Which is better? Horizon Solar Power or Baker Electric: The Complete Review

The Verdict

Horizon Solar Power is more appealing than Baker Electric Solar because of its cost-effectiveness

If you're looking to switch to solar energy, you're most likely doing so to bring down energy costs.

In other words, you're looking to save more money.

But high installation fees, which can be upwards of $15,000, can make those savings seem measly.

That's why Horizon Solar Power stands out compared to Baker Electric Solar.

It's no-money-down installation option, coupled with one of the quickest installation processes in the industry, makes it the most appealing option for southern California residents living in the Riverside or San Bernardino area.

So while both companies offer high-quality solar panels, custom installations, and local servicing in southern California—Horizon Solar Power is a better bang for your hard-earned bucks thanks to its cost-effective options along with its renowned customer service.

Rooftop Solar Potential 2016

Why One Is Stronger

Horizon Solar Power is stronger because it offers more bang for fewer bucks

When it comes to payment options, both Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar offer some industry standards, including outright purchase, loan-purchasing, and leases. But Horizon stands out in two ways:

Pay nothing for installation. Horizon Solar Power takes care of the high installation and materials costs, simply charging residents a reduced rate for their power.

Baker has no such offer.

Receive locked-in rates. Companies like Baker offer between one - and three-year guaranteed rates, whereas Horizon Solar Power offers a 20-year, locked-in power rate.

People love Horizon Solar Power because its quality service comes cheaper

Experts and consumers alike rave about Horizon's payments options and cost efficiency that makes going solar more feasible for any homeowner.

"As one of the leading providers of solar power installation in Southern California, Horizon Solar Power is dedicated to offering residential homes a renewable energy system at discount pricing," writes solar expert Zachary Shahan of ConsumerAffairs.

"Their unique take on solar installation helps more homes reap the benefits of solar energy without the high cost of panels,"

"Horizon Solar also focus heavily on savings with customers being able to benefit from as much as 30% right from day one, and lock-in rates for 20 years," according to the experts at Natural Intelligence.

And consumers echo these sentiments. "Horizon Solar Power gave us the lowest pricing, and had the BEST customer service during the entire process," writes Anita J on solarreviews.com.

"I received quotes from other solar power providers, such as Solar City, Verengo, and other leading companies. And I must say that Horizon Solar not only offered the better deal, their customer service is by far is superior," says Ricky L on solarreviews.com.

The biggest customer complaint about Horizon Solar Power is the pushy salespeople

Multiple negative reviews from customers target the sales staff, who have been described as pushy.

"I asked to be given a week to get another quote and every person at your company would call me from all different numbers at times ranging from 8am-11pm," writes Scott P. from Buena Park, CA, on Yelp.

"They have been calling me constantly and I never answered. I even told them that my condo association does not allow changes without proper authorization. Still, they insisted to go ahead and sign up," says Kris R. of Sacramento, CA, on Yelp.

Counter Argument

Then again, Baker Electric Solar could be a better option because it is more tech-savvy

Unlike Horizon, which manufactures its own solar panels and equipment, Baker Electric Solar supplies and installs equipment through partnerships with top companies.

This leads to benefits for consumers, such as:

Solar Power Net Generation in the U.S.

Receive leading technology. Baker installs SunPower panels, one of the best known on the market.

The company has close ties to Stanford University and a lot of the advances it has made in the solar power industry have come from engineers there, including a unique 24/7 monitoring system that alerts your locally based engineers at Baker Electric Solar as soon as there is a problem.

Baker also offers energy storage solutions such as the Tesla Powerwall 2.0, LG Chem, and Sonnen, which allows homeowners who currently have solar systems to be less reliant on their utility, maximize their solar power usage, and achieve more energy independence.

Customize your system. Whereas Horizon is a bit limiting in systems options (depending on roof size, slant, etc.), through customizable installation features, Baker can install systems on a variety of roofs and even offers in-ground installation.

