California Solar Panels
Pricing & Installation Data

Find out if solar panels are right for your home in California.

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Solar Panels in California

Solar panels can be spotted all over The Golden State on roofs of homes and businesses alike. California is the nation’s solar energy capital. With the increasing urgency of addressing climate change, California has prioritized solar as a key part of its renewable energy strategy. Even numerous large-scale solar projects have popped up across the sunny state, including Topaz Solar Farm and Solar Star, among others, creating thousands of Megawatts of electricity. All in effort to reach 100% clean energy by 2045.

While solar power and other renewable energy options are booming in popularity, there is much to consider. Whether you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint or your utility bills we’ll walk you through the most important factors to help you make the best energy decision.

Cost of Solar in California

The average price for a home solar panel system in California is $17,160 for 6kW or about $2.86 per watt. Systems will vary depending on the solar installation company, the types of solar panels you choose and the size of your system. When shopping for solar panels you should consider getting multiple quotes from various installers.

Average Cost
6 kW System
Average Cost
10 kW System
Estimated
Tax Credit
(10 kW System)
Average
Cost/Watt
U.S.Average$18,771$31,285$9,385.50$3.13
California$17,100$28,500$8,550$2.85
U.S.Average$18,771$31,285$9,385.50$3.13
Most Costly State(Michigan)$22,680$37,800$11,340$3.78
Least Costly State(Arizona)$14,640$24,400$7,320$2.44

Costs by Solar System Size in California

For most, the ideal solar system size is the sweet spot between price and capacity. The goal is to generate enough electricity to cover your home's demand while keeping overall costs low as possible.

I.E. Get the best bang for your buck.

System SizeSystem CostCost After Federal Tax Credit
5 kW$12,550$8,785
6 kW$15,060$10,542
7 kW$17,570$12,299
8 kW$20,080$14,056
9 kW$22,590$15,813
10 kW$25,100$17,570

Pros and Cons of Solar in California

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect - including solar. To avoid buyer's remorse, you should think about all the pros and cons associated with installing solar equipment on your home. Then weigh them against each other to decide if it makes sense for you.

Everyone has their own opinion on how to interpret and weigh the pros and cons against each other. Our goal is to present the most common pros and cons and let you make your own choice.

California Solar Pros

  • Reduce or eliminate electric bills
  • Energy independence from the grid
  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Increase home value (4.1% on average)
  • California ranks 5th in peak daily sunlight hours in the U.S.
  • Net metering is available is a majority of the state
  • There are many solar buy-back plans available

California Solar Cons

  • Not viable for all roofs or homes
  • Installation costs
  • Financial liability
  • No statewide solar tax credit

EnergyBot's Take

California has an ideal climate for solar panels. Plenty of sunlight during peak energy usage seasons. Also, electricity costs in California are relatively high compared to other states so in most cases solar panels in California deliver substantial savings.

Most homes will realize a slightly more expensive investment over 25 years versus buying electricity traditionally. However, if you prioritize energy independence and renewable energy, a near-breakeven scenario might be perfect for your situation.

If you are on the fence you can use this tool to get an accurate cost breakdown for your home based on your historical energy usage.

Leasing vs Buying Solar Panels in California

There are several ways you can purchase and/or finance your solar panel installation in California. Your goals and financial situation will dictate which option is best for you.

Cash Purchase

The most straightforward option. You pay upfront for the entire cost of the rooftop solar system. No interest, and fewer headaches, but many people are hesitant about spending several tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Solar Loan

The most common method for buying solar systems. Like many other types of large purchases, you can finance your solar system through a bank or solar loan provider.

This sounds great, and many other solar loan salespeople will leverage the low payment to justify the costs. You will likely hear something like "You pay $250 a month on your electric bill, with a solar loan you will pay $200 and have free electricity."

Do your due diligence before you sign on the dotted line. There are many horror stories of variable loan terms, ballooning interest rates, and harsh missed payment penalties.

