Get a Jump on Green Energy With These California Solar Companies

SunPower's generous warranty coverage buys California homeowners peace of mind.

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Roof with solar power installation

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Faced with wildfires, floods, and ever-rising electricity bills, California homeowners' need for energy independence has never been higher. A rooftop solar system, tied to a home battery backup, can save you money and keep your lights on even when the grid goes down. Finding the right solar installer in California is no easy task as there are several solar companies in the state that are eager for your business. To bring you to a decision, we gathered the best solar companies — large and small — to find you the best in the business.

The companies we've selected have solid reputations and offer high-quality solar panels and other products. With California being such a big state, we've listed a few nationwide companies that cover the whole state, but primarily focused on smaller companies that cover specific regions. All of the listed companies will install a home battery backup for you, allowing you to store electricity when the sun is shining and use it when it's not. In addition, each offers solid warranties on both products and workmanship.

Best Solar Companies in California in 2023

Best Overall: SunPower

SunPower logo


Key Specs

  • Years in Business: Since 1985
  • Key Products: Panels, solar roofs, batteries, EV chargers
  • Warranty: 25 years

Pros & Cons

  • Provides highly efficient panels

  • Offers generous warranty periods and coverage

  • Has a wide variety of products

  • Only premium-priced panels

Why It Made the List

SunPower is good at everything and excellent in most, making it our recommendation for the best overall solar company in California. Headquartered in San Jose, the company has dealers and installers throughout the state, the country, and the world. It provides customers with a complete residential solar system with some of the most efficient panels on the market. Moreover, excellent efficiency means you'll need fewer panels to produce electricity. 

SunPower's warranties are among the best, with 25-year protection on equipment, labor, and panel efficiency, and 12-year warranties against roof penetration. Unlike smaller companies, SunPower offers a full array of purchase and financing packages, including full cash purchase, loans and leases through in-house and commercial financing, and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Just bear in mind that you'll have to pay a little extra to install this company's efficient solar panels.

Best Value: Tesla Energy

Tesla Logo


Key Specs

  • Years in Business: Since 2000
  • Key Products: Panels, solar roofs, batteries, EV chargers
  • Warranty: Up to 25 years

Pros & Cons

  • Will match any competitor's price

  • Installs its own well-integrated equipment

  • Strong focus on aesthetic quality of products

  • Not available in all ZIP codes

Why It Made the List

Tesla produces its products in the United States, allowing it to keep its costs low and match any competitor's price. The company's low-profile solar panels have a sleek all-black finish with no visible grid lines and a concealed edge that allows the panels to stay close to your roof without any gaps. They also don't require rails to be mounted to a roof, meaning the panels are interlocked to form the look of one large solid panel. 

With a Tesla Powerwall tied to Tesla's own solar panels or roof tiles, California homeowners have been able to keep their houses running even during the rolling blackouts of recent years. Tesla's user-friendly software also integrates the various pieces of your solar system, allowing you to use your solar-charged Powerwall to provide energy when the sun is gone. While the company has excellent value, it doesn't operate in every zip code in California, so be sure to check with a rep beforehand to see if Tesla services your area.

Best Whole-Home System: Elevation

elevation solar logo

Key Specs

  • Years in Business: Since 2014
  • Key Products: Panels, batteries, EV chargers, appliances, energy efficiency
  • Warranty: 25-year comprehensive warranties

Pros & Cons

  • Primarily focuses on home efficiency

  • Offers a full array of smart-home products

  • All work done in-house

  • No leasing or power purchase agreements

Why It Made the List 

Despite being an Arizona-based company, Elevation has offices in San Jose, San Diego, Irvine, and Buena Park to cater to California residents. With numerous awards for its products and services, the company focuses on whole-home energy efficiency so that your electricity consumption is lower before you install any solar system. Elevation's whole-home energy-efficient homes require two to five fewer panels, which can mean thousands of dollars in savings.

The company's whole-home approach includes an energy audit, duct sealing, insulation, and energy monitoring using Energy Star-certified smart appliances and devices. Whether you're building a new home or retrofitting an older one, Elevation has the smarts and products to help you live comfortably, increase your home's market value, save you money on your energy bills, and keep the power on when the grid goes down. However, financing installation may be tricky since the company doesn't have any leasing or PPA options, but it does offer loans for panels.

