California is perhaps one of the most solar-friendly states in the country. From San Diego in sunny southern California to Sacramento in northern California, and all points between and beyond, the state annually leads the United States in solar capacity—enough to power 5.4 million homes.

If you are planning to build a new home in the Golden State or want to upgrade your current solar system, read our review below of some of the best solar companies in California. In compiling this list, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the top solar companies in the country and has included those that provide coverage in California.

California’s Top Solar Energy Companies:

Find A Solar Installation Company in Your State

Momentum Solar: Most User-Friendly

Our Score: 98 out of 100

Momentum Solar tops our list of solar companies in California because of its ease of system integration for first time solar users. Momentum intentionally limits its coverage area to states with net metering programs, so the company can provide expert advice to California residents about how net metering works. Net metering is a partnership with utility companies that allows solar power users to earn credits on their electric bill in exchange for moving excess solar production to the power grid for use at night and during any outages.

Pros Assists customers with enrollment in government incentives and rebates Offers multiple solar panel brands to help customers meet their budget Partners with Enphase to offer a solar battery with complimentary monitoring
Cons Doesn’t provide pricing information online Numerous online customer reviews cite aggressive sales tactics

Why We Chose Momentum Solar

Momentum’s mobile app provides customers with energy production alerts and data. This information helps homeowners track efficiency and peak solar production times. The app can also be used to directly contact Momentum’s customer support line or email address.

Services include:

  • Survey and design for solar projects
  • Solar panel installation
  • Audits for energy efficiency
  • Mobile app
  • Solar system monitoring
  • Electric vehicle charging system
  • 25-year output warranty
  • Optional service package
  • Consultation

Momentum provides 25-year workmanship and performance guarantees on its solar panel system installations. Customers can buy their solar panels through a lump-sum payment or a solar loan, lease their panels, or enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). A PPA means Momentum will bill you for monthly solar usage, much like an electric bill but typically at a much lower rate.

Learn More: Momentum Solar Review

Get your Solar quote today.

 


 

Palmetto Solar: Best Customer Service

Our Score: 98 out of 100

Palmetto Solar creates customized residential solar systems equipped with high-performance black rooftop panels, standard inverters, and power grid connections. Inverters are used to convert the direct current (DC) energy absorbed by solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used to power a home’s major systems and appliances.

The company focuses on providing quality customer service, offering 24/7 online chat support and an extensive optional monitoring and discount program.

Pros Offers an extended warranty and solar service rebates Provides an online energy savings calculator Protects solar panels with a 25-year warranty on solar system performance
Cons Does not provide pricing on its website Does not offer monitoring standard with solar panel installations

Why We Chose Palmetto Solar

Available by phone, email, or online, Palmetto representatives can help you determine whether solar is a good choice for your home and walk you through the process of solar system installation.

Services include:

  • Palmetto Protect Plan
  • 25-year power production warranty
  • Consultation
  • Online savings calculator
  • Mobile app
  • Loans and purchase financing options

Palmetto Solar customers have the option to buy their solar panels, either outright or through a loan. The company also has lease and PPA options. Leases and PPAs both mean the panels are still owned by the company that installs them. Leases come with the same flat-rate monthly fee, while PPAs function much like an electricity bill, in that you are charged each month for the amount of solar energy you use.

Learn More: Palmetto Solar Review

 


 

Sunrun: Best Financing Options

Our Score: 95 out of 100

Sunrun was among one of the first solar panel installation companies to make residential solar power systems more accessible through a leasing program. That focus on financing options makes Sunrun one of our recommendations for best solar installers. Customers can choose from two leasing options. You can opt for a flat-rate monthly payment or select a prepaid 25-year lease that includes ongoing maintenance and monitoring.

Get your quote from Sunrun today.

Pros Can often install residential solar energy systems within one day Offers multiple financing options, including two lease types Provides online chat support
Cons Does not include detailed information regarding products on its website Has received numerous online customer reviews that note delays on repairs or other issues

Why We Chose Sunrun

Sunrun designs solar panel layouts custom to a roof’s shape via satellite imagery, giving homeowners more control over the appearance and efficiency of their systems. The company’s integrated home solar battery storage service, Brightbox, sets it apart from the many other providers that have yet to deploy storage options that bring a number of key benefits to solar customers.

Services include:

  • 10-year workmanship warranty
  • Purchase, loan, lease, or PPA financing options
  • Battery storage
  • Customization
  • Monitoring
  • Regular maintenance

If you do not want to go with one of Sunrun’s two leasing options, you can opt to purchase solar panels outright or finance them with no money down, subject to credit approval. While Sunrun provides instant online quotes, the company cannot give an accurate estimate until after an in-person or virtual home consultation.