Solar Lease

Leasing solar panels generally involves less money out of pocket upfront. But, it's important to note - you do not own your solar energy system. You essentially renting the solar system. A solar provider will install the equipment and charge you a fixed monthly fee.

Most solar lease contracts last for a couple of decades, during which time the provider will keep an eye on the system's hardware and performance. At the end of your lease, you can choose to:

  • Renew your lease agreement
  • Purchase the system
  • End your lease agreement

Solar leases can be complicated. Not all are bad, but in many cases the lease terms in not in favor of the buyer. Before you decide on a solar lease make sure to read your contract thoroughly. If you don't understand something, ask an expert.

Power Purchase Agreements

A power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement where a solar company will design and install a solar system on your home or business with little or no cost upfront. Instead of paying a monthly fee like a lease, the agreement includes a fixed price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated.

For example, you agree to pay $0.12 per kWh of electricity generated for the next 20 years. The solar company will install and maintain your system and sell the power back to you that you use. They may also collect payment for any additional energy they put back into the grid.

Just like a lease, you do not own the panels. When the contract is up, they will either be removed or your contract may have other terms for you to buy or renew your power purchase agreement.

Power purchase agreements can be complicated. Before you sign make sure you review the contract and if possible have an expert in power purchase agreements review the details.

California Solar Incentives

As the top solar state in the country there are lots of incentives and  addition resources for solar systems on top of the 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit. You may be eligible for solar incentives that could significantly reduce the cost of solar panel installation. Particularly, if you live in a disadvantaged community. While there is not a statewide tax credit, there are some incentives are statewide and others are more local. Your city, utility, or other local company could offer hundreds or thousands of dollars in incentives to install solar systems.

This table shows the available incentives in California. But, just because you don't see it here doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Check with your local utility for other potential incentives.

Here are some additional California specific websites to search incentives and other resources:

California Solar Initiative (CSI)

Search this website to find information specifically for investor-owned utility territories in California. It provides information about incentives, eligibility requirements, and application procedures.

Go Solar California

This is a one-stop shop for solar resources. You can find solar programs, incentives, and rebates available in California. Explore incentives for residential, commercial, and government projects.

California Energy Commission (CEC)

The CEC offers information on incentives and rebates for solar installations for residential, commercial, and agricultural projects. They provides lists of available programs and resources.

