Solar Tribune

Top Rated Solar Companies for

California

See our favorite solar companies based on our analysis of customer satisfaction and cost data.

by Brooks Lape | May 15, 2017

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ASI Hastings


ASI Hastings has been serving the San Diego metro area for more than half a century, garnering numerous awards. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) honored ASI with its Torch Award for business ethics and integrity eight times, for example.


Cost
Per Watt
vs. $5.00 (CA avg.)
Based on 95 reviews
A+
BBB Rating

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Summary

In addition to solar, the company manages all aspects of home energy use by installing efficient furnaces and air conditioners. The energy efficient upgrades it completed in 2013 and 2014 saved the city’s residents thousands of dollars on their utility bills, earning ASI the title “San Diego’s Energy Upgrade Contractor of the Year.”

The company ensures quality by using its own certified staff, rather than subcontractors. It also offers a satisfaction guarantee, as well as lifetime guarantees for workmanship and service. Homeowners can get started with solar for zero down through a PACE program home equity loan, and track ROI through a system monitoring service.

ASI gives back to the community through a variety of efforts, including donations to programs like the Boys & Girls Clubs of East County’s La Mesa Capital Campaign, which aims to build a new clubhouse at La Mesa Arts Academy. It maintains an A- rating with the BBB.

ASI Hastings Heating and Air Conditioning can be reached through its website at asiheatingandair.com, or by phone at (800) 481-2665.


Sunrun


Sunrun is one of the country’s top residential solar companies, boasting more than 111,000 customers across fifteen states and the District of Columbia. Customers choose Sunrun for its affordability, transparent payment plans, and customer service ethic—characteristics that made it bestcompany’s #1 solar company of 2016.


Cost
Per Watt
vs. $5.00 (CA avg.)
Based on 95 reviews
A+
BBB Rating

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Summary

This San Francisco firm designs each system to fit the site’s layout and solar potential, as well as the customer’s energy requirements. In addition to the panels, homeowners also have the option to tack on Sunrun’s proprietary Brightbox battery storage system, which provides backup power when the grid goes down during storms and high-demand events. Customers can log into their Sunrun accounts to monitor system output and track payments through a well-designed mobile app.

Sunrun offers standard lease, financing, and purchase options. It provides a lifetime warranty and free support. Because it’s one of the top installers in the country, customers will likely be able to rely on the company well into the future.

While Sunrun fell prey to a phishing attack that gave hackers access to employees’ W-2 forms in early 2017, customers were unaffected, and the company’s stock continue to trade high afterwards. It maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Sunrun can be reached through its website at sunrun.com, or by phone at (888) GO-SOLAR.


West Coast Solar


This mature, decade-old company plans and installs residential and commercial solar systems.


Cost
Per Watt
vs. $5.00 (CA avg.)
Based on 95 reviews
A+
BBB Rating

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Summary

It’s also a go-to choice for powering agricultural operations. It offers a wide range of choices when it comes to solar panels and financing, while still providing personalized service. Customers can opt for a roof-mounted, ground-mounted, or shade awning system. This last option can serve two purposes at once—providing solar power, and sheltering a vehicle or porch.

West Coast Solar ensures a quality installation by inspecting all equipment beforehand and using its own installers, who are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). In addition to standard lease, loan, and purchase options, customers can also sign on for a power purchase agreement, in which they pay a price per kilowatt hour for the power the system generates, rather than a flat monthly rate to rent or own the equipment. All customers have the ability to monitor system output over the Web.

The company holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. “I had such a good experience with West Coast Solar from beginning to end of the project,” Roger C. of Oakley writes on the company’s website. “I highly recommend them if you are planning a solar project… I must have dealt with over 20 vendors and nobody came close to them in all aspects of the deal.”

West Coast Solar can be reached through its website at westcoastsolar.com, or by phone at (844) 492-7652.


Stellar Solar


Stellar Solar is a top installer in San Diego County, and the Union Tribune’s best installer of 2013, 2014, and 2015. It uses industry-leading SunPower solar panels, which hold the record for conversion efficiency, and even became a SunPower Master Dealer in late 2016.


Cost
Per Watt
vs. $5.00 (CA avg.)
Based on 95 reviews
A+
BBB Rating

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Summary

In addition to top quality solar panels, Stellar’s no-pressure approach and 30-day installation guarantee have been major draws for residential and commercial customers. The company’s A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau is a testament to their satisfaction.

The company has worked on several major projects since it opened its doors in 1998, including installations for the Salk Institute, US Foods, and Cedars-Sinai Hospital. It also completed a multi-site campus project for San Diego’s San Rafael Parish that will reduce the organization’s energy costs by 75%. The company doesn’t just do installations, though; it also rents out mobile solar panels that power large events.

Stellar partners with the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), Mitsubishi Electric, LG, and SunPower to offer its customers lower prices on equipment.

Stellar Solar can be reached through its website at stellarsolar.net, or by phone at (866) 787-6527.


Sunline Energy


In just five years, San Diego-based Sunline Energy has become one of California’s most recognized solar installers. Solar Power World named the company #30 on its list of the Top Solar Contractors headquartered in California, and #55 in the country. Angie’s List also recognized this residential and commercial installer with its Super Service Award in 2014.


