Solar Panel Cost Guide in Oakland, CA (Sep 2022)

  • Oakland Solar Installation Cost: $5,752
  • 25-Year Savings: $20,579
  • Payback Period: 5.5 Years

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EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 9/16/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Oakland

Let's take a look at the average cost of solar in Oakland.

In Oakland, solar panels cost about $3 per watt on average. To account for the typical energy usage of the average home in Oakland, most homeowners require a 3.0-kilowatt system. Using the figure above, a solar installation costs around $5,752, or $4,256 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

Keep in mind that the numbers above are only averages. The price you'll pay for solar may look quite different based on your household energy needs, the type of solar panels you choose, your solar contractor and more. Many homeowners find adopting solar power is a rewarding investment. The average homeowner in Oakland can save around $33,000 on their power bills over 20 years.

For a customized quote from a local solar company that has been pre-vetted by the EcoWatch team, click the button below.

Solar savings over time in Oakland

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-4,699
3 years $-2,592
5 years $-486
7 years $1,621
9 years $3,727
11 years $5,834
13 years $7,940
15 years $10,046
17 years $12,153
19 years $14,259
21 years $16,366
23 years $18,472
25 years $20,579

Top Solar Installers in Oakland

Do-it-yourself solar panel installation is a possibility, but it's an undertaking that can be a headache. Using a solar panel installer can make converting to solar power much easier. Companies can also have access to quality options of the best solar panels and help you pick which one will be right for your home.

There are a number of 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

The Green Panel

★★★★★
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 Oakland

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Oakland

Cost is typically 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 Oakland: solar equipment and system size, financing options and the solar installation company you choose. We'll discuss each of these briefly below.

Solar Equipment Size

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to the cost of going solar is the size of the solar system, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). The more power your household consumes, the larger your system will likely need to be. You can expect to spend about $2,730 per kilowatt in Oakland. There are many different solar panel brands and the one you choose also changes the cost. In many cases, the brands that are more efficient tend to also be more expensive. Plus, the type of equipment you choose can affect your total cost. If you just need panels, your system will be much less expensive than if you also need solar batteries or an electric vehicle charger.

Solar Financing Terms

For some homeowners, paying for a solar system out of pocket can be financially overwhelming. Solar loans are provided by most installers in Oakland, which can reduce, or in some cases totally eliminate, your upfront costs to make solar more accessible. 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 more than the original 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 panel installation company you select will influence your total cost to go solar. Different companies will bill different amounts for the equipment and labor. Some companies 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 cost more. It's best to do some research and find a company that offers 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 $40,546 5.7 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $54,367 5.6 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $68,341 5.5 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $82,468 5.4 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $96,747 5.2 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $111,180 5.1 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $125,765 5.0 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $140,504 4.9 years

Solar Incentives in Oakland

Name Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems and Solar Plus Storage System
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Western Riverside Council of Governments - Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Local Option - Municipal Energy Districts
More Info Click here

Name Self-Generation Incentive Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT)
Incentive Amount
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name LADWP - Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name California Solar Initiative - Solar Thermal Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

How to Save on Solar Panels

The company that does your solar panel installation will affect the warranties and brands available to you, and it will also have an impact on your total cost. Since choosing a company can be difficult, we have some tips to help you, such as:

  • Reputation: Companies that have been in business for many years likely have a solid reputation. This is important because it ensures that it will not only see your solar project through, but will also provide adequate aftercare and customer support, such as part repairs and replacements.
  • Contract: Before you sign a contract with a solar company, make sure to read it through completely so you understand the terms. Also, ask questions if you're unsure about some of the terms, such as what the warranty covers and what services you can expect from them.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Each solar panel brand and type has varying levels of quality, durability and efficiency. They will come at different price points as well. The company you choose has an impact on which solar panel brands you have access to.
  • Installation Process: Make sure you're on the same page with the installer in regard to how the installation process will go and what needs to be done before your solar panel system is installed, such as repairing your electrical system or roof.

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

The Green Panel

★★★★★
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 Oakland, CA Solar Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Oakland?

The average cost of solar panels in Oakland is about $13,650 for a 5-kW system and $27,300 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the real cost will depend on stuff like 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 Oakland?

Leasing solar panels can be an appealing choice, as it often comes with low or $0 upfront payments. The drawback 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 tax rebates and credits and your home value won't increase. Buying solar panels is a better option if you want to maximize your savings.

Can solar panels completely eradicate my electricity bills?

It is possible to eradicate your electricity bills with solar panels, but for most homeowners in Oakland, 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.

What solar power system size is right for my home?

To figure out how many solar panels you need, you should find out how much energy your home uses 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 home 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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