Why Go Solar in California
California is the nation’s leader when it comes to solar power. California has the largest number of solar installs in the nation (over 1 million), the highest percentage of electricity generated from solar (over 22%), and comes in first place in national growth projection (SEIA.org).
As of 2020, California currently ranks 1st in the nation in terms of total installed solar capacity at 28,471 MW.
California is also the nation leader in blackouts, crowned the ‘Blackout Queen’ in 2018 by Eaton’s Blackout Tracker research. This was thanks to the over 4,297 blackouts within the last decade.
If you live in California and have been wondering if switching to clean, renewable solar energy is right for you, you’ve come to the right place. We answer all of your questions and help you decide if solar panels are right for you.
First, let’s break down all the reasons going solar is well worth the investment, and how you can save money by installing solar panels in California.
Are Solar Panels Worth It in California?
California is one of the top states in the nation where solar panels are an easy investment to justify. Here are the top 7 reasons solar panels are worth it for California residents.
Soaring electricity prices.
California energy prices are around 29% higher than the national average, with an upward trend over the last decade. In comparison to the rest of the nation, the change in California electric prices over the years soared well above the rest of the nation. Think the prices will stop climbing? Not likely. That means the clean energy your solar panels produce is only going to grow in value.
Plenty of sunshine.
California, on average, has plenty of year-round sunshine that can be converted to solar energy. With around 275 days per year of sunny skies, California is a prime location in the U.S. for installing solar panels.
Protection from blackouts.
California has the most amount of blackouts in the nation, clocking in over 4,000 in the last decade, and climbing (Eaton).
Solar is the new normal.
As of 2020, solar is now mandatory on every new home build in California. Don’t be left in the dark when everyone else on your block is harnessing the power of the sun, especially during all those blackouts.
Offset your carbon footprint.
Renewable energy is good for the environment: it produces no waste in the air, oceans or land, unlike harmful oil and gas. California is one of the most progressive states in the nation for renewable energy policies, and ranks second only after Washington for installed renewable energy capacity.
Solar technology advancements.
As with any other technology, the more it develops, the more affordable it becomes. The solar technology field has made huge advancements over the last few decades making it more reliable, affordable and more appealing than ever. Whether it’s the new sleek black LG panels, or the Tesla Powerwall battery, you’ll be satisfied with your purchase. Choosing a solar installer (like Sunpro) who only uses the latest technology with the most reputable brands (LG and Tesla) will give you peace of mind in your investment. Plus, we put the power in your hands with advanced app monitoring technologies.
Take advantage of solar incentives and tax credits.
California has state-wide solar programs that make the investment of going solar worthwhile. Take advantage of local utility rebates, the 26% federal tax credit and net metering: a program that allows you to sell back your unused energy to the utility company. Make the utility company your customer and reduce or zero out your monthly electricity bill.
Cost of Solar in California
How much does it cost to go solar in California? The cost of solar in California depends on a lot of factors besides the sticker price of the unit (size of home, energy needs, etc.). To best understand the sticker price, these factors should be discussed with a qualified Solar Sales Specialist who can offer you an appropriate quote for your particular situation.
The good news for California residents is it’s a prime state for solar incentives that help to offset the initial price tag.
In addition, with rising energy prices in California, your solar system will pay for itself at some point and then will start making you money. This is because of a program called net metering in which you sell back your unused energy to the utility company.
California Solar Incentives, Rebates and Tax Credits
Going solar in California is well worth the investment between rising electricity prices, abundant sunshine, and the environmental benefits.
There are also some pretty generous solar incentives for switching to clean energy in California. These include the federal solar tax credit (which ends after 2021), state-wide net metering, property tax exemptions, and local and utility incentives. Installing solar panels to your home also helps increase its worth.
In this section, we’ll go over all the financial incentives for going solar in the state of California, including:
- California Net Metering (NEM)
- Federal Solar Tax Credit
- Solar Panels and the Value of Your Home
- California Property Tax Exemption
California Net Metering (NEM)
California has a generous net metering program called NEM 2.0. This was put in place in 2016 by the California Public Utility Commission. This new policy maintains the key components of the first policy which includes the ability of solar panel owners to sell back any unused energy to their utility company. In California, it works like this: for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar electricity you feed into the grid, you get a bill credit for one kWh of utility-generated electricity.
According to the California Public Utilities Commission, here is the outline of NEM 2.0:
- Pay a one-time interconnection fee. Customer-generators with facilities under 1 MW must pay a pre-approved one-time interconnection fee based on each IOU’s historic interconnection costs. PG&E fee is $145; SCE $75; and SDG&E $132. Customer-generators with PV systems over 1 MW must pay $800 interconnection fee and pay for all transmission/distribution system upgrades.
- Pay non-bypassable charges. Customer-generators, similar to other utility customers, will pay small charges on each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity they consume from the grid. These charges fund important programs such as low-income and energy efficiency programs.