Name State Category Type
Glendale Water and Power - Solar Solutions Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Marin County - Green Building Requirements CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
Silicon Valley Power - Solar Electric Buy Down Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Santa Clara Water & Sewer - Solar Water Heating Program CA Financial Incentive Leasing Program
Geothermal Grant & Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
Small Business Energy Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Energy Technology Export Program CA Financial Incentive Industry Recruitment/Support
City of Davis - Solar Shade Control Act CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
Riverside Public Utilities - Residential PV Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Riverside Public Utilities - Energy Efficiency Construction Incentive CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Burbank Water and Power - Residential and Commercial Solar Support Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
Public Interest Energy Research Grants (PIER) CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
City of San Diego - Sustainable Building Policy CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Efficient Vehicle Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Santa Monica - Green Building Grant Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
California Wind Access Law CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
Solar Schools Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
City of Los Angeles - Zoning Code CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
City of Sacramento - Solar Access Regulations CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
City of San Diego - Development Regulations CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
Net Metering / Net Billing CA Regulatory Policy Net Metering
California Solar Easement and the Solar Shade Control Act CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
Santa Barbara County - Green Power Purchasing CA Regulatory Policy Green Power Purchasing
City of Santa Monica - Green Power Purchasing through Clean Power Alliance Utility CA Regulatory Policy Green Power Purchasing
LADWP - Net Metering Rules CA Regulatory Policy Net Metering
SMUD - PV Residential Retrofit Buy-Down CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SMUD - Non-Residential PV Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of San Jose - Photovoltaic Permit Requirements CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Ukiah Utilities - PV Buydown Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
IID Energy - PV Solutions Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Solar Contractor Licensing CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Contractor Licensing
Public Benefits Funds for Renewables and Efficiency CA Regulatory Policy Public Benefits Fund
City of San Jose - Municipal Green Building Program CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
SMUD - Solar Water Heater Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Palo Alto - Solar Access CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
Fuel Mix Disclosure CA Regulatory Policy Generation Disclosure
City of Santa Monica - Green Building Standards CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
Los Angeles - Contractor Licensing CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Contractor Licensing
LADWP - Solar Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Palo Alto Utilities - PV Partners CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Plumas-Sierra REC - Geothermal Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SMUD - Residential Solar Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
SMUD - PV Pioneer II Loan CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Plumas-Sierra REC - Geothermal and Photovoltaic Leasing Program CA Financial Incentive Leasing Program
SMUD - PV Pioneer II Loan CA Financial Incentive Other Incentive
Emerging Renewables Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Self-Generation Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems and Solar Plus Storage System CA Financial Incentive Property Tax Incentive
City of Los Angeles - Green Power Purchasing CA Regulatory Policy Green Power Purchasing
Pasadena Water and Power - Solar Power Installation Rebate CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - PV Buydown Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Solar or Wind Energy System Credit - Corporate CA Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Tax Deduction for Interest on Loans for Energy Efficiency CA Financial Incentive Personal Tax Deduction
Solar or Wind Energy System Credit - Personal CA Financial Incentive Personal Tax Credit
Redding Electric - Renewable Energy Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Interconnection Standards CA Regulatory Policy Interconnection
Public Leadership Solutions for Energy (PULSE) Loan CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Small Business Loans for Solar CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Renewables Portfolio Standard CA Regulatory Policy Renewables Portfolio Standard
Marin County - Solar Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Marin County - Green Building Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
Tax Rate on Ethanol or Methanol CA Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Exemption
City of San Francisco - Solar Program CA Regulatory Policy Green Power Purchasing
Agricultural Biomass to Energy Program CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
San Diego - Residential Solar Electric Incentive for Homes Destroyed in Wildfires CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Supplemental Energy Payments (SEPs) CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Solar Schools Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Roseville Electric - Solar Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Oakland - Solar Access Ordinance CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
San Diego County - Green Building Program CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
City of Santa Cruz - Solar Access Ordinance CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
City of Sebastopol - Solar Access CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
San Diego County - Solar Zoning Regulations CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Santa Cruz County - Solar Access Protection CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
Marin County - Solar Easement and Access Laws CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
City of Corona - Plan Review Fast-tracking CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
City of Oakland - Self Certification for Renewables CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Agricultural Pumping Efficiency Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Energy Efficiency Financing Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
California Solar Rights Act CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
PG&E - Non-Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
PG&E - Residential Energy Savings Rebate Programs CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Pacific Power - wattsmart Business CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Pacific Power - Irrigation Initiative CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E - Residential Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
California Energy Design Assistance (CEDA) CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E - Energy Efficiency Business Rebates CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Sierra Pacific Power - SureBet Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SCE - Non-Residential Energy Efficiency Programs CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SCE - Multi-Family Residential Energy Efficiency Programs CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SoCalGas - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SoCalGas - Non-Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
California Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Standards CA Regulatory Policy Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards
Turlock Irrigation District - PV Rebate CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Lodi Electric Utility - Residential PV Rebate CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Alameda Municipal Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Grant Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
Alameda Municipal Power - Commercial New Construction Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Alameda Municipal Power - Commercial Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - New Construction Energy Efficiency Incentives Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Greener Cleaners Energy Efficiency Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Residential Rehabilitation Loan and Grant Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Small Business Energy & Water Direct Install Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Burbank Water & Power - Energy Solutions Business Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Burbank Water & Power - Business Bucks Energy Efficiency Grant Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Green Building Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Burbank Water & Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Burbank Water & Power - Green Building Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
City of Lompoc Utilities - Residential Refrigerator Energy Efficiency Programs CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Lompoc Utilities - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Lompoc Utilities - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Palo Alto Utilities - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Colton Public Utilities - Commercial Lighting Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Glendale Water and Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Glendale Water and Power - AC Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Glendale Water and Power - Large Business Energy Efficiency Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Glendale Water and Power - Small Business Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
IID Energy - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
IID Energy - Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Lassen Municipal Utility District - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Lassen Municipal Utility District - Public Benefit Energy Efficiency Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Green Building Action Plan for State Facilities CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Lodi Electric Utility - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
LADWP - Non-Residential EfficiencyWise Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Modesto Irrigation District - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Modesto Irrigation District - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Pasadena Water and Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Redding Electric - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Riverside Public Utilities - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Riverside Public Utilities - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Riverside Public Utilities - Energy Efficiency Technology Grant Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
Roseville Electric - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Roseville Electric - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Roseville Electric - Residential HVAC Financing Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
SMUD - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SMUD - Commercial Energy Efficiency Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
SMUD - Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Silicon Valley Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Silicon Valley Power - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Truckee Donner Public Utility District - Energy Conservation Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Santa Monica - Building Permit Fee Waiver for Solar Projects CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
Colton Public Utilities - PV Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Plumas-Sierra REC - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Hercules Municipal Utility - PV Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Hercules Municipal Utility - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
California Solar Initiative - PV Incentives CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SCE - Agricultural Efficiency Plus Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Berkeley - Green Building Standards for City Owned and Operated Projects CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
City of Berkeley - Energy Conservation Ordinance CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
City of Santa Monica - Expedited Permitting for Green Buildings CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
LADWP - Expedited Utility Connections for Green Buildings CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
SoCalGas - Multi-Family Residential Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SoCalGas - Non-Residential On-Bill Financing Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
SoCalGas - California Advanced Homes Incentives CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E - Non-Residential On-Bill Financing Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
SCE - Biomass Standard Contract CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
California Solar Initiative - Pilot Solar Water Heating Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Santa Monica - Solar Santa Monica CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Modesto Irrigation District - Photovoltaic Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Agriculture and Food Processing Energy Loans CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
PG&E - Residential New Construction Savings by Design Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
CEC - New Solar Homes Partnership CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E - Residential New Construction Builder Efficiency Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Roseville Electric - Residential New Construction Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Alameda Municipal Power - Solar Photovoltaics Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Plumas-Sierra REC - PV Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Lodi Electric Utility - PV Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Truckee Donner PUD - Photovoltaic Buy Down Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Lompoc Utilities - PV Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Azusa Light & Water - Solar Partnership Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Banning Electric Department - Solar Support Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Costa Mesa - Fee Waiver for Green Building CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
City of Palo Alto Utilities - Renewable Energy Credit Purchase Program CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Riverside Public Utilities - Non-Residential PV Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT) CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
City of Healdsburg - PV Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Merced Irrigation District - PV Buydown Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
LADWP - Small Business Direct Install Lighting Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
City of Palo Alto Utilities - Solar Water Heating Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
County of San Bernardino - Green Building Incentive CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
City of San Francisco - Green Building Code CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
City of Palm Desert - Energy Independence Program CA Financial Incentive PACE Financing
