
    Max Peterson
  • Fact Checked
  • Updated

With San Rafael's clear skies and below-average rainfall, it's an excellent area for homeowners and businesses hoping to harness the added sunlight by buying panels from one of the best solar companies. If you're considering going solar, you might be concerned about high prices or long payback periods. By working with a knowledgeable installer, you'll have both the monetary and practical support you need for a successful transition. In this guide, we'll showcase San Rafael's best solar providers and offer tips for your company choice, so you can find the right one for your home.

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 Rafael

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 1583 reviews


880 Harbour Way S Suite 600, Richmond, CA 94804

(510) 540-0550

us.sunpower.com
Earthwise Energy Logo

Earthwise Energy

4.7/5

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

Based on 23 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 68 reviews


118 Mitchell Blvd, San Rafael, CA 94903

(415) 299-8989

pacsolar.com
SolarCraft Logo

SolarCraft

4.4/5

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

Based on 38 reviews


8 Digital Dr #101, Novato, CA 94949

(415) 382-7717

www.solarcraft.com
SolarUnion Logo

SolarUnion

4.5/5

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

Based on 132 reviews


1700 Montgomery St Suite 108, San Francisco, CA 94111

(888) 815-6633

www.solarunion.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 19 reviews


1201 Tenth St, Berkeley, CA 94706

(833) 876-5272

www.savealotsolar.com

GRID Alternatives

4.5/5

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

Based on 23 reviews


1171 Ocean Ave UNIT 200, Oakland, CA 94608

(510) 731-1310

www.gridalternatives.org

Simply Solar

4.5/5

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

Based on 79 reviews


1740 Corporate Cir, Petaluma, CA 94954

(707) 776-9040

simplysolar.com

CivicSolar, Inc

4.4/5

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
Sun Solar Electric Inc. Logo

Sun Solar Electric Inc.

4.7/5

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

Based on 26 reviews


1364 N McDowell Blvd STE 6, Petaluma, CA 94954

(707) 658-2157

www.sunsolarelectric.org

Ranking Methodology

We reviewed a multitude of San Rafael solar companies, using the following criteria to determine the top-notch:

  • Panel brands and quality: The leading solar companies remain current on new technology, providing equipment from innovative, dependable manufacturers.
  • Educational programs and business model: Solar technicians must be knowledgeable. They should utilize their years of experience answer your questions on how to maintain your system and maximize its performance.
  • Certifications and licenses: Each provider on our list complies with state and city licensing requirements and stays up to date with industry best practices. Many of them have served the San Rafael community for more than a decade.
  • Warranty and service offerings: Solar installers should stand behind their systems and services with warranties. We evaluated how each contractor responds to issues and warranty claims, focusing on promptness and customer satisfaction.
  • Customer feedback and reviews: Most San Rafael solar installers have both favorable and unfavorable reviews. However, a good review ratio shows a company's reliability and responsiveness to issues.

Facts about San Rafael

  • Average Max Temperature:
    64°F
  • Solar Payback Period:
    7 years
  • Average Daily Sunlight:
    65%
  • Homes Powered by Solar:
    10,806
  • Average Annual Energy Bill:
    $1,538
  • Solar Power per Capita:
    96.9%

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy offers multiple perks. Let's look at a few of them.

  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power means you're less dependent on fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gasses.
  • Better energy independence: Solar energy can keep your home running through emergencies and blackouts, giving you additional security. You can use your solar energy anytime with optional battery backup.
  • Lowered energy bills: You can skip the added cost of grid-tied power by generating some electricity at home. Plus, many states provide net metering which can allow you to sell your unused energy back to help pay for your energy bill.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to San Rafael Homeowners?

The state of California offers a variety of solar incentives to help lower your solar system costs. Here is a breakdown of eligible solar programs where you live.

Incentive Amount:

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

How To Choose the Best Solar Company in San Rafael

The cost and performance of solar panels often rely on which company mounted them. Here are some crucial criteria to consider while shopping for a solar installer.

Licensing and Training

California requires solar companies to hold licenses for each type of equipment they install, which can include solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, boilers, water heaters, HVAC, 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 secure a license. Solar companies can also obtain certificates from trade groups and standards organizations. The most recognized ones in the industry come from the NABCEP. Most company websites will prominently display earned credentials, but you should also ask your estimator for more information.

Cost of Solar Panels in San Rafael

The style of solar panels you purchase dictates how much energy you can produce. Monocrystalline panels and high-quality and cost more but give you the best performance. Polycrystalline panels work with a tried-and-true mechanism and cost less, but produce less power. Thin-film panels aren't the best for large residential installations, but they are excellent accessories for non-traditional roofs.

You can also add battery backups and electric vehicle (EV) chargers. These will increase your total installation cost, but they can maximize your solar system's efficiency. Not all solar contractors provide these extras, so look for a contractor that sells them if it's a priority for you.

If you're a resident of San Rafael and are considering getting a five-kilowatt solar energy system, you could plan to spend about $17,350 for materials and labor. See more information on specific component and solar panel costs in the table.

Solar Panel CostAverage Cost
Solar Monocrystalline$1,352
Solar Polycrystalline$1,054
Thin-Film$616
Solar Battery$865
Solar Home EV Charger$3,244

Financing Solar Energy in San Rafael

Solar providers use multiple different financing options to increase your savings and lower your costs. Though some providers offer unique payment plans, the most common are solar loans, solar leases, power purchase agreements (PPAs) and cash payments. Though it requires a large up-front payment, cash is the most cost-effective choice because it qualifies you for solar incentives and doesn't accrue interest. Solar loans are the next best option. As with a car or home loan, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for valuable 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 PPA lets you pay a fluctuating 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. Ask each installer you're vetting about the payment plans it offers. A consultant can help you determine the best option for your financial situation.

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

A 26% federal solar tax credit applies to new residential 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 Rafael

Sources

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

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