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California Solar Information

California isn’t a bad state for solar. There’s always enough sunshine to cover your basic energy needs or at least to reduce your monthly electricity bill. The 26% Federal Solar Tax Credit as well as some local incentives will make your solar installation even more profitable.
  • #6
    California ranks #6 in the USA for savings from installing solar panels
  • 6745.44 kWh
    Annual AC energy output of a 4 kW solar system installed in California
  • 5.97 kWh
    Solar Radiation (kWh / m2 / day)
  • 16 ¢ /kWh
    The cost of electricity today in Pacific Gas & Electric Co
  • 33 ¢ /kWh
    If you don't go solar. The forecast average utility price over the next 25 years

California Solar Facts

  • $1.32
    Average cost of a 4kw solar power system in 2019.
  • 2 years
    Average system payback period.
  • $75,380.60
    Average lifetime savings.
  • 5 ¢ /kWh
    Levelized cost of solar energy.
  • 4 kW
    Recommended system size.
  • Solar Power System Cost in California
  • $1.32 per watt
  • $4,774.25 total
  • 2 years

The Cost of Solar Panels

The average cost of a California solar panel is $3.03 per watt.

Therefore, the cost of the 5kW solar panel system is about $15,000 (before tax credit) or $10,000 (after tax credit).

There is no better state for solar power installations than sunny California. With rising electricity prices and relatively low solar prices, the choice is obvious.

California Solar Rebates and Tax Credits

The Federal Investment Tax Credit – with this government program, you get a 30% credit on your taxes in the following year, including parts and labor.

Net Energy Metering (NEM) program - allows you to sell unused solar power to your utility company in exchange for credit.

Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) - a program that allows a free installation of solar panels, you only pay for the electricity they produce.

Pros and Cons of Buying Solar Panels in California


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    Relatively short payback period

    The payback period is an amount of time it will take to pay off your solar power system. Today, solar panels are more efficient than ever before, meaning they produce more electricity thus reducing the energy payback period. The average time now is about 5 years.
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    After the payback period, solar power is nearly free

    Once you paid off the capital cost of the installation of the solar power system, the cost of electricity it generates is free.
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    Great savings on a monthly electric bill

    Once you installed a solar power system, you begin to generate your own electricity. It means relying less on your local utility company, no worrying about utility rate inflation, and saving money on your monthly electric bill. The savings will depend on the size of the solar system and the electricity usage.
  • +

    Helping the environment since solar energy is clean, sustainable, and renewable

    Solar energy is abundant and generating solar power does not cause almost any pollution. When compared to some of the traditional fossil fuels, solar energy does not lead to the pollution of water and atmosphere. On the contrary, it helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions thus lowers our negative impact on the natural environment.
  • +

    Support from the government and the state

    The cost to install solar panels is much less than what it used to be a few years ago. With the tax credit from the federal government, incentives from the state and the various rebates from counties, the price of the solar system can be decreased by as much as 50%.
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    Very low maintenance

    Most of the solar panels today require very minimal maintenance – only a cleaning a couple of times a year. In addition, since solar panels do not have any moving parts, there is no wear and tear with usage, and they essentially produce no noise.
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    Excellent warranty protection

    Every solar panel comes with two types of warranties: a product warranty and the performance warranty. Nowadays, more and more top solar manufacturers offer extended product warranties ( up to 25 years) and some guarantee up to 90% performance even after 25 years of usage.
  • +

    Increase in the property value

    According to recent studies by the Appraisal Institute, homes with installed PV systems sell much faster and at higher prices compared to homes without solar power systems. The study showed that the homebuyers are undoubtedly willing to pay more for houses with solar power systems.


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    The possible high initial cost

    The initial cost to install a solar power system is relatively high. The expenses will include solar panels, battery, inverter, all the necessary accessories, mounting equipment, and the installation itself. However, with the technology moving forward and the availability of rebates, the prices are inevitable going down, making solar as affordable as never before. Moreover, going solar will start saving you money on your electric bill from day one.
  • -

    Need to have a large, open area for installation.

    To generate electricity efficiently, solar panels have to be installed on open, non-shaded surfaces. They rely on sunlight to produce solar energy, and the more energy you need the more solar panels you will have to use. Fortunately, solar panels can be mounted not only on the roofs but on the ground as well, provided they still do have an access to sunlight.
  • -

    Must be a property owner to install

    Today, solar power installation are mostly available to the homeowners with a good credit and/or good income. The solar benefits are not yet available to renters, people with low-income, or people without a job.

When comparing California’s solar energy advantages and disadvantages, it is clear that the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages. With the prices lower than ever and the great support from the government and the state, there is no better time to install solar power system and start saving money on your utility bill while helping the environment.

