Solar Tribune

Top Rated Solar Companies for

San Francisco

Reviews, pricing data, and our analysis of the best solar companies in San Francisco.

by Brooks Lape | March 30, 2017

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SolarCity


SolarCity is the nation’s largest full-service installer. It’s also one of the most innovative. The company’s groundbreaking solar leases played a major role in eliminating the high upfront costs associated with solar power, bringing it into the mainstream.


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

SolarCity’s new solar tiles, announced in late 2016, may well revolutionize the industry. The company is also partnering with Panasonic and Tesla on an ambitious project to build a high-volume solar panel manufacturing facility in Buffalo, New York.

Innovation is the hallmark of Elon Musk, the company’s chair. Musk is also the CEO of electric car maker Tesla, and the cousin of SolarCity co-founders Peter and Lyndon Rive. Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity in 2016 will likely result in a fully-integrated renewable energy solution that includes panels and tiles, home battery storage systems, electric cars, and charging stations.

SolarCity has installed hundreds of thousands of residential solar panel systems across the country. It’s also a prominent commercial installer. All of SolarCity’s customer can access data on power output and use through a mobile app.

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


Sungevity


Sungevity is a pioneer in San Francisco’s solar market and a leader in corporate responsibility. Founded in 2007, the company is now one of the most recognized businesses in the state for social justice, environmental consideration, and company values.


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

The firm holds several distinctions that set it apart from other local installers. It’s a Certified Business with Green America, a Certified B Corporation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and a Diamond Certified contractor. As a former campaigns manager for Greenpeace, co-founder and president Danny Kennedy is committed to sustainable business. His vision for a “rooftop revolution” underscores a higher purpose in Sungevity’s business operations.

Sungevity was the first company in the nation to remotely plan and quote an installation using the satellite imagery for a site, a practice that is now an industry standard. Its innovation in the solar market and commitment to responsible business makes it a standout choice for solar installations in San Francisco, and a respected member of the local installer community.

Sungevity can be reached through its website at sungevity.com, or by phone at (866) SUN-4ALL.


Sunrun


With more than 100,000 solar customers nationwide, Sunrun is one of the best-known residential installers. Its popularity is largely due to its low prices and reasonable payment options. In 2016, bestcompany rated Sunrun its #1 solar company of the year.


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

Sunrun designs a custom system for each site that maximizes performance and minimizes the homeowners’ energy bills. Once the solar panels are in place, customers can count on a lifetime warranty and free support. Choose from standard lease, loan, and purchase options; Sunrun makes it easy to identify the best option through its exceptional transparency regarding payment plans.

Sunrun’s BrightboxTM battery storage system is an add-on that stores excess solar energy for use during outages — something that California homeowners in particular may want to consider. The company’s highly-rated mobile app allows users to track system output, view account information, and pay bills.

The Better Business Bureau gives Sunrun an impeccable A+ rating for quality and customer service.

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


Luminalt Solar Energy


Founded in 2004, this locally owned and operated contractor is now a leading solar installer in San Francisco. The company infuses its operations with a local and sustainable perspective, which helps Luminalt and the community thrive together.


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

Luminalt Energy sets the standard for community-first local business in San Francisco. It was the first solar contractor to become workforce development certified by sourcing 60% of its employees from the local community. It uses its expertise in San Francisco’s solar industry to integrate local warehouses, workforce development, and community service projects.

Luminalt also contributes training, time, and other resources to public outreach projects. For example, the company partners with organizations like GRID Alternatives to provide solar power for low-income housing.

Luminalt prides itself on serving its customers, rather than its shareholders. The company is also proud of its contribution to the local economy and the environment. Luminalt is a great choice for customers who value sustainable business practices and low-impact, locally-focused development.

Luminalt can be reached through its website at luminalt.com, or by phone at (415) 641-4000.


The Solar Company


This family-owned venture is owned by native Californians who changed their business focus to solar after installing it on their own home. What began as a five-person team in 1990 has become a well-established company of more than 100 employees.


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

The Solar Company is Diamond Certified, a distinction limited to Bay Area companies rated Highest in Quality for customer satisfaction and helpful expertise. The firm installs SunPower solar panels for both residential and commercial sites. All of its installers have trained at SunPower University. Customers also have the peace of mind of knowing that The Solar Company is a NABCEP-certified installation professional with over ten years of solar installation experience.

Customers can get started with little to no money down. Once installed, they can track system output through an off-site monitoring service. Phone support is available during evenings and weekends. The Solar Company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Headquartered in Castro Valley, CA, The Solar Company is a major commercial installer that has completed projects for Chevron Sacramento, Comcast, Ramos Oil, Mercedes Benz of Pleasanton, and many other businesses.

The Solar Company can be reached through its website at thesolarco.com, or by phone at (877) 607-6527.


Fidelity Home Energy


Headquartered in San Leandro, Fidelity Home Energy has installed more than 25,000 solar projects throughout California. The company employs trained, insured, and certified installers with over 30 years of combined experience in solar energy. It’s known for installing best-in-class German Q-Cell solar panels for as little zero down.


