Solar Panel Cost Guide in Sonoma, CA (Jan 2023)

  • Sonoma Solar Installation Cost: $5,905
  • 25-Year Savings: $20,426
  • 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 Sonoma

Let's have a look at the average cost of solar panels in Sonoma.

Currently, the national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt. However, in Sonoma, the average cost of a solar system is $3 per watt. The average solar panel system size in Sonoma is around 3.1 kilowatts, meaning a cost of about $5,905 for a solar installation, or $4,370 after the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

Keep in mind that the figures above are only estimates based on the average energy use of Sonoma homeowners. The cost of a solar system for your home may look different depending on factors unique to you, like your household energy use and solar contractor. With typical savings of about $32,000 on power bills over 20 years, many homeowners in Sonoma find investing in solar can pay off big.

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

Solar savings over time in Sonoma

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-4,852
3 years $-2,745
5 years $-639
7 years $1,468
9 years $3,574
11 years $5,681
13 years $7,787
15 years $9,894
17 years $12,000
19 years $14,107
21 years $16,213
23 years $18,320
25 years $20,426

Top Solar Installers in Sonoma

Do-it-yourself solar panel installation is a possibility, but it's an undertaking that can be a pain. Taking advantage of a solar panel installer can make swapping over to solar power much easier. The payback period of solar panels will vary based on factors like your location and energy usage, but going with a solar company can shorten it. Your provider will be able to help you apply for incentives available in your area.

There are various licensed solar professionals that can install solar panels for you. 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

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 Sonoma

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Sonoma

Cost is often one of the most important factors for homeowners considering investing in solar. There are a few major factors that determine your overall cost in Sonoma: solar equipment and system size, financing options and the solar installation company you choose. We'll cover each of these briefly below.

Solar Equipment

Solar system size, which is measured in kilowatts, is one of the largest factors that determines the overall cost of going solar. For that reason, it's crucial to accurately assess the size of the solar energy system needed for your home by figuring out your energy needs. The kind of solar panels and equipment you get is another factor that will considerably affect costs. Solar panels that have higher efficiency, like monocrystalline panels, tend to cost more. Furthermore, solar equipment is more than just the solar panels themselves. You'll also need to decide on the kind of racks used to mount the panels, inverters, solar batteries, etc. It's important to take all of this into consideration when researching a solar system that falls within your budget.

Solar Financing Terms

If paying for a solar system in cash is out of reach, solar loans are a popular choice because they reduce your upfront costs and let you pay for your system over five to seven years on average. It's wise to add the interest you'll pay in your final cost estimate. If you can afford to put more money down upfront, you can reduce your total costs and the amount of time it'll take to pay back the loan.

Solar Panel Installation Company

Lastly, the company you opt for to install your solar panels can play a part in determining how much you pay. Sonoma's solar companies all have different labor costs and add varying upcharges to equipment. Companies that 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 with an above-average cost. It's best to do some research and decide on the company that has the products, warranties and services you want 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 $39,269 5.8 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $52,664 5.7 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $66,213 5.6 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $79,914 5.5 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $93,768 5.4 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $107,775 5.3 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $121,935 5.2 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $136,248 5.0 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

Since the type of solar panels and the installer you choose greatly impacts your costs and your system's durability and efficiency, it's important to pick the right ones for you. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help with your decision:

  • Solar Panel Brands: Different companies have various brands and models of panels. If you know you want a specific brand, make sure the solar panel company you're considering has it.
  • Contract: It's important to look over your solar installer's contract well to understand what services they will provide, what the warranty covers and what expectations you should have about the installation process.
  • Warranty: A high-quality company stands out from other companies by offering the gold standard warranty — a 25-year, all-inclusive warranty covering parts, labor and performance.
  • Reputation: Long-running companies likely have a high 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.

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 Sonoma, CA Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Sonoma?

The average cost of solar panels in Sonoma 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 type of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you use.

What other factors should I consider in addition to cost when buying solar panels?

Cost is certainly one of the most important factors you should consider when buying solar panels, but other important factors include efficiency, durability, and quality.

Does Sonoma have a net metering program?

Each state has some form of net metering programs except Tennessee, South Dakota and Alabama currently. Some states let you sell power back to the grid, but others just give you credit toward your future energy bills.

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 goes down by about 0.8% each year. You can choose to replace them sooner if you want to maintain a larger 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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