Cost
Per Watt
vs. $5.00 (CA avg.)
Based on 95 reviews
A+
BBB Rating

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Summary

Customers appreciate Sunline’s prices, detail-oriented consultations, and speedy timeline. Its three-week turnaround guarantee is far shorter than that of other installers, which means customers save more money.

This California-grown company knows how to install solar panels on clay tile roofs, as well as standard ones. Customers can get started with a 6KW system for about $18,700. While all plans include Wi-Fi-based system monitoring, customers can also choose to tack on power consumption monitoring and a backup generator.

Sunline gives back to the community by sponsoring local events, such as classes for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, an organization that raises money for veterans’ charities. It holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Sunline Energy can be reached through its website at sunlineenergy.com, or by phone at (858) 777-7910.


Sullivan Solar


Sullivan Solar is an undisputed authority on residential, commercial, and municipal solar in Southern California, and one of the most successful companies in the area. With more than 5,000 systems under its belt, it’s one of the ten largest solar companies in the state.


Cost
Per Watt
vs. $5.00 (CA avg.)
Based on 95 reviews
A+
BBB Rating

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Summary

San Diegan Daniel Sullivan founded the company in 2004; he was later named the San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO of 2013. Under his leadership, Sullivan Solar was dubbed one of the fastest-growing businesses in San Diego in 2010. It also won Angie’s List Super Service Award several times, and earned a spot on Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest-growing companies multiple times.

Its local focus places Sullivan at the center of solar advocacy in Orange County. It also holds community forums to educate consumers about solar power, in an effort to combat pressure tactics and outdated information in the booming solar industry. It partnered with the Center for Sustainable Energy and the Climate Action Campaign to host the 2017 San Diego Solar Experience, for example, with the aim of giving homeowners accurate information about solar power and current government incentives.

Sullivan Solar holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It can be reached through its website at sullivansolarpower.com, or by phone at 1-800-SULLIVAN.


SolarCity


SolarCity is the nation’s largest photovoltaic installer. It’s famous for its commitment to relentless innovation in financing, technology, and virtually aspects of solar service.


Cost
Per Watt
vs. $5.00 (CA avg.)
Based on 95 reviews
A+
BBB Rating

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Summary

The company rolled out its signature solar roof tiles in late 2016, shortly before it was acquired by Tesla, serial entrepreneur Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company. It’s currently partnering with Tesla and Panasonic to construct a high-volume solar panel facility in Buffalo, New York. The facility will also manufacture the solar roof tiles. SolarCity expects the facility to come online in the summer of 2017, with the tiles ready for installation by the end of the year.

What sets SolarCity apart from its competitors is its focus on a comprehensive energy solution that includes perfectly-integrated solar generation, battery storage, and electric vehicle solutions. While primarily a residential installer at its inception, it’s now a major player in the commercial and utility-scale spaces as well. It maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

SolarCity can be reached through its website at solarcity.com, or by phone at (888) 765-2489.


Baker Electric Solar


Baker Electric Solar has been meeting Southern California’s energy needs for three-quarters of a century. Today, that largely means solar. In fact, Baker’s various subsidiaries collectively reached 1GW of total installed solar in 2015. San Diego homeowners can even supplement their installations with residential energy storage.


Cost
Per Watt
vs. $5.00 (CA avg.)
Based on 95 reviews
A+
BBB Rating

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Summary

The company had a red letter year in 2016, when it won the Angie’s List Super Service Award for the fourth year in a row, and finally clinched the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for ethics in business. It was nominated for the Torch Award in 2014 and 2015, and maintains an A+ rating with the organization. It’s also earned awards from from Inc. Magazine, Solar Power World, and PV American WEST.

“We’re incredibly honored the BBB has recognized Baker with the Torch Award. Ethics, trust and integrity have been guiding principles for the Baker Electric family of companies for more than 78 years,” said President Mike Teresso. “To us, the Torch Award represents our on-going commitment to bring the highest business values to every one of our over 6500 customers, while empowering our employees for success and giving back to the community.”

Baker Electric Solar can be reached through its website at bakerelectricsolar.com, or by phone at (877) 543-8765.


PetersenDean


This roofing and solar company is the #1 Home Improvement Contractor in the U.S. It’s completed more than a million roof and solar projects for homes and businesses across five states since it opened in 1984.


Cost
Per Watt
vs. $5.00 (CA avg.)
Based on 95 reviews
A+
BBB Rating

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Summary

The company’s focus on supporting American workers is a key consideration for many customers. PetersenDean is a Master Installer of SolarWorld solar panels, which are manufactured, sourced, and assembled in the U.S. One in six of these panels goes to PetersenDean. The firm also offers a 25 year warranty for roofing and solar installations, quiet battery storage systems that provide backup during grid outages, and real-time monitoring via the Internet.

Unlike most other solar companies, however, PetersenDean doesn’t offer solar leases, which it says are more expensive. Customers can purchase or finance a system instead. The company’s website makes it easy to research payment plans online, based on a current utility bill.

Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations recognized PetersenDean with the Safe Partner Award in early 2017 for its continued efforts in workplace health and safety—an honor awarded to only four Nevada businesses per year. The Better Business Bureau gives PetersenDean an A+ rating.

PetersenDean can be reached through its website at petersendean.com, or by phone at (877) 552-4418.