Marin County - Wood Stove Replacement Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
IID Energy - Commercial Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
IID Energy - New Construction Energy Efficiency Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Berkeley - Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST) CA Financial Incentive PACE Financing
School Facility Program - Modernization Grants CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
Modesto Irrigation District - Commercial New Construction Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Modesto Irrigation District - New Home Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SoCalGas - Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Modesto Irrigation District - Residential High Efficiency Air Conditioning Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Pasadena Water and Power - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
California Solar Initiative - Multi-Family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Pacific Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) CA Financial Incentive PACE Financing
Alameda Municipal Power - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Low-Interest Energy Efficiency Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Pacific Power - wattsmart Business CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Palo Alto - Green Building Requirement CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
Lassen Municipal Utility District - PV Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Shasta Lake Electric Utility - PV Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Gridley Utilities - PV Buy Down Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
PG&E - Data Center Cooling Control Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
California Solar Initiative - Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
County Wind Ordinance Standards CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
SMUD - Feed-in Tariff CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Pacific Power - FinAnswer Express Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Sales and Use Tax Exclusion for Advanced Transportation and Alternative Energy Manufacturing Program CA Financial Incentive Industry Recruitment/Support
City of San Francisco - GreenFinanceSF CA Financial Incentive PACE Financing
California - Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Long Beach - Residential Energy Efficiency and Solar Water Heating Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
California Solar Initiative - Solar Thermal Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Corona Department of Water & Power - Solar Partnership Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E (Electric) - Multi-Family Residential Efficiency Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SCE - Non-Residential On-Bill Financing Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
PG&E - Multifamily Residential Energy Savings Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E - California Advanced Homes Incentives CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SCE - California Advanced Homes Incentives CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
PG&E - California Advanced Homes Incentives CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SCE - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Energy Efficiency Resource Standard CA Regulatory Policy Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
Pacific Power - Home Energy Savings Program For Builders CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Marin Clean Energy - Feed-In Tariff CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
SDG&E (Gas) - Energy Efficiency Business Rebates CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E (Gas) - Multi-Family Residential Efficiency Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E (Gas) - Residential Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E (Gas) - Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Energy Upgrade California CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Moreno Valley Electric Utility - Solar Electric Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Los Angeles - Green Building Retrofit Requirement CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Homebuyer Solar Option and Solar Offset Program CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
LADWP - Priority Service for Green Buildings CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
City of San Diego - Sustainable Building Expedited Permit Program CA Financial Incentive Green Building Incentive
City of San Jose - Private Sector Green Building Policy CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
Anaheim Public Utilities - Commercial & Industrial New Construction Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
LADWP - Net Metering CA Regulatory Policy Net Metering
PG&E (Gas) - Multi-Family Residential Energy Efficiency Rebates CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
PG&E - Non-Residential Energy Efficiency Rebates CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
PG&E (Gas) - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
San Diego County - Wind Regulations CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
San Diego County - Design Standards for County Facilities CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Orange County - Development Standards for Small Wind Energy Systems CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Riverside County - Sustainable Building Policy CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
SoCalGas - Custom Non-Residential Energy Efficiency Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of San Francisco - Residential Efficiency Rebates CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Santa Clara County - Zoning Ordinance CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM) CA Financial Incentive Other Incentive
Santa Clara County - Green Building Policy for County Government Buildings CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Copy of City of Palo Alto Utilities - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Palo Alto Utilities - Commercial and Non-Profit Efficiency Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Marin Clean Energy - Solar Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
City of Palo Alto Utilities - Palo Alto CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now) CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Energy Efficiency Financing for Public Sector Projects CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
California Solar Initiative - Low-Income Solar Water Heating Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Los Angeles County - Commercial PACE CA Financial Incentive PACE Financing
Western Riverside Council of Governments - Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing Program CA Financial Incentive PACE Financing
Western Riverside Council of Governments - Commercial PACE (duplicate) CA Financial Incentive PACE Financing
LADWP - Solar Feed-in Tariff Demonstration Program CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
City of Palo Alto Utilities - New Construction Commercial Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Statewide Solar Permitting Standards CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
LADWP - Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Program CA Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
California Enterprise Development Authority (Figtree PACE) - Statewide PACE Program CA Financial Incentive PACE Financing
Burbank Water and Power - Solar Water Heater Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
PG&E - Non-Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
City of Lancaster - Mandatory Solar Requirement for New Homes CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
City of Sebastopol - Mandatory Solar Requirement for Residential and Commercial Buildings CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
Bear Valley Electric Service - Solar Initiative Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT) CA Financial Incentive Feed-in Tariff