People love Baker Electric Solar because of its quality and expertise

Consumers and experts love Baker for its commitment to quality. "Baker Electric Solar is ranked at the highest level by SunPower.

As an elite level SunPower dealer, it has been recognized as providing high-quality service both in the installation and product care and customer service.

The expert engineers are kept up to date with training and new technologies.

Your expert engineer will design your custom solar panel system to fit your residential power needs," according to Natural Intelligence.

"They install the very best panels available, they're a well-established company in San Diego, and they have great reviews.

My project manager did an excellent job of explaining all of the various design and payment options in clear language.

All of the staff I dealt with at Baker Electric were very knowledgeable and courteous," says Brad of San Diego on solartibune.com.

The biggest customer complaint about Baker Electric Solar is a slow installation process

"Five months ago I signed the contract and I was told the system should be up and running by latest in February. From the beginning, it started really slow and it seems they only got slower," writes Fonz R of El Cajon, CA, on Yelp.

"Baker dragged their feet in providing the necessary paperwork to the credit union for loan approval. We had to contact them to push for the installation day," according to daenchen on solarreviews.com.

Horizon Solar Power's quick installation still gives it an edge over Baker

While Baker is aligned with top-tier tech companies and supplies some of the best solar panels on the market, Horizon's solar panels are not far behind in quality.

And because Horizon installs them faster than just about every other company, Horizon still looks more favorable than Baker.

About the Company

Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar are two of the largest solar providers in southern California

Horizon Solar Power has serviced more than 8,000 Californians over the past 20 years. Headquartered in Hemet, CA, and with branches in Palm Springs and Redlands, Horizon serves a large swath of southern California.

Rated an A+ by the Better Business Bureau and ranked #7 in the 2015 Top Solar Power Contractors in the U.S., the company is backed by Oaktree Capital Management, a leading global alternative investment management firm.

Baker Electric Solar has provided solar energy options to more than 7,000 California residents over the last decade across its service area of San Diego, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

Most Important Energy Source for America's Future

In 2016, the company was awarded the BBB Torch Award for marketplace ethics and has won Angie's List Super Service award 4 years in a row.

Baker also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

All of this is a strong counterargument to some of the aforementioned customer complaints.

Horizon Solar Power

Launched back in 2008, Horizon Solar Power is a family-run business. But its quaint family origins shouldn't fool you: it's the fastest growing solar companies in the area, and perhaps even the country.

You're the ideal customer for Horizon Solar Power if you're looking to rent panels over a long period

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you a homeowner in the Riverside or San Bernardino area?
  • Would you rather spend $0 down to rent solar equipment rather than buy it outright?
  • Are you more comfortable with long-term contracts that ensure no guesswork in monthly payments?

If you said yes to all of those, then you're the ideal customer for Horizon Solar Power.

Baker Electric Solar

Like Horizon, Baker Electric Solar, too, is family run. The only difference? Four generations of Bakers have run the company over 80 years.

The Baker family first started doing electrical contracting work in San Diego in 1938, something no other solar power company in San Diego can say.

It has grown to become aligned with companies from SunPower to LG to Tesla.

You're the ideal customer for Baker Electric Solar if technological innovations are most important to you

Here's a quick test:

  • Are you a tech nerd?
  • Do the names Tesla and LG excite you?
  • Are you worried your roof might be inadequate for solar systems?
  • Do you want 24/7 monitoring to ensure your system is operating effectively?

If you answered yes to these questions, Baker Electric Solar is the option for you.

Services Offered

Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar provide solar systems to residents and businesses in southern California

Both Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar provide solar power systems to residents and commercial buildings in the southern California area.

The two companies provide much the same service: initial consultation, system design, installation, and maintenance.

The good and the bad about Horizon Solar Power's services

Horizon Solar Power's turnkey services have a lot of upsides:

No money down. As long as you have solid credit (Horizon will run a credit check) and agree to rent out roof space on your home, Horizon eats the costs of assembly, meaning you can reap the cost-saving benefits of solar energy quicker.

