San Francisco Solar Installers

How do I get solar panels installed in San Francisco? 

We’ve researched the top Solar Installers in San Francisco, and listed them below, with information about their reviews, costs, reputation, and more!

Company: Luminalt 

Address: 1320 Potrero Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

Years in Business: 17


Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (5 reviews), 5 / 5 Yelp (65 reviews)

 Business Quote: Installing solar on your home or business is a great way to save money, protect the environment and ensure the reliability of your energy source.  No matter what your reasons are for going solar, Luminalt will create a solution that works for you and your budget.

The Good: BBB accredited, literally can’t find a bad review about them

The Bad: Website might have a little too much going on

Summary: When the worst criticism I can give your company is that your website might be “a little too busy”, you’re doing something right. I can’t find a single negative about this business, and their website and facebook seem to indicate they are ready and willing to do all the right things. They’ve had 17 years in the business to work on their craft, and I can’t find a single complaint about them on the BBB website. Give them a try. 

Company: SolarUnion

Address: 6 Persia Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112

Years in Business: 10


Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (1 review), 4.5 / 5 Yelp (42 reviews), 1 / 5 BBB (1 review)

 Business Quote: We do not cut corners and offer an industry-leading 25-year Trifecta Performance Guarantee. We guarantee components, workmanship (including roof integrity), and most importantly, output for the next 25 years. Reactive and proactive maintenance and complementary monitoring (software/hardware) included!

The Good: Mostly good and very good reviews, 

The Bad: 2 complaints with the BBB

Summary: Despite their 2 complaints with the BBB, I see very little not to like about this company. They’ve had enough years in the industry to say they’re doing something right, they’re reviews are by and large good and their website gives a lot of evidence that they’ve obviously done a lot of work in their time. Give SolarUnion a look if you’re considering solar panels in the San Francisco area. 

Company: All Bay Solar 

Address: 5809 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

Years in Business: 10


Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (5 reviews), 

 Business Quote: All Bay Solar is a one-stop shop for residential solar and EPC for commercial solar energy systems. Customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area look to us for high-performance solar and energy storage systems as well as roofing and electrical needs.

The Good:  No bad reviews! 10 years in business

The Bad: Very little web presence

Summary:  Here’s another great looking company with plenty of time in the business and a nice looking website. The only caveat I would point out about this one is that they have very little web presence outside their own website and facebook page. Ideally you really want to hear about a company from other websites than their own to get the truth. But nevertheless, what little there is out there about them is all positive, so this is another one I see no reason to overlook. 

Company: Solar Earth San Francisco 

Address: 3540 Callan Blvd Ste 200, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Years in Business: Unclear


Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (2 reviews)

 Business Quote: “At SolarEarth we believe that we can make the biggest difference to improve our planet’s environmental issues by assisting more families and business’ make the switch to solar energy. We are dedicated to offering our customers the most affordable way to have solar installed and give them years of savings, while helping our planet. “

The Good: No negative pub

The Bad: Very little pub at all

Summary: Can’t even find these guys on the BBB website, so once again here’s a company without very much internet presence. Not sure how old or new the company is either. Website looks a little user-unfriendly. All that being said, what little there is out there about them is positive, so once again this is not a company to avoid, simply one to check out for yourself before pulling the trigger. 

How Much do Solar Panels Cost in San Francisco?

On our second journey to the Bear Flag Republic, we investigate solar panels in the bay city of San Francisco. Solar panels are generally priced by the watt, and most commercial solar panels come in 250 watt denominations. In San Francisco, the average price of solar panels seems to be between $2.63 and $2.88 per watt, which is slightly more expensive than in some other places. So in terms of solar panels, you’re going to end up paying somewhere between $13,150 and $20,160- a lot of money, to be sure, but keep in mind that there are plenty of ways to offset that cost- potentially by thousands and thousands of dollars. 

Golden Gate Bridge during daytime

What are the benefits of going solar? 

The state of California has plenty of incentives for going solar, which is to be expected. So before you start looking at how much going solar will “cost” you, make sure you check out some of these incentives, rebates and other benefits.

-California Renewable Portfolio standards: California is aiming to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, so utilities have a major incentive to support solar power initiatives in the state.

-California Electric Rates: California’s electricity rates are the 2nd highest in the nation, so any amount of free solar power you generate can drastically reduce your electric bill.

– State Net Metering Laws: California’s net metering laws are some of the best in the nation, meaning you are likely to get accurate readings measurements of the energy your solar panels produce, which is exactly what you want when trying to lower your electric rates.

– State Interconnection Standards: California has statewide interconnection standards that make it easier, faster and cheaper to hook a solar power system to the grid.

– Solar power rebates: The state of California has a very nice solar power rebate system through the California Solar Initiative. For more info, visit the California Solar Initiative website.

