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Best 5 Solar Companies in Santa Maria, CA

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Written By Max Peterson|Last Updated: February 05, 2024

Santa Maria homeowners are committed to conserving resources and living greener lifestyles. That includes using alternative energy sources like solar. 19,544 homes in the area already employ a solar photovoltaic or water heating system. Certified installers will therefore have the precise experience you need to join the solar revolution with confidence. On this page, we'll show you Santa Maria's top solar installers and provide insightful advice for your solar journey.

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 Santa Maria Solar Companies

Axiom 360 Logo

Axiom 360

4.7/5
Based on 27 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Panel InstallationBattery StorageFinancing AssistanceConsultationPermit Assistance

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Free quotes
  • Reliable customer support
981 Highland Way, Grover Beach, CA 805-840-2161 axiom360.com
California Power - Renewable Energy Logo

California Power - Renewable Energy

4.7/5
Based on 15 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Grid-Tied Solar SystemFinancing AssistancePanel InstallationBattery StoragePermit AssistanceCleaning And Maintenance

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Reliable customer support
140 Seacliff Dr, Pismo Beach, CA 833-258-2658 californiapower.net
Photon Brothers Logo

Photon Brothers

4.6/5
Based on 63 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Skilled RepairsPanel InstallationSolar Panel UpgradesConsultationFinancing AssistanceTesla PowerwallBattery StorageCleaning And Maintenance

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Informative resources
  • Free quotes
3566 S Higuera St #310, San Luis Obispo, CA 805-351-3371 photonbrothers.com
Greentech Renewables San Luis Obispo Logo

Greentech Renewables San Luis Obispo

4.0/5
Based on 16 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Battery StoragePanel InstallationCleaning And Maintenance

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Informative resources
  • Reliable customer support
1075 Farmhouse Ln, San Luis Obispo, CA 805-234-9099 greentechrenewables.com

More Local Solar Companies

A.M. Sun Solar & Roofing

User Reviews: 4.5/5 

410 Sherwood Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Brighten Solar Co.

User Reviews: 4.6/5 

5380 Overpass Rd B
Santa Barbara, CA 93111

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

Ranking Methodology

We assessed dozens of Santa Maria solar companies, using the following criteria to select the superior:

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Facts about Santa Maria
Average Max Temp:70°F
Solar Payback Period:6.8 years
Average Daily Sunlight:73%
Homes Powered by Solar:19,543
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.

  • Lower utility costs: Generating some or all of your own electricity will cut power costs long-term.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power reduces your dependence on fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases that damage the environment.
  • Better energy independence: Adding a battery backup lets you have reliable energy during grid outages and storms.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Santa Maria Homeowners?

California homeowners who upgrade to solar could qualify for reimbursements, rebates, tax credits and special financing. Here are just a few of the area'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 Santa Maria

The purchase price and efficiency of solar panels often rely on which company installed them. Here are some key items to bear in mind while searching 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 boilers, pool heaters, HVAC, water heaters, and photovoltaic (PV) systems. Contractors must complete a highly comprehensive educational series, gain four years of field experience, and pass written exams to secure a license. Look for private accreditations from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), among the solar industry's most credible trade groups. Its program includes certifications for both solar photovoltaic and water heating installers.

Cost of Solar Panels in Santa Maria

Different solar panel types look and perform differently. Monocrystalline panels offer the best energy production but cost more than other options. Polycrystalline panels provide a lower price point but produce less power. 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.

Additional components, such as battery storage and electric vehicle (EV) chargers, will raise your overall costs. However, they might make your solar system more efficient and convenient to use. Not all solar companies provide these optional components, so look for a company that sells them if it's crucial for you.

You can plan to spend about $17,350 on average for a five-kilowatt solar energy system in Santa Maria. Use the table in this section to get an idea of what amount Santa Maria solar companies might quote for your specific system.

Solar Panel CostAverage Cost
Solar Monocrystalline$1,165
Solar Polycrystalline$908
Thin-Film$531
Solar Battery$745
Solar Home EV Charger$2,795

Financing Solar Energy in Santa Maria

There are a plethora of ways to pay for new solar panels, and the right one will help you decrease overhead. A few of the most common options include loans, cash payments, leases, and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Most solar experts recommend paying cash or using a solar loan. Cash payments demand a large up-front sum, but they save you from paying interest, grant you system ownership, and qualify you for cost-saving incentives. Solar loans have the same benefits, though you'll pay more in total due to interest and fees. Similar to a home or auto loan, you'll pay a set monthly rate with potentially $0 down. Solar leases involve paying a set monthly rate to use rooftop panels. A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) enables you to pay a monthly rate determined by the energy you use, as with an electric bill. We typically don’t recommend these two options because you won't own the solar system and cannot use solar incentives. Look for contractors that offer multiple payment plans to find the right fit for your budget.

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

The IRS allows you to claim a 26% federal tax credit on total system costs, so long as you purchase it before 2032. Local governments and utilities might also offer their own incentives, financing programs, and rebates that could save you more money.

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

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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Santa Maria

How much energy and money could I save per year by switching to solar?

On average, Santa Maria homeowners spend approximately $1,538 per year on power bills. Once you pay off your solar array, you could reduce your costs by $1,871.23 for every kilowatt you produce.

Is solar energy easily accessible in Santa Maria?

Yes, solar energy is readily available in Santa Maria. A growing number of area homes already use solar power on-site or through utility grids, and California has about 74255 jobs forming its solar economy.

Should I expect a property value increase after adopting solar power?

Yes, new solar systems translate to higher property values according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL.) Homeowners could project a $20 property value increase for each dollar they save on energy. Therefore, $600 in energy savings could boost your property value by $12,000.

Could I still use solar power if I live in a wooded, dark, or rainy area?

A solar setup could still operate in bad weather. Your technician will position your panels to absorb the most sunlight possible. They might also recommend a backup battery to keep your system functioning at its best.

How long does the solar installation process require?

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

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

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

How can I maximize my solar array's performance?

To enhance your solar system's performance, you can try the following strategies:
  • optimize the panels' position with your solar installer
  • regularly clean your solar panels
  • upgrade to a more efficient inverter trim or cut down trees in the way of your panels
  • use energy-efficient appliances

What are the signs I shouldn't use a particular solar company for my job?

Even the most esteemed Santa Maria solar providers will have both glowing and negative reviews. To make the most informed choice possible, focus on these warning signs to know if a company isn't worth your attention:
  • Pressuring you into signing a contract
  • Not being straightforward about training and credentials, references, warranties and cost
  • Limited or no customization
  • Superficial, rushed site evaluation
  • No references or testimonials

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

Sources