Quick installation. Horizon boasts one of the quickest installation processes in the industry—ranging from one to three days.

Highly-trained, local staff. Since all staff is located in the small area it serves, Horizon Solar specialists are able to demonstrate how your system will work best for you.

You'll be provided with a full proposal outlining everything about the system, its technology, components, as well as all the finance options, warranty, and maintenance options available.

Lock-in rates. Horizon customers are able to benefit from as much as 30% in energy savings right from day one, and lock-in rates for 20 years.

But, like all good things, there are some negatives:

Small breadth of customization. Horizon is unable to serve customers whose houses have oddly shaped roofs and older roofs, meaning some potential customers may be left out.

Average New Roof Cost Based on Region

Little pre-sale information. Horizon's website leaves a lot to be determined. The only way to fully understand how the company can serve you is to get a quote from their team.

The good and the bad about Baker Electric Solar

Baker Electric Solar has a lot of upsides when it comes to the technology it provides:

Top-of-the-line solar panels. Baker Electric Solar supplies and installs SunPower panels, one of the best on the market.

The crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells are a combination of the higher efficiency and quality of monocrystalline and the more affordable balance of the silicon.

On top of that, the system also comes with a specialized 24/7 monitoring system to ensure your system is running properly.

In terms of looks, the black cells used blend in much better with residential rooftops and are more aesthetically pleasing. The glare that many solar panels produce is also heavily reduced.

Custom-built systems. Whether you have an oddly tilted roof, a flat roof, or a roof that's too old for installation, Baker can still build a solar system that's right for you. The company also offers a ground-mount option, which many companies do not.

You should weigh these positives with the negatives, though, which include:

Only high-end, expensive panel options. Because of its partnership with SunPower, Baker's panels—though top-of-the-line—are often more expensive than competitors.

Installation fees. While Baker does offer the option to rent the equipment, you'll still pay high installation fees (which range depending on the size and scope of project).

Horizon Solar Power's cost-effectiveness makes the company a better choice

Both Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar offer similar services, but Horizon's cheaper options and no-money-down installation make it much more appealing for most cost-conscious consumers.

Costs & Fees

Both Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar provide options for payment

Different households require different systems.

As an example, a 3-bedroom, 2 bathroom home with an average monthly energy bill of $125.00 would likely need a system that cost $10,000–15,000.

On the other hand, a large home with a pool or extensive A/C system could require a setup that could break $45,000.

Both companies provide flexible financing options, but Horizon provides three options to make payments:

Solar Panels Cost Breakdown

Buy. While purchasing your solar system outright is the most expensive option upfront, it is also the most long-term financially rewarding investment opportunity.

From the first day of installation, you will start to reduce or even completely eliminate your monthly energy bill and will also qualify for substantial tax breaks and rebates.

Loan. You can either take out a loan from a commercial institute through a home equity line of credit or HERO (a financing program that allows you to make payments through your annual property taxes, which can be passed on in the event you sell your home).

Pay as you go. Through this system of payment, you're simply renting the system and paying for the energy your home uses.

Horizon's no money down installations gives it a strong edge over Baker

While both companies offer flexible payment options, only Horizon Solar Power offers $0 installations as long as you're in solid credit standing.

Benefits

The benefits of both Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar are geared towards businesses

Both Horizon and Baker offer alliance programs, in which businesses, customers, and employees can reap certain advantages.

The good and the bad about Horizon's alliance benefits

Horizon's Expand Your Horizons Partnership Program provides participating companies' members, employees, and customers special benefits. These include:

Discount to members. Any individual who signs up through this partnership program will receive a solar power system at a 10% discount.

Guaranteed first-year savings. Signing up through a partner, which could be harder than you think (see below), could net you up to $1,000 in savings.