Cost
Per Watt
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Based on 95 reviews
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Summary

Fidelity Home Energy uses its “Solmetric SunEye” system to measure solar input for any location on a roof. Every product Fidelity installs comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. The company also offers a 10-year warranty on labor. Customers can track system output through a real-time monitoring system.

Fidelity also works on windows, HVAC, and roofing, with a focus on energy efficient products. In fact, Fidelity Home Energy is the #5 energy efficiency company in California. The firm has come a long since its founding in 2001, earning numerous accolades. ForResidentialPros.com ranked Fidelity #38 on its list of the Top 500 Qualified Remodelers of 2003. The company also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Fidelity is a good choice for homeowners who want to tackle both solar generation and energy efficiency upgrades.

Fidelity Home Energy can be reached through its website at fidelityhome.net, or by phone at (855) 844-HOME.


Vivint Solar


Vivint Solar is a leading residential solar provider and innovator that has been featured by TechCrunch, Fortune Magazine, and Forbes. Founded in 2011, Vivint now serves 14 states, and is preparing to expand into the smart home space.


Cost
Per Watt
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Summary

In January 2017, Vivint Solar announced plans to partner with Vivint Smart Home. Customers will be able choose an integrated energy management system later this year, complete with a smart thermostat, home sensors, and control panel.

Vivint designs custom solar systems and uses its own installers, rather than subcontracting the work. It also offers a 20-year warranty. Customers monitor system production and energy use by logging into the Vivint Solar website, or using the mobile app. Homeowners can choose to pay zero down with a solar PPA or lease, take out a loan, or purchase the system outright.

The company is rated 4.3 out of 5-stars on Consumer Affairs. It also has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau. Vivint’s growth and popularity may be the best gauge of consumer satisfaction.

Vivint Solar can be reached through its website at vivintsolar.com, or by phone at (877) 404-4129.


Occidental Power


With over 25 years experience as a local contractor, Occidental Power is San Francisco’s veteran solar installation company. Occidental specializes in photovoltaic, solar thermal, and cogeneration systems, giving it expertise in a wide range of project specifications.


Cost
Per Watt
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Summary

Occidental Power is a licensed California general contractor and solar contractor. General Manager Greg Kennedy founded the company next to Ocean Beach in 1989, naming it after the Latin designation for San Francisco’s iconic pelicans. San Francisco has officially recognized Occidental Power for installing the first permitted residential and commercial systems in the city, in 1996 and 1997, respectively. The firm’s long tenure as a local solar company gives it unique insight into San Francisco’s solar market, and its expertise shows in the quality of its installations.

The Better Business Bureau gives Occidental Power an A+ rating. Occidental specializes in solar applications beyond electrical systems, which makes it an ideal choice for whole-home solar projects that include natural gas cogeneration, solar thermal, and solar hot water systems.

Occidental Power can be reached through its website at oxypower.com, or by phone at (888) 49-SOLAR.


West Coast Solar


West Coast Solar is a full-service installer that works throughout northern California. The company has 10 years of experience designing and installing residential and commercial systems, including agricultural projects. Customers generate energy at 3% less per watt than the California average.


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

The design team will conduct a site assessment, account for limitations such as shading, and develop a plan for maximizing solar harvest. Buyers can choose from a variety of high-quality solar panel brands. The company will check for any defects during installation and use its own NABCEP-certified installers, rather than subcontracting the work. Afterwards, customers can track system output online.

Commercial customers include the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, which added its West Coast Solar system in the summer of 2014. The District reports that it reduced its utility bill by 80%, and received two rebate checks for selling electricity back to the grid. It expects to pay the system off in less than 10 years.

West Coast Solar holds the Better Business Bureau’s highest possible rating. Its experience, service, and commitment to quality contribute to an excellent customer experience.

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


Sun Light and Power


Sun Light and Power is a standout solar company in San Francisco. It boasts a long history of accolades highlighting its excellent service and expertise. Founded in 1976 at the genesis of California’s solar market, it was also one of the first fifteen socially responsible Certified B Corporations in California.


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

Founder Gary Gerber is a known industry expert. He’s been an active member of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CalSEIA) for over 35 years, and served as the organization’s president for four terms. Through his leadership, Sun Light and Power has received various recognitions and awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from FastCompany, a position on Solar World’s Top 400 Contractors list, and recognition on several lists of fastest-growing private companies in the Bay area.

The firm meets the highest standards of corporate responsibility, social justice, transparency, and environmental awareness. B Lab recognized Sun Light and Power on its 2015 “Best for the World” list, an achievement that highlights the company’s commitment to sustainable business.

Sun Light and Power also provides a great work environment for its employees. Team members are featured prominently in the company’s marketing materials, and job safety is a top priority for all installations and projects.

Sun Light and Power can be reached through its website at sunlightandpower.com, or by phone at (800) 223-4SUN.