Solar Panel Cost Guide in Foster City, CA (Feb 2023)

  • Foster City Solar Installation Cost: $5,867
  • 25-Year Savings: $20,464
  • Payback Period: 5.6 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 Foster City

We go over average solar pricing in Foster City.

In Foster City, solar panels cost about $3 per watt on average. The average solar panel system size in Foster City is around 3.1 kilowatts, meaning a cost of about $5,867 for a solar installation, or $4,342 after the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

The prices above are just estimates to give you an idea of the cost of a solar energy system. The true cost of making the switch to solar can vary quite a bit based on several factors, such as what size system you need, your energy consumption and what installation company you go with. Many homeowners find going solar is a fruitful investment. The average homeowner in Foster City can save around $33,000 on their energy bills over 20 years.

You can click the button below to get connected with a top solar company in Foster City for a quote for your home.

Solar savings over time in Foster City

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-4,814
3 years $-2,707
5 years $-601
7 years $1,506
9 years $3,612
11 years $5,719
13 years $7,825
15 years $9,932
17 years $12,038
19 years $14,145
21 years $16,251
23 years $18,358
25 years $20,464

Top Solar Installers in Foster City

Although you can install solar panels on your own, it involves extra effort and handiness. That's why the majority of homeowners choose a solar panel installer. Also, companies with a high reputation that cost more upfront could actually save you money in the long term due to their warranties, repair services and expert design.

Working with a licensed solar installer can help you make the most of your investment in solar. Here are our recommendations:

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 Foster City

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Foster City

The cost of installing a solar system in Foster City can vary by more than $10,000 from home to home. Your actual cost depends on several factors. The most significant one is the size of the system you need, and other factors include the equipment you choose, financing options and the solar company you choose.

Solar Equipment

When it comes to estimating the price of a solar energy system in Foster City, one of the most crucial factors is the size of the system you need. Solar systems are sized by kilowatts (kW) and are mainly based on your home's energy usage, 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. The brand and kind of equipment you want for your solar system can increase or decrease the price quite significantly. If you prefer a brand name like Tesla or SunPower, these are often more expensive than other brands. Efficiency also matters. Whether you're opting for high efficiency because you have a small roof or just want maximum energy production, you will be looking at a higher equipment cost, but this can typically lead to greater savings over time. Also, if you want add-ons like an electric vehicle charger or solar batteries, this will also increase the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

Many homeowners find the average cost of solar in Foster City to be prohibitively costly, even if the investment pays off over time. Fortunately, almost every solar installer in the area offers financing options. Solar loans substantially decrease upfront costs for most homeowners, but they also result in a higher cost over time due to interest. You'll have to consider the long-term cost of loans, including the amount of 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 installation company you pick will impact your total cost to adopt solar energy. Different companies will bill different amounts for the equipment and labor. Companies that only sell high-quality, high-efficiency and high-price products — 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 choose a company that provides the products, warranties and services you're looking for and also fit into 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 $39,560 5.8 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $53,052 5.7 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $66,698 5.6 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $80,496 5.5 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $94,447 5.3 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $108,551 5.2 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $122,808 5.1 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $137,218 5.0 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

The solar installer you opt for will be a major factor in determining not only your total costs, but also the types of solar panel brands, warranties, and other equipment you have access to. When choosing a solar company, there are a few important things you should keep in mind, including:

  • Solar Panel Brands: Different companies have different brands and types of panels. If you want a specific brand, make sure the solar panel installer you're considering has it.
  • Contract: Read the contract terms thoroughly to make sure you understand the cost breakdown, completion timeline rebates and warranties.
  • Reputation: The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a respected certification organization for renewable energy professionals. If your solar panel installer is NABCEP-certified, it likely has a solid reputation and is qualified to do the job well. Another way you can look into your installer's reputation is by reading reviews.
  • Installation Process: Get details from your solar company about the installation process and what to expect, such as when the site survey will be completed 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 Foster City, CA Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Foster City?

The average cost of solar panels in Foster City 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 like the kind of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you use.

Can you get solar panels for free in Foster City?

A solar panel system isn't free in Foster City, but there are some options that can make getting them more feasible, such as leasing solar panels or getting a solar loan. There may also be local programs or incentives that you can take advantage of.

How will solar panels impact my property value?

Solar panels can increase your home value considerably as long as you buy or finance your panels and don't go for a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). According to research done by Zillow, the average home value increases by about 4.1% after installing solar panels."

How often do you have to replace solar panels?

Although 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 their energy production 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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