Solar Panel Cost Installation In California

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Renewable Energy, Solar Energy

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California is routinely ranked as one of the top states for solar energy generation. Given its vast population and high energy demand, it’s no wonder that California has the highest solar panel cost installation of any of the 50 states. The Golden State is an attractive location for property owners considering installing solar panels because of its pro-solar regulations, abundant sunlight hours throughout the year, and favourable solar subsidies.

How Much Does a Solar Panel Installation Cost in California?

The average solar panel cost installation in California ranges from $12,622 to $17,078—a solar panel installation in California costs between $2.52 and $3.42 per watt. When considering solar panel cost installation, many property owners wonder how long it will take to recoup their initial investment through electricity savings. This question refers to the solar payback period. California’s average solar payback period is 5.92 years.

Solar Panel Cost Installation In California

Another option that solar consumers must consider is how to pay for a solar panel system. Fortunately, numerous financing options are accessible to property owners who wish to invest in solar energy. Cash purchases are a typical way to pay for solar power and often provide the best long-term return on your money. Solar loans and solar leases/PPAs are available to assist in financing a solar energy system for individuals who desire no down payment.

What Factors Influence Solar Panel Installation Costs in California?

The cost of solar arrays in California typically ranges from $6,993 to $20,979 for most residents after factoring in the full federal credit. This wide range is influenced by several key factors, as discussed below.

System Size: The size of your solar system is a significant determinant of its cost. Larger systems capable of generating more electricity require more panels, thereby increasing equipment costs. In California, the additional cost for each additional kilowatt (kW) of solar capacity installed is approximately $3,330 on average.

Solar Panel System Size Initial Cost (Before Tax Credit) Cost After Federal Tax Credit
5 kW $12,550 $8,785
6 kW $15,060 $10,542
7 kW $17,570 $12,299
8 kW $20,080 $14,056
9 kW $22,590 $15,813
10 kW $25,100 $17,570

Source: Sunpower

Choice of Installer: With nearly 900 registered solar installers in California, selecting the right one can impact both your experience and overall costs. Installers vary in terms of installation labor and equipment charges, leading to significant price discrepancies among similar systems. While it may be tempting to opt for the lowest price, considering the value provided by different installers is crucial.

For instance, local companies like NRG Clean Power in Los Angeles offer panels from various brands like SolarEdge, SMA, Panasonic, and Tesla, providing efficiency and affordability. On the other hand, national companies like SunPower exclusively install more expensive monocrystalline panels from Maxeon, which come with industry-leading warranties and efficiency, offering better long-term value despite the higher upfront cost.

Equipment Selection: The specific equipment and brands chosen for your solar panel system can also affect total costs. Factors such as panel size, efficiency, and the inclusion of solar batteries for backup power during outages can impact overall expenses. While California’s ample sunshine allows for lower-efficiency panels, factors like home size and energy usage also influence the number of panels required.

For Californians experiencing frequent power outages, investing in solar batteries may be beneficial, although they typically entail an upfront cost of around $10,000. Additionally, since California residents consume less energy compared to the national average, smaller, more cost-effective systems can often meet their needs while eliminating electric bills.

Considerations When Choosing Solar Panel Technology

There are multiple options to keep in mind when deciding which solar panels, inverters, racking systems, and batteries to install for your solar panel installation. Given the multitude of options accessible today, you must grasp the key elements that set one component apart from another. For example, the most significant solar panels available may have higher efficiency and warranties but are typically more expensive. However, depending on the size of the installation, you must decide whether high-efficiency solar panels that generate more electricity are viable. In addition, your risk tolerance might help you decide which solar warranties are ideal for you. These are only a few considerations when choosing solar panel technology.

In conclusion, while the initial solar panel cost installation in California may appear high, the long-term benefits in energy savings and environmental effects make it a good investment for both individuals and businesses. Solar power is emerging as a cost-effective and sustainable answer for California’s energy needs, thanks to supporting policies and technological advances.

Also Read: How Much Power Will Solar Panel 100 Watt Generate?



  • Michael Thompson

    Michael Thompson is an esteemed expert in the renewable energy sector, with a profound experience spanning over 25 years. His expertise encompasses various sustainable energy solutions, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, and energy efficiency practices. Michael discusses the latest trends in renewable energy and provides practical advice on energy conservation.


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