The Best Solar Companies in California

SunPower tops the list with its energy-efficient solar panels.

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As the leading state in solar energy adoption in the U.S., California has grown into a hotbed for companies making and selling solar technology. It’s good news because it means you have a range of competitive options to choose from, it’s bad news because the oversupply can sometimes lead to analysis paralysis. Picking out the best solar companies in California shouldn’t give you or anyone else a headache, but sometimes it happens.  

The key is to learn how to distinguish the top solar companies in California from the rest. A few things to consider other than pricing are the solar brands available, the energy efficiency from the system, whether the installers are subcontractors or in-house, its customer service, and the warranty offered. Particularly important is understanding if the performance of the system, the amount of energy it’s designed to produce, is covered by the solar company’s warranty or not. Get at least three quotes from different providers to compare your options. Here are our picks for the best solar companies in California in 2023. 

Best Solar Companies in California in 2023

Best Overall : SunPower

SunPower logo


Key Specs
  • Locations: Throughout California
  • Types of Products: Solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers
  • Warranty Information: 25-year product, labor, and performance warranty and 10-year monitoring hardware warranty
Pros & Cons
  • Online design studio to see potential solar panel system

  • High-efficiency panels generate more electricity with smaller footprint

  • Offers financing options

  • Relies on dealer network for installations and repairs

  • Pricing is comparatively more expensive

Why We Chose It

Energy efficiency is one of the key elements of solar technology, and it is one of SunPower’s best-known features. The company makes high-efficiency solar systems capable of capturing and generating more energy with fewer panels installed. It’s an ideal solution for someone who has a smaller roof or unobstructed area to install the equipment, but it’s also helpful for those looking to have smaller systems with a large energy output. 

This advantage is partly why SunPower’s solar systems come at a premium compared to other alternatives. You’re paying for both the technology as well as its expert know-how as the maker. The company offers a strong 25-year warranty that covers the entire system, the labor, and the energy performance. So if at any point your panels start underproducing or underperforming, the company will replace or repair them at no cost to you. To be clear, SunPower does not perform any installs or repairs on its own. Instead, it relies on a vast network of certified dealers to do this work across California, which means customer service experiences vary per provider.

Best Budget : Tesla

Tesla Logo


Key Specs
  • Locations: Throughout California
  • Types of Products: Solar panels, solar roof, solar batteries, EV chargers
  • Warranty Information: 25-year performance warranty and 12.5-year inverter warranty
Pros & Cons
  • Price match guarantee promises lowest price for solar technology

  • Manufactures its own solar panels and batteries

  • Offers instant quotes online

  • Can’t add more panels after purchase

  • Doesn’t install EV chargers

Why We Chose It

Tesla consistently offers the best price for solar systems in California and has a price-matching guarantee to ensure that will remain the case for the foreseeable future. Its solar systems are made up of high-efficiency black solar panels, an inverter, and a battery system known as Powerwall. The design is sleek and minimalist, consistent with the brand’s careful attention to aesthetics, but it’s also meant to be functional. According to the company, its proprietary mounting hardware allows it to install up to 30 percent fewer anchor points compared to its rivals, which translates to fewer holes drilled through your roof.   

Getting a quote online is an easy process, and you can do it directly on its website. The site will recommend a few system configuration options—including customization—depending on your energy requirements. You will see an estimated price before and after any incentives, and you can also toggle between an all-cash price and a monthly loan payment. A disadvantage of Tesla’s solar systems, however, is that you can’t add more panels to your system post-purchase. If you need to generate more electricity later, you will need to get a second system.

In addition to its solar panels, Tesla also offers a premium “solar roof” option. It acts as a traditional roof, but it is made up of glass solar tiles, with each tile being capable of capturing and transforming sunlight into electricity. Since the product only became available recently, there’s not enough data yet to judge its efficiency compared to solar panels. Still, the option is there if you’d like it. If you were hoping to get one of its EV chargers, know that the company does not install them itself but refers you to a list of qualified electricians for installation.

