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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in California?

$2.50 - $3.45
average cost per watt
$12,500 - $17,300
average cost of solar panels in California
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Key Takeaways

Key PointDetails
Average Cost Per Watt$2.50 – $3.45
Total Cost Before Tax Credits (5kW System)$12,500 – $17,300
Total Cost After Tax Credits (5kW System)$8,800 – $12,100

Installing solar panels in California can significantly reduce your energy costs and increase your property value. Understanding the costs involved and available incentives can help you plan your solar panel installation effectively.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in California

The cost of solar panels in California varies based on the size of the system. Below is a breakdown of average costs by system size:

System SizeAverage Total CostAverage Cost (After 30% Tax Credit)
3kW$7,500 – $10,400$5,300 – $7,300
4kW$10,000 – $13,800$7,000 – $9,700
5kW$12,500 – $17,300$8,800 – $12,100
6kW$15,000 – $20,700$10,500 – $14,500
7kW$17,500 – $24,200$12,300 – $16,900
8kW$20,000 – $27,600$14,000 – $19,300
9kW$22,500 – $31,100$15,800 – $21,800
10kW$25,000 – $34,500$17,500 – $24,200

California Solar Panels Cost Breakdown

Solar System Components

The total cost of a solar panel system includes several components, such as panels, inverters, mounts, and installation labor.

California Solar Incentives

California offers several incentives and tax credits to reduce the cost of solar panel installation:

Incentive TypeDescription
Residential Clean Energy CreditA 30% federal tax credit available for California homeowners with solar systems installed between 2022 and 2032.
Active Solar Energy ExclusionProperty tax will not increase due to solar panel installation, even if the home’s value increases.
Solar and CHP Sales Tax ExemptionAll solar energy systems for storage and distribution are exempt from California sales and use tax.
Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH)Provides rooftop solar installations to low-income households.
Self-Generation Incentive ProgramHomeowners with solar battery storage qualify for a rebate of $850 to $1,000 per kilowatt-hour of installed storage capacity.
Local Government & Utility Company IncentivesSolar rebates and incentives vary by location.
Net Metering / Net BillingCalifornia customers of investor-owned utility companies receive a small credit for excess energy their solar panels generate and send back to the grid.
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)The solar or utility company owns, installs, and maintains the equipment, while the homeowner pays a guaranteed fixed rate for the electricity used during the contract term.
Solar LeaseSimilar to PPAs, the solar company owns, installs, and maintains the equipment; the homeowner pays a monthly fee to power their home with the energy generated.

FAQs About Solar Panels in California

Are Solar Panels Worth It in California?

Yes, solar panels are worth it in California due to high electricity costs, abundant sunlight, and numerous state and federal incentives.

Can I Install My Own Solar Panels in California?

Yes, you can install your own solar panels in California, but it is recommended to hire a professional to ensure proper installation and compliance with local regulations.

Can an HOA Deny Solar Panels in California?

No, under California’s Solar Rights Act, homeowners associations (HOAs) cannot deny the installation of solar panels.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last in California?

Solar panels typically last 25 to 30 years, with minimal degradation in efficiency over time.

Can You Get Free Solar Panels in California?

Some programs, such as the Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH), may offer free solar panels to eligible low-income households.

Getting Estimates from Solar Contractors in California

When seeking estimates for your solar panel installation, consider the following tips:

  1. Get Multiple Quotes: Compare prices and services from different contractors.
  2. Check References: Look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients.
  3. Verify Credentials: Ensure the contractor is licensed, insured, and experienced in solar panel installation.
  4. Ask About Customization: See if they offer custom solutions to meet your specific needs.

Questions to Ask a California-Licensed Solar Installer

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can you provide references from similar projects?
  • What services are included in your standard package?
  • Do you offer any specialized solar designs?
  • What are your rates for additional services?
  • How do you handle unexpected issues or additional requests?

Cost of Solar Panels in California Summary

Installing solar panels in California can significantly reduce energy costs and increase property value. By understanding the costs, benefits, and available incentives, you can make an informed decision that meets your needs and budget.

For more information on solar panels and to explore other cost-related guides, visit our detailed articles on solar panel cost and home improvement cost.

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