California Solar Panels Pricing and Incentives

How much do solar panels cost in California?

home with solar panels on the roof

[Simone Hogan] / Shutterstock

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Solar power in California

California is a national leader when it comes to solar energy, generating nearly 33 percent of the country’s total solar power. This is three times more than Texas, the second-largest solar producing state. California began promoting solar energy in 1976, much earlier than many other states.

A huge factor that contributes to California’s high rate of solar energy generation is the number of homeowners who have invested in residential solar panels for their properties. Curious about solar panels in California? Keep reading to learn more about the cost of solar panels in California, solar rebates and incentives, and why so many California residents have turned to solar energy for their homes.

California solar panel cost

Several factors contribute to the total cost of home solar panels in California, including system size, components, labor costs, and local fees and permits. The average residential solar system costs between $3 and $5 per watt, with the overall cost ranging from $15,000 to $25,000. However, there are a variety of solar tax credits and incentives in place – including the federal solar tax credit – to help bring the cost of solar panels down.

There are also a variety of financing options available to help make home solar more affordable. You can buy our solar system outright, but many homeowners choose to finance it over the course of six to nine years. You can also choose to lease your solar system or sign a solar power purchase agreement (PPA).

California solar panel incentives or rebates

A residential solar system is a big investment, but there are incentives and tax credits in place that can help reduce the total cost. For starters, the federal solar tax credit – also called the solar ITC – offers a 26 percent tax credit for solar systems installed in 2021 or 2022. There is no cap on the amount you can claim, so you can fully benefit from the tax credit no matter the size of your solar system.

There are also solar incentives specific to California. The Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) offers rebates to residences and businesses that install energy storage systems. California also offers the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program, which provides solar incentives to qualifying single-family homes. 

If you live in California and purchase a home solar system, you will also be exempt from paying an increase on your property taxes. And California also offers a net metering program, which lets you sell excess solar power back to the grid.

Why choose California solar power?

There are many reasons why California residents have chosen to power their homes with solar energy. As the price of solar panels decreases and the panel technology improves, the benefits of solar have become even more enticing. Most consumers who invest in solar are drawn to lower energy costs, independence from the power grid, and environmental reasons as the primary factors.

Lower energy costs

Installing solar panels on your home can help to significantly reduce your energy costs. As long as the sun shines, your home will be powered by solar energy instead of relying on the electricity from the grid. As a result, your electricity bill will go down. In California, consumers could save more than $1,170 annually in energy costs by switching to solar energy compared to the traditional California electric bill.

Increased energy independence

By using solar panels to power your home, you can lower your reliance on the power grid and increase your home’s energy independence. Your home solar panels will generate electricity for your home, so you will be less subject to electricity rate increases during times of high demand. Most homeowners who buy solar panels remain connected to the grid so they can still draw power at night or when the sun isn’t shining. However, they are much less reliant and are protected from times when energy demand is higher than the supply.

Go green

Solar panels aren’t just friendly to your wallet – they’re also beneficial to the environment. Solar energy is a renewable power source, meaning it leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional power sources like gas and coal. When you power your home with solar energy, you can lower your environmental impact because solar energy doesn’t emit the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Follow these steps to learn more about solar energy

  1. Call our solar energy experts 
  2. Find out if solar energy is right for you and discuss the options available at your home
  3. Call: 1-866-823-5478 now to get a customized quote.

Should I buy or lease my solar panels in California?

When you install solar panels on your home, you’ll have the option of either buying or leasing 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. 

Leasing is another option that can seem very attractive because it reduces your upfront cost and ensures you won’t be responsible for any future repairs. But there are some downsides to consider as well.

First, when you lease your system, you won’t receive any of your investment back. While other homeowners will eventually own their systems outright and be done with their monthly payments, leasing means you’ll always have a payment. Additionally, a leased solar system won’t 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 PPAs can be a good option if you aren’t able to buy solar panels or if you rent your home. You could also consider community solar opportunities in your area as another alternative.

Important solar installation factors to consider

Before installing solar panels on your property, there are several factors to take into account because they can impact the effectiveness of your solar system. A few of the most important factors to consider include:

  • The age, angle, and condition of your roof. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar panels are most effective on south-facing roofs with slopes of between 15 to 40 percent. They may not be well suited to older roofs that will need to be replaced in the near future.
  • How much sun your home receives. California gets a lot more sunshine than some other states, making solar power particularly attractive. But it’s important to consider how much sun your home receives in your location.
  • HOA and neighborhood rules. In some states, HOAs and other neighborhood associations may have restrictions around the installation of solar panels or require prior approval. However, California law prevents HOAs from banning solar panels, so just be sure to follow any requirements outlined in your area.

California solar panel companies

Because California is a leader in solar power, there are many solar panel companies available across the state. Many solar installers can even create a customized solar system to ensure your home is benefiting to the fullest. When you are ready to invest in solar energy, be sure to do your research into the many California solar companies available in your area. Until then, SaveOnEnergy offers a range of tips and guides to help you navigate the solar industry.

The history of solar power in California

Solar energy in California dates back to 1976 when the state passed a law to create financial incentives for investments in solar technology. Just a few years later, the state passed a law preventing neighborhood associations from banning solar systems.

In 1996, California strengthened its commitment to green energy with the passage of the Electric Utility Industry Restructuring Act. In addition to deregulating the energy industry, it also enacted net metering policies allowing customers to save by selling extra solar energy back into the grid.

California has continued to invest in solar energy in recent decades, going so far as to require that all new homes are built with solar panels. Because of these progressive policies, California has a very high rate of residential solar power generation. The state also has experienced significant investment from utility companies and a rise in solar farms across the state.

California solar power FAQs

How much does home solar cost in California? Expand / Collapse Toggle

The price of a solar system can depend on factors such as its size, configuration, and labor costs. The average price is anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 before accounting for any tax credits or other incentives.

Is solar power a good investment in California? Expand / Collapse Toggle

Solar power can be an excellent investment, especially if you live somewhere with plenty of sunshine, such as California. Not only will you save on your electricity bill each month, but you can also increase the resale value of your home. In California, you will also be exempt from increases on your property tax if you install solar panels on your home, which has incentivized many homeowners.

How much could I save by investing in solar? Expand / Collapse Toggle

The amount you can save by using solar panels depends on factors such as your electricity rates and the amount of sun your home gets. Based on the average traditional electricity rate in California, residents who power their homes with solar panels could save almost $100 every month on energy costs

How does solar power help the environment? Expand / Collapse Toggle

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, you’re reducing emissions and helping to lower your home’s carbon footprint.

Where can I find a good solar panel installer in California? Expand / Collapse Toggle

There are a variety of great solar panel companies in California, so you should do your research before signing a contract with one. Be sure to check for reviews, referrals, and company history beforehand. SaveOnEnergy is also here with resources to make understanding the solar industry as easy as can be.

Go solar today!