• It’s no secret that the solar industry is on fire in San Diego. In fact, according to recent reports, San Diego is ranked #1 in solar energy capacity nationwide due to its massive increase in installations in the last few years.  At the end of 2017, San Diego had 303 Megawatts of solar capacity, enough to power 76,000 homes. That was up 39% or 29,000 installations from the year before, an indication that the adoption is accelerating. This rapid adoption of solar is putting San Diego on track to reach its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035, a lofty, yet clearly realistic goal.

    So we know that San Diego County as a whole is leading the solar charge nationwide, but that leads to another more distinct question: what neighborhoods in San Diego are installing the most solar? Clearly some areas of San Diego are better for solar, and clearly some areas are more likely to install based on a variety of sociological factors. So how can we find this out?

    Luckily, since we are a solar company that has been installing in the area longer than anyone else, we have a ton of installation data we can look at to find out which zip codes have installed the most solar. So, in pursuit of this information, we pulled data on 4,000 of our recent installs and ordered them by zip code to find quantity by neighborhood. Obviously there are some factors like our physical location, our marketing focus, our typical referral network, etc., that can make the data slightly skewed, but beyond those, this is as objective of a study as you can get on solar adaptation by neighborhood in San Diego. So with that disclaimer in mind, here is the list:

  • 10. 92120 - Allied Gardens / Del Cerro

    Coming in at number 10 with 75 installs is the Allied Gardens / Del Cerro neighborhood, which borders the 8 freeway and lies just north of San Diego State University. With an average home value of around $603,000, this neighborhood is made up of many modest homes that house university professors and employees of the many corporations that surround the area. This neighborhood also lies inland enough that it gets pretty hot in the Summer, so no doubt these homeowners are benefiting greatly from being able to zero out their high a/c bills in the Summer. This neighborhood is a great example of how savvy homeowners in medium sized homes have really opened their eyes to the benefits of solar in the last few years.

  • 9. 92117 - Clairemont

    Coming in at number 9 with 75 installs is Clairemont, which is a heavily residential neighborhood just east of Pacific Beach and located centrally in the county. With an average home value of around $617,000, Clairemont is much like Allied Gardens in that it is mostly made up of modest homes, whose owners work at the many large companies surrounding the area. These types of pragmatic and economically minded homeowners figure out that solar is a great way to save money quick, so it makes sense that it has been so widely adopted in the area.

  • 8. 92028 - Fallbrook

    With 76 installs, Fallbrook comes in at number 8. Lying in the inland North County area, Fallbrook is home to a variety of homes, from large mansions to modest two bedroom houses. Fallbrook is inland enough such that it gets very hot in the Summer, so it makes sense so many homeowners have adopted in that area to stave off those huge A/C bills in the Summer. Many Fallbrook homes also have large yards and swaths of land that they can fit large ground mounts on, so that clearly contributes to the numbers.

  • 7. 92129 - Rancho Penasquitos

    Located at the intersection of the 56 and the 15, Rancho Penasquitos comes in at number 7 with 91 installs. Rancho Penasquitos has been up and coming in the last few years due to its central location and short drive to the beach, so with many new homes being built, just as many solar installations have gone up as well. It’s inland location also makes it a good location to go solar to stave off those pesky A/C bills that will be inevitable in that location.

  • 6. 92130 - Carmel Valley

    At number 6 with 103 installs is Carmel Valley. There is a wide variety of homes in this area, but mostly they are in the upper price range, the average home being around $1,000,000. Being very close to the beach, but also close to downtown, this may be one of the most desirable areas in San Diego, home to CEO’s, upper management, etc. These money minded and eco conscious individuals know the benefits of solar on their wallet and the planet, so it’s no surprise they’ve been quick to adopt.

  • 5. 92131 - Scripps Ranch

    Coming in at number 5 with 113 installs is Scripps Ranch, which borders the 15 and the 56 to the northeast. With many estates and nice homes, and being located pretty far inland, Scripps Ranch homes are perfect candidates to save on their huge A/C bills with solar. With the land that comes along with estates, Scripps Ranch homeowners have room for ground mounts and other large systems.

  • 4. 92064 - Poway

    Lying directly North of Scripps Ranch is Poway, which comes in at number 4 with 119 installs. Poway is known for its luxurious homes on large properties, so big beautiful ground mounts are common here, not to mention its inland location makes it pretty hot in the Summer.

  • 3. 92127 - 4S Ranch

    4S Ranch lies just west of the 15, north of Rancho Penasquitos, and comes in at number 3 with 123 installs. RPQ has been up and coming in the recent years, and with an average home value with new companies moving in and therefore many working families. It’s also pretty far inland, so those A/C bills can be pesky in the Summer.

  • 2. 92009 - La Costa

    La Costa is located in the southern part of Carlsbad, which is a coastal town in the northern part of the county, and comes in at number two on our list with 145 installs. La Costa is known for it’s beautiful golf courses, resorts, rolling hills, and incredible homes, and is also home to many eco conscious homeowners due to its coastal location. In recent years, many large companies have also moved into Carlsbad, so it’s no wonder that solar has been so widely adopted there.

  • 1. 92024 - Encinitas

    Coming in at number 1 is Encinitas CA, with 156 installs. This comes as no surprise as Encinitas is known for being home to a very eco-conscious population, what with it being known as a capital of both the surfing and yoga worlds. Combine that with an average home price of over $1,000,000, and it’s clear why the number of solar installs is so high here. Not only are Encinitas homeowners hyper eco-friendly, they are also money conscious, and therefore solar just makes sense.

  • So there you have it, the top 10 most solar friendly neighborhoods in the most solar friendly city in the world. These neighborhoods are leading the charge when it comes to the switch to a renewable energy based future, and are setting an example for the rest of the nation and the world as to how to not only live clean but save money while doing it.  It should be noted that, even though they may not be on this list, we have installed solar in every neighborhood in San Diego County, and that every homeowner can benefit from the economic and ecological impacts of installing solar.

  • About the Author

    Michael Powers


    Michael is one of the founding partners of Stellar Solar. In 2001, he helped launch The Home Depot’s national solar energy program which is now offering home solar through hundreds of stores in nearly a dozen states. He is a writer and marketing professional with over 30 years’ experience in the fields of energy, market intelligence and leadership training. He currently serves as treasurer and board member of Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), a San Diego-based non-governmental organization that advocates linking renewable energy resources around the world using electricity transmission.