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

  • San Mateo 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 Mateo

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

The national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, but in San Mateo it's $3 per watt. Using this figure, a typical 3.1 would cost about $5,867 before the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

These figures are only estimates, and your own solar costs will look different based on your energy needs and what company you want to go with. With average savings of about $33,000 on power bills over 20 years, many homeowners in San Mateo find installing solar panels can be quite rewarding.

Click the button below to get connected to a highly rated solar company in San Mateo for a personalized quote.

Solar savings over time in San Mateo

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 Mateo

DIY solar panel installation is a possibility, but it's an undertaking that can be a headache. Using a solar panel installer can make your switch to solar power much easier. A solar company can also help save you money over time by offering warranties, repairs and system component replacements.

Working with a vetted 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 San Mateo

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in San Mateo

There are several factors that can influence your solar panel installation cost, such as the size of your system, the equipment you choose, your financing options and the specific company that installs your solar panels.

Solar Equipment

When it comes to estimating the price of a solar system in San Mateo, one of the most important factors is the size of the system you need. Solar systems are sized by kilowatts (kW) and are chiefly based on your home's energy consumption, which you can gauge by looking at past energy bills. Your total cost can increase by about $2,730 for each additional kilowatt you need. The brand and kind of equipment you choose for your solar system can increase or decrease the price quite significantly. If you prefer a trusted brand name like Tesla or SunPower, these often have a higher price tag 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 more 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 San Mateo offer solar loans, which reduce your upfront costs of installing solar panels. However, the interest on solar loans also adds to your total costs, so it's vital to consider that as well. You can always reduce the total you pay in interest and possibly even your APR by putting more money down.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The remaining key cost factor you should keep in mind is the installer you choose. Given the massive popularity of green energy solutions in San Mateo, you'll have plenty of options to choose from, but each comes at various price points for labor and equipment. Additionally, some companies in San Mateo know more about local solar incentives and can help you take advantage of additional rebates or tax exemptions. Though, they may charge more for that service. Even if they cost more upfront, they could end up saving you more money in the long run.

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

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

  • Solar Panel Brands: Each solar panel brand and kind offers varying levels of quality, longevity and efficiency. They will come at different prices as well. The company you choose has an impact on which solar panel brands you have access to.
  • Reputation: Long-standing companies likely have a good 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 service, such as part repairs and replacements.
  • Contract: Look through the contract terms carefully to make sure you understand the overall cost, project timeline rebates and warranties.
  • Installation Process: When making the switch to solar, it's necessary to keep an open line of communication with your solar company. Confirm that you understand how the installation process will go and the project completion timeline.

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 Mateo, CA Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in San Mateo?

The average cost of solar panels in San Mateo 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 certain factors like the kind of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you consume.

Are solar panels free in San Mateo?

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

Is it worth going solar in San Mateo?

Solar panels can be a fruitful investment for many homeowners, but they might not be worth it for everyone. If your home doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight and/or your energy bills are already fairly low, solar panels might not be for you.

How many solar panels should I get to power 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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