Solar Panel Cost Guide in Chico, CA (Feb 2023)

  • Chico Solar Installation Cost: $6,001
  • 25-Year Savings: $20,330
  • Payback Period: 5.7 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated January 20, 2023

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We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Chico

We go over average solar pricing in Chico.

The national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, but in Chico it's $3 per watt. The average Chico homeowner needs a 3.1-kilowatt system, which would cost about $6,001, or $4,441 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

The prices above are just estimates to give you an idea of the cost of a solar panel system. The exact cost of going solar can vary based on multiple factors, such as how many panels you need, your energy usage and what company you go with. For most homeowners, the upfront investment in solar power is worth paying. On average Chico homeowners see about $32,000 in savings on energy bills over 20 years.

Click the button below to get connected to a highly rated solar installer in Chico for a custom estimate.

Solar savings over time in Chico

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-4,947
3 years $-2,841
5 years $-734
7 years $1,372
9 years $3,479
11 years $5,585
13 years $7,692
15 years $9,798
17 years $11,905
19 years $14,011
21 years $16,118
23 years $18,224
25 years $20,330

Top Solar Installers in Chico

Trying to put up solar panels yourself can be a challenging task, which is why hiring a solar installer is a good option for many homeowners. The expertise that solar installers provide can be valuable as well, particularly if you don't quite know what type of solar equipment would be right for your home.

If you'd like to switch to solar energy but still aren't certain which solar installer to go with, here are our recommendations for providers near you:

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 Chico

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Chico

There are a number of criteria that can play into your solar system installation cost, such as the size of your system, the equipment you choose, your financing options and the specific company that installs your solar system.

Solar Equipment

When it comes to estimating the cost of a solar panel system in Chico, one of the most important factors is the size of the system you need. Solar systems are sized by kilowatts (kW) and are largely based on your home's energy consumption, which you can determine by looking at past power bills. Your overall cost can increase by about $2,730 for each additional kilowatt you need. There are several different solar panel brands and the one you choose also affects the cost. Usually, the brands that are more efficient tend to also be more expensive. In addition, the type of equipment you want to install can affect your total cost. If you just need panels, your system will be far less expensive than if you also need solar batteries or an electric vehicle charger.

Solar Financing Terms

If paying for solar panels in cash is out of reach, solar loans are an affordable choice because they decrease your upfront costs and allow you to pay for your system over five to seven years on average. It's a good idea to add the interest you'll pay in your final cost estimate. If you can afford to pay a larger down payment, you can reduce your total costs and the amount of time it'll take to pay back the loan.

Solar Panel Installation Company

A final consideration when trying to evaluate the cost of solar for your home or business in Chico is the company you get to install your PV system. Similar to choosing a company to install new cabinets, for instance, there are plenty of solar installers that provide a range of services for different budgets. Larger national companies generally have lower costs, but some local companies keep up with them by promoting sales and discounts. While the smaller companies might not have access to specific equipment options like Tesla Powerwall batteries or add-on services like electric car charger installation, they might be cheaper overall.

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 $38,394 5.9 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $51,498 5.8 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $64,754 5.7 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $78,164 5.6 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $91,726 5.5 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $105,441 5.4 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $119,310 5.2 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $133,331 5.1 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

The solar installer you opt for will be a major factor in determining not only your overall costs, but also the kinds of solar panel brands, warranties, and other equipment you can get. When choosing a solar company, there are a few important things you should take into account, such as:

  • Solar Panel Brands: The brand of solar panel you want to install plays a role in which installer you should opt for, since different companies have access to different panels.
  • Reputation: The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a respected certification organization for sustainable energy professionals. If your solar panel installer is NABCEP-certified, it likely has a good reputation and is qualified to install your solar system. Another way you can check your installer's reputation is by reading reviews.
  • Contract: Read the contract terms thoroughly to make sure you understand the overall cost, project completion timeline incentives and warranties.
  • Installation Process: Homeowners should make sure they know how exactly the installation process will go, as well as important factors like the project timeline.

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 Chico, CA Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Chico?

The average cost of solar panels in Chico is about $13,650 for a 5-kW system and $27,300 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the actual cost will depend on things like the model of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you use.

What other factors should I consider in addition to cost when buying solar panels?

The initial cost is a very important factor to consider, but whether it's the most important for you depends on why you decided to go solar. In areas where rooftop space is limited, efficiency can be more important than the cost. Other factors that are important to take into account are the quality and durability of your solar panels.

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

Most states offer net metering programs of some kind. Through these, you can receive compensation for the extra power your system generates or or receive credits to put toward future energy bills. Currently there are just three states that don't have any net metering laws: Alabama, Tennessee and South Dakota.

How long do solar panels last in Chico?

Even though the average lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, that doesn't mean they stop working completely at that time. What this means is how much energy they produce will have decreased significantly after that point. You can replace them once you've had them for that long or you can keep using 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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