Step-by-Step Guide to Going Solar

Santa Monica boasts nearly 300 days of sunshine per year, making our city a prime location for solar energy. Many commercial and residential buildings throughout Santa Monica have already taken steps to harness solar energy in order to save money and help the environment, but there’s more that can be done. If you have reviewed this page and would like to receive individualized support from solar experts through the City's Solar Santa Monica program, please fill out this form.

Continue the Process:

If you are considering solar for your home or business, please follow the steps below:

  1. Upfront Questions to Consider

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    Do you own your own roof? Does your roof receive a lot of sunlight? Does your roof need to be repaired in the near future?

  2. Efficiency Check

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    Improving your home’s energy efficiency will reduce the amount of solar energy you need to produce. Upgrading your lighting to LED fixtures will reduce your energy consumption and lower your bills. Consider replacing out-of-date appliances and air conditioners with more energy efficient models. Find other ways to make your home more energy efficient through our partner SoCalREN.

  3. Understand Your Solar Potential

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    Use the LA County Solar Map or Google’s Project Sunroof tool to see the solar capacity of your property.

  4. Find a Contractor

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    Both Southern California Edison and Clean Power Alliance offer help in finding solar and storage contractors. Contractors must have a valid Santa Monica Business License. Get at least three bids or quotes and at least three references from each bidder. Hire only CA state-licensed contractors with a valid license, which is either Photovoltaic (PV) Generation System: C-10 and C- 46; or B (General) license. Check contractor license numbers on the Contractors State License Board’s website or by calling 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

  5. Compare Financing Options

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    • An upfront purchase eliminates borrowing costs and initiates a bill savings stream that often doubles or triples the investment over the life of the system. Financing the system over time eliminates the need for upfront capital and the monthly payments may be less than the bill savings.
    • Financing the system over time eliminates the need for upfront capital and the monthly payments may be less than the bill savings.
    • Leasing a system requires no money down, can still save money, and the lessor will repair or replace the equipment as needed.
    • PACE financing can be paid back through your property tax bill and does not require a high credit score.
    • If you need additional help, review the CPUC Solar Consumer Protection Guide for more information.
  6. Apply for a City of Santa Monica Permit

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    Make sure your contractor applies for a permit to install solar, which can be done online

  7. Installation

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    Your contractor can begin installation after receiving the necessary permit. Make sure to turn on your system only after receiving City of Santa Monica permits and completing the Southern California Edison (SCE) interconnection process.