How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels In Southern California
Youve probably heard how solar energy can help you save money on your electric bill, but the cost of installation isnt as widely talked about.
So how much does it cost to install solar panels in your Southern Californian home?
An average-sized solar panel system installation in the Inland Empire can range from $20,000 to $48,000 .
To truly understand the cost of installing solar panels in your home, its important to note the different factors that will impact installation cost such as:
- System size: The amount of electricity you want or need to generate.
- Equipment: The type of solar panels and inverter you buy.
- Home characteristics: Factors that determine the ease or difficulty of installation.
- Rebates you qualify for: Certain state and federal rebates can decrease overall costs.
In this article, well explain these factors in detail, so you can decide whether or not a solar energy system is right for you.
Want our experienced and respectful electricians to help you make a decision? Were happy to help. We give honest, helpful answers with the goal of improving the energy efficiency and functionality of your home.
Can You Get Free Solar Panels In California
By combining fixed, up-front, capacity-based rebates with nonprofit administration, the SASH program enables qualifying homeowners to get solar at no up-front cost and with no ongoing costs, meaning they reap the full benefit of their investment.
The program is designed to help low- and moderate-income homeowners save money on their energy bills, and its a win-win for both the homeowner and the solar company.
The homeowner receives a rebate of up to $1,000 per kilowatt-hour of solar energy produced, while the company gets a cut of the revenue from the sale of electricity generated by the homes solar panels.
How Is The Cost Of Solar Panels For Homes In California Offset By Solar Tax Credits
The cost of installation of renewable energy systems in California is supported by the federal solar investment tax credit.
The amount of this tax credit is currently 26% of the value of the solar system and it is claimed on your taxes in the year after installation.
Many people mistakenly refer to this tax credit as the California solar tax credit but it is actually a federal tax credit.
California itself does not offer a solar tax credit.
Solar panel cost calculator
Also Check: How Many Inverters Per Solar Panel
Californias Net Metering And Other Incentives
Net metering has faced recent legislative battles in California but remains one of the biggest incentives for going solar in the state. Every California solar homeowner is eligible to receive bill credits for their excess solar generation at retail price from his or her utility.
Other incentives in California include the California Solar Initiative which is a cash rebate available to customers of either Pacific Gas and Electric , Southern California Edison or San Diego Gas and Electric . This program is for low-income homeowners who receive cash back for installing solar panels on their homes. The rebate amounts can be as high as $10,000.
Some local utilities also offer homeowners rebates that can pay anywhere from $0.20 to $1.25 per watt of installed solar capacity. For example, Silicon Valley Power offers a cash rebate for every watt of solar power installed up to 10 kilowatts, and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power offers a rebate of $0.30/W of installed solar power.
Does California Offer A Tax Credit For Solar
Most California residents are eligible to receive the Federal Solar Investment Tax Creditalso known as the ITC. The ITC originally covered up to 30% of the cost of installing a solar system, but it has since been expanded to cover more than 50%.
Californias solar industry has grown rapidly in recent years, and the state is now home to more solar installations than any other state in the U.S. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association , California now has more installed solar capacity than all but three other states.
The state also has the third-largest solar power capacity of any state, behind only Hawaii and New York.
Recommended Reading: Why Is Solar So Expensive In The Us
How Many Solar Panels Will You Need
To know how many solar panels you will need, you will want to determine how much electricity you use in your home daily.
Modernize recommends discussing these factors with a trusted solar contractor. For ease, bring your electric bills with you to a consultation or calculate how much energy you use per day ahead of time by taking your monthly kilowatt usage and dividing it by 30. For context, the average house in the United States uses about 900-kilowatt hours a monthroughly 11,000 kWh a year.
Ultimately, the number of panels you purchase matters because it contributes toward the amount of kW of electricity produced each day. In turn, the more of your electricity costs you want absorbed by solar energy, the more panels you will need. If you only want a portion of your power to be produced by solar panels, you wont need as many panels.
Cost Of Solar Panels In California By Cell Type
Solar panels are available in three basic types – polycrystalline, monocrystalline, and thin film. Of the three, polycrystalline tends to be the least expensive. It is made of multiple small pieces of silicone crystals that are pieced together. The lower cost of this panel type can make them attractive to some homeowners. However, polycrystalline panels are not as efficient as monocrystalline panels. They also have a bright blue color and a larger profile, making them very noticeable on your roof.
