Residential Solar


The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) is a trusted, unbiased source of information for residents, contractors and others looking to learn more or install a home solar photovoltaic (PV) system and/or a solar water heating system. Read on to learn how solar energy can help meet your home-energy needs.

Solar PV Systems

Solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar electric systems convert sunlight into electricity for your home. Whether you are just starting to consider solar PV, are an existing solar customer or are a contractor working with a Palo Alto resident, we have the resources for you.

Information for Contractors

Installing a residential solar PV system in Palo Alto? Here's what you need to know.

The City of Palo Alto requires all customers installing solar PV systems within City limits to apply for a PV Permit and receive Final Interconnection Approval (also known as “Permission to Operate”).


The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) is the municipal utility that oversees PV rebates, Net Energy Metering programs, and Interconnection agreements, while the City of Palo Alto Building Department processes PV Permits and issues final PV system approvals.

City of Palo Alto Utilities Programs & Services

Contact for: Inquiries relating to Net Energy Metering Programs and agreements
Phone: (650) 329-2241

City of Palo Alto Building Department

Contact for: PV Permitting, Interconnection Approval
Phone: (650) 329-2496

Steps for Going Solar

Get a Snapshot View of Your Solar Options

Use CPAU's Solar Calculator Tool to get an estimate of savings you could realize by installing a rooftop solar system and to compare your solar financing options side by side. Results are based on your rooftop characteristics, your electricity use, CPAU electricity rates and available tax credits and rebates.

Evaluate Your Electricity Needs

Installing rooftop solar is a big investment. When sizing your system, it's important to think about how your electricity needs may change over time. CPAU's Home Efficiency Genie offers free phone-based advice on topics that impact your electricity needs, like home efficiency upgrades, EV charging stations and new technologies for space and water heating with high-efficiency electric appliances. Call the Genie at (650) 713-3411.

The City also has online resources for electric vehicles and heat pump water heaters.

Find a Solar Contractor

The City of Palo Atlo Utilities (CPAU) recommends that you get at least three bids from experienced contractors, all with the same project specifications. Ask friends and utilize neighborhood networks to find out which solar contractors have experience installing systems in Palo Alto.

Selecting the right contractor is one of the most important decisions you make during the rooftop solar installation process. Here are some tips and resources to help you find, compare, and select the right contractor for your project.

Before choosing a rooftop solar contractor or signing a solar contract, read through these tips and guidelines.

Tips for Choosing a Solar Contractor

Select, Sign and Install

Once you sign your solar contract, your solar contractor will guide you through the installation process. Most solar contractors manage the City's solar permitting process for their customers. After your system passes final inspection and you have permission to operate, your utility bill will reflect that you are a solar customer.


SunShares is a renewable energy program making it easier and more affordable for Bay Area residents to make a deeper commitment to clean energy & make your home resilient to the effects of climate change. SunShares offers discounts, free workshops and helps renters learn more about their clean energy options. The application period for the 2020 SunShares program has closed. Please check back in August 2021 for program updates or visit

PV Permitting

Understand the City's permitting process for residential photovoltaic (PV) systems.