Limited appeal. Right now this program is only offered in certain markets and businesses, such as HVAC contractors, residential remodelers, homeowner insurance agencies, energy efficiency consultants, and building performance contractors.

The good and the bad about the Baker Alliance Program

Baker's Alliance Program offers incentives in the form of cash.

Get money by signing up. Say your company signs up to become an allied member of Baker's program. If you sign up to go solar with Baker, the company will pay out $1,000.

But the money paid out doesn't necessarily go straight to you.

Payments go to companies, not individuals. When employees or clients of allied businesses sign up with Baker, that allied business is paid $1,0000. That means it's up to that specific company what happens with the money.

While they may pass it all on to you, they could opt to keep it or split it with you.

The takeaway: The small scope and lack of appeal limits these benefits

These partnership programs are limited in two big ways: scope and appeal to individual consumers.

Rewards & Bonuses

Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar both offer referral bonuses

Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar know the power of word-of-mouth marketing. That's why both set up a customer referral program, which rewards existing customers for any new clients they sign based off referrals.

The good and the bad about Horizon Solar Power's referral bonus

The good thing about Horizon's referral program is the high amounts you can potentially earn.

Tiered system. Horizon doesn't offer a simple one-size-fits-all referral reward. Instead, it builds for each referral: get $500 for the first referral; $1,000 for your second; and $2,000 for your third.

But it does have a roundabout way to entry:

Sign-up required. Customers may not realize that in order to reap these bonuses, they have to sign up for Horizons rewards program.

Additionally, some fine print while signing up for this program states that rewards can't be combined, meaning you can only receive one e-Gift Certificate (bonuses are not in cash) at a time. Members will be e-mailed a gift card and the code to activate it.

The good and the bad about Baker Electric Solar's referral bonus

Baker Electric Solar's referral program is structured much the same as Horizon's in that it builds with each referral.

Earn additional money with each referral. Baker offers $400 Visa gift cards for your first referral, $500 for your second, then adds an extra $100 for each referral after that up to $1,000.

After your sixth referral, earn $1,000 for each friend that purchases a Baker system.

Consumers Trust Friends More than Brands

But because your friends can't just call up Baker and give your name, the process is a bit of a hassle.

Refer through Baker's website. You have to fill out a web form for each of your friends you think may be interested, which can be a bit tedious.

The takeaway: Baker's unlimited earning potential gives more incentive to refer friend

Both referral bonuses require some type of web form or sign up, but Baker does not place a limit on how much you can potentially earn.

Customer Service

Both Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar offer turnkey service

Both companies offer helpful services from start to finish, including pre-sale customer service, on-site proposal, professional installation, and continued maintenance of your system.

The good and the bad about Horizon Solar Power's customer service

From the get-go, Horizon's professional staff will help you get what you need.

Helpful pre-sale experts. One of Horizon's expert solar consultants will meet with you to discuss your personal energy use, assess your solar needs, and answer all your questions.

Show-and-tell. Within a few days of turning on your new system, a member of Horizon's Power-On Team will meet with you to show how to read your system.

Continued maintenance. You can opt for ongoing maintenance during your contract with Horizon.

Communicate regularly. "They gave us the lowest pricing, and had the best customer service during the entire process. We were informed of everything along the way," says Anita J, a Horizon customer, via solarreviews.com.

"They have followed up via email and an occasional phone call to make sure we are still satisfied, and answer any questions we have. Couldn't be happier and am very glad we did not go with another company!"

But there are some pitfalls with sales staff:

Pushy salespeople. "They have been calling me constantly and I never answered. I even told them that my condo association does not allow changes without proper authorization. Still, they insisted to go ahead and sign up," says Kris R. of Sacramento, CA, on Yelp.

The good and the bad about Baker Electric Solar customer service

Baker offers an array of ways to get the best service, including:

Pre-engineering site survey. The site surveyor checks for things like the overall dimension of your roof, slope angles, locations of the chimneys and vents, and even the overall roof thickness in order to ensure the design your solar energy consultant drafted is the best possible solution for solar installation on your home.

