Solar Panel Cost Guide in South Lake Tahoe, CA (Oct 2022)

  • South Lake Tahoe Solar Installation Cost: $5,886
  • 25-Year Savings: $19,214
  • Payback Period: 5.9 Years

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EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 9/16/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in South Lake Tahoe

Find out what the average cost of a solar system is in South Lake Tahoe.

Although the national average of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, solar panels in South Lake Tahoe generally cost around $3. The average South Lake Tahoe homeowner needs a 3.1-kilowatt system, which would cost about $5,886, or $4,356 after the federal solar tax credit of 30% is applied.

These figures are only averages, and the cost of going solar for you will vary based on the amount of energy your home requires and what company you want to go with. For most homeowners, the upfront cost of solar is worth paying. On average South Lake Tahoe homeowners see about $31,000 in savings on electricity bills over 20 years.

To get a free estimate from a top solar installer in South Lake Tahoe, you can click the button below.

Solar savings over time in South Lake Tahoe

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-4,882
3 years $-2,874
5 years $-866
7 years $1,142
9 years $3,150
11 years $5,158
13 years $7,166
15 years $9,174
17 years $11,182
19 years $13,190
21 years $15,198
23 years $17,206
25 years $19,214

Top Solar Installers in South Lake Tahoe

When going solar, many homeowners opt to use a solar installation company since overseeing your solar installation yourself can be a challenging project. The expertise that solar installers provide can be useful as well, particularly if you aren't sure what type of solar equipment you need.

If you'd like to start using solar energy but still aren't sure which solar system installer to go with, here are our recommendations for providers in South Lake Tahoe:

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

The Green Panel

★★★★★
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 South Lake Tahoe

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in South Lake Tahoe

Though the average cost of solar panels in South Lake Tahoe is $5,886, your actual cost may be higher or lower than that. There are several factors that can have a sizable impact on the cost of a solar system installation. Below are some of the more important things to consider.

Solar Equipment Size

The size of the system you need is one of the largest factors that affects the overall cost of going solar. For that reason, it's crucial to accurately gauge the size of the solar energy system needed for your home by figuring out your average energy use. There are many different solar panel brands and the one you pick also affects the cost. In general, the brands that offer higher efficiency tend to also cost more. In addition, the type of equipment you're looking to install can affect your total cost. If you only need panels, your system will be much less expensive than if you also need solar batteries or an electric vehicle charger.

Solar Financing Terms

Many homeowners find the average cost of solar in South Lake Tahoe to be prohibitively expensive, even if the investment pays off over time. Thankfully, nearly every solar company in the area offers financing options. Solar loans greatly decrease upfront costs in most cases, but they also lead to a higher cost over time due to interest. However, the interest on solar loans also increases your total costs, so it's crucial to include that in your estimate as well. You can always reduce the total you pay in interest and sometimes even your APR by making a larger down payment.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The remaining significant cost factor you should consider is the installer you choose. Given the massive popularity of sustainable energy solutions in South Lake Tahoe, you'll have a great number of options to choose from, but each comes at different price points for labor and equipment. Larger national companies usually have lower costs, but some local companies keep up with them by offering sales and discounts. While the smaller companies might not have access to specific equipment options like Tesla Powerwall batteries or add-on services like electric car charger installation, they might be cheaper overall.

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 $36,895 6.1 years
8 kW $2.78 $15,594 $49,499 6.0 years
10 kW $2.73 $19,110 $62,256 5.9 years
12 kW $2.68 $22,473 $75,166 5.8 years
14 kW $2.62 $25,684 $88,229 5.6 years
16 kW $2.57 $28,741 $101,445 5.5 years
18 kW $2.51 $31,646 $114,814 5.4 years
20 kW $2.46 $34,398 $128,335 5.3 years

Solar Incentives in South Lake Tahoe

Name Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems and Solar Plus Storage System
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Western Riverside Council of Governments - Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Local Option - Municipal Energy Districts
More Info Click here

Name Self-Generation Incentive Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT)
Incentive Amount
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name LADWP - Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name California Solar Initiative - Solar Thermal Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

How to Save on Solar Panels

Since the type of solar panels and the company you choose considerably affects your costs and your system's durability and efficiency, it's important to select the right ones for you. Here are some things to keep in mind to help with your decision:

  • Installation Process: One of the most important things to understand when adopting solar power is the installation process itself. Be sure to clarify any details you need to know with your solar installer, such as what permits you should acquire and what the project timeline is.
  • Contract: Even though reading through a contract can take a lot of time, it's important to do it thoroughly so you can make sure you understand what services your solar company will provide and the terms of the warranty.
  • Reputation: Your solar installer should have a good reputation as a company and have demonstrated expertise in the field. Two ways to check this are to look for whether a company has technicians certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and if it has positive reviews from past customers.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Not all solar companies carry the same brands of solar panels, so the brand and type of panel you want can play a considerable role in the company you choose.

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

The Green Panel

★★★★★
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 South Lake Tahoe, CA Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in South Lake Tahoe?

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. It will cost more if you want extra solar equipment or higher quality panels, or if you have higher-than-average energy consumption. On the flip side, you can spend less if you want a smaller solar panel system or cheaper solar panels.

Is cost the most important thing to think about when buying solar panels?

Cost is without a doubt one of the most important factors you should consider when buying solar panels, but other important factors include efficiency, durability, and quality.

Is making the switch to solar worth it?

Solar panels can be a good investment for most 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 often do you have to replace solar panels?

Though the average lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, that doesn't mean they should be disposed of at that time. What this means is their energy production will have decreased significantly after that point. You can choose to replace them after having them for that long or you can keep using 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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