California Solar Incentives

There are various solar incentives depending on the county you live in:

The San Francisco Solar Rebate

When you install solar you’ll qualify for a $2,000 rebate. By using a local installer, you get another $700. If you participate in the California Alternate Rates Energy (CARE) and CalHome programs, OR if you live in the 94107 or 94124 zip codes, you qualify for an additional $800.

Solar Incentives in Santa Clara County

Solar customers are allowed to sell unused electricity back into the grid at the full retail price, and any unused credits rollover to the next month. In addition, if your annual credits exceed $100, the local utility will compensate you with cash every April – with a maximum payout of $5,000.

Solar Incentives in San Mateo County

Solar customers are allowed to sell unused electricity back into the grid one penny above retail price, and any unused credits rollover every month. In addition, if your credits exceed $100 for the year, you will be eligible for cashback.

Solar Incentives in Marin, Napa, and Contra Costa Counties

Through My Clean Energy’s NEM program, solar customers sell unused energy back to the grid one penny above retail price, and unused credits rollover to the next month. If the annual amount of credits exceeds $100, My Clean Energy will compensate you with the cashback.

Solar Incentives in Alameda County

East Bay Clean Energy NEM program will buy unused electricity ay the full retail price, and unused credits rollover every month. If you have enough credits at the end of the year, the utility company will pay you up to $2,500.

Solar Incentives in Monterey and San Benito Counties

Monterey Bay Power Community NEM program buys unused electricity from solar customers at a locked rate. In addition, solar customers qualify for a 3% credit for their annual power generation, even if they end the billing cycle with a negative balance.

PG&E’s Nest Learning Thermostat - $50 Rebate

All solar customers in California qualify for a $50 cash-back rebate from PG&E if they install the Nest Learning Thermostat with their solar panels.

Tell us how much you are spending on electricity and we’ll calcalute how much you can save if you go solar
According to Pacific Gas & Electric Co, we received the cost of kWH in your area and calculated energy consumption based on an average electricity bill for 3 months.
I am claiming the 26% Federal Tax Credit (ends 2020) i

When you install your solar system, 26% of your project expenses apply toward a credit to offset any taxes you owe that year. This federal tax credit is a major incentive to go solar, but it is being phased out by 2022.

Most people are eligible to claim this credit (you must owe federal taxes to be eligible).

System size

  • Mini
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
We recommended
3.62 kW medium system size
Provides up to 80% of electricity consumption
$1.32 per watt
Average system cost
  • image rec 3
    12 x 315 watt
    solar panels
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  • image rec 3
    12 x 300 watt
  • +
  • image rec 3
    1 x 3 800 watt
$124.72/ month
Estimated savings on your average quarterly bill
  • $4,774.25
    Estimated system cost
    Excludes 26% Federal Tax Credit.
    This price does not include the installation cost.
  • 2 years
    Average system payback period
  • $75,380.60
    Estimated utility savings

Example of 4 kW system calculation in Minnesota for electricity bill $100

  • 16 ¢ /kWh
    The cost of electricity today in Pacific Gas & Electric Co
  • 33 ¢ /kWh
    If you don't get solar. The forecast average utility price over the next 25 years
  • 5 ¢ /kWh
    levelized cost of solar energy

Relevant product for your system

Entry-level solar panels x 12
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Entry-level microinverter x 12
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Entry-level inverter x 1
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In stock
Canadian Solar 315W Solar Panel 120 cell CS3K-320MS Monocrystalline Black - A1 Solar Store
Cell number 120 cell
DC/Charger Volt Compatible 12v, 24v, 48v
Price per Watt $0.52
Rated Power Output 315 W
Voltage (VOC) 40.1V
Cell Type Monocrystalline
In stock
LONGi 320W Solar Panel 120 cell LR6-60HPH Modules - A1 Solar Store
Cell number 120 cell
DC/Charger Volt Compatible 12v, 24v, 48v
Price per Watt $0.48
Rated Power Output 320 W
Voltage (VOC) 40.6 V
Cell Type Monocrystalline
In stock
Panasonic HIT 330W Solar Panel 96 cell VBHN330SA17 Monocrystalline Black - A1 Solar Store
Cell number 96 cell
DC/Charger Volt Compatible 12v, 24v, 48v
Price per Watt $1.03
Rated Power Output 330 W
Voltage (VOC) 69.7V
Cell Type Monocrystalline
In stock
Mission Solar 385W 72 cell Solar Panel MSE385SR9Sl P-type mono-crystalline silicon
Cell number 72 cell
DC/Charger Volt Compatible 12v, 24v, 48v
Price per Watt $0.7
Rated Power Output 385 W
Voltage (VOC) 48.53 V
Cell Type Monocrystalline