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California Solar Energy Companies

Learn How to Cut Costs and Choose the Right Solar Company for your Needs

Key Points

  • Solar installations can increase a home's value by $20 for every $1 saved on monthly electricity bills.
  • When choosing a company for installation services it is important to consider their experience level and warranties offered as well as verify insurance and license status.
  • California offers various incentives such as federal tax credits (ITC) and net metering programs.

How Many Solar Companies are in California?

As of 2023, California had 1,977 solar companies, including 338 Manufacturers, 897 Installers/Developers, and 742 others. These firms have produced enough solar energy to power 10,133,229 homes and have created up to 75,711 solar jobs.

Solar Star, completed in June 2015, is the largest solar farm in the United States and the largest in the world. Located in Kern and Los Angeles, the plant's solar panels cover an area of over 13 square kilometers. Nearly 142 football fields in size or four times the size of Central Park.

The Solar Star project comprises two sections, Solar Star 1 and Solar Star 2, with respective capacities of 314MW and 265MW. The entire project generates 579 megawatts of electricity to power 255,000 homes.

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How Do I Choose a Solar Panel Company?

Step 1: Determine the Type of Solar Company

Decide on the kind of solar company you want to work with. Solar panel dealers, installers, financiers, lead generators, full-service solar providers, and manufacturers of solar panel equipment are a few of the solar businesses you might come across.

Step 2: Request Several Quotes from Solar Energy Providers

Compare the best solar companies to get a better idea of the prices. Some companies compete more fiercely than others. You'll find different billing structures, but cost-per-watt is the most common and straightforward. Regardless of the size of your system, your solar installer should only charge you a flat fee.

Step 3: Pick an Experienced Solar Company

Your installer needs to be skilled at setting up solar energy systems. The NABCEP test and at least two years of practical experience in solar or a related field are the best indicators of a company's standard.

The best solar installers are certified by groups such as the NABCEP, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. Additionally, you can look up reviews of solar companies, particularly for those lacking NABCEP certification.

Step 4: Verify the Solar Company's Insurance and License Status

Ensure they have the licenses to handle your system's wiring and electrical components. Companies that install solar panels should be fully licensed and insured, or at the very least, have a C-10 license and a general electrical contractor's license.

General contracting, electrical, home improvement or home performance contracting licenses are typical licenses for solar installers. Additionally, installers ought to be OSHA-certified and carry general liability insurance.

Step 5: Examine their Performance History and Experience

Growing industries like solar power attract many professionals from various backgrounds. As a result, finding a solar panel installer with a strong track record of accomplishments can be challenging, but doing so has significant advantages.

Make sure you go for a solar company that won't abandon your project before it is completed. Your final choice should be a company that will continue to be useful long after the project has been completed. The solar installation itself is not what makes a great solar panel installation experience, but the post-solar panel installation service.

Step 6: Examine their Solar Warranties and Maintenance Abilities

A workmanship warranty covers any issues that arise as a result of improper installation. The workmanship warranty will cover the repairs if a panel comes loose.
Contractors provide a wide range of these warranties, ranging from one to twenty-five years of coverage.
Be wary of new, unproven companies that offer extended warranties. They may promise a 10- or 25-year warranty to close a sale. But there's no guarantee they'll stick around long enough to see it through.

If a company offers an extended warranty, ensure they have a proven track record of doing business in the solar industry. You should be confident they will still be around in 20 years to honor that warranty.

Do Solar Panels Increase Property Value?

Homeowners that install solar panels on their roofs enjoy long-term cost savings, which helps boost the property's market value.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the average home value increases by $20 for every $1 saved on monthly electricity bill thanks to solar panels.

Imagine you had to choose between two houses on the same street, both of which were identical save for the street number. However, one of them has enough solar panels placed on the roof to eliminate the $200 monthly power bill. The opposite building has an empty roof.

Compared to the house next door, purchasing the solar-powered one will save you $2,400 a year. In addition to substantial annual savings on electricity costs, self-generation has the added benefits of lowering your carbon footprint and protecting you from potential utility rate hikes in the future.