Learn More: Sunrun Review

Get your quote from Sunrun today.

 


 

SunLux: Best for California Homeowners

Score: 84 out of 100

SunLux’s availability is limited to California and Texas, but that makes the company an ideal choice for Golden State residents. Additionally, SunLux is well-versed in California’s solar incentive programs and can expertly educate and assist customers with specific regional sunlight exposure issues in both states.

Pros Has three extensive warranties Provides monitoring standard with all packages Offers an online solar savings calculator
Cons Has received multiple customer reviews citing long wait times for panel installation Will not book a consultation without a customer phone number

Why We Chose SunLux

The solar installation company provides many of the same solar panel products, solar technology, services, and customer support as larger companies, such as a mobile app, system monitoring, and extensive warranties. The company provides equipment, maintenance, and performance guarantees for 25 years each.

Services include:

  • Consultation
  • Survey and design
  • Solar panel installation
  • Audits for energy efficiency
  • Mobile app
  • System monitoring
  • Electric vehicle charging system
  • 25-year warranty on system performance
  • Optional solar service package

SunLux customers can opt to buy their solar panels through a lump-sum payment or a loan, lease their panels, or sign a PPA.

Following an in-person or virtual consultation, SunLux will provide you with a solar panel installation estimate and create a design to specifically fit your roof and sunlight exposure.

Learn More: SunLux Review

 


 

ADT Solar: Best Protection

Score: 78 out of 100

ADT Solar offers 25-year comprehensive warranties to protect your solar system’s performance. This includes 25-year panel, microinverter, and workmanship coverage, and a 25-year power production guarantee to ensure optimal solar panel performance well into the future. 

Pros and Cons

✔ Includes a 25-year power production guarantee
✔ Offers in-house roofing services
✔ Provides a 25-year warranty on panels, microinverters, and workmanship

✘ Doesn’t offer online estimates or pricing
✘ Limited to two payment options

Why We Chose ADT Solar

The company protects your solar investment by ensuring you’ll produce enough energy throughout your system’s lifetime. Coverage begins 12 months after your activation date and continues for 25 consecutive years. ADT Solar guarantees your solar panels will generate at least 95% of their estimated production within those 12 months. If your power production falls short, the company will pay $.10 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the difference.

Services include:

  • 24/7 solar monitoring app
  • 25-year limited workmanship warranty
  • 25-year manufacturer’s warranty for panels
  • 25-year power production guarantee 
  • 25-year microinverters warranty
  • Consultation
  • Free home energy audits
  • In-house roofing services 
  • Solar battery backup options
  • Solar panel installation
  • Survey and design
  • System monitoring

ADT Solar offers two solar system payment options: cash or solar loans. Although solar leases and PPAs aren’t available, homeowners will save more money long-term with an outright payment or loan. These options allow you to take advantage of solar incentives, such as the federal tax credit, to lower the overall panel cost. 

The company’s website doesn’t offer online quotes or estimates. You’ll need to complete an online form to have an ADT representative contact you. 

Learn More: ADT Solar Review

Get your quote from ADT Solar today.

 


 

Our Conclusion

The solar energy company you select is dependent on your home’s unique clean energy needs and capacity, whether you live in Los Angeles or up in northern California. Momentum Solar is our top choice from among the best solar installers in California because of its user-friendly tools and high-quality educational approach to solar installation. Momentum also only works in states with established net metering programs, so it can provide expert knowledge on California’s program if you are unfamiliar and/or need assistance.

While we recommend getting quotes from at least three providers, before contacting solar contractors, you should consider a few key factors: how much direct daily sunlight your home receives; the layout, slope, and direction of your roof; and your average monthly electricity usage.

It’s also important to factor California’s solar tax incentives into your cost consideration. You cannot qualify for those incentives, however, if you lease your panels or enter into a PPA with the solar panel installer. For this reason, it’s important to carefully evaluate your ability to pay for your panels outright or through a loan as opposed to leasing them.

 


Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Companies in CA

Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for solar panel companies and installers is on a 100-point scale based on five factors:

  • Payment options (40 points): Options include purchase, loan, lease, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Companies receive points for each of those four options it provides.
  • Solar services (30 points): Does the company provide in-house installation of solar panels and battery backups? Can the company also monitor energy production and perform energy-efficiency audits to ensure system performance. The more options available, the higher the score.
  • Warranty options (10 points): The success of a residential solar system depends on the workmanship, performance guarantees, and length of product coverage. We score solar companies based on the number of warranty options available. The more warranties a solar company offers, the higher the score it receives.
  • State Availability (10 points): We award the most points to solar companies with the broadest service area and state availability.
  • Reputation (10 points): We factor in how the Business Better Bureau (BBB) scores each company. We deduct points for any alerts or pending lawsuits.

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