How Much Do Solar Panels Cost
How much do solar panels cost is not as simple a question as it seems to be. The price of a complete solar system takes more into account than just the cost of the solar panel. The panel, the inverter, the method of installation, and the financing can all affect the overall price of the system.
If you are in California, systems built with tier 1 solar panels can range from $2.50 per watt to $4.50 per watt, cash price. Systems costing $2.50 per watt will not include attic runs for conduit, critter guard for birds, main panel upgrades, and all-black solar panels. The high-end pricing should include attic runs and other extras that account for the price differential.
Premium solar loans carry dealer fees that can add 10-25% more to the cash price of a solar system. The prices quoted above do not include financing fees for premium loans with low-interest rates. Find out more about solar financing.
How Does Net Metering Work
Simply put, if your home is able to take advantage of solar net metering, solar energy that is collected in abundance and not needed in your home will run through your meter and out to the grid.
A digital meter on your house records electricity moving in either direction as it comes into the house and as it leaves. The net part of the term means that the homeowner pays the net amount for the electricity used by the house minus the extra sold back to the grid.
In states where net metering is in effect, consumers can sell the excess solar energy they produce back to their local utility. That lowers their electricity bill, shortening their payback period and raising their cost savings.
According to Solar Reviews, homeowners in Delaware, New Hampshire, Oregon and Washington, D.C. can take the best advantage of net metering because of a combination of factors including policy, inclusion, fees and rollover policies.
The State Of California Also Offers Incentives
California supports homeowners investments in solar power by providing a wide variety of solar incentives and tax rebates. The following incentives are available through the state:
- Single Family Affordable Solar Housing 6
This program provides incentives to qualified low-income homeowners to help offset the cost of a solar electric system.
- Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing 7
This program provides incentives to qualifying customers of Pacific Gas & Electric Company , Southern California Edison Company , and San Diego Gas & Electric .
- Net Energy Metering8
You wont always consume all of the energy that is produced by your solar system. Thats why California offers solar customers the benefit of Net Energy Metering , a special billing arrangement which provides credit to customers with solar systems for the full retail value of excess electricity generated by their system.
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Estimate And Compare Residential Solar Panel Costs
The brunt of the expense with solar panels is in installation and the purchase of the actual panels.
» MORE: Compare solar loans and apply
Minimal long-term expenses can make up for the upfront costs. Most systems dont require much maintenance and are designed to last for 20 years or more with little change to the amount of electricity produced, Nilsen says.
When calculating the total price, consider how much energy you regularly consume your usage is listed on your monthly utility bill and what size system will generate the amount needed. Some tools, like the SolarReviews calculator, estimate the system size for you.
With installation, an average residential 5kW size system costs between $3 and $5 per watt, according to the CSE, which results in the $15,000 to $25,000 range. That cost is before any tax credits and incentives.
If you know your current energy usage, you can calculate how much youll need to pay for solar panels.
Then comparison shop for solar panels as you would other big-ticket items, such as a car or TV, says Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of the solar marketplace EnergySage. Some companies lower installation costs through rebates and other programs.
Aggarwal recommends getting quotes from three to five contractors. EnergySage compiles solar companies customer reviews, certifications, Better Business Bureau profiles and other information to help you find reputable providers.
What Solar Incentives Are Available To California Residents
Californias progressive leadership has done good work in spurring investment in renewable, clean energy. However, given the states ambitious climate targets and the energy burden on most of its population, it could probably do more.
All homeowners are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and the state offers several incentive programs and solar rebates aimed at further increasing access to reliable, affordable solar panels. Pacific Gas and Electric , San Diego Gas and Electric , and Southern California Edison are three local utility companies that provide solar rebates and funding to assist with the upfront costs.
Lets take a closer look at the solar incentives available to California residents.
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California Solar Panel Cost
Wondering about solar panel cost in California? You arent alone! At SolarMax Technology, weve been designing and installing solar energy systems across the region since 2008and cost is typically one of the very first questions posed by residential and commercial clients alike. Read on to find out more about the pricing, incentives, tax credits, and payback calculations for modern solar panels from SolarMax.