In the above example of $200 in monthly savings, you may expect the value of the solar-powered home to increase by $48,000 ($200 x 12 months x 20 = $48,000).

Does California Offer any Incentives for Solar?

Yes, California offers a variety of solar incentives, such as tax credits, exemptions, and rebates. The following is a summary of these incentives:

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) allows homeowners to deduct 30% of their system's cost from their federal tax liability. The credit is currently scheduled to decrease to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034 before being eliminated for residential systems in 2035.

Net Metering

Net metering enables customers to export excess energy generated by their solar panels to the local power grid. In return, customers receive credits that can be applied to future energy bills from their utility companies.

California has historically provided one of the best net metering programs in the nation, compensating solar customers at the full retail rate.

With net metering, you are only charged for your net consumption. This is the difference between the total energy produced by your solar system and the total energy consumed by your residence. Net metering is offered by California's three largest investor-owned utility companies: Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)


The Disadvantaged Communities Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (DAC-SASH program) is a scheme for solar homes in underprivileged neighborhoods. It offers discounts for customers who wish to put a solar panel system on their home, thereby lowering their energy bill and ensuring their safety during power outages. You must be a customer of Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric, or San Diego Gas & Electric in order to apply for the program. Under the SASH program, you may receive up to $3 per installed watt of solar energy.

Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion

Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion

California residents who install a solar- or wind-powered device to produce energy for their home or place of business are eligible for a tax credit for the value the device adds to their property.
This means that anyone who installs solar panels or other solar-powered devices on their property will be exempt from paying property taxes equal to the increase in property value due to adding said system until 2025.

Local Solar Incentives

Some local power providers and governments provide their own solar incentive programs. For instance, the Rancho Mirage Energy Authority gives a $500 incentive to residential customers who install or expand a home solar system. At the same time, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District pays up to $2,500 to solar users with battery storage.

Self Generation Incentive Program SGIP (SGIP Incentive)

SGIP (SGIP Incentive) SGIP incentive is offered to Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and San Diego Gas & Electric customers. You can receive incentives worth up to $200 per kWh of battery capacity. Solar systems have never been this affordable, and battery prices will likely continue falling.

Equity Resilience Incentive

Under the equity resilience incentive or equity resiliency rebate program, you can receive substantial refunds for installing battery storage to store electricity generated by a PV array or other energy sources. The reimbursement is offered to anyone who has previously experienced power outages, such as emergency power shut-offs performed by electric companies. In this context, distress includes wildfires, hurricanes, and general grid instability.

To qualify for the program, you must also have a medical condition in which your life depends on electricity (life-support systems) OR you must receive payments from the SASH program OR you must rely on an electric-powered well for domestic water. One dollar per watt of installed storage capacity can be anticipated. This significant reimbursement covers nearly all of your costs.

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Learn More About Solar Incentives and Rebates in California

Read more

Can I Install Solar Myself in California?

Although it's possible to install solar panels on your own, it's important to ensure that you understand exactly what you're doing. This involves meeting the California's standards for installing a solar power system. Your electrical installation ideas and designs must also be sound enough for the Building Department to approve.

Requirements for Building a DIY Solar System in California

To install a solar panel system on your own, as opposed to hiring a professional solar installation company, you must thoroughly understand the applicable rules. H

The following is summary of the requirements for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solar systems in California. .

State Code Requirements

Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations provides the building regulations for the state, including those for solar energy installations. The following parts of Title 24 contain solar system-related regulations. To have your panel system authorized, your design must adhere to each requirement.

Title 24, Part 2 (Building Code)

Title 24: Part 2.5 (Residential Code)

Title 24, Part 3 (Electrical Code)

Title 24, Part 4 (Mechanical Code)

Title 24, Part 5 (Plumbing Code)

Title 24, Part 6 (Energy Code)

Title 24, Part 9 (Fire Code)

Local Construction Regulations and Zoning Requirements

In addition to state building regulations, your county or municipality may have additional solar system installation regulations. Check with the local government to ascertain whether any modifications to the state code have been made. Additionally, you must consider whether the zoning of your site permits the DIY solar system you want.

