Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

CA: Solar power installer working in the San Francisco Bay Area: recommendations?


Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
West Vancouver, British Columbia
My apologies to the moderators if this post is in the wrong forum, please move it if necessary.

Now that I have a Model S, I want to have a solar (photovoltaic) power system installed on my roof to reduce the cost of charging the car. I live in San Mateo, California (San Francisco Bay Area). There are many solar power companies working in my area, but I would like to hear from fellow EV owners in my area who have had solar power systems installed and if they can recommend the company they worked with.

I have already contacted SolarCity and after an onsite inspection they told me that they could not install a system on my roof because of the design of my house (post-and-beam construction, no attic, 4"x10" roof beams spaced 6 ft. apart supporting 2"x6" tongue-in-groove redwood planks topped by 1.5" of sprayed polyurethane foam covered with an elastomeric coating, the roof is in excellent condition). SolarCity said that their mounting systems needed closer beam spacings to tie into and that they did not install on foam roofs because of the possibility of leaks. I have had multiple penetrations made in my roof for added plumbing and electrical and have never had a leak. It's pretty easy to seal penetrations in foam roofs, but SolarCity doesn't want to work on foam roofs (even though they admit they do foam roof installations in places like Arizona). I even offered to sign a liability release to indemnify SolarCity against leaks but that did not persuade them to let me become a customer. So I gave up on them.

I'm interested in "ballasted" type PV panel systems that don't require roof penetrations since where I live the climate is moderate, there is no snow, and peak wind speeds do not exceed about 65mph as far as I know.

I have neighbors who live in exactly the same style of house as mine and they have PV systems. In fact one neighbor had SolarCity do their installation about 6 years ago, but now SolarCity says they won't install on our roof type. I was very disappointed to hear that.

I am still interested in the SolarCity battery storage unit that Tesla makes for them, but first I need to get a PV system on my roof.



Supporting Member
Aug 8, 2012
Hayward CA
I just finished a 7.5 kW system with 10 kWh battery backup system put in by Sustainable Solutions.

I've known William Korthof for many years as a fellow EV driver. He is great technically and has a good crew. His prices are also very reasonable. Guaranteed he will be cheaper than Solar City.

William Korthof
Sustainable Solutions

I forgot to add that I have coated metal roof tiles that required a specialized roofing person to come in and install the panel mounts.
Last edited:
I used Horizon Energy Systems about six years ago to put in a deliberately over-built system with SunPower panels (I was planning for an EV, and now that day has come!). I collected about six different bids, and Horizon came in near the lowest and with SunPower which at the time was typically more expensive than other panel options. They were a huge help at getting me a great time of use plan with PG&E. Their service was great and I would use them again. Horizon Energy Systems - Blossom Valley - San Jose, CA
I used Real Goods Solar. They worked with my roofer to install the standoffs on my roof during roof installation and came back later to complete the job.
They used micro inverters so there is no giant box on the side of my house. And since they are installed right under the panels all the rest of the wiring is 110V. They make each panel independent so shade on one panel doesn't affect any panels still in sunlight!

I also used Solar City to install my HPWC and upgrade my main electric service panel. Was happy when they recently reduced the cost of my install by nearly half!!! I hear that Tesla no longer has them as the "Official" HPWC installers...

You can see the performance of my solar install at the following public URL: The Veritable Bugeater
The monitoring of the panels via the micro inverters is very nice! You will note that there are 3 panels currently not reporting. That's because they are currently off the roof while I am remodeling. When done they will go back up and there will be 7 more new panels added! More roof space means more solar panels! The old ones are 180W and the new ones are 250W. The new ones are cheaper than the old ones!!!

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.