Best in the Bay Area: Sun Solar Electric

Sun solar electric logo

Sun solar electric

Key Specs

  • Years in Business: Since 2012
  • Key Products: Panels, batteries, EV chargers, generators, electrical work
  • Warranty: 10 to 25 years

Pros & Cons

  • Provides additional 10-year Workmanship Warranty

  • Installs a variety of solar equipment

  • Local and family-owned business

  • Doesn't assist customers with applying for rebate programs

Why It Made the List

Sun Solar Electric is the strongest Bay Area-specific company we reviewed on this list. With its origins as an electrical contractor, Sun Solar Electric offers a full array of services, with experience installing solar panels on roofs, RVs, ground-mounted panels, off-grid as well as on-grid systems, and even floating solar arrays. Sun Solar Electric also focuses on home automation installations, which allow you to save energy by automatically timing the use of electricity in your home.

The company truly believes in its expertise and service, so much so that it offers a 10-year workmanship warranty on top of the standard manufacturer warranty (usually 25 years). While the company certainly provides excellent service, it doesn't help customers with applications for solar rebate programs. Do keep this in mind if you're looking for a company that will handle all aspects of your solar panel installation process.

Best in Southern California: Solar Optimum

Solar Optimum Logo

Solar Optimum

Key Specs

  • Years in Business: Since 2008
  • Key Products: Panels, batteries, roofing, electrical upgrades
  • Warranties: 25 years

Pros & Cons

  • Offers competitive warranties

  • Installs Tier-1 equipment from major solar brands

  • Customer reps speak multiple languages

  • No leases or power purchase agreements

Why It Made the List

Los Angeles-based Solar Optimum is a fast-growing solar company that offers excellent services that competes with larger solar corps. The company installs Tier-1 panels from Panasonic and REC, top-of-the-line Enphase inverters, and Tesla and Enphase home energy storage. Its warranties are also the best we've reviewed, with 25-year guarantees on solar panels, inverters, racking, roofing, workmanship, and performance.

Solar Optimum has offices throughout Southern California, from San Diego to Bakersfield, with a single office in the Bay Area. Its representatives speak Chinese, English, Korean, Persian, Spanish, and Vietnamese as well. However, financing solar panel installation may be a pain point for some as the company doesn't offer lease or PPA options.

Best in Inland California: American Array Solar & Roofing

American array solar logo

American array solar 

Key Specs

  • Years in Business: Since 2012
  • Key Products: Panels, batteries, roofing, EV chargers
  • Warranty: 25 years

Pros & Cons

  • Offers lengthy warranty periods

  • Installs top-notch panels, batteries, and inverters

  • Promotes solar panels for agriculture

  • No leases or power purchase agreements

Why It Made the List

While American Array Solar & Roofing serves all of California, it's the strongest local company serving the Central Valley and a wide range of inland counties, from Contra Costa to Kern. The company installs top-quality panels, inverters, and batteries from SunPower, LG, Panasonic, and Enphase, and offers 25-year full warranties on its products and workmanship.

True to its roots in the Central Valley, American Array Solar & Roofing is one of the few companies we reviewed that actively promotes solar installations for farms and agriculture. The company's website is a little dated, but you can easily get more information by requesting a quote from the company. Do note, however, that this service doesn't offer lease or PPA options for solar installation.

Best on the Central Coast: Axiom 360

Axiom 360 logo

Axiom 360

Key Specs

  • Years in Business: Since 2017
  • Key Products: Panels, batteries, electrical services, EV chargers, energy audits
  • Warranty: 25 years

Pros & Cons

  • All work done in-house

  • Offers full 25-year warranties

  • Provides general electrical in addition to solar services

  • No leases or power purchase agreements

Why It Made the List

Axiom 360 is a solar company based in Grover Beach and serves San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and the entire Central Coast. While the company has only been installing solar since 2017, it has been in business as an electrical contractor for two decades. Axiom 360's services include energy audits to reduce your electricity consumption, upgrades to your wiring, as well as solar panels, batteries, and EV chargers.