LADWP - Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Program CA Financial Incentive Feed-in Tariff
Lodi Electric Utility - Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Loan Program CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Pacific Power - Blue Sky Community Project Funds CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
City of Fresno - Installation of Solar Energy Systems in Construction of New City-owned Buildings CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
City of Fresno - Installation of Solar Energy Systems in Construction of New City-owned Buildings CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
San Bernardino County – Accessory Wind Energy System Permit CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Los Angeles County - WECS-N and Temp Met Towers CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
City of San Francisco - Green Building and Efficiency/Electrification Requirements for City Buildings CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
City of Long Beach - Green Building Policy for Municipal Buildings CA Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
City of Oakland - Green Building Policies and Requirements CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
Santa Clara County - Solar Access for Subdivision Development (duplicate) CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
Santa Clara County - Solar and Wind Energy Conversion Systems CA Regulatory Policy Solar/Wind Access Policy
Santa Clara County - County Green Building Standards Code CA Regulatory Policy Building Energy Code
Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Electrical Power Generation and Storage Equipment CA Financial Incentive Sales Tax Incentive
Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Electric Power Generation and Storage Equipment CA Financial Incentive Sales Tax Incentive
Burbank Water and Power - LEED Certification Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Silicon Valley Power - Emerging Technologies Grant Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
Redding Electric - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Turlock Irrigation District - Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Marin County - Natural Gas Appliance Replacement Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Marin County - Natural Gas Appliance Replacement Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Clean Transportation Program CA Financial Incentive Grant Program
California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
California Capital Access Program (CalCAP) CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Partial Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Zero-Emission Transit Buses CA Financial Incentive Sales Tax Incentive
Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Alameda Municipal Power - Electric Vehicle Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Personal Use EV Charger Rebates CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - Public Access EV Charger Rebate CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Anaheim Public Utilities - EV Fleet Charger and Infrastructure Rebate CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Azusa Light & Water - EV Charger Rebate CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Burbank Water and Power - Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Glendale Water and Power - Electric Vehicle Charging Station Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
LADWP - Charge up LA Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
LADWP - Charge Up LA Used Electric Vehicle Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
PG&E - EV Fleet Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Pasadena Water and Power - Residential Electric Vehicle and Charger Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Pasadena Water and Power - Commercial Charger Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SMUD - Commercial Electric Vehicle Incentive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SMUD - Commercial Fleet Pilot Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SMUD - Residential EV Incentive CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SDG&E - Power Your Drive Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
SCE - Charge Ready Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Technology and Equipment for Clean Heating (TECH) Initiative CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Modesto Irrigation District - Residential Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Enhanced Community Renewables Program CA Regulatory Policy Community Solar Rules
Modesto Irrigation District - Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
Redding Electric - Electric Vehicle Rebate Program CA Financial Incentive Rebate Program
PG&E GoGreen Business Energy Financing CA Financial Incentive Loan Program
Marin Clean Energy - Feed-In Tariff Plus CA Financial Incentive Feed-in Tariff
Tax-Exempt Financing for Green Buildings, Renewable Energy & Brownfield Redevelopment US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Conservation Security Program (CSP) Production Incentive US Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Federal Excise Tax Exemption for Gasohol US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Exemption
Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS) US Financial Incentive Corporate Depreciation
Energy Star Financing and Mortgages US Financial Incentive Loan Program
USDA Rural Housing Service Loans US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion (Corporate) US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Exemption
Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI) US Financial Incentive Performance-Based Incentive
Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC) US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Small Business Administration Loan Programs US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Energy-Efficient Mortgages US Financial Incentive Loan Program
USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs - Funding Opportunities US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Green Power Purchasing Goal for Federal Government US Regulatory Policy Green Power Purchasing
Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Deduction
Energy-Efficient New Homes Tax Credit for Home Builders US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Energy-Efficient Appliance Manufacturing Tax Credit US Financial Incentive Industry Recruitment/Support
Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit US Financial Incentive Personal Tax Credit
Veterans Housing Guaranteed and Insured Loans US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Federal Appliance Standards US Regulatory Policy Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards
Energy Goals and Standards for Federal Agencies US Regulatory Policy Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) US Financial Incentive Loan Program
U.S. Department of Treasury - Renewable Energy Grants US Financial Incentive Grant Program
USDA - High Energy Cost Grant Program US Financial Incentive Grant Program
USDA - Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program US Financial Incentive Loan Program
USDA - Repowering Assistance Biorefinery Program US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Title I Property Improvement Loans US Financial Incentive Loan Program
USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance (EA/REDA) Program US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) US Financial Incentive Grant Program
Fannie Mae Green Financing – Loan Program US Financial Incentive Loan Program
Qualified Commercial Clean Vehicle Tax Credit US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Tax Credit (Corporate) US Financial Incentive Corporate Tax Credit
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Tax Credit (Personal) US Financial Incentive Personal Tax Credit
Previously-Owned Clean Vehicle Tax Credit US Financial Incentive Personal Tax Credit

