Solar Panel Cost Guide in California, PA (Feb 2023)

  • California Solar Installation Cost: $12,316
  • 25-Year Savings: $8,727
  • Payback Period: 14.6 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 California

We go over average solar pricing in California.

Currently, the national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt. However, in California, the typical cost of solar panels is $3 per watt. Using this figure, a typical 6.9 would cost about $12,316 before the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

Keep in mind 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 want, your solar contractor and more. For most homeowners, the upfront cost of solar is worth paying. On average homeowners in California see about $12,000 in savings on electricity bills over 20 years.

You can click the button below to get connected with a pre-vetted solar company in California that can help you get a more accurate cost estimate for your home.

Solar savings over time in California

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-11,475
3 years $-9,791
5 years $-8,108
7 years $-6,424
9 years $-4,741
11 years $-3,057
13 years $-1,374
15 years $310
17 years $1,993
19 years $3,677
21 years $5,360
23 years $7,044
25 years $8,727

Top Solar Installers in California

Many homeowners opt for a solar panel installer since trying to install solar panels yourself can be a lot of work. Some solar installers, especially local ones, can help you take advantage of incentives in California, optimizing your ROI.

If you'd like to make the switch to solar but still aren't certain which solar system company to go with, here are our suggestions for providers near you:

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 California

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in California

For many California homeowners, the decision to adopt solar energy depends on cost. However, the range of solar installation costs can be quite wide in California, with typical prices between $20,000 to $40,000. There are various factors that greatly influence the price you'll pay, which we'll go over below.

Solar Equipment

When it comes to estimating the price of a solar energy system in California, one of the most important factors is the size of the system you need. Solar systems are sized by kilowatts (kW) and are largely based on your home's energy consumption, which you can gauge by looking at past energy bills. Your total cost can increase by about $2,550 for each additional kilowatt you need. The kind of solar equipment you choose can increase or decrease your cost by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. If you get the most efficient solar panel brands, you'll end up paying more upfront than if you opted for the most affordable panels. On the other hand, more efficient panels could save you more in the long run on your power bills. In addition, extra products, like solar batteries, can bring your total well above the California average.

Solar Financing Terms

For some homeowners, paying for solar out of pocket can be a challenge. Solar loans are provided by most installers in California, which can lower, or in some cases eliminate, your upfront costs to make solar more affordable. When trying to figure out your overall cost, you should also calculate the interest you'll pay if you choose to go with a solar loan. Also, paying a higher down payment can reduce the total interest paid over time.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The last key cost factor you should consider is the installer you choose. Given the growing popularity of clean energy solutions in California, you'll have lots of options to choose from, but each comes at various price points for labor and equipment. You may come across national solar installers that have lower prices due to their bigger brand name and access to bulk pricing, or you might see small, local installation companies offering deals or promotions to compete with those larger companies.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $2.65 $11,138 $7,154 15.2 years
8 kW $2.60 $14,566 $9,824 14.9 years
10 kW $2.55 $17,850 $12,638 14.6 years
12 kW $2.50 $20,992 $15,594 14.3 years
14 kW $2.45 $23,990 $18,692 14.1 years
16 kW $2.40 $26,846 $21,934 13.8 years
18 kW $2.35 $29,560 $25,318 13.5 years
20 kW $2.29 $32,130 $28,845 13.2 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

The solar company you choose will be a major factor in determining not only your total costs, but also the types of solar panel brands, warranties, and other equipment you have access to. When choosing a solar company, there are several important things you should keep in mind, including:

  • Warranty: Many companies offer different types of warranties that provide different kinds of coverage. A 25-year, all-inclusive warranty is the gold standard.
  • Reputation: Solar installers that have great reviews from their customers and that have been operating for many years most likely offer good-quality solar panel installation and expertise.
  • Contract: Even though reading through a contract can be tedious, it's important to do it carefully so you can make sure you understand how much the equipment and services will cost and how part repairs and replacements will be handled.
  • Solar Panel Brands: Each solar panel brand and kind offers varying levels of quality, durability and efficiency. They will come at different prices as well. The company you choose plays a role in which solar panel brands you have access to.

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 California, PA Solar Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to install solar panels in California?

The average cost of solar panels in California is about $12,750 for a 5-kW system and $25,500 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.

Should I lease or buy solar panels in California?

Leasing solar panels can be an appealing choice, because it often comes with low or $0 upfront payments. The drawback is that you won't be able to save as much. If you lease, you don't own the system, so you can't claim any tax rebates and credits and your home value won't increase. Buying solar panels is a better option if you want to get the most savings.

Do solar panels increase how much your home is worth?

Solar panels can increase your property's value remarkably as long as you buy or finance your panels and don't opt for a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). According to research done by Zillow, the average home value increases by about 4.1% after installing a solar system."

How often do you have to replace solar panels?

Even 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 how much energy they produce will have decreased significantly after that point. You can opt to 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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