Building Permits

California needs building permissions prior to the installation of solar panels. For the permitting agency to approve your application, you must provide a complete set of plans that adhere to state and local building code requirements.

Required Equipment

Here is a list of items required for a do-it-yourself solar installation:

  • Solar panels
  • Inverters
  • Racking
  • Performance measurement
  • Storage options

California Solar Panel Installation Safeguards

Because you lack specialist experience, you should proceed with caution while installing solar systems on your own. The following are precautions to take:

Weather Precaution: Working in bad weather is never a good idea. Strong winds, for example, can knock you or your solar panels off the roof.

Roof Safety: To reduce the risk of injury in the event of a fall, install safety nets and harnesses before installing the panels. Furthermore, avoid working on a wet roof to prevent slipping.

Protection from Electrocution: Wear protective gear when handling the solar system's electrical wires and cables to avoid electrical shock. For example, you could buy electrically insulated or rubber insulator gloves for your hands.

What are the Top 5 Solar Companies in California?


SunPower's residential panels are among the most efficient on the market, allowing homeowners to get more solar production from fewer panels. Furthermore, its SunVault backup storage system can shield California residents from the state's frequent power outages.

Unlike other solar companies, SunPower's residential solar panel system is designed and covered by an industry-leading 25-year warranty (covering panels, inverters, batteries, workmanship, and performance). That is why it is one of America's most trusted solar providers and one of the top picks for California homeowners.

Momentum Solar

Momentum Solar is a New Jersey-based private solar installation company founded in 2009. The company has expanded over the past decade and now offers solar services in eleven states, including California. Momentum Solar installs high-quality solar panels and battery backups, and provides exceptional customer service through its distinctive Concierge Service.

Momentum values its customers, as evidenced by its exceptional warranties on all its solar products. The company's 25-year warranty on equipment and labor provide customers with peace of mind.


Tesla's solar equipment often takes a back seat to the company's impressive lineup of electric vehicles, but it is some of the most advanced solar technology currently available. Tesla's solar panels are more energy-efficient than most other brands, and its Powerwall lithium-ion storage system is the most reliable in the industry.

Perhaps even more important than the company's technological prowess is its capacity to produce solar equipment with exceptional durability. Californians are more susceptible to natural disasters and severe weather than the average person, making Tesla's durable solar panels a safer investment than many alternatives.

Palmetto Solar

Palmetto Solar is one of the nation's largest residential solar installers, with a reputation for providing a variety of flexible solar service options. This adaptability makes it the ideal solar company for many Californians, an impressive feat given the state's vast size and geographical diversity. Palmetto's business structure is distinguished by its advanced protection plan, which provides customers with additional monitoring and maintenance options for a fee.

Palmetto Solar installs solar panels, battery backup systems, solar monitoring, maintenance, and detailed pre-installation surveys and designs.


SunLux is a growing solar company that serves customers in Southern California and Texas. AunLux understands the nuances of installing solar equipment throughout the state as a Californian company giving it an advantage over national solar companies. The company provides a 25-year warranty that includes parts, repairs, and maintenance. This is one of the best solar warranties in the industry, and it helps to set SunLux apart from the competition.

SunLux offers solar panel installation, battery backups, system monitoring, and EV charger installation. The company also provides free consultations for prospective customers.

Is California Good for Solar Energy?

Solar energy offers several benefits in California. Some of these include:

Save on Electricity

One of the most significant advantages of solar panels is the ability to save money on electricity. You can convert solar energy into usable electricity for your home using solar panels With net metering, you can even put energy back into the grid, reducing your energy bill even further.

During the summer, solar panels can help Californian households save a considerable amount of electricity. In the summer, the sun shines continuously, resulting in a great deal of direct sunlight. The sun's rays result in high temperatures and numerous opportunities to utilize solar panels. Consequently, you can offset the high AC consumption and utility bill with your solar panels.

