Solar Panel Cost Guide in San Carlos, CA (Jan 2023)

  • San Carlos 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 San Carlos

Let's take a look at the average cost of solar panels in San Carlos.

The national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, but in San Carlos it's $3 per watt. The average solar panel system size in San Carlos is around 3.1 kilowatts, meaning a cost of about $5,867 for a solar installation, or $4,342 after the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

The prices above are just estimates to give you an idea of how much a solar energy system could cost. The true cost of going solar can vary based on multiple factors, such as how many panels you need, your energy usage and what company you go with. Even with the significant upfront cost, the average San Carlos homeowner can save about $33,000 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 top solar company in San Carlos for a quote for your home.

Solar savings over time in San Carlos

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 San Carlos

Installing solar panels on your own can be a difficult task, which is why using a solar installer is a good option for many homeowners. A solar installer can also help save you money in the long run by providing warranties, repairs and part replacements.

If you're searching for a solar installer in San Carlos, the EcoWatch team has 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 San Carlos

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in San Carlos

There are a number of criteria that can affect your total 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 energy your household uses, the larger your system will likely need to be. You can expect to spend around $2,730 per kilowatt in San Carlos. There are several different solar panel brands and the one you choose also affects the cost. In general, the brands that offer higher efficiency tend to also cost more. Plus, the type of equipment you're looking to get 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

Solar panels can save you money on utility bills over many years, but they can also be a significant investment. That's why many San Carlos homeowners choose to finance their solar panel systems to make paying for solar more affordable. You'll have to consider the long-term cost of financing options, including the amount of interest you'll pay over the length of the loan. If you're only able to get a high-interest loan, then your total can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than the principal cost. Making a larger down payment or getting a solar loan with a low APR could reduce your costs considerably.

Solar Panel Installation Company

Finally, the company you opt for to install your solar system can affect how much it costs. San Carlos' solar companies all have different labor costs and add varying upcharges to equipment. The company's size sometimes plays the most significant role in the cost. Larger national companies, like SunPro and Sunrun, often have lower pricing because of access to more resources and better pricing. Smaller local companies might be more costly, but they generally have better customer service and more customization options, and the occasional sale or discount can bring their pricing lower to compete with bigger names.

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 installer you go with will impact not only your total costs, but also the types of solar panel brands, warranties, and other equipment you can get. When choosing a solar company, there are several important things you should take into account, including:

  • Contract: When looking through your solar installer's contract, ask for clarification about any terms you're not sure of and be sure you understand what happens in scenarios like a system part breaking or the company going out of business.
  • 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 install your solar system. Another way you can check your installer's reputation is by reading reviews.
  • Installation Process: Homeowners should understand how exactly the installation process will go, as well as important factors like the project completion timeline.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Different companies have various brands and models of panels. If you want a specific brand, make sure the solar panel installer you're considering has it.

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 San Carlos, CA Solar Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels in San Carlos?

The average cost of solar panels in San Carlos is about $13,650 for a 5-kW system and $27,300 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the actual cost will depend on stuff such as the model of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you consume.

Can you get solar panels for free in San Carlos?

A solar panel system isn't free in San Carlos, but there are some options that can make getting them more affordable, such as leasing solar panels or getting a solar loan. There may also be local programs or incentives that can further reduce the cost.

Is switching to solar power worth it?

Solar panels can be a great investment for many 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 pretty low, solar panels might not be for you.

How long do solar panels last in San Carlos?

Although the average lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, that doesn't mean they stop working completely at that time. What this means is the amount of energy they produce will have decreased significantly after that point. You can replace them after having 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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