Best Maintenance : Renova Energy

Key Specs
  • Locations: Southern California
  • Types of Products: Solar panels, solar batteries
  • Warranty Information: 25-year manufacturer’s warranty
Pros & Cons
  • RenovaPLUS provides care and maintenance services for all types of solar systems

  • It’s an elite dealer for SunPower

  • Different financing options available

  • Only available in the Coachella Valley

  • Doesn’t offer alternatives to SunPower solar systems

Why We Chose It 

In California, there are winter, spring, summer, fall, and wildfire season. Wildfires burn copious amounts of ash into the surrounding streets and roofs, including those equipped with solar systems. Enter Renova Energy and its service RenovaPLUS, which offers cleaning and maintenance services to all solar systems—even those it didn’t install itself. It offers several different packages, depending on what level of care you need. You can choose “Bright” for a power wash and an inspection; “Brighter,” which includes before and after photography for peace of mind; “Brightest,” for deep cleaning of the system and an on-site status check; or “Brightest PLUS” which includes a full equipment analysis and a detailed report. 

Renova Energy’s main business, though, is installing solar systems throughout the Coachella Valley in Southern California. The company is an elite dealer for SunPower, which is both a blessing and a curse. It can sell you SunPower’s excellent solar systems but cannot give you any other options to compare them to.

On the bright side, buyers report excellent customer service and a thorough commitment from the sales pitch to the final installation and beyond. The company’s financing options include leases and loans, with the benefit that the latter doesn’t require a credit score.

Best Rooftop Install : Solar Optimum

Solar Optimum Logo

Solar Optimum

Key Specs
  • Locations: Throughout California
  • Types of Products: Solar panels, solar batteries
  • Warranty Information: 25-year product, labor, performance, and workmanship warranty
Pros & Cons 
  • Experience working with a variety of different roofing surfaces

  • Offers products from several different brands including Tesla and Panasonic

  • Features a comprehensive free resource library for information about solar living

  • Need to call for quote

  • Deposit required prior to home visit

Why We Chose It   

Solar Optimum is a solar installer with a portfolio of reputable solar brands, including Panasonic, Tesla, and QCells. One of its strengths lies in installing its solar systems on a variety of surfaces. Asphalt shingles, Spanish tiles, clay tiles, and metal roofs, are only some examples of what it has successfully worked with; some companies will back down from installing your solar system due to light tiles, for example, or try to upcharge you for a new roof. This company’s experienced team can help you choose the best solar configuration to meet your budget, energy needs, and roofing stipulations. 

Prices are competitive, and its customer service is generally very responsive. Still, to get a quote, you have to call the company and speak to a representative. If you choose to proceed and sign a contract with Solar Optimum, you will be required to pay a deposit before the company will perform a home visit. Although this order of events is fairly standard in the industry, it still doesn’t protect you against any additional charges tacked on to your quote after the home visit. Should you wish to cancel the project due to a pricier quote than previously agreed to, you would lose a portion of your deposit. 

However, if you’re a first-time buyer, you may appreciate the broad resource library the company has at your disposal through Solar Optimum University. You can educate yourself on topics including solar batteries, roofing, federal tax credits, and living with solar energy. The site also provides a downloadable checklist to help you determine if your home qualifies for a solar system.

Best for EV Owners : Sunlux

 Sunlux logo


Key Specs
  • Locations: Southern California
  • Types of Products: Solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers
  • Warranty Information: 25-year product, labor, performance, and workmanship warranty
Pros & Cons 
  • Offers an EV charger capable of charging up to six times faster than standard

  • Has 24/7 online monitoring of your system ensuring everything is always in order

  • Provides competitive pricing and financing options

  • Only available in Southern California

  • Need to call for quote

Why We Chose It 

If you’re looking to install solar panels and double up on your green efforts with an electric vehicle, you will find that Sunlux can provide you with top-of-the-line technology in both a solar system and an EV charging station for your home. The company works with several reputable brands, including Siemens and SolarEdge, for the EV charging space. The latter created the first EV charger with an integrated inverter, which helps it charge your vehicle up to six times faster than standard chargers typically available for home use. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about the installation because the company takes care of that too.

