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

  • El Cerrito Solar Installation Cost: $5,809
  • 25-Year Savings: $20,522
  • Payback Period: 5.5 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 El Cerrito

Let's have a look at the average cost of solar in El Cerrito.

Currently, the national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt. However, in El Cerrito, the typical cost of a solar system is $3 per watt. Since a 3.0-kW system is needed to cover the energy needs of a typical home in El Cerrito, the average price of going solar will be about $5,809 before claiming the federal solar tax credit of 30%.

Keep in mind that the numbers above are only averages. The price you'll end up paying for solar will differ based on your household energy use, the type of equipment you want, your solar contractor and more. With typical savings of about $33,000 on energy bills over 20 years, many homeowners in El Cerrito find going solar can be quite rewarding.

You can click the button below to get connected with a vetted solar company in El Cerrito that can help you get a more accurate cost estimate for your home.

Solar savings over time in El Cerrito

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-4,756
3 years $-2,650
5 years $-543
7 years $1,563
9 years $3,670
11 years $5,776
13 years $7,883
15 years $9,989
17 years $12,096
19 years $14,202
21 years $16,309
23 years $18,415
25 years $20,522

Top Solar Installers in El Cerrito

Putting up solar panels by yourself can be a difficult undertaking, which is why hiring a solar installation company is a good option for many homeowners. Some solar companies, especially local ones, can help you make the most of incentives in El Cerrito, thereby optimizing your ROI.

There are several licensed solar professionals that can take care of your solar installation project. Here are our suggestions:

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 El Cerrito

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in El Cerrito

Cost is often one of the most important factors for homeowners who are considering investing in solar. There are a few primary factors that affect your total cost in El Cerrito: solar equipment and system size, financing options and the solar installation company you choose. We'll go over each of these briefly below.

Solar Equipment

When it comes to estimating the price of a solar panel system in El Cerrito, one of the most important factors is the size of the system you need. Solar systems are sized by kilowatts (kW) and are primarily based on your home's energy consumption, which you can gauge by looking at past electricity bills. Your overall cost can increase by about $2,730 for each additional kilowatt you need. Some solar brands — like Maxeon from SunPower — are more costly upfront but also tend to offer higher efficiency. In a city like El Cerrito, where sunlight is abundant, efficiency can quickly pay off. In addition, if you have a small roof or limited space for your panels, higher efficiency options will be more impactful. Additional equipment like electric vehicle chargers and solar batteries will also increase the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

Many homeowners find the average cost of solar in El Cerrito to be prohibitively costly, even if the investment pays off over time. Thankfully, nearly every solar installer in the area provides access to financing options. Solar loans greatly decrease upfront costs for most homeowners, but they also lead to higher prices over time due to interest. It's wise to factor 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 how long it'll take to pay back the loan.

Solar Panel Installation Company

A final consideration when trying to estimate the cost of solar for your home or business in El Cerrito is the company you get to install your solar system. As with choosing a company to renovate your kitchen, for instance, you'll have many options for solar installers that provide a range of services for different budgets. Some companies only sell products with high efficiency and therefore a higher price point — like Maxeon solar panels from SunPower or Tesla Powerwall batteries — so choosing those installers will generally come with an above-average cost. It's best to do some research and find a company that has the products, warranties and services you're looking for and also fits within your budget.

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 $39,971 5.7 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $53,600 5.6 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $67,382 5.5 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $81,317 5.4 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $95,405 5.3 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $109,646 5.2 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $124,039 5.1 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $138,586 5.0 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

There are many companies to choose from in El Cerrito, and some homeowners feel overwhelmed considering their options. Picking the right company for you can be tough, so here are some tips to help you decide:

  • Contract: Although reading through a contract can take a lot of time, it's important to do it thoroughly so you can make sure you understand what services your solar company will provide and the terms of the warranty.
  • Warranty: A comprehensive, long-term warranty can help keep your solar panels running for a long time and save you money on repairs and maintenance.
  • Solar Panel Brands: The type of solar panel you need to get plays a role in which installer you should go with, since different companies provide 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 most likely has a solid reputation and is qualified to do the job well. Another way you can check your installer's reputation is by reading reviews.

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 El Cerrito, CA Solar Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels in El Cerrito?

The average cost of solar panels in El Cerrito 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 certain factors such as the kind of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you use.

Should I lease or buy solar panels in El Cerrito?

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 property 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 savings from going solar.

How much can I save on power bills after switching to solar?

It is possible to eradicate your electricity bills with solar panels, but for most homeowners in El Cerrito, that will require at least a 10-kW system. Not all homes can accommodate that size system, so you'll want to contact a local solar installer to see how many panels can fit on your roof.

How many solar panels should I get to power my home?

To figure out how many solar panels you need, you should find out how much energy your home needs and how much sunlight your home gets. For a general estimate, however, since each panel can usually produce about 250 to 400 watt-hours per hour, the average household will need 20 to 35 panels.

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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