Find the best prices for installing solar panels in California

California solar power overview

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California enjoys one of the best climates for solar power in the U.S., but it isn’t just sunshine that’s spurring the growth of renewable energy in the Golden State. There are a number of tax credits, exemptions and rebate opportunities that make solar more affordable for its residents. Several of the nation’s best solar companies are based in California as well, which make installations more affordable and accessible.

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California solar power metrics

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$62,059

Avg. lifetime savings over 25 years (10 kW)

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7.5 years

Avg. payback period

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$14k-$27k

Avg. cost without tax credit (5-10 kW)

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$10k-$20k

Avg. cost with tax credit (5-10 kW)

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$2.73: watt

Avg. cost in CA

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18,280 kWh

Avg. annual power production (10 kW)

Projected lifetime savings over time, based on purchase type

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If you have the funds, paying in cash will maximize your long-term savings. For those without the necessary cash flow, a solar loan will make the most sense. Leases, for the most part, are still guaranteed to save you money, but they come with fewer benefits and less flexibility.

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Purchasing a solar system could qualify for a 26% tax credit, based on the total equipment and installation cost.

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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in California?

Size of Solar Panel System

California Solar Panel Cost

Cost After Federal Tax Credit

5kw

$13,650

$10,101

6kw

$16,380

$12,121

7kw

$19,110

$14,141

8kw

$21,840

$16,162

9kw

$24,570

$18,182

10kw

$27,300

$20,202

What do solar panels cost in California?

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$2.73 per watt

Cash purchased Before 26% solar tax credit

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$3.05 per watt

Financed Before 26% solar tax credit

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$50-$250/month

Leased Estimate for average lease cost

Pros and cons of installing solar panels in California

California is home to progressive incentives like federal tax credit, 1-for-1 net metering, energy storage rebates and grant programs for low-income homeowners.

Some of the best solar companies in the world make their home in California (Tesla, SunPower), making for a lower cost of solar.

California is the fifth sunniest state in the nation.

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Electricity produced by solar panels in California

Solar panel efficiency varies depending on your latitude — the further south you are in the U.S., the more you’ll get out of a small system.

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Solar panel efficiency can convert over 20% of the sunlight’s energy into electricity, especially if your roof is obstructed by little shade and faces south or west.

The best way to determine whether your home is a good fit for solar electricity is to contact a solar installer in your area. A solar energy specialist can come to take a look at your home and give you a custom recommendation.

California Solar Tax Credits and Solar Rebates

Solar panels have long proved a reliable and savvy financial investment for Californians, and many buyers are able to secure a speedy return on investment (ROI). However, there is currently no statewide California solar tax credit to help residents with the upfront cost of solar panels.

That said, all Californians 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.

California Solar Incentive
Incentive Overview

Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP)

The SGIP offers rebates for installing energy storage systems at both residential and non-residential facilities.

Active Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion

This incentive ensures the addition of a solar panel installation doesn’t raise homeowners’ property taxes.

Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) launched SASH to provide fixed, up-front incentives on qualifying affordable single-family housing.

California Solar Incentive

Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP)

Incentive Overview

The SGIP offers rebates for installing energy storage systems at both residential and non-residential facilities.

California Solar Incentive

Active Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion

Incentive Overview

This incentive ensures the addition of a solar panel installation doesn’t raise homeowners’ property taxes.

California Solar Incentive

Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program

Incentive Overview

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) launched SASH to provide fixed, up-front incentives on qualifying affordable single-family housing.

Explore the best incentive programs in California

EcoWatch

The information on our website is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for competent legal, financial or electrical engineering advice. As forecasting solar savings involves assumptions about future electricity prices you should be aware such estimates are inherently uncertain.