California Solar Companies

There are hundreds of solar companies in California. From solar installers to solar loan providers, and manufacturers. Each is a piece of the puzzle to help you get outfitted with solar panels.

To make things simple, EnergyBot works directly with 3 of the largest solar companies to give you a comprehensive view of the market.

The solar companies we partner with:

  • Project Solar - A nationwide provider of solar panel systems that has a non-sales-oriented approach to building your system. They build your system from their central office and send a local company to complete the solar panel installation.
  • EnergySage - The largest online solar installation network. They work with thousands of installers to help you find the perfect solar system for your home. With thousands of successful solar installations, they can give you a range of bids and pricing options.
  • Tesla - Brains behind some of the most cutting-edge technology in the automotive industry, Tesla also offers sleek and powerful solar systems and battery systems.

We believe comparing these three names in the solar industry will give you the info you need to decide if solar panels are right for you.

Before You Install Solar Panels

Just because solar is a popular discussion right now, doesn’t mean it makes sense for everyone. It is still a large and expensive decision. Installing solar has great financial and environmental benefits but it won’t feel beneficial if you run into issues. Along with studying a 20-year cost comparison for your home, read some more tips to keep in mind when mulling over your decision on your installer, system design, and financial plan.

  • What are the long-term savings and payback period for installing a solar panel system?
  • How will installing solar panels impact my home's value?
  • What is the system’s Return on Investment (ROI)?
  • Are there any specific design or aesthetic considerations for solar panel installation?
  • How do I weigh the environmental benefits against the costs of installation?
  • What are the specific terms and conditions for the installer?

California’s Solar Mandate

As of 2023, California is the only state with a solar mandate for new construction. The solar mandate began January 1, 2020 along with the Title 24 energy code update, which happens every 3 years. The solar panel requirement is conditional for new construction residential homes. As of January 1, 2023, the next Title 24 Energy Code update, additional new construction commercial facilities have been added to the list.

Why Trust EnergyBot

We have helped thousands of customers find electricity plans for their home or business. And we are pretty darn good at it, with over 1,000 5-Star reviews we know how to help you stay powered up.

Now using the same one-of-kind technology and platform we are helping consumers in California decide if solar is right for them. You will notice that sometimes our numbers make solar look less attractive. That's not by accident. We believe you should have full transparency during the solar purchasing process.

We aren't here to sell you something. We are here to help you make the best energy decision for your home or business.

California Solar FAQs

The cost of solar panel installation in California can vary significantly based on a number of factors, including the size and type of the system, the complexity of the installation, your solar installer, and the specific location. However, the average cost of solar panels in the U.S. was about $3.13 per watt, before any incentives or tax credits.

A typical residential solar system is usually around 8 kilowatts (8,000 watts), but varies based on energy use and the size of the house. The US average cost for a 6 kW system is $18,771 and the US average cost for a 10 kW system is $31,285, before incentives.

