Solar Panel Cost Guide in El Cerrito, CA (2023 Update)

  • El Cerrito Solar Installation Cost: $7,395
  • 25-Year Savings: $20,513
  • Payback Period: 7.0 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated February 03, 2024

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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 El Cerrito

See how much it might cost to go solar in El Cerrito.

The average cost of solar panels in El Cerrito is 3 per watt.To account for the typical energy usage of the average home in El Cerrito, most homeowners require a 3.0-kilowatt system. Using the figure above, a solar installation costs about $7,395, or $10,575 before the federal solar tax credit of 0 is applied.

How much you pay can go above or below the average in El Cerrito based on several factors, such as the type of solar panels you choose and the solar contractor you hire.Despite the large initial cost, the average El Cerrito homeowner can save around $33,000 on their power bills over 20 years, which is one of the positives of solar.

Click the button below to get connected to a top solar installer in El Cerrito for a customized quote.

Solar savings over time in El Cerrito

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-5,857
3 years $-2,781
5 years $295
7 years $3,371
9 years $6,446
11 years $9,522
13 years $12,598
15 years $15,674
17 years $18,750
19 years $21,825
21 years $24,901
23 years $27,977
25 years $31,053

Top Solar Installers in El Cerrito

Many homeowners opt for a solar panel installer since trying to install solar panels by yourself can be time-consuming. Also, companies with an outstanding reputation that are more expensive upfront could actually save you money in the long term with their warranties, repair services and expert design.

If you’d like to start using solar energy but still aren’t sure which solar panel installer to go with, here are our suggestions for providers in El Cerrito:

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 for Leasing

Sunrun

★★★★★
4.0

  • Expansive service area
  • Many financing options
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Some reported issues with door-to-door sales

See all of the solar companies in El Cerrito

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in El Cerrito

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

Solar Equipment

The cost of solar panels varies by thousands of dollars due to a variety of factors. One of the most significant factors is the system size, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). Solar power systems that have higher efficiency or power production use better technology and/or more equipment, both of which can increase costs. For each additional kilowatt you need, your cost can go up by about $3,470.The type of solar panels and equipment you want is another factor that will greatly influence costs. Solar panels that have higher efficiency, like monocrystalline panels, tend to be more expensive. Plus, solar equipment is more than just the solar panels themselves. You’ll also need to make decisions about the kind of racks used to mount the panels, inverters, solar batteries, etc. It’s important to take all of this into consideration when looking into a solar system that falls within your budget.

Solar Financing Terms

Many homeowners find the average cost of solar in El Cerrito to be prohibitively steep, even if the investment pays off over time. Thankfully, almost every solar installer in the area offers financing options. Solar loans drastically decrease upfront costs in most cases, but they also result in higher prices over time because of interest.You’ll have to consider the long-term cost of financing options, including the amount of interest you’ll pay over the length of the loan. If you’re only able to 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 securing a solar loan with a low interest rate could reduce your costs remarkably.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The last significant cost factor you should keep in mind is the installer you choose. Given the massive popularity of sustainable energy solutions in El Cerrito, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from, but each comes at varying price points for labor and equipment.You may notice national solar installers that have lower prices because of their larger brand name and access to bulk equipment prices, or you might see small, local installation companies offering deals or specials 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 $3.61 $15,157 $36,738 7.3 years
8 kW $3.54 $19,821 $49,373 7.2 years
10 kW $3.47 $24,290 $62,202 7.0 years
12 kW $3.40 $28,565 $75,225 6.9 years
14 kW $3.33 $32,646 $88,443 6.7 years
16 kW $3.26 $36,532 $101,855 6.6 years
18 kW $3.19 $40,224 $115,461 6.5 years
20 kW $3.12 $43,722 $129,262 6.3 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

The solar installer you go with will be a major factor in determining not only your total costs, but also the kinds of solar panel brands, warranties, and other equipment you have access to. When choosing a solar company, there are several important things you should take into account, such as:

  • Installation Process: Homeowners should understand how exactly the installation process will be carried out, as well as important factors like the project completion timeline.
  • Warranty: If you’re worried about the longevity of your solar system, making sure your installer offers a 25-year, all-inclusive warranty can help put you at ease.
  • Contract: Read the contract terms thoroughly to make sure you understand the overall cost, project completion timeline rebates and warranties.
  • Solar Panel Brands: The kind of solar panel you need to get plays a role in which installer you should go with, since different companies offer different panels.

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 for Leasing

Sunrun

★★★★★
4.0

  • Expansive service area
  • Many financing options
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Some reported issues with door-to-door sales

EcoWatch's El Cerrito, CA Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in El Cerrito?

The average cost of solar panels in El Cerrito is about $17,350 for a 5-kW system and $34,700 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the actual cost will depend on certain factors such as the model of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you consume.

Can you get solar panels for free in El Cerrito?

You can’t get solar panels for free in El Cerrito. However, you may still be able to install them on a lower budget. You can lease solar panels for a low upfront cost or, if you’d prefer to own your solar panels, you can finance them with a solar loan.

Do solar panels increase your home value?

Solar panels can increase the value of your home remarkably as long as you buy or finance your panels and don’t choose a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). According to research done by Zillow, the average home value increases by about 4.1% with a solar installation."

How often do you have to replace solar panels?

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 how much energy they produce will have decreased significantly after that point. You can opt to replace them once you've had 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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