History Of Solar Policy In California
California has taken significant steps to grow in-state solar: from reaching nearly 23 gigawatts of solar capacity across almost 900,000 solar installations to receiving in-state solar investments of $42 billion through 2018, California leads U.S. states in many solar categories. The states commitment to solar in the US is acutely apparent in SEIAs Top 10 Solar States list: notably, not even the next eight ranked states combined had installed as much solar energy capacity as California in 2018. The history of solar energy in the Golden State spans back to the industrys earliest roots and is a story of steady progress.
California first began promoting solar energy in 1976, when the state passed tax legislation to provide financial incentives for investment in the technology. Building upon this initial commitment solar, the state quickly passed the Solar Rights Act in 1978, which bars restrictions by homeowners associations on the installation of solar energy systems. The states commitment to the solar industry fostered an environment of growth that ultimately led to ARCO Solars 1980 completion of a 1 megawatt photovoltaic facility in Camarillo, an impressive capacity for solar at that time.
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Solar Is Like An Atm On Your Roof
A solar purchase often starts with the question How much do solar panels cost? Understanding the elements that make up the cost of installing solar on your home will steer you clear of poor quality installers and deliver a solid return on investment that produces value for years to come.
Too many consumers focus on the cheapest purchase price, rather than the long-term investment. Solar produces power, so buying panels that produce more power over time with less degradation is a smart strategy. Investing in a system with solid warranties is also wise.
California Solar Power Faqs
The price of a solar system can depend on factors such as its size, configuration, and labor costs. The average price is anywhere from $11,160 to more than $46,500 before accounting for any tax credits or other incentives.
Solar power can be an excellent investment, especially if you live somewhere with plenty of sunshine, such as California. Not only will you lower your monthly electricity bill, but you can also increase the resale value of your home. In California, you will be exempt from increases on your property tax if you install solar panels on your home, which has incentivized many homeowners.
The amount you can save by using solar panels depends on factors such as your electricity rates, how much sun your home gets, and the amount of energy you normally use. Based on the average traditional electricity rate in California, residents who power their homes with solar panels could save more than $100 every month on energy costs
Traditional electricity sources such as coal or gas emit greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, into the air. These chemicals contribute to climate change and pollute the air and water. Solar energy, on the other hand, is a clean and renewable resource. When you use solar power, youre reducing carbon emissions and helping to lower your homes environmental footprint.
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Cost To Run And Maintain Solar Panels In California
Maintain your solar panels properly to ensure they produce the optimal amount of energy and last the longest amount of time. Maintenance in California is fairly simple and includes cleaning the panels twice yearly. During this cleaning, the technician can inspect the panels so that you can be notified in a timely way if repairs need to be done before your energy output is hurt.
The average inspection and cleaning costs in California average $175 to $400 a visit, depending on the number of panels you have and their positioning. This makes for an average yearly cost of $350 to $800 in maintenance fees.
What Is The Roi On Solar Panels
You can calculate the return on investment for installing solar panels by calculating your total payback. Calculate the amount you spent to install a solar panel system and then figure out the amount you will save on energy bills monthly.
These two numbers show how quickly your savings will cover your initial costs. Electricity rates will vary by region, being higher in the Northeast than in the Northwest. Solar tends to be more cost-effective where electricity prices are high and sunshine is abundant.
In a March 2021 Modernize survey, 40 percent of homeowners said they are actively pursuing home improvement projects to save money on their utility and electric bills. Installing solar panels is an energy-efficient way to save money on energy bills for the long-term.
On the other side of the coin is your homes resale value. A Zillow analysis showed that solar panels can increase a homes value by up to 4.1 percent.
California Net Metering Programs
Net energy metering , or net metering, allows customers to feed the surplus energy generated by their solar panels back to their local power grid in exchange for energy credits from their utility company. As most solar energy systems generate more energy than can be used during the day, this incentive provides homeowners additional savings on their electricity bills and lowers the demand for grid-supplied electricity in the region.
California currently offers a statewide net metering incentive for residents generating electricity with solar panels. Exact credit values will vary based on your utility company.
WATCH: California Public Utilities Commission Aims To Reduce Rooftop Solar Incentives
How Much Electricity Will You Need Your System To Produce
The most important thing to know is how much power you actually need and how much of that power you want your solar system to provide.
You know what this means, its time to figure out how much electricity you use, so dig out those electricity bills. Preferably, you should collect the bills from the last twelve months, add up all the totals, and divide that number by twelve to obtain your monthly average. If you dont keep your bill statements, or youre earth-friendly and paperless, you should be able to get copies either through the electric company or their website.