-Performance Based Incentives: The state of California offers solar performance incentives based on how much energy your system produces and feeds back into the grid. These will appear on your monthly bill as credits toward future bills when you use more electricity than you produce.

– California Property Tax Exemption: California law prohibits the value of your home from being reassessed due to the addition of solar panels, meaning your property tax will not go up simply because of your addition. 

– Increase in resale value: Your home’s resale value can increase with the addition of solar panels anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on a lot of factors. Either way, not only are you saving yourself tons of money, you’re adding to the value of your home.

car lot surrounded by high rise building

How much will the addition of solar panels increase my home’s value?

There are many different thoughts on this, but the general rule of thumb is “somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000”. Some people suggest a 4% increase in home value, which in San Francisco would mean around  $40,000 (and honestly, in a place like San Francisco, what’s another 40k on the price of a house?), while others suggest a thousand dollars in added resale value for every $100 in electric bill savings for the year. But honestly what it comes down to is if the potential buyer cares if you have solar panels or not. If they do, they’ll be willing to pay more for the house than they normally would. If they don’t care, then they won’t. 

What are the Effects of Net Metering on a Solar System?

Net metering is the process by which the output of your solar system is measured and calculated against how much electricity you are actually drawing from (or feeding back into) the “grid”. If you are feeding more electricity in than you are drawing out, then in many places the utility company will actually owe the customer, usually paid in the form of “credits” applicable toward future electric bills where your system may not outproduce your electric usage. California has some of the strongest net metering laws in the country, which means customers in CA have some of the greatest opportunities capitalize on solar panels.

How much solar power do I need to power my home?

This is entirely dependant on whether or not you’re trying to be completely energy self-sufficient and your overall energy usage. If you want to completely self sufficient, then you’re going to need no less than 6 kw of solar panels (around 6000 watts). From there it’s going to depend on your individual energy usage, which concurrently depends on how many people live in your house, how big is your house, how many appliances you have going on a daily basis and for how long, all that kind of good stuff. So your individual usage will vary, and the best thing you can do is consult your past electric bills to get an idea of how much energy you need to produce to be completely self sufficient. 

What is the “Payback” period for Solar Panels in San Francisco?

The “payback” period for solar panels is the estimated time they take to “pay for themselves”. This is calculated based on available rebates, incentives, and reductions in electricity costs. In San Francisco, even though solar panels are a little more expensive than in other parts of the country, they actually are estimated to pay for themselves faster than in many parts of the U.S., in only about 10 years. This is largely thanks to California’s outrageously high electricity rates, which are at or near the highest in the country, depending on who you ask. So yes, solar panels are going to cost a lot on the initial investment, but guess what? They’ll pay for themselves in 10 years time, and commercial solar panels typically are guaranteed for 25 years, and most solar companies offer a 20-25 year warranty. So what does that mean for you? Well, simply put, you can expect to have your solar panels operating for free and earning you free electricity for around 10-15 years, which can lead to a lifetime savings of more than $40,000.

Things to look for in a solar company:

Reviews: Thankfully, the internet gives us probably the greatest tool we could ever ask for when researching a solar company (or any company- or a lawyer, or a date), and that’s reviews. Reading what other customers had to say about a company will very often let you know everything you need to hear about a company. If they have bad reviews across the board, there’s a good chance they aren’t taking care of business. 

Time in industry: There’s plenty of great companies that are brand new. But there’s nothing that speaks of competence like a long life in an industry. If a company is able to stay open for 10, 15, 20 or more years, it usually means they’re doing something right. 

Types of panels: Without going into a ton of detail, there are different kinds of solar panels, and some companies may not offer the ones you’re looking for. There are lower quality panels that are less efficient but also cheaper (amorphous panels), there are middle-quality panels that are bigger than other panels but also cheaper than the top of the line ones, and there are the highest quality panels known as monocrystalline panels, that are the most efficient and smallest, but also the most expensive. If you don’t have a ton of room available for solar panels, or don’t want to pay the top-tier prices, then you need to make sure the company you go with has what you’re looking for. 

Payment options: Very few companies are going to expect you to fork out $15-20,000 up front, so most offer financing in some way, shape or form. What you really need to check out is what kind of payments will be expected, is there an interest-free period, etc. 

Warranties: Most solar panels come with a manufacturer’s warranty, and most companies offer a warranty on their installation and work. What you have to work out is how helpful those warranties are and how well they work together. Some companies will only guarantee their own work, and leave you on your own if there’s a problem with the actual panels. Other companies will gladly help the customer work with the manufacturer to correct any issues. 

Final Word: 

This is almost too perfect of a scenario to be honest. California is literally known for its sunshine, and San Francisco gets plenty of it. Combine that with relatively mild climate which will keep solar panels operating more efficiently, mix that with California’s great incentives and you have every reason you could ever want to take a chance on going solar, and there are multiple companies with stellar reputations that can help you get the job done.