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See how much you can save with solar
The cost of solar panels in California ranges from $3.03 per watt to $3.75 per watt. If you follow the national average and install a 6kW solar system, your costs would range between $15,840 and $20,520 before local or federal tax rebates, according to information gathered by Energy Sage. In comparison, in 2011 the average cost to install a 4kW solar system in California was $34,000.
Now that photovoltaic cells are cheaper to manufacture and install, it’s even more affordable for homeowners to purchase solar panels. Given the average monthly electric bill in California is $91.26, breaking down to 16 cents per kilowatt of energy and 562 kWh of energy use per month, California homeowners can save most — if not all — of their electric bill by switching to solar energy.
As of August 2016, Californians (and every homeowner in the country) who own solar panels can get 30 percent back in federal tax credits. While this only applies to those who own solar panels (no lease, financing or PPAs), it’s a big incentive that can put thousands of dollars back in your pocket. The current federal tax incentive will expire in 2021.
Individual utility companies typically offer solar energy incentives. We recommend performing a web search for “California solar tax incentives” or “California solar panel rebates” and include your zip code in the search to see if you can save even more on solar costs.
If your solar panels produce excess energy throughout the billing cycle, utility companies will owe you money. This process is called net metering. Essentially, the utility company’s electric meter will run backward. You’ll be eligible for this incentive if you own your solar panels or if your lease or loan allows for net metering.
Sunrun sets itself apart with 20 percent energy savings, solar PPAs, and stellar reviews with the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List.
This company is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and currently serves more than 100,000 customers. Homeowners who want flexible payment options, reliable solar panels, large energy savings, and quality monitoring should choose SunRun.
Sungevity is a reborn company after acquiring and combining solar installers Horizon and Solar Spectrum.
The combination creates a great experience for customers by fusing each company’s stellar reputation for customer service while offering great products and installations without cumbersome upfront costs. Plus, the combination makes Sungenvity the fourth-largest solar power installer in the nation.
SunPower leads the industry with innovation.
For more than 30 years, SunPower has filed 600 patents for solar technology and propelled the first solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse 2, on a worldwide journey. On top of that, SunPower’s high-tech solar cells produce 60 percent more energy than conventional panels over 25 years, so customers can get more energy for less.
Vivint is a one-stop-shop for energy savings, security, and convenience.
The company started as a home automation and home security company in Utah. Then expanded, giving customers the opportunity to save 10-30 percent on their utility bills. You may choose from solar PPAs, leases, financing, and buy-out packages that come with flexible payment options. Plus, Vivint has home security systems and home automation devices to fortify and upgrade your home.
California lawmakers are committed to creating more sustainable energy, and aim to generate 12 gigawatts of electricity from wind, solar, and fuel cells by 2020. Although that seems like a small number, 12 gigawatts of electricity can power millions of homes with clean energy. To achieve this goal, state officials have shifted their focus to solar energy and making it more attainable for homeowners.
In 2014, California lawmakers passed a bill that excludes solar equipment from being added onto property value (until 2025). This keeps property tax on homes lower, so more people can afford solar panels. While it’s unclear if California homeowners will eventually incur property tax on solar panels, there are savings to be reaped in the meantime.
Additionally, in 2018, the California legislature passed a law that requires solar panels to be installed on any future houses. The new law goes into effect in 2020 and exempts homes that are often shaded. It also provides a financial incentive for people to add a high-capacity battery to their home’s electrical system, which further helps store the sun’s energy and reduces reliance on the city electrical grid.
More than 76,800 people are employed at more than 2,700 solar companies in California.
In 2018, California has installed 24,463.96 megawatts — the most in the country.
Since one megawatt can power 1,000 homes, California’s current solar equipment can power nearly 6.36 million homes.
California has invested $60.07 billion in solar energy development and installation.
This organization regulates privately owned gas and electric companies in California. You can read up on news, file complaints, look up utility pricing, and more on the CPUC website.
Contact local representatives, learn about laws that impact solar energy, and see if any bills are pending that could impact your solar savings.
Explore energy trends in America, how solar and renewable resources can power the nation more efficiently, and more on this government site.
The California Energy Commission’s goal is to reduce energy costs and promote environmentally safe energy solutions. Read up on news and projects that could affect your energy bill and community.
See if you qualify for energy rebates that can save you even more on your solar panels.
Learn about California solar power incentives that benefit specific zip codes.