Now that you have your average, decide how much of that average you would like to replace with solar. Of course, we all want to say 100%, but sometimes that isnt feasible. Not to worry, you can install a smaller system now and add to it later, just make sure you discuss this with your installer before you start so they can plan for future system expansion.
Should I Buy Or Lease My Solar Panels In California
When you install solar panels on your home, youll have the option to either buy or lease the system. When you buy the solar panels, you can pay upfront or finance the system over a period of time outlined in your financing agreement.
Solar leasesare another option that can seem attractive because leasing reduces your upfront cost and ensures you wont be responsible for any future repairs. But there are some downsides to consider as well.
First, when you lease your system, you will always have a payment and will never own your system outright. Additionally, a leased solar system wont increase the resale value of your home. In fact, it might make it more difficult to sell your home if you were to move, since buyers would have to agree to take on your lease payments. Finally, homeowners who buy their solar panels will experience more energy savings over time than those who lease.
That being said, solar leases or solar power purchase agreements can be good options if you arent able to buy solar panels or if you rent your home. You could also consider community solar opportunities in your area as another alternative.
How Much Do Solar Panels Save In California
Do solar panels really save you money? Solar Panels can save the average California homeowner over $40,000 in electricity savings over the next 25 years according to Solar Power Rocks! The average lifetime savings of solar panels in California is about $73,714 according to Solar Reviews. The average homeowner in California can expect to save about $1,464 per year making California one of the best places to go solar in the US. Furthermore, going solar now can lock your electricity rate in at 6¢/kWh compared to the cost of electricity 25 years from now which will be 42¢/kWh.
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What Happens If I Produce More Solar Power Than I Need
Your home will still be connected to the electric grid so you have power when your system is not producing. Excess energy produced beyond what your home is using at any moment can flow back into the grid, and will earn you credit on your electricity bill. If you choose to integrate energy storage with your solar power system, any excess energy that is produced and not immediately used by your household will function to charge your battery. This, in turn, allows you to access stored solar power for your home when energy usage exceeds production, and provide valuable backup power during an outage.
Will I Truly Save Money By Switching To Solar
Now to answer the real question, will you truly save money when you switch to solar?
Yes, yes you will.
California is the perfect state for solar panels, with over 75% of the year consisting of sunny days. More sunny days equals more solar energy. You may have noticed that solar installations are a bit more expensive in California than in other states, but they pay for themselves just as quickly.
These systems are designed to last 25 to 30 years at pique efficiency, with the average system paying for itself in approximately 6 to 7 years. That leaves you with 18 to 24 years of basically free electricity. If youre lucky enough to live in an area that allows net metering, you could potentially even make money from your solar system.
Not ready to invest in a full solar system? Dont worry, there are all kinds of ways that you can take advantage of free, clean solar power. You can use solar power to light your patio, keep cool, and even charge your phone. Check out some of our other reviews for more earth-friendly ideas.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost In Los Angeles County Ca In 2022
As of July 2022, the average solar panel cost in Los Angeles County, CA is $2.71/W. Given a solar panel system size of 5 kilowatts , an average solar installation in Los Angeles County, CA ranges in cost from $11,518 to $15,582, with the average gross price for solar in Los Angeles County, CA coming in at $13,550. After accounting for the 26% Federal Investment Tax Credit and other state and local solar incentives, the net price you’ll pay for solar can fall by thousands of dollars.
Importantly, these costs are typical for solar shoppers comparing solar quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace. When you compare quotes for solar panels on EnergySage’s competitive solar marketplace, you can expect to see prices up to 20% lower than working with a single solar company.
Evaluate Your Sunlight Exposure
More sun means more energy produced and a greater potential to save with solar. Certain states, like Arizona and California, average more sunlight hours per day.
Your home’s orientation toward the sun, the amount of shade and its roof type also affect a solar system’s output. You can estimate the efficiency of panels on your home by using the SolarReviews calculator.
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California Solar Tax Credit 2022
While California does not have specific tax credits for residents who install solar panels, the federal government offers a tax credit in 2022 to homeowners who install solar panels this year. This credit value is equal to about 26% of the cost to install your system and is claimed when you file your annual taxes. The credit you should receive on your taxes for a 6 kW system amounts to $3,760 to $5,008, depending on the system cost.