Solar panels help Californians reap the benefits of sunshine, reduce dependency on fossil fuels and increase property value. Solar energy companies assess your property for solar potential and install the best solar energy system for your home. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best solar energy companies in Bakersfield to help you decide if this investment is right for you.
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How to choose solar energy companies in Bakersfield
With its high number of sunny days, it’s not surprising that California ranks first in the U.S. for solar installations and second for utility savings created by using solar energy systems. There are more than 850,000 solar installations statewide, and Kern County is slated to become the home of the largest commercial solar installation in the state.
Solar energy is gaining popularity for several reasons. Installing a solar energy system reduces your dependence on fossil fuels and reduces pollution. Using a solar energy system also allows you to save money on utility bills. In the past five years, the price of solar energy systems has dropped 47 percent, making them more attractive to many California homeowners.
California gets 16 percent of its energy from solar sources. Billions of dollars in investments boost the California solar industry, which ranks first in the U.S. for projected growth. Bakersfield homeowners can benefit from the excellent solar potential of California’s Central Valley, famous for its plentiful sunshine and relatively smooth topography.
In Bakersfield, many neighborhoods have single-family homes that can save money with solar panel installations. Owners of townhomes and condo developments in Central Bakersfield might consider community solar installations that benefit every resident of the building.
Financing a solar energy system in Bakersfield
Homeowners have several options for financing a solar energy system:
Lease: Some Bakersfield companies will lease solar energy systems. While the recurring costs will prevent you from receiving maximum savings, leasing can be a good way to get a solar energy system for little or no money down.
Power purchase agreement (PPA): Under a PPA, a solar energy developer will install a solar energy system on a customer’s home and then sell the energy to the customer at a fixed rate that is usually lower than the local utility’s company rate.
Purchase upfront: Purchasing the equipment upfront is the most expensive option initially, but it lets you enjoy the benefits of energy savings immediately with no additional costs for the system other than regular maintenance.
Financing: Many companies offer financing options to purchase solar energy systems. These plans reduce your upfront cost while also providing you with the higher savings that come from owning your system.
Most solar energy companies in Bakersfield provide free estimates for installing or purchasing a solar energy system. The cost will depend on how much power you need it to produce and typically ranges between $7,200 to $28,800. The average cost for a solar energy system in Bakersfield is $17,150.
The California Solar Initiative
provides a variety of incentives to homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations for solar energy production. Federal tax credits might also apply for solar investments. Go Solar California is a comprehensive resource for consumers considering solar energy.
In Bakersfield, a law requires Pacific Gas & Electric to provide net metering for its solar customers. With net metering, any excess energy produced by your solar energy system is put into the energy grid and subtracted from the amount of non-solar energy you obtain from the utility. You are only billed for the difference.
Installing solar energy systems in Bakersfield
Solar panels are installed on your home’s roof or the ground. If your roof space is limited because of shade, size, angle or protrusions, a ground array may be a better option. There are two types of ground-mounted solar arrays: standard arrays that are fixed at one angle or manually adjusted, or pole-mounted arrays that have an axis system that moves according to the time of day and year.
Most residential solar energy installations use polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panels. Which one you use may depend on your location, solar energy system provider and budget.
Polycrystalline vs. Monocrystalline panels
13% to 16% average
Requires more space due to lower efficiency
Requires less space due to better efficiency
Not good for low light and heat
Good for low light
Most solar energy companies in Bakersfield provide a free consultation to determine if your home is suitable for a solar energy system and what system will work best on your property. After your provider installs the system, your utility company will perform an inspection and give permission to operate the system.
Maintaining and repairing solar energy systems in Bakersfield
When you purchase or lease a system, the solar company installs the panels and equipment. If you’re leasing your system or operating under a PPA, the solar company maintains the equipment. Homeowners are responsible for system maintenance for purchased systems.
Your solar energy system may be covered by your homeowners insurance or home warranty. Ask your provider if your plans extend to a solar energy system and under what conditions.
Zenernet offers high-quality panels and guarantees its pricing. The company also offers long-lasting warranties. Reviewers in San Diego liked the company’s prices, communication and good customer service.
Sunrun is headquartered in San Francisco and installs solar panels in the Bakersfield area. The company’s sales representatives will create a custom solar estimate for you using satellite images of your roof and property, and some packages include maintenance and insurance. Bakersfield customers say the company’s technicians are professional and helpful.
SunPower offers a 25-year complete system warranty on parts and labor and a 10-year roof guarantee. The company will determine if your home is a good candidate for solar and match you with a local provider of SunPower products to install the system. Customers in Bakersfield say they are happy with the energy savings.
A merger of Horizon Solar Power and Solar Spectrum formed Sungevity, now the second largest residential solar provider in California. Customers can monitor their solar system stats with the company’s app. Reviews from Bakersfield report being satisfied with using Sungevity to stop their increasing electric bills.
Sunlux is a California-based solar energy company that operates in the Bakersfield area. The company offers Tesla batteries to provide energy storage and has options to both purchase and lease equipment. Customers in Bakersfield say they’re extremely satisfied with the quick installation process and system performance.
Vivint Solar provides free quotes and a 25-year warranty that includes solar panel monitoring and protection. The company offers batteries to store energy produced by your system and an app to monitor the system’s efficiency. Customers in Bakersfield appreciate the company’s willingness to install systems during hot weather in the area.
Bland Company is a Bakersfield-based company that serves the Central Valley and Central Coast. The company installs multiple brands of solar panels and also provides roofing and HVAC systems. The company has a showroom in Bakersfield, allowing you to view panels and ask questions about the products. Bakersfield customers enjoy the company’s personal service.
Pav-Solar is a Bakersfield-based company that offers solar panel installations for residential customers. The company also provides solar energy solutions for agricultural and dairy facilities. Pav-Solar has more than 40 years of experience in the solar energy and electrical industries. Reviewers in Bakersfield appreciate the informative customer service representatives.
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