Solar Panel Cost Guide in Lake Forest, CA (Feb 2023)

  • Lake Forest Solar Installation Cost: $5,504
  • 25-Year Savings: $14,818
  • Payback Period: 6.8 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 Lake Forest

Find out how much it might cost to switch to solar power in Lake Forest.

The average cost of a solar system in Lake Forest is $3 per watt. Since a 2.9-kW system is needed to cover the energy consumption of a typical home in Lake Forest, the average price of going solar will be about $5,504 before claiming the federal solar tax credit of 30%.

These figures are only averages, and your own solar costs will look different based on your energy needs and what company you want to go with. Despite the significant upfront cost, the average Lake Forest homeowner can save around $27,000 on their power bills over 20 years, which is one of the positives of solar.

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

Solar savings over time in Lake Forest

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-4,691
3 years $-3,065
5 years $-1,439
7 years $186
9 years $1,812
11 years $3,438
13 years $5,064
15 years $6,690
17 years $8,315
19 years $9,941
21 years $11,567
23 years $13,193
25 years $14,818

Top Solar Installers in Lake Forest

Many homeowners opt for a solar installer since figuring out how to install solar panels on your own can be challenging. The expertise that solar companies offer can be invaluable as well, particularly if you don't quite know what kind of solar equipment you need.

If you're looking for a solar company in Lake Forest, we've organized a list of our top suggestions here:

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 Lake Forest

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Lake Forest

There are a number of factors that can determine 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

Solar system size, which is measured in kilowatts, is one of the largest factors that determines the overall cost of installing solar panels. That's why it's important to accurately ascertain the size of the solar energy system needed for your home by figuring out your energy needs. Some solar panel brands — like Maxeon from SunPower — are more expensive upfront but also tend to offer higher efficiency. In a city like Lake Forest, where sunlight is abundant, efficiency can quickly pay off. Plus, if you have a small roof or you don't have a lot of 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

For some homeowners, paying for solar panels out of pocket can be financially overwhelming. Solar loans are provided by most installers in Lake Forest, which can bring down, or in some cases completely eliminate, your upfront costs to make solar more affordable. When considering your overall cost, you should also calculate the interest you'll pay if you opt for a solar loan. Also, paying more on your down payment can lower the total interest paid over time.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The solar company you choose to handle your switch to solar energy can play a part in your total costs. There are about 3 solar panel companies operating in Lake Forest, and each can charge different amounts for labor and equipment. 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 at a higher cost. It's best to do some research and find a company that provides the products, warranties and services you're looking for and also is 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 $30,351 7.1 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $40,774 6.9 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $51,350 6.8 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $62,078 6.6 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $72,960 6.5 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $83,994 6.4 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $95,181 6.2 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $106,521 6.1 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

There are many solar installers to choose from, all of which offer different warranties, solar panel brands and price points. To help you select the right company for you, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Contract: It's important to look over your solar installer's contract well to understand what services they will provide, what the warranty covers and what you can expect about the project timeline.
  • Reputation: The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a well-established certification organization for clean energy professionals. If your solar panel installer is NABCEP-certified, it most likely has a solid reputation and is qualified to get the job done well. Another way you can research your installer's reputation is by reading reviews.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Not all solar companies have the same brands of solar panels, so the brand and type of panel you want can play a large role in the company you go with.
  • Installation Process: Get detailed information from your solar installer about the installation process and what to expect, such as when the site survey will be completed and how long it will take.

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 Lake Forest, CA Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Lake Forest?

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. You can expect to pay more if you want extra solar equipment or more efficient panels, or if you have above-average energy usage. Conversely, you can spend less if you choose a smaller solar panel system or less expensive solar panels.

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

Cost is a very important factor to consider, but whether it's the most important for you depends on your reasons for going solar. In places where rooftop space is limited, efficiency can trump the cost. Other factors that are important to consider are the quality and durability of your solar panels.

How much can I save on electricity bills after installing solar panels?

It is possible to erase your electricity bills with solar panels, but for most homeowners throughout Lake Forest, that will require at least a 10-kW system. Not all homes will have roofs that 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?

The exact number of solar panels you need depends on your household energy consumption and how much sunlight your roof gets. You can look at your energy bills for the past year to get an idea of the solar system size you'll need. The average household has to get between 20 and 35 panels to account for their typical energy usage.

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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