Who are California’s best solar installers?

Published on 05 Oct, 2017 by Chris Meehan

Categories: Solar 101, Solar panels, Solar power


Who are California’s best solar installers?

It's undeniable that California is the nation's largest solar market. It's the nation's most populous state and it's been one of the most proactive states in the US in terms of pushing for more solar power on homes, businesses and on the larger electric grid. In fact, according to California Distributed Generation Statistics, a state-run site, it has 703,133 distributed solar projects (like a rooftop solar installation), generating 5,637 megawatts (MW) of power for homes and businesses.

With all that solar power installed on homes and buildings it's no surprise that there are hundreds if not thousands of solar installers in the state. With so many it's hard to choose which solar installers are the best and which you should work with to install a quality, long-lasting solar system on your home. Thankfully your peers and neighbors can help. They've been kind enough to review the solar contractors and equipment that they've had installed on their homes and businesses over at SolarReviews.com. You can check out Congratulations to the SolarReviews Top 20 Residential Solar Installers in California, where they rank solar installers by the volume customer-generated reviews, good or bad.

You can easily sort the data by clicking on columns, but to make it even easier for you, here are the top 10 in terms of positive customer service reviews based on a five-star rating system and a little bit more about each company. Keep reading beyond that though to learn more about installing solar on your home or business:

Company Reviews all time Rating all time
Highlight Solar, a residential and commercial solar installer in San Jose & the San Francisco Bay Area. The company offers at full 15-year warranty. 58 reviews 5.00 based on 58 reviews
Renova Solar, a residential and commercial solar installer in the Coachella Valley and high desert areas. 159 reviews 5.00 based on 159 reviews
Solar Symphony a residential and commercial solar installer in San Diego County serving Southern California. 61 reviews 4.98 based on 61 reviews
Sunwork Renewable Energy Projects, a nonprofit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area that installs solar electricity systems on small-energy-footprint homes and nonprofits. 175 reviews 4.98 based on 175 reviews
Cosmic Solar, Inc. installs solar on homes and businesses across Southern California. 202 reviews 4.97 based on 202 reviews
California Sun Systems Inc., a Los Angeles County-based residential and commercial solar installer. 55 reviews 4.96 based on 55 reviews
Semper Solaris, a veteran-owned residential solar installer serving Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, Palm Springs, the Inland Empire, and the Bay Area. 65 reviews 4.94 based on 65 reviews
Ameco Solar, a Southern California commercial and residential solar installer that offers solar electric, solar pool heating, and solar water heating systems. 68 reviews 4.93 based on 68 reviews
Jamar Power Systems, a residential and commercial solar installer serving San Diego, Imperial, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. 74 reviews 4.92 based on 74 reviews
KV Solar Supply, a residential and commercial solar installer offering solar electric as well as solar hot water and solar pool heating. 61 reviews 4.90 based on 61 reviews

So there it is, those are the tops in 2017 based on customer satisfaction. But there are many other great solar installers in California as well. If none of these service your area or you want to get quotes from numerous installers to get the best deal you can, use our handy solar estimator tools. You can also head over to SolarReviews.com and look for solar installers that are Pre-Screened Solar Pros.

These installers have at least 10 customer-generated reviews with a satisfaction rating of at least 4.50 out of 5.00 stars, have been in business for more than three years, and pass the criteria established by ContractorCheck.com.

Whichever California solar installers you talk to, here are some things you should be prepared to ask them and learn about their services: What licenses and certifications should California solar companies have?

A solar installer operating in California should have at least a C-46 Solar Contractors License. It requires that they've operated for at least four years and have passed state-mandated tests. Good solar providers should also have NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Providers) certification. They also should hold a C-10 electrical license for installing photovoltaics.

NABCEP

If you're interested in solar hot water or solar thermal heating, look for contractor with a C-4 license for boilers, hot water heating and steam fitting, C-36 license for plumbing, C-53 swimming pool for solar pool heating and for an HVAC system that uses solar, a C-20 warm-air, HVAC license.

What financing options do they offer?

There are now a plethora of solar financing options. Many offer zero-down financing but that's through a power-purchase agreement (PPA) or a lease. You can also qualify for many solar loans or purchase a solar system outright. There are a lot of differences though. Under solar PPAs and some leasing arrangements the panels are owned by the company--at least at first. Under loans and outright purchases you own the solar system.

What is their warranty?

Different parts of a solar system carry different warranties. So it's important to know whether your solar panels have a 25-year warranty or more and what that covers. Likewise the inverter, which converts the DC power produced by your solar panels to the AC power used in your home, may carry a 10-year warranty. But the contractor may also offer a workmanship warranty, guaranteeing the quality of work for a period of time.

Do they include or offer a maintenance and monitoring package?

Some installers offer long-term maintenance packages as part of the installation. They'll monitor your system and inform you if it's not performing to expectations. If need be they'll replace any broken parts. With PPAs and solar leases this is pretty much standard since they own the system and with a PPA they make more money when everything is working properly.


Author: Chris Meehan

Chris Meehan is a freelance writer for Solar-Estimate. With more than a decade of professional writing experience, Chris focuses on sustainability, renewable energy and outdoor adventure articles.