Solar Panel Cost Guide in Berkeley, CA (Nov 2022)

  • Berkeley Solar Installation Cost: $5,752
  • 25-Year Savings: $20,579
  • Payback Period: 5.5 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 11/09/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Berkeley

Let's have a look at the average cost of solar panels in Berkeley.

In Berkeley, solar panels cost about $3 per watt on average. Because a 3.0-kW system is needed to cover the energy usage of a typical home in Berkeley, the average price of going solar will be about $5,752 before claiming the federal solar tax credit of 30%.

These figures are just averages, and the cost of going solar for you will differ based on the amount of energy your home requires and what company you go with. Despite the high upfront cost, the average Berkeley homeowner can save about $33,000 on their energy bills over 20 years, which is one of the positives of solar.

To get a free estimate from a top solar company in Berkeley, you can click the button below.

Solar savings over time in Berkeley

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-4,699
3 years $-2,592
5 years $-486
7 years $1,621
9 years $3,727
11 years $5,834
13 years $7,940
15 years $10,046
17 years $12,153
19 years $14,259
21 years $16,366
23 years $18,472
25 years $20,579

Top Solar Installers in Berkeley

Many homeowners opt for a solar panel company since trying to install solar panels yourself can be a lot of work. Also, companies with a good reputation that are more expensive upfront could actually save you money in the long run because of their warranties, repair services and expert design.

If you're on the hunt for a solar installer in Berkeley, the EcoWatch team has put together a list of our top suggestions here:

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Regional Coverage

Momentum Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Concierge service ensures steady communication
  • Slightly limited service offerings

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

See all of the solar companies in Berkeley

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Berkeley

For many Berkeley homeowners, the decision to install solar panels rests on cost. However, the range of solar installation costs can be quite wide in Berkeley, with typical prices between $20,000 to $40,000. There are various factors that greatly influence the price you'll pay, which we'll go over below.

Solar Equipment

The size of the system you need is one of the largest factors that determines the overall cost of going solar. For that reason, it's a priority to accurately ascertain the size of the solar energy system needed for your home by figuring out your typical energy use. The kind of solar equipment you choose can bring your price up or down by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. If you opt for the most efficient solar panel brands, you'll end up paying more upfront than if you opted for the most affordable panels. On the other hand, higher efficiency could save you more over time on your energy bills. In addition, extra products, like solar batteries, can bring your total well above the Berkeley average.

Solar Financing Terms

Solar panels can save you money on power bills over many years, but they can also be a significant investment. That's why many Berkeley homeowners decide to finance their solar panel systems to offset upfront costs. You'll have to consider the long-term cost of loans, including the total interest you'll pay over the length of the loan. If you can only get a high-interest loan, then your total can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars above the equipment and labor cost. Making a larger down payment or getting a solar loan with a low APR could reduce your costs significantly.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The solar panel installation company you pick will influence your total cost to make the switch to solar . Different companies will bill different amounts for the equipment and labor. You may notice national solar installers that have lower prices because of their bigger brand name and access to bulk equipment pricing, or you might see small, local installation companies offering deals or promotions to compete with those larger companies.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $2.84 $11,925 $40,546 5.7 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $54,367 5.6 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $68,341 5.5 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $82,468 5.4 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $96,747 5.2 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $111,180 5.1 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $125,765 5.0 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $140,504 4.9 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

There are many solar installers to choose from, all of which offer different warranties, solar panel models and price points. To help you select the right company for you, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Solar Panel Brands: The kind of solar panel you want plays a role in which company you should choose, since different companies have access to different panels.
  • Contract: Review the contract terms closely to make sure you understand the cost breakdown, project timeline incentives and warranties.
  • Reputation: Your solar installer should have a sound reputation as a company and have proven expertise in the field. Two ways to check this are to look for whether a company has technicians that hold a certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and if it has satisfied reviews from previous customers.
  • Installation Process: One of the most important things to understand when adopting solar power is the installation process itself. Be sure to clarify any details you need to know with your solar company, such as what permits you should secure and what the project timeline is.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Regional Coverage

Momentum Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Concierge service ensures steady communication
  • Slightly limited service offerings

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Berkeley, CA Solar Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Berkeley?

This is a tough question to answer exactly, because the cost depends on a variety of factors. Broadly speaking, it costs about $13,650 for a 5-kW system and $27,300 for a 10-kW system after the ITC is applied. It will be more expensive if you want other solar equipment or more efficient panels, or if you have higher-than-average energy consumption. On the other hand, you can spend less if you choose a smaller solar panel system or cheaper solar panels.

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Berkeley?

Leasing solar panels can be an option if you can't afford to pay upfront or get a solar loan, but since you don't own the system, you can't take advantage of many solar incentives. Also your home value won't increase, so you'll have less savings over time. If you can afford to buy a solar system upfront, then buying is the better option if you want the most financial benefits from going solar.

Can you sell solar power back to the grid in Berkeley?

Each state has some form of net metering programs except Tennessee, South Dakota and Alabama currently. Some states allow you to sell power back to the grid, but others just give you credit toward your future energy bills.

How long do solar panels last in Berkeley?

Even though the average lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, that doesn't mean they are completely unusable at that time. What this means is the amount of energy they produce will have decreased significantly after that point. You can choose to replace them after having them for that long or you can continue to use them at a lower efficiency.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Company research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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