Thin film is another less-expensive style. This panel type has a much lower profile than polycrystalline or monocrystalline. However, they tend to be less efficient, particularly in sunny areas like California. They may work better in some northern parts of the state, but they are not recommended for the southern areas.
Monocrystalline panels are the most popular in California, despite being the most expensive. They are made of large single silicone crystals. The larger crystals do a better job of producing energy than polycrystalline panels. The panels are also lower in profile and a sleek black color, so they tend to be less obvious on a roof. Below are the average costs to install a 6 kW system using each panel.
|$14,000 – $19,000|
Recommended Reading: Does California Have A Solar Tax Credit
Solar Panels Lessen Your Reliance On The Utility Grid
Perhaps saving money is not a strong incentive for you. If thats the case, you wouldnt necessarily care about how much money you can save on the cost of your utility bill by installing solar panels.
Additionally, you may not care about the federal solar tax rebate you can receive from installing a solar energy system on your California home.
However, you might be interested to know that installing a solar system on your home may lessen your reliance on the power grid.
We encourage you to read more about how solar power energy storage can keep your electricity running during rolling blackouts from high usage periods.
Which Cities Have Better Solar Tax Exemptions And Rebates In California
California has different rebates and incentives from local authorities and providers depending on where you live. Sacramento offers a solar rebate of $300 to users who choose to install a new rooftop solar system. San Francisco offers a local rebate program on the use of solar energy through the GoSolarSF Initiative. Fresno is one of the many cities in California that offers HERO financing program for existing homeowners.
San Diegos Climate Action Plan is aggressive and ambitious. Over the past twenty years, it has been a state and national leader in solar roof installation according to the Environment California Research and Policy Center.
Read Also: Is Solar Panel Tax Deductible
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost In California In 2022
As of August 2022, the average solar panel cost in California is $2.78/W. Given a solar panel system size of 5 kilowatts , an average solar installation in California ranges in cost from $11,815 to $15,985, with the average gross price for solar in California coming in at $13,900. 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. Read our to compare solar panel costs across states and by panel brand.
Solar Panels In California From Quality First Home Improvement
Our licensed solar installers will visit your home for a free on-site solar inspection and discuss options. They will give you clear expectations of the installation process and the average solar payback period.
Unlike many home improvement companies in California, Quality First Home Improvement has years of solar installation experience. We are not new to solar power, and we are ready to share our expertise about whether solar is worth it.
Solar energy is a beautiful source of renewable energy. Solar panel installation in California is not only worth your time its the right thing to do.
Recommended Reading: How To Charge Solar Charger
Solar Panel Use Heats Up As Installation Costs Fall
When Mike Rain and his wife purchased their new house from Tri Pointe Homes at Bloom at Green Valley in Fairfield, Calif., in April 2020, they went from paying $50 to $80 per month for electricity at their previous home to paying nothing for a year. Thats because their new house came with a mandatory array of solar panels on the roof.
Our only choice was whether we wanted a system that generated three, four or five kilowatts of electricity, Rain says. Were empty-nesters with a 2,400-square-foot house, so we went with the smallest and less-expensive option. Our bills were always low in our old house because we lived in an area with mild weather and didnt use air conditioning.
Solar power seems like a natural fit in California, known for its sunny skies and liberal policies on environmental issues. In 2020, California became the first state to mandate that all newly built homes, with a few exceptions, must include a rooftop solar system.
Several factors came together in California that made a mandate unsurprising, says Kevin Wilson, national vice president of strategic sourcing and sustainability for Tri Pointe Homes in Los Angeles.
Wilson says architects in California are now designing homes to be aesthetically pleasing while easily accommodating solar panels.
Whether the rest of the country will follow Californias lead remains to be seen.
Decide Whether Solar Is The Right Choice For Your Home
If you live in an area with high energy rates and a suitable solar rating and can afford the initial investment, its worth installing solar panels on your home while the 26% tax break is in place for the good of the environment and your wallet. But don’t expect to eliminate your power bill overnight.
If you decide to purchase solar panels, shop around and search for incentives. Consider financing with a solar loan if youd rather spread out the cost. Keep in mind that you dont have to buy solar panels you can lease them, too. That offers a lower upfront cost, although since you dont own the panels, they wont raise the value of your home, and you may not be eligible for incentives.
Going solar isnt the only potential way to save money. Learn more about what you can do to lower your bills.
