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

  • Hillsborough 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 Hillsborough

Find out what the average cost of solar panels are in Hillsborough.

In Hillsborough, solar panels cost about $3 per watt on average. To account for the typical energy usage of the average home in Hillsborough, most homeowners require a 3.1-kilowatt system. Using the per-watt figure above, a solar installation costs around $5,867, or $4,342 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

The true cost of your system can go higher or lower than the average in Hillsborough depending on several factors, such as the kind of solar panels you choose and the solar installer you hire. Many homeowners find adopting solar power is a rewarding investment. The average homeowner in Hillsborough can save around $33,000 on their electricity bills over 20 years.

To calculate your potential savings and connect with a local solar expert, click the button below.

Solar savings over time in Hillsborough

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 Hillsborough

Many homeowners opt for a solar panel company since trying to install solar panels on your own can be a labor-intensive endeavor. Plus, if you're unsure what brand of solar panels and equipment you want, a solar installer can help you find the right equipment for you after a site survey and consultation.

If you'd like to go solar but still aren't certain which solar company to go with, here are our suggestions for providers in Hillsborough:

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 Hillsborough

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Hillsborough

There are a number of criteria that can determine your solar panel 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

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to the cost of installing solar panels is the size of the solar system, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). The more power your household uses, the larger your system will likely need to be. You can expect to spend around $2,730 per kilowatt in Hillsborough. Some solar panel brands — like Maxeon from SunPower — cost more upfront but also tend to offer higher efficiency. In a city like Hillsborough, where sunlight is abundant, efficiency can quickly pay off. Plus, 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

If paying for a solar system out of pocket is out of reach, solar loans are a popular route because they lower your upfront costs and allow you to pay for your system over a term of, on average, between five and seven years. While solar loans make going solar more accessible for Hillsborough homeowners, they can also increase the total you pay for your system, depending on your interest rate. If you put down a larger down payment, though, you can avoid paying as much in interest.

Solar Panel Installation Company

A final consideration when trying to evaluate the cost of solar for your home or business in Hillsborough is the company you hire to install your PV system. As with choosing a company to renovate your kitchen, for example, there are plenty of solar installers that offer a range of services for different budgets. Additionally, some companies in Hillsborough have more knowledge about local solar incentives and can help you make good use of additional rebates or tax exemptions. However, they may charge more for walking you through the whole process. Even if they cost more upfront, they could help you save more money in the long run.

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 panel company you choose 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 have access to. When choosing a solar company, there are a few important things you should keep in mind, such as:

  • Reputation: The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a well-established certification organization for renewable energy professionals. If your solar panel installer is NABCEP-certified, it likely has a solid reputation and is qualified to get the job done well. Another way you can verify your installer's reputation is by reading reviews.
  • Installation Process: Make sure you're aligned with the installer in regard to how the installation process will go and what needs to be done before your solar system is installed, such as updating your electrical system or roof.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Not all solar installers have the same brands of solar panels, so the brand and type of panel you want can play a substantial role in the company you opt for.
  • Contract: Before signing a contract with a solar installer, make sure to look it over completely so you understand the terms. Also, ask questions if you're not certain about some of the terms, such as what to do if a part breaks or malfunctions and what services you can expect from them.

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 Hillsborough, CA Solar Cost FAQs

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

This is a difficult question to answer precisely, because the cost depends on a few different 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 cost more if you want other solar equipment or higher quality panels, or if you have higher-than-average energy consumption. On the flip side, you can spend less if you choose a smaller solar panel system or cheaper solar panels.

Should I lease or buy solar panels in Hillsborough?

Leasing solar panels can be an appealing choice, because it typically comes with low or $0 upfront payments. The downside is that you won't be able to save as much. If you lease, you don't own the system, so you can't claim any incentives and your home value won't increase. Buying solar panels is a better way to go if you want to maximize your savings.

Is it worth going solar in Hillsborough?

Solar panels can be a beneficial investment for lots of homeowners, but they might not be worth it for everyone. If your home doesn't get enough sunlight and/or your energy bills are already reasonably low, solar panels might not be for you.

How long do solar panels last in Hillsborough?

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 their energy production will have decreased significantly after that point. You can choose 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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