As a local, privately owned company, all of Axiom 360's installations are done in-house rather than subcontracting its work out. With an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, the company's reputation very much speaks for itself. However, like most of the local services on this list, Axiom 360 doesn't offer leases or PPAs for solar panel installation.

Best in Northern Counties: Green Home Systems

Green Home Systems Solar Panel Company Logo

Key Specs

  • Years in Business: Since 2017
  • Key Products: Panels, solar roofs, batteries, generators
  • Warranty: 25 years on most components

Pros & Cons

  • Focuses on a whole-home approach to solar installation

  • Provides battery backups and generators

  • Comprehensive website with plenty of photos

  • No leases or power purchase agreements

Why It Made the List

While based in Northridge, Green Home Systems serves a wide swath of northernmost California, from Crescent City and Eureka inland to Janesville and South Lake Tahoe. As its name suggests, Green Home Systems takes a whole-home perspective to solar installations, providing home battery backups and generators to keep your home running even when your utility lets you down.

You will learn more from Green Home Systems' website than from any other solar company. With hundreds of photos of its solar installations, and answers to most of your energy-related questions, you'll be able to both see and understand what type of service you plan on getting. Like other local solar companies we researched, this service also doesn't offer lease or PPA options, so bear that in mind if you're looking for financing options.

Final Verdict

Choosing a smaller company in your area of California might give you more personal treatment, quicker response times, and lower costs. But for reliability, competence, and quality of its products, SunPower is our top choice for the overall best solar company in California.

SunPower's panels are Tier-1 industry leaders, used by other installers around the world. It has a solid reputation and many years of experience. And despite being a nationwide company, it knows California's market, regulations, and challenges. Additionally, SunPower gives you a wide variety of products and the widest choice of purchasing and financing options. Shop around, but be sure to put SunPower on your short list.

Compare the Best Solar Companies

Company Warranty Products Available Financing Options
Best Overall
25 years Panels, solar roofs, batteries, EV chargers Purchase, lease, loan, Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
Tesla Energy
Best Value
Up to 25 years Panels, solar roofs, batteries, EV chargers Purchase, loans
Best Whole-Home System
25 years Panels, batteries, EV chargers, appliances, energy efficiency Purchase, loans
Sun Solar Electric
Best in the Bay Area
10 to 25  years Panels, batteries, EV chargers, generators, electrical work Purchase, loans
Solar Optimum Best in Southern California 25 years Panels, batteries, roofing, electrical upgrades Purchase, loans
American Array Solar & Roofing Best in Inland California  25 years Panels, batteries, roofing, EV chargers Purchase, loans
Axiom 360
Best on the Central Coast 
25 years Panels, batteries, electrical services, EV chargers, energy audits Purchase, loans
Green Home Systems
Best in Northern Counties 
25 years on most components Panels, solar roofs, batteries, generators Purchase, loans

How to Choose a Solar Company in California

With so many solar installers in California, it pays to follow a few basic tips for choosing a company in the state. Below are a variety of factors to consider before committing to a solar company.

Shop Around

Get more than one quote for your installation. Some companies will offer a price match for any quote with similar components. From there, you can decide which company offers the best value for what services you want.

Local or National?

Consider the pros and cons of hiring a nationwide company versus a local, privately owned company. Some local services may be quicker at responding and physically going to your home in a pinch, but there may be financing option limitations compared to national brands. Choose a company that you feel is going to best suit your needs.

In-house or Subcontracted?

Larger national chains may have their own in-house installers in your area, or they may subcontract with local installers. Smaller companies generally do all their own work and have a greater understanding of the local area. However, don't knock out larger solar companies for using subcontractors, as these brands are usually able to service areas that local companies can't reach.

Certification and Insurance:

Make sure your installer has the proper state or local certifications for electrical and engineering work and has workplace insurance. You can usually get this information by speaking with a company rep.

Wait Time

What is the waiting period until your solar panels are installed? The sooner your panels are installed, the sooner you'll be saving on your utility bills. This is something that will likely be covered when you get a quote from a solar company.

Panel Options

Smaller installers may give you fewer options on the types of panels they install. Some panels are more efficient than others, some are black and others are blue, and some companies offer solar tiles that replace your roof rather than sit on top of it. Generally, pick panels that you feel best suit your taste and energy needs.

How Much Do Solar Products Cost in California?