When it comes to solar systems, Sunlux works with QCells and Panasonic, which are both strong brands in the space. A 24/7 online monitoring of your system is included with the installation to make sure everything is always on track, and you yourself can also track the system’s performance through a mobile app. For those who can’t purchase the system outright, the company offers a variety of financing options including leasing and $0 down loans.

Best Full Service : Baker Electric Home Energy

Key Specs
  • Locations: San Diego, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County
  • Types of Products: Solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers, HVAC
  • Warranty Information: 25-year workmanship warranty and 25-year manufacturer’s warranty
Pros & Cons
  • Offers roofing services alongside heating and AC solutions

  • Solar panel installations available for both roof and ground mounts

  • Financing options available

  • Only available in Southern California

  • Quotes tend to be pricier than average

Why We Chose It 

If you live in Southern California, Baker Electric Home Energy can help you install a good solar system that can meet both your current and future electric needs. But that’s not all—it can also upgrade your service panel to accommodate current loads, build you a new roof, get you a top-of-the-line heating and AC system, and install EV chargers for your electric vehicles. It’s the type of company that can help you tackle a lot of big and little projects all at once, which is ideal for people with busy lifestyles. 

The company’s solar offerings include SunPower solar panels and Tesla’s Powerwall battery systems, two powerhouses in the solar energy space. It can install its solar systems either on roof or as a ground mount, depending on the needs of your project. To determine what system your home will require, you’ll need to speak with a sales agent for a consultation and quote. While there is a possibility you might be able to do some forecasting through the company’s online solar calculator, it doesn’t really offer online estimates. Keep in mind that prices at Baker Electric Home Energy tend to run higher than the average bid, but financing options are available if you need them. 

Best Warranty : NRG Clean Power

Key Specs
  • Locations: Throughout California
  • Types of Products: Solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers
  • Warranty Information: 40-year workmanship warranty, plus product manufacturer warranty
Pros & Cons
  • Offers one of the longest workmanship warranties in the industry

  • Instant quote available online

  • Financing options available

  • Uses subcontractors for installs

  • Customer experience varies per subcontractor

Why We Chose It 

Solar systems need to be resilient pieces of technology since they’re always exposed to the elements, and they are not indestructible. A good warranty is important to protect your solar system, and NRG Clean Power offers one of the best. Its workmanship warranty, which covers the labor, design, installation, and assembly, lasts 40 years—nearly twice as long as its rivals. Now for the solar system itself, it enforces the manufacturer’s warranty, which varies depending on the provider. Still, NRG works with trustworthy solar brands including Panasonic and REC, both of which offer the industry standard 25-year warranty with their products.

You can get an instant estimate online without speaking to a representative, a useful feature during the early stages of researching options. The downside is that these estimates don’t specify the brand or any other specs outside the panel wattage, making it more of a pricing signal than a bona fide quote. If you’re considering financing, the company partners with several lending companies and has different financing opportunities to match different budgets and needs. Still, the company uses subcontractors to perform its installs and so your customer satisfaction may vary depending on the provider assigned to your project.

Best Off-Grid Setup : Green Home Systems

Key Specs
  • Locations: Throughout California
  • Types of Products: Solar roofs, solar panels, solar batteries
  • Warranty Information: 25-year product and performance warranty
Pros & Cons
  • Its solar systems include solar roofs and solar panels from various reputable brands

  • Sells backup generators to make homes self-sufficient

  • Offers competitive pricing

  • Doesn’t offer financing information on its website

  • Need to call for a quote

Why We Chose It 

If you’re looking to make your home self-sufficient and get off the grid, the team at Green Home Systems can probably help set you up. The company has a broad portfolio of solar solutions, which includes a variety of solar panels and battery systems from reputable brands like Panasonic and Enphase. What makes it different from the rest is that this company also supplies customers with backup generators and a smart electrical panel that lets you fine-tune how your energy is distributed across your home. Having access to this data and the ability to manipulate energy use are very important for off-grid and smart-home living. In addition to all of this, the company also installs solar roofs made up of solar tiles or solar shingles (depending on your preference) for those who would rather have an entire solar roof rather than an array of panels. 

