Solar power has environmental and financial benefits, helping consumers lower their energy costs while reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Solar energy companies can evaluate your property and install a system that converts the sun’s energy into electricity for your home. ConsumerAffairs researched the best solar energy companies in San Diego to help with your decision to go solar.
California, which has set a goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045, is the leading solar market in the U.S, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. There are over 2,000 solar companies in the state, where nearly six million homes use solar power.
Solar customers in San Diego benefit from California’s plentiful sunshine by installing panels that capture the sun’s energy and pass it through an inverter before it is used to power homes. San Diego is second only to Los Angeles in solar capacity, state data show.
Most solar energy companies in San Diego offer free consultations to determine if your home is a suitable candidate for solar installation, followed by a complimentary quote. The average cost of a solar energy system in San Diego is around $17,000 including installation. But the bottom-line cost is significantly less after taking into account the federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit and California Solar Initiative rebates.
When choosing solar panels for your home, you will likely be selecting one of two types:
Monocrystalline silicon panels, usually darker in color, are the most common and most efficient kind of solar panel. They are generally the most expensive type of panel on the market and make sense if your roof is smaller.
Polycrystalline silicon panels, bluer in color, produce adequate power but are not nearly as efficient. If you have plenty of roof space and want to be more economical, polycrystalline may be appropriate.
Residential solar panels can be either ground-mounted or installed on rooftops. Rooftop panels are more common, less expensive and usually installed more easily. Ideally, they will be south-facing and will be tilted at a 30-degree angle.
There are several different ways to pay for a solar energy system in San Diego:
You can own the system and the energy it produces by purchasing from a solar energy company directly.
You can own the system by paying for it with a loan, with different financing options available.
You can pay a monthly amount to rent, or lease, the system; the solar energy company owns the system.
When you buy a solar energy system in San Diego, you are responsible for maintenance, unless you add on a service plan, which many purchasers do because of the size of the investment. With leasing, the solar company will oversee maintenance. If there are defects or installation problems, those will be covered as long as the warranty is in effect. Most warranties for solar energy systems last at least two decades, but check to see if coverage expires sooner.
Most homeowners insurance policies cover solar panels, as they are considered a permanent attachment to the home. Check with your provider for coverage limits or exceptions, like for ground-mounted panels.
The company you purchase your solar system from should install it. Installation is typically included in the cost of the system, but make sure. In all cases, the solar energy company in San Diego should help you determine what permits or licenses you may need before installation.
Zenernet offers educational consultations and a guarantee on its up-front pricing for the best panels in the business. The company stands behind its long-lasting warranties and commitment to customer service. Reviewers in San Diego say they were impressed with Zenernet’s communication and prices.
SunPower offers the SunPower Equinox system, which is backed by a 25-year complete warranty covering performance, labor and parts. Customers in San Diego speak positively about SunPower’s professional customer service, industry-leading warranty and the efficiency of the installed solar energy systems.
Sunrun has installed solar services for over 200,000 customers. The company guarantees energy production from its solar energy systems, and purchasers are covered by a 20-year warranty. Many Southern California customers experienced professional and helpful service, but some express frustration with post-sale support.
Sunlux, based in Ontario, California, is a relatively young company, but its executives have over 30 years of experience in solar energy, construction management, engineering and finance. The company guarantees its work with a 25-year comprehensive warranty. Reviewers in Southern California give the company high marks based on installations and delivered savings results.
Sungevity is a merger between Horizon Solar Power and Solar Spectrum. This partnership makes the company the second largest provider of residential solar panels in California and the fourth largest in the nation. An app lets customers see real-time solar system monitoring. Reviews from San Diego say installation is easy and they are happy with Sungevity to stop ever-increasing utility bills.
With Vivint Solar customers can get access to solar energy with little to no up-front costs. The company offers a free expert consultation to provide you with a price quote. While many customers report friendly customer service and substantial energy savings, some in San Diego have experienced misleading sales tactics.
Semper Solaris was founded by a former Marine Corps captain. San Diego residents might appreciate that the company prioritizes the hiring of veterans. Semper Solaris strives to make solar power easy for customers to understand, emphasizing satisfaction for all its clients. Reviewers in San Diego consistently gave Semper Solaris five stars based on thorough customer service, helpful sales staff and satisfaction with the installation.
Sullivan Solar Power
Sullivan Solar Power has offices in three Southern California locations, including in San Diego. The company has installed over 6,000 solar power systems at homes, businesses and institutions throughout 14 years of work. Reviewers had generally positive experiences and appreciated the company’s honesty about a property’s potential for producing solar power.