Solar PV Installation in the U.S.

24/7 maintenance. You can use your system's monitoring device to register a problem directly with the company.

Assistance with governmental inspections. Getting approval can be a hassle, but Baker's staff assists you every step of the way in dealing with governmental and jurisdictional inspections.

But with all those goods, there is sometimes a lag in the process:

Slow moving. "Five months ago I signed the contract and I was told the system should be up and running by latest in February. From the beginning, it started really slow and it seems they only got slower," writes Fonz R of El Cajon, CA, on Yelp.

The takeaway: Baker edges out Horizon in customer service with its help during safety approval phases

In terms of customer service, while each offers similar assistance, Baker's help during the jurisdictional and safety approval phase edges it over Horizon.

Key Digital Services

Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar both offer customers easy-to-use apps

Both companies offer apps that make some of their key services easier to use.

The good and the bad of Horizon Solar Power's digital services

Easy-to-use referral program app. Horizon's Apple-based app, Horizon Solar Rewards, allows customers to easily refer friends to reap the benefits of the company's referral program.

Remember, Horizon doesn't offer a simple one-size-fits-all referral reward. Instead, referrals grow in size depending on how many you bring in. Get:

  • $500 for the first referral
  • $1,000 for your second
  • $2,000 for your third

Link the app to your social profiles and quickly refer friends through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

There's also a referral form you can fill out. Customers can a track and redeem rewards through the app.

Unfortunately, it's only available to iPhone and iPad users.

Limited availability. The app is only available through the iTunes store. Anyone who uses Android or Windows products will have to go through customer service.

The good and the bad about Baker Electric Solar's digital services

Baker Electric makes it possible to constantly monitor your solar system remotely.

Monitor your solar system. Through its website and app, Baker allows customers to track both their solar panels' daily energy production and its lifetime production.

Customers can access detailed information about their solar generation at any time, day or night. To gain access to the app, you'll have to connect with Baker's customer service.

How To Start Using Their Services

Go to each company's website to start you on your way to going solar

To get started with either company, visit each respective website to get a free quote. After comparing quotes, it's best to call each company to get the ball officially rolling.

  • If Horizon Solar Power is your choice, go to its website to get a free quote or call 855-857-2567.
  • If Baker Electric Solar is your choice, go to its website to get a free quote or call 877-543-8765.

While neither company runs any special seasonal deals that will lead to savings, check to see if your employer—or an organization you're involved with—is part of either of the company's alliance programs.

Potential Horizon customers would receive a solar power system at 10% of the actual cost, plus up to $1,000 savings during their first year.

For anyone signing up through Baker's alliance program, they could net themselves $1,000 cash.

FAQ

  • How much do solar panels cost?

    There are numerous factors that go into the cost of a solar array for your home including the size of your electricity bill, the direction your roof faces (South vs. North), and so on.

    That's why companies provide custom designs and financing options so you can create the solar system that best fits your needs.

  • Does either company allow me to approve designs before installation?

    Yes, with both Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar, you can approve initial designs before any work commences.

  • How much maintenance is involved?

    Solar panels only require the occasional hosing down with water in most situations.

  • Would Horizon or Baker net me more savings on utilities?

    There's no clear-cut answer for this one, as net savings depends on your household type and energy usage.

    But with no-money-down (dependent on credit history) and pay-per-usage, Horizon would potentially be friendlier to your bottom line.

Save with either, but save more with Horizon

As two of the largest solar companies operating in southern California, Horizon Solar Power and Baker Electric Solar provide many of the same services.

Both provide free consults, design approval, installation, and continued maintenance.

But the deciding factor for anyone worried about their bottom line is cost-effectiveness.

And with zero money down for installation and cheaper offerings overall, Horizon stands out above Baker.

Do you use the Horizon or Baker solar?

How has it worked out for you?

Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us? Let us know in the comments below.


Leave a Comment