Solar panels are the most efficient way to save money on electricity costs. The savings can be enormous in a state such as California, where there is so much sunshine,

Insulation from Power Outages

You will be powerless during a blackout if you are solely connected to the grid. However, solar panels protect against power outages because the solar battery backup can be activated whenever the grid fails. Given the increasing frequency of blackouts in California, the power outage protection associated with solar panels is an excellent reason to invest in solar-powered energy.

Renewable and Clean Energy

The primary advantage of solar panels is that they generate clean, renewable energy. As resources become scarcer and climate change becomes a greater issue, our society must transition to renewable energy. Solar panels utilize renewable energy, allowing you to enjoy modern conveniences without adding to environmental pollution.

Reduced Taxes and Access to Additional Incentives

California is one of the best solar incentives states, with state and federal programs available to residents. The federal credit (ITC) is an incentive offered by the federal government in the form of a credit against your federal income tax liability. The ITC is 30% of the total cost of your solar energy system, which averages $4,914 in California. Listed below are additional solar incentives available in California:

Home Resale Value Increase

Panels may increase the value of a home, which is one of the most significant advantages solar customers enjoy. According to a study by Zillow, installing solar panels will increase your home's value by an average of 4.1%. 3 In California, where the average home price is approximately $758,360, this represents an expected increase of aroughly$31,093! This increase in value could be even greater in more expensive areas, such as Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. It is important to note that this value increase is only expected if you purchase your panels with cash or a loan. Leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) do not increase the value of your home.

Who is Sunrun Inc owned by?

SunRun Inc. is owned by a consortium of investors that collectively hold a 97.95% share in the company. The leading shareholders are:

  • BlackRock Fund Advisors (9.60%)
  • The Vanguard Group Inc (8.45%)
  • Orbis Investment Management, Ltd (5.01%)
  • BNP Paribas Asset Management UK (3.81%)
  • SSgA Funds Management, Inc (3.30%)
  • Invesco Capital Management LLC (2.83%)
  • Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co (2.44%)

Founded in 2007 by Lynn Jurich, Ed Fenster, and Nat Kreamer, the company is primarily a residential provider of photovoltaic solar energy-producing systems and battery energy storage devices.

The company has its headquarters in San Francisco, California, and its primary business strategy is a power purchase agreement (PPA).

A PPA model indicates that Sunrun installs and maintains a solar system on a customer's home, then sells the customer electricity at an agreed-upon rate for 20 or 25 years. This business strategy allows homeowners to install solar panels without the associated benefits (like tax breaks) at no initial investment.

Is Sunrun the Same as SunPower?

Even though SunRun and SunPower are two of the major solar companies in the United States, known for their high-quality solar panels, battery systems, and other solar-related goods, they are distinct entities with distinct business models.

SunRun and Vivint Solar, for example, have partnered to create a mega-installer of solar panels for households worth over $9 billion. In contrast, SunPower has spent the last few years selling off its utility-scale solar company and yield. They also intend to separate their manufacturing activities to concentrate on producing solar electricity for homes and businesses.

SunPower is a solar solution provider based in the United States. The company originated in 1985 as a solar energy research initiative. Later, it began producing high-quality residential and commercial solar systems. SunRun, on the other hand, solely handles residential premises, which sets it apart from the competition. SunRun's batteries and solar panels are primarily made in other countries.

What is the 26 Solar Tax Credit?

The investment tax credit (ITC), also known as the federal solar tax credit, allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems and has no dollar limit.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 renamed the ITC the Residential Clean Energy Credit, increased the value to 30%, and extended the deadline until December 31, 2034. A timeline analysis indicates that the solar tax credit is worth 30% of the project's cost for any solar project completed between 2022 and 2032. The step-down schedule is as follows:

  • 30% - Projects with completion dates between 2022 and 2032
  • 26% - Projects with completion dates in 2033
  • 22% - Projects with completion dates in 2034
  • 0% - Projects with a completion date of 2035 or later

The solar tax credit applies to any product that connects directly to your solar power system or is required for installation, including solar panels, mounting equipment, inverters, wires, and battery storage systems.

The tax credit also covers other costs associated with having solar panels installed on your roof, such as labor, assembly, installation, inspection fees, and sales tax.