Solar Panel Cost Guide in Palo Alto, CA (Nov 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.

While the national average of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, solar panels in Palo Alto typically cost about $3. Since a 3.0-kW system is needed to cover the energy consumption of a typical home in Palo Alto, the average price of going solar will be about $5,695 before claiming the federal solar tax credit of 30%.

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 needs, the type of solar panels you choose, your solar contractor and more. For many homeowners, the upfront cost of solar power is worth paying. On average homeowners in Palo Alto see about $31,000 in savings on electricity bills over 20 years.

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

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

Although you can install solar panels by yourself, it requires extra energy and knowledge. That's one of the reasons almost all homeowners choose to go with a solar panel installer. Companies can also have access to various kinds of the best solar panels and help you pick which one will be best for your home.

Working with a licensed solar installer can help your solar project go smoothly. 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 Palo Alto

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Palo Alto

Though the average cost of a solar system in Palo Alto is $5,695, your actual cost may differ. There are many factors that can have a significant impact on the cost of a solar panel installation. Below are some of the more crucial things to keep in mind.

Solar Equipment

When it comes to estimating the price of solar panels in Palo Alto, one of the most important 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 power bills. Your total cost can increase by about $2,730 for each additional kilowatt you need. The brand and kind of equipment you get 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 can expect a higher equipment cost, but this can typically lead to greater savings over time. Plus, if you want add-ons like an electric vehicle charger or solar batteries, this will also raise the cost.

Solar Financing Terms

Most solar installers in Palo Alto provide solar loans, which reduce the initial cost of installing a solar system. While solar loans make adopting solar energy more accessible for Palo Alto homeowners, they can also raise the total you pay for your system, depending on your interest rate and how long you take to pay off the loan. If you put down a larger down payment, though, you can cut back on how much interest you have to pay.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The solar installer you pick will affect your total cost to make the switch to solar energy. Different companies will bill different amounts for the equipment and labor. 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 choose a company that offers the products, warranties and services you want 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 $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 lot of companies to choose from in Palo Alto, and some homeowners feel overwhelmed considering their options. Picking the right company for you can be challenging, so here are some tips to help you decide:

  • Solar Panel Brands: The type of solar panel you want to get plays a part in which installer you should choose, since different companies have different panels.
  • Contract: Look through the contract terms carefully to make sure you understand how much it will cost, completion timeline incentives and warranties.
  • Warranty: A comprehensive, 25-year warranty can help keep your solar panels running for a long time and save you money on part replacement and repairs.
  • Reputation: Make sure your solar company has a good reputation by confirming it has certifications and licenses, checking how long it's been in business and reading reviews by past customers and solar experts like EcoWatch.

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

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Palo Alto?

This is a hard 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 higher quality panels, or if you have above-average energy needs. Conversely, you can spend less if you go with a smaller solar panel system or less expensive solar panels.

Should I lease or buy solar panels in Palo Alto?

Leasing solar panels can be an option if you can't pay upfront or secure a solar loan, but since you don't own the system, you don't have access to many solar incentives. Also your home value won't increase, so you'll have less savings over time. If you can afford to buy a solar system upfront, then buying is the better option if you want the most financial benefits from going solar.

Is going solar worth it?

Whether or not solar panels are worth it depends on a variety of factors like local electricity rates and how much direct sunlight your roof gets.

How often do you have to replace solar panels?

On average, solar panels can last 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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