There is no MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) for solar installations as there is for cars. Every installation is different, so estimating your own costs requires getting a quote from a number of installers after they determine your energy needs and examine your roof configuration. Labor costs also vary widely from region to region in California, as do electricity costs.

The key to understanding the true cost of a solar installation is determining its payback period: the time it takes for the solar system to pay for itself. Here are two examples of how to calculate your potential payback period:

  • San Diego County: The average cost of a solar installation (after a 30 percent federal tax credit) is between $10,129 and $12,379, according to SolarReviews, but the average monthly utility bill is $239, or $2,868 per year. Taking the highest installation cost, the payback period for installing solar in San Diego County would be 4.3 years ($12,379 divided by $2,868).
  • Mono County: The average cost of an installation in Mono County is between $9,297 and $11,363 (after the 30 percent federal tax credit), but the average monthly utility bill is $153, or $1,836 per year. Again taking the highest installation cost, the payback period for installing solar in Mono County would be 6.2 years ($11,363 divided by $1,836). Installation costs are lower than in San Diego County, but so are electricity costs.

Other factors that can influence your payback period include:

  • State and local rebates and tax credits
  • Credits for energy generation under California's Net Energy Metering (NEM) program
  • The potential cost and savings involved in adding a solar battery to your system
  • Different electricity rates for when you draw electricity from the grid
  • Potential payment for participation in supplying grid services to your utility.

Are There Any Tax Incentives for Going Solar in California?

Beyond a federal solar tax credit, California offers many solar incentives:

How Do You Know if a Solar Company Is Reputable?

Solar is a booming business, with new installers popping up all the time. Look at how long a company has been in business and how many installations it has done. Check traditional places like the Better Business Bureau or review comments on websites like SolarReviews or EnergySage. Most comments, both good and bad, are about customer service since the actual installation is by comparison the most straightforward part of the process. Lastly, make sure your installer offers a warranty not only on its products, but also on its workmanship and potential roof damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which California Solar Company Has the Best Reviews?

    Axiom 360 had the best reviews we read, but customers clearly have far better experience working with any of the locally owned companies listed above.

  • What Is the Most Cost-Effective Solar System in California?

    You want to get the most effective system for you, so you want to find a solar system that best fits your needs and living situation. As a general rule, the more you spend the more you'll save, as high-efficiency solar panels cost more, but produce more electricity. Improving your home's energy efficiency and adding home battery storage increase your upfront costs, but the entire system will lower your energy costs and increase your home value.

  • Can You Qualify for Free Solar in California?

    California's Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) will provide qualified low-income residents with weatherization and a rooftop solar system at no cost. Solar installers will install panels on your roof “for free,” but you will pay a monthly bill for the energy they produce. This can still be a good deal, but it's not truly free, since you don't own the panels.

  • How Long Do Solar Panels Last in California?

    Solar panels are typically under warranty for 25 years, but they're built to last longer than that. Panels gradually lose efficiency over time, on average less than one-half of 1 percent each year. At that rate, at 25 years you may still have panels that produce 90 percent of their original electricity. Your solar panels could still provide power for another 25 years, but they may or may not be enough to supply your home with adequate electricity. At some point, unless your energy needs change, you may want to replace poorer-performing panels or add additional panels to your system.

  • Do Solar Companies Provide Maintenance for Your Solar Panels?

    Your solar installer should inspect the electrical systems of your panels on an annual basis. The output of each of your solar panels should continuously be monitored, but that can be done with the software that comes with your installation. However, panels should be physically cleaned annually with plain water and a garden hose. If you are unable or unwilling to access your rooftop panels, opting in to a solar company's maintenance plan may be your best bet.


We determined the best solar companies in California by collecting data points based on an extensive set of criteria, ranging from financing options to warranties. Over 30 local California companies were reviewed and rated in the following categories:

  • Coverage locations
  • Financing options
  • Installation costs
  • Customer service reviews
  • Informative websites
  • Solar panel design
  • Company reputation
  • Years in the business
  • Online quote system
  • Warranties and guarantees

Solar companies that offer a variety of financing options, excel in customer service, and provide a range of quality products were awarded extra points during the scoring phase. Companies that do not have a presence in California were not evaluated.

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