The number of solar panels you would need depends on a variety of factors such as:

  1. Your home's energy consumption: The first step is to calculate your household's energy use. You can do this by looking at your electricity bills to see how much electricity you use in a year, usually measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The average U.S. home uses around 10,400 kWh per year, but this can vary widely based on the size of your home, the efficiency of your appliances, and your personal habits.
  2. The amount of sunlight your location receives: This can vary depending on where you live. For example, if you live in a place that has many sunny days like Arizona, you might require fewer solar panels compared to someone living in a place with less sunlight like Seattle.
  3. The efficiency of the solar panels: Not all solar panels are created equal. Some panels can convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently than others. On average, residential solar panels have an efficiency rating between 15-20%. The higher the efficiency, the fewer panels you would likely need to meet your energy needs.
  4. The size of the solar panels: Solar panels also come in different sizes. A common size for residential use is roughly 65 inches by 39 inches. Each panel typically produces around 250 to 400 watts of power, but this can vary.

To give you a rough estimate, let's say you live in a location that receives about 5 hours of peak sunlight per day, your solar panels have an efficiency of 20%, and each panel has a power rating of 300 watts. If your home uses about 10,400 kWh per year, you would divide this by 365 to get your daily energy use (about 28.5 kWh). You would then divide this by the hours of peak sunlight (5 hours), to get your required power output per hour (about 5.7 kW). If each solar panel produces 300 watts (or 0.3 kW), you would divide 5.7 kW by 0.3 to get the number of solar panels you need, which would be about 19 panels.

  • Lower Electricity Bills:
    Once your solar panels are installed, you can generate your own electricity and reduce your reliance on the grid, which can lower your monthly bills.
  • Environmental Benefits:
    Solar energy is clean and renewable, so using it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants.
  • Increased Home Value:
    Installing solar panels can increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
  • Long-Term Savings:
    While the upfront cost of installing solar energy systems can be high, they can pay for themselves over time through lower energy bills and other savings.
  • Location:
    Homes in areas with lots of sunlight are generally better candidates for solar panels. If your home is shaded or doesn't receive much sunlight, it may not be the best choice.
  • Roof Orientation:
    Ideally, your roof should be facing south to get the most sunlight throughout the day.
  • Roof Condition:
    Your roof should be in good condition and able to support the weight of the solar panels. If your roof needs repairs or replacement, it's best to take care of that before your solar installation.

The installation process for solar panels can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size of the system and the complexity of the installation.

Your installer should be able to give you an estimated timeline based on your specific project.

Solar panels generally require very little maintenance. However, it's a good idea to have them inspected every few years to ensure they are working properly and to clean off any debris or dirt that may have accumulated on the panels. Most solar panel installers offer maintenance services for an additional fee.

Some skilled DIYers may be able to save some solar installation costs by installing solar equipment themselves. But, any solar installation will require a foundational knowledge of wiring and electricity. There is a lot that can go wrong, posing a potentially deadly hazard.

Before you try to DIY your system we would recommend getting a quote from a solar installer. You may find that the labor costs of your install is relatively small compared to the cost of the solar equipment itself.

Also, many states require certain permits in order to install the panels to ensure safety. Including a construction permit and an electrical permit. Check out the permit websites for your city before taking on this endeavor.

Los Angeles

Solar Submittal Requirements

Solar Permit Forms and Applications

Guidelines for Solar Plan Check

San Fransisco

Preparation Solar Plans

Solar Permit Website

San Diego

Solar Installation Planning

How to Obtain Solar Permit

Residential Solar Permit

Sacremento

Steps to Get a Solar Permit

Permits Website

There are two main types of solar panels: Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. There are pros and cons to both. Either type can produce enough solar power for your home. We recommend getting a recommendation from a solar installer for your home. Depending on your budget, location, and other factors they can recommend the most efficient solar panels for your home.