Solar Panel Cost Guide in Palo Alto, CA (Dec 2022)

  • Palo Alto Solar Installation Cost: $5,695
  • 25-Year Savings: $18,525
  • Payback Period: 5.9 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 11/09/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Palo Alto

Let's have a look at the average cost of solar in Palo Alto.

Currently, the national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt. However, in Palo Alto, the typical cost of a solar system is $3 per watt. Using this figure, a typical 3.0 would cost about $5,695 before the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

Remember that the numbers above are only averages. The price you'll end up paying for solar may look quite different based on your household energy use, the type of solar system you choose, your solar contractor and more. For most homeowners, the upfront cost of solar is worth paying. On average Palo Alto homeowners see about $31,000 in savings on utility bills over 20 years.

Click the button below to get connected to a highly rated solar installer in your area for a customized estimate.

Solar savings over time in Palo Alto

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-4,726
3 years $-2,788
5 years $-851
7 years $1,087
9 years $3,024
11 years $4,962
13 years $6,900
15 years $8,837
17 years $10,775
19 years $12,712
21 years $14,650
23 years $16,588
25 years $18,525

Top Solar Installers in Palo Alto

Do-it-yourself solar panel installation is a possibility, but it's an undertaking that can be a headache. Hiring a solar panel installer can make swapping over to solar power much easier. The expertise that solar installers offer can be helpful as well, especially if you aren't sure what brand of solar equipment would be right for your home.

You can work with a local solar installer to get a free estimate on how much your investment in solar could cost for your home. Here are some in Palo Alto:

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 Palo Alto

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Palo Alto

For many Palo Alto homeowners, the decision to install solar panels rests on cost. However, the range of solar installation costs can be quite wide in Palo Alto, with typical prices between $20,000 to $40,000. There are a few factors that considerably influence the price you'll pay, which we'll go over below.

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 energy your household uses, the larger your system will likely need to be. You can expect to spend about $2,730 per kilowatt in Palo Alto. Some solar panel brands — like Maxeon from SunPower — are more costly upfront but also tend to offer higher efficiency. In a city like Palo Alto, where sunlight is abundant, efficiency can quickly pay off. Also, 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

For some homeowners, paying for a solar system out of pocket can be challenging. Solar loans are available from most installers in Palo Alto, which can reduce, or in some cases completely eliminate, your upfront costs to make solar more accessible. When trying to figure out your overall cost, you should also calculate the interest you'll pay if you go with a solar loan. Also, paying more on your down payment can reduce the total interest paid over time.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The solar installation company you select will influence your total cost to go solar. Different companies will bill different amounts for the equipment and labor. You may notice national solar installers that have lower prices because of their bigger brand name and access to bulk equipment pricing, or you might see small, local installation companies offering deals or promotions to compete with those larger companies.

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 $36,771 6.1 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $49,334 6.0 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $62,050 5.9 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $74,918 5.8 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $87,940 5.7 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $101,114 5.5 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $114,441 5.4 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $127,921 5.3 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

There are a large number of companies available in Palo Alto, and some homeowners feel overwhelmed considering their options. Choosing the right company for you can be tough, so here are some tips to help you decide:

  • Contract: Although reading through a contract can be tedious, it's important to do it carefully so you can make sure you understand how much the equipment and services will cost and the terms of the warranty.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Homeowners will have different preferences for panels based on their locations and energy needs. Even though there are many options for which type of solar panel you can get, not every company will have access to the exact one you may want or need, so be sure to ask for their list of options before making your decision.
  • Reputation: Solar installers that have great reviews from their customers and that have been in business for many years in most cases offer high-quality solar panel installation and expertise.
  • Warranty: A quality company stands out from other companies by providing the gold standard warranty — a 25-year, all-inclusive warranty covering parts, labor and performance.

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 Palo Alto, CA Solar Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Palo Alto?

This is a tough question to answer exactly, 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 be more expensive if you want additional solar equipment or higher quality panels, or if you have higher-than-average energy usage. On the other hand, you can spend less if you opt for a smaller solar panel system or less expensive solar panels.

Is cost the most important thing to keep in mind when buying solar panels?

The upfront cost is a key factor to consider, but whether it's the most important for you depends on why you decided to go 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.

Is switching to solar power worth it?

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 power bills are already fairly low, solar panels might not be for you.

How long do solar panels last in Palo Alto?

On average, the lifespan of solar panels is about 25 to 30 years. Some even last up to 50 years, but their efficiency decreases by about 0.8% each year. You can choose to replace them sooner if you want to maintain a higher amount of energy production.

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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