Don’t Miss: How To Keep Pigeons From Under Solar Panels
How Much Are Solar Panels In California
California is known as The Golden State, but it could just as easily be dubbed The Solar Panel State. California is the number one solar state in the country, producing enough solar energy in 2016 to power almost five million homes. Since California loves solar so much, youd think that the cost of a solar system in the state would be among the lowest in the country.
Youd be wrong.
According to SolarReviews.com, the average cost of a 5kw system in the United States is $10,800 after taking the federal tax incentive into consideration.
How does California stack up against the average?
The average cost of a 5kw system in California with the tax incentive is $11,130. That places California above average for solar costs when compared to other states. Not exactly something California homeowners want to see!
In contrast, the three cheapest solar states are:
- Georgia: $9,730 for a 5kw system
- Arkansas: $9,940 for a 5kw system
- Alabama: $10,150 for a 5kw system
Of course, things could be worse for California residents. The two most expensive solar states are:
- Hawaii: $11,970 for a 5kw system
- Connecticut: $11,830 for a 5kw system
What is behind these big pricing disparities in solar power system costs? Why does it cost almost $1,500 MORE to install the same sized system in California than it does in Georgia?
The answer, it turns out, has to do with wages, living standards, and the specific rules and regulations in each state.
The Cost Of Solar Panels
The most common metric to gauge solar panel costs is dollars per watt. To find it, divide the total cost of a solar installation by the system’s capacity. The average cost of solar panels in California is $2.69 per watt. In Oregon it’s $2.89 and in Washington $2.64, according to EnergySage. That’s lower than in many parts of the United States, like New England, where nearly every state averages over $3.00 per watt.
The average cost of solar is $3.28 per watt, according to market analyst firm Wood Mackenzie. While solar panels themselves have become much cheaper in recent years, soft costs, which includes sales expenses and labor costs and could be more regionally variable, have fallen much more slowly.
Incentives also impact the cost of a solar system.
Solar arrays installed anywhere in the United States are eligible for the federal solar tax credit. For any solar system installed in 2022, the federal government will return 26% of the system’s cost to you on your taxes. In 2023 the credit is slated to drop to 22% and go away altogether in 2024, barring an extension by the government. Depending on where you live, you might have more incentives available to you.
California has the most solar installations of any state.
Each state has allowances for net metering, though at least one utility in Washington has stopped accepting applications and California is in the middle of a contentious political process revising its net metering policies.
Also Check: How Much Does Solar Panel Cost
The Average Labor Costs And Demand In Your Area
The average price of labor per watt across the country is about 50 cents, but it varies state-by-state.
Keep in mind that the cost to install solar panels varies from state to state. However, according to the Department of Energy, the cost to install solar panels is dropping nationally year over year due to new solar energy initiatives. In the last decade, the cost of solar power has dipped by more than 80 percent.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Top 5 states for solar installations are Texas, California, Florida, Virginia and Georgia.
Many states have also accelerated their relationships with solar energy. For instance, in 2019, Virginia ranked 19th but now sits in fourth place.
Still, its important to note that some of the rebates and tax incentives being offered for solar panel installations will soon expire as prices continue to drop. For that reason, if you think solar panels are ideal for your situation, it may be more effective to start the process now instead of waiting. Modernize recommends discussing this with a professional contractor.
Compared to other home improvement projects, solar panels are a relatively high-cost project. But they can in turn raise a homes market rate and, eventually, offset electricity bills. In general, solar panels begin to pay for themselves in small increments within the first year. Homeowners can expect broader payback offsetting between five and 15 years depending on the setup and where you live.
The Best Solar Panel Brands Available In California
California residents will be able to choose from just about any solar product brand they want to install, so youll need to choose one that fits your budget and energy production expectations.
The table below includes some of the top solar panel brands available in California, as well as their average pricing, to help you decide.
|Solar Panel Brand|
Recommended Reading: What Is The Tax Rebate For Solar Panels
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 California 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
Federal Solar Investment Tax Credits
It might be hard to believe that when youre thinking about going solar, youd also need to get savvy about tax codes. The Investment Tax Credit affords a 26% federal tax credit off the total cost of a solar photovoltaics system. The total cost is calculated to include the equipment, installation, and any sales taxes. Recently, these incentives were extended, but are expected to drop to 22% after December 31, 2022. The U.S. Department of Energy offers a guide to explain how to claim the credit.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does Blue Raven Solar Cost