- Transfer to a time-of-use (TOU) rate. If a customer-generator is not already on one, they will be required to take service on a TOU rate to participate in NEM.
What does all of this mean for you, a homeowner that’s considering going solar? It means with the right size system, you can drastically reduce, zero out, or come out with a negative electricity bill each month.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
The best solar incentive is the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) offered by the United States federal government. This federal tax credit is available to California home and business owners through 2022 and offers a hefty 26% credit of the entire solar system cost, including a battery system.
Solar Panels and the Value of Your Home
Not only do solar panels save you money, they also add value to your home.
According to a comprehensive report done by the US Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), they concluded the impact of solar panels on residential property values was positive. On average, solar panels add $20 of value for every $1 you save on your electric bill. So if you saved $200 a month on your electric bill with solar panels, you’d have an additional $4,000 of value added to your home.
This was backed up again in 2015 when the Department of Energy and Berkeley Laboratory sought to determine if solar-enabled homes performed better in the real estate market. After analyzing 22,000 homes, they found that homes with solar panels fetched a higher asking price than those without. About $4/watt, which comes out to be around $15,000 for residential, depending on your home and solar system.
In addition, solar panels can help your property spend less time on the market. In another study done by NREL, they found that solar properties earned about 17% more at closing, in addition to selling 20% faster.
Property Tax Exemption for California Solar Panels
You may be aware that additions to your home can result in an increase of property taxes. The good news for California residents is that solar panels are completely property tax exempt. That means all the value without having to pay additional property taxes for the solar panels installed on your home. Under the Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems, 100% of the assessed value of the solar system is exempt from the homeowner’s property taxes.
Are Solar Panels Required in California?
Here’s a new reason to go solar this year. As of 2020, the Residential Solar Mandate for California came about, forcing all new home builds in California to have solar (SEIA). This stems from a few different progressive policies in the fight for a cleaner environment. California is one of the leaders for the nation when it comes to these policies, including the California Solar Initiative (CSI) and its clean energy goals of 100% renewable energy by 2045. So if you haven’t already joined the clean energy movement, you’ll be forced to soon, and now is the best time to switch before the federal tax credit slips through your fingers.
Solar Batteries and Protection from Outages in California
With the issues of climate change causing more wildfires and natural disasters in California, you may be looking for peace of mind when it comes to blackouts. It makes sense that residents of California (the Blackout Queen) might be on the hunt for alternatives rather than reliance on their utility grid for power. The answer is a solar panel system with a solar battery backup like the Enphase Encharge or Tesla Powerwall.
There is even more good news for California when it comes to solar batteries. Unlike in most other states, California offers a generous incentive for adding a battery to your solar system.
How do you take advantage of this incentive? Talk to a Solar Sales Specialist about your options.Free Solar + Battery Estimate
Is Solar a Good Investment in California?
Now that we’ve gone over all the best reasons for going solar, you can see why there isn’t going to be a better time to fire your electric company and switch to clean solar energy. In addition, you’ll be ahead of the trend, increase your home value, and reduce your environmental footprint. What are you waiting for?
How Do I Choose A Solar Contractor in California?
Choosing a solar contractor for your area can be intimidating, which is why it’s helpful to remember the three most important tips when choosing a solar panel company.
- Make sure the company you’re choosing has warranties in place. Not only on the labor, but products as well. That way you know you and your investment are protected in the years to come.
- Read reviews about the company you’re choosing. While you’ll see a bad review here and there (just the nature of open reviews), make sure a large majority of the reviews aren’t negative and stating the same problems over and over. That’s a clear indicator of a company to stay clear of, no matter how well known their name is.
- Choose a reputable company that’s been in the game for awhile. Again, this way you are sure to protect your investment with a company that will continue to be there for you in the years to come.
Solar Installers in California: Sunpro Solar, Trusted Solar Company in California
Since 2008, Sunpro Solar has a proven history and reputation for providing quality service, and was ranked #2 for 2021 Solar Power World’s Top Residential Solar Installer in the United States. We are proud to offer some of the best warranties you can find in the solar industry and only use products that offer the same.
- 25 Year Labor Warranty
- 25 Year Production Guarantee
- 25 Year Solar Panel Manufacturer Warranty
- 25 Year Enphase Microinverter Warranty
- Thousands of happy homeowners
- Free Home Energy Audit
- Roof replacement experts
Solar Panel Quote for California Residents
If you’re ready to take the next step, or even if you’re considering what it would take to get you there, contact us to discover all your options.
We install solar and roofs in Riverside, Murrieta, San Bernardino, Orange County, San Diego, and surrounding areas. Contact us today to see if we service your area and get free solar quotes for your particular needs.Free Solar Quote
See What Our Customers Are Saying
A very professional and efficient team came to my home and performed a professional job. I have seen other solar installations and mine is, by far, the most aesthetically pleasing. I thank the team leaders and all their assistants. Thank you all.
– Frank Bolanos, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
September 13, 2020 via Google Review