Pricing information is not available on its website, so you will have to speak to a representative to get a quote. However, based on customers’ feedback, quotes are generally characterized as competitive within the market. While the company does offer financing and $0 down loans for its solar systems, its website doesn’t actually share any financing information online.  

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, the top solar company in California is going to be the one that gives you the best products at the best possible price with an exceptional warranty and responsive customer service. Although SunPower relies on a network of dealers to install its solar systems and tends to run a little pricier than other options, the technology and craftsmanship of its products are some of the best in the industry. The degradation rate for its panels is one of the lowest currently available in the market, and the system is backed with a comprehensive 25-year warranty. All this guarantees your investment is protected for the long term.

Compare the Best Solar Companies in California 

Company Locations Types of Products Warranty Information Access to Customer Service Finance Options
SunPower Best Overall Throughout California Solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers 25-year product, labor, and performance warranty and 10-year monitoring hardware warranty Phone, online account, social media  Yes
Tesla Best Budget Throughout California  Solar roofs, solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers 25-year performance warranty and 12.5-year inverter warranty  Phone, online account, chat, social media   Yes
Renova Energy Best Maintenance  Southern California Solar panels, solar batteries 25-year manufacturer’s warranty Phone, contact form, social media Yes
Solar Optimum Best Rooftop Install Throughout California Solar panels, solar batteries 25-year product, labor, performance, and workmanship warranty Phone, chat, email, social media  Yes
Sunlux Best for EV Owners Southern California Solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers 25-year product, labor, performance, and workmanship warranty Phone, contact form, social media Yes
Baker Electric Home Energy Best Full Service San Diego, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County Solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers, HVAC 25-year workmanship warranty and 25-year manufacturer’s warranty  Phone, text, contact form, social media Yes 
NRG Clean Power Best Warranty Throughout California Solar panels, solar batteries, EV chargers 40-year workmanship warranty, plus product manufacturer warranty Phone, contact form, social media  Yes
Green Home Systems Best Off-Grid Setup Throughout California Solar roofs, solar panels, solar batteries 25-year product and performance warranty Phone, live chat, email, social media Yes

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Solar Company in California

Solar systems are a big investment and are meant to last for decades. When choosing which company to go with, longevity and durability should always be a top priority. Here are a few other factors to consider:


It’s important to protect your investment with a strong warranty. Make sure the company you choose offers long install, product, and labor coverage; 25 years is quickly becoming the industry standard. Most crucially, get a performance warranty that will protect you should the system produce less energy than the amount it’s supposed to over the years. 

Years of Experience

A company that has about a decade of experience is likely to be more prepared for difficult installs than a company that just started offering the service. Because solar systems require drilling holes through your roof, it’s important you choose an experienced installer that can get the job done properly without causing any roof damage.


Switching to a solar system usually takes a couple of months because of all the permitting involved; however, the process can take longer if the company you want to work with isn’t readily available. Ask your providers for a clear timeline by specifying how quickly they can start working on your project, so you can choose the one that will work best with your schedule.   

Solar Product Brands

There are several strong players in the solar market, but there are also brands that may not have the best products around. Since going solar is a decades-long investment, you want to choose a company that can offer you a quality product able to withstand the test of time. 


Always get quotes from different vendors to compare pricing and the types of products and expected energy output that come with them. Some companies will negotiate on price, and others won’t. Choose the one that fits your budget and that you feel comfortable working with. 

Financing Options

If you’re financing your purchase, look for companies that offer no or low-originating or dealer fees. These fees, meant to cover the risk associated with the loan, are tacked on to the financing, and in some cases, can be as high as 30 percent, which can definitely throw a budget off balance.  

Customer Reviews

You can get a sense of how the company conducts itself by reading customer reviews. It’s important to note that most of the time people write reviews when things have gone wrong, so a bad review shouldn’t necessarily be cause for concern. However, if you find a pattern of terrible reviews and a lack of accountability from the company, then you may want to stay away.

What Impacts the Cost of Solar Products in California?

