I stumbled on EnergySage, for which I thank thank my lucky stars, because it led me to Gr8 Energy.
This was one of the easiest project/major purchases I'd ever experienced. Working with Gr8 Energy is like buying car through Fleet as opposed to haggling and dealing with the sales games of the regular car sales department. I had solar installed on our house at the same time or a little after a bunch of my friends got solar for their homes (and I would've recommended Gr8 Energy to them if they lived in SoCal), and my experience was so different from theirs that they're jealous.
I dealt primarily with Ross as my contact person. We first spent about 2 weeks emailing about what system I should get for my house. His opening suggestion was a smaller system than we'd wanted (I'd forgotten to tell him we want to eventually trade in our ICE cars for EVs), using a string inverter when we wanted the new-fangled microinverters (which cost more and most companies try to upsell to that right away), so I knew right off the bat that Ross was trying to figure out what we NEEDED as opposed to what he could get out of us. He priced the system reasonably, made the changes I requested (bigger panels! more panels! microinverters!), and got me the proposal back within a day. BTW, I know the website states their work hours, but I've gotten quick email responses from Ross late evenings, on weekends, early mornings. Late in the planning stage, I changed my mind and went with his original suggestion of a string inverter based on the fact that all the panels are able to fit on one plane on our roof, string inverters are more market-proven, it has a hefty warranty, it costs less, and the particular system Ross recommended gives us a designated outlet for electricity use even when The Grid goes down in a power outage (our neighborhood had a power outage during the planning stages of our solar project and my husband freaked out about his salt water tank fish dying from the pumps stopping). I told my friends about this feature, and they'd never even heard of it and now they regret some of their decisions. So Ross amended the proposal and modified our system once again, into a beefed-up version of the one he'd recommended to begin with. I felt a little sheepish about that, and he proved himself the expert, but the entire time, he was really, really nice about all my back-and-forths on decisions and didn't give me any problems nor delays whatsoever.
So, 2 weeks for me to figure out what I want and commit to a proposal. Then Gr8 Energy did all the permits, got approvals from the City for the project, opened up the net metering request from SoCal Edison (SCE), all of which took maybe a few days, but less than a week. My HOA gave approval to the project based on Gr8 Energy's written plans in a week. Then Gr8 Energy immediately went to work and built and installed my system in TWO DAYS. The third day, someone from Gr8 Energy came by only to meet with the city inspector, who praised their work, signed off on it, and contacted SCE to give them the green light. It took SCE another 4 weeks to give us the permission to operate (PTO).
My friends' installers took an average of 1-2 weeks for installation, they had to wait a month or more to schedule the install, after waiting a few weeks to months for the panels to arrive. AND...they paid more than I did for the same products. Whereas for me, I gave Ross my bottom line on pricing, he accepted, and all his proposals have respected that price point, with some proposals (since I made him go through so many re-do's) coming in well under the price point. That's another reason I knew I wasn't going to be ripped off, on top of the fact that all his emails were very clear, thorough, no-nonsense, patiently answering all my questions and concerns. I never felt like I was being schmoozed by a salesman. I had a friend start his solar project a month before we did, and ours was completed a month before his was. (I only gloated a little, since he was already in agony over our price difference for similar systems.)
Ross's helpfulness did not end at at the completion of the solar installation. I've emailed him multiple times SINCE his job was done, for little things like, "How long is SCE going to take to give us PTO?" "Is that humming from the inverter unit normal?" "What was the performance warranty on the panels again?" "How come it's been rainy since our solar installation went up?" and he has responded to every single email with the same efficiency, patience and informative nature of his previous emails. Whenever Tesla gets their home battery released on the open market, I'm calling Gr8 Energy back.
I would and have recommended Gr8 Energy to anyone and everyone. I think my coworkers have grown tired of hearing about my amazing solar project experience. If you think THIS review is long, you would hate to hear me gush in even more detail in person.