The overall cost of your solar system can be broken up two parts: the technology and the installation. On the technology side, a few factors that influence cost include brand recognition, energy efficiency, and materials. On the installation side, the price will depend on the number of panels your system includes, the size and slope of your roof, your roof tiles, whether you have to take down trees and foliage to improve your sunshine intake, and the list goes on. The more complex the installation, the higher the cost. 

Does California Have a Solar Tax Credit?

There isn’t a state-specific credit, but California residents are eligible for a 30 percent federal solar tax credit called the ITC or Solar Investment Tax Credit. It applies to the cost of your solar and/or battery system and can be used to reduce your tax liability. If it’s greater than what you owe, you will not get a refund, instead, you can roll it over to the following year. 

How Do Solar Panels Affect a Home’s Value in California?

It depends. Fully owned solar panels normally increase a home’s market value as much as $41,000 or roughly 4 percent, according to a data analysis by Zillow. However, if your system is leased, that’s a different story, and it may impact your resale price. Generally, prospective buyers are usually less inclined to take over lease agreements and may prefer a property without it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Does a Solar Panel Work?

    Here’s a very simplistic explanation. Solar panels use photovoltaic technology, which is a type of technology that transforms sunlight into electric energy. When the sun shines over the photovoltaic cells that make up the solar panels, the light is absorbed and transformed into electricity, which then flows into the system’s inverter and heads into your home to power your appliances.

  • Which Solar Panels Last the Longest?

    Most solar panels available today are designed to last between 25 and 30 years. However, energy output decreases over time. You can discern which systems will last longer by paying attention to the degradation rate, a metric that measures how quickly systems deteriorate and tells how much output they will still be able to produce after two decades. You want to look for small numbers below 0.5 percent per year.

  • What Are the Different Financing Options for Solar Products?

    There are usually two main financing routes you can take: loans and PPA. The latter stands for Power Purchase Agreement, and in this type of financing, you don’t own your solar system, and you don’t have to pay a cent for the equipment or the installation. However, you also won’t be able to claim any of the tax credits. Instead, you pay your solar company for the solar energy produced by the system it installed in your home, and your solar company becomes your new utility company. Your provider will service the system for free when it’s needed, and you don’t need to worry about maintenance. Loans, on the other hand, let you own the system, and you pay a monthly fee for a set term. A particular variable with solar loans is that originating fees or dealer fees (the money you pay to have your solar company be your creditor) are not standard and vary wildly. Some companies can have up to a 30 percent originating fee, which increases the price of the system significantly.

  • Is Going Solar Cheaper in the Long Run?

    Yes. Solar systems are an expensive investment, but they are meant to last at least 25 years before you need to replace them. If all your energy needs are met by your solar system, then you won’t need to pay for electricity for at least 25 years, virtually eliminating this expense from your budget. It’s important, however, to keep your future electric needs in mind when building your system, to ensure it can be fully self-sufficient.

  • Are Solar Panels Covered by Home Insurance?

    Most home insurance companies will cover solar systems up to the amount of your policy, but there are exceptions. Some companies may consider wind and hail damage separately and either not cover it or ask you to pay a higher deductible to include it. Fortunately, solar systems always come with a manufacturer’s warranty. While its duration depends on the maker, 25 years is quickly becoming the industry standard.


We determined the best solar companies by collecting several data points based on an extensive set of criteria ranging from nationwide availability to financing options. Our team reviewed more than two dozen companies, rating them based on the following categories:

  • Solar product variety
  • Financing options
  • Installation cost
  • Statewide availability
  • Customer service
  • Solar panel design
  • Company reputation
  • Online quote system
  • Warranties and guarantees

Companies had to be based or have locations in California to be considered. Solar companies that excelled in customer service and offered a variety of financing options were awarded extra points during the scoring phase. Any services that excelled in a specific category, such as energy efficiency or protection plan coverage, were also awarded their respective superlatives on this list.

Roof with solar panels installation

Westend61 / Getty Images

Article Sources
  1. Zillow. "Homes With Solar Panels Sell for 4.1% More."

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