California Solar Cost: Tax Credits Rebates Guide 2023
We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free. so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover.
How We Make Money
The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site. We do not include the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available to you.
On This Page
Caitlin Ritchie is a Bankrate contributor and a writer for Bankrate sister site SaveOnEnergy.com. Caitlin has been covering home energy, residential solar power and energy efficiency since 2019. In her writing, Caitlin aims to demystify the energy industry and help readers find clear and straightforward answers and financial advice.
Hannah Hillson is a contributing editor for Bankrate. With a decade of experience in the home services and energy industries, she aims to answer consumer questions in a digestible way. Apart from editing and writing, Hannah enjoys learning about energy solutions, renewable energy, residential solar and the deregulated market. Find her work on SaveOnEnergy.com and connect on LinkedIn.
The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict editorial integrity. this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for how we make money.
The Bankrate promise
Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make Smart financial choices. We’ve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and trustworthy.
Our banking reporters and editors FOCUS on the points consumers care about most — the best banks, latest rates, different types of accounts, money-saving tips and more — so you can feel confident as you’re managing your money.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions.
We value your trust. Our mission is to provide readers with accurate and unbiased information, and we have editorial standards in place to ensure that happens. Our editors and reporters thoroughly fact-check editorial content to ensure the information you’re reading is accurate. We maintain a firewall between our advertisers and our editorial team. Our editorial team does not receive direct compensation from our advertisers.
Bankrate’s editorial team writes on behalf of YOU – the reader. Our goal is to give you the best advice to help you make Smart personal finance decisions. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers, and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy. So, whether you’re reading an article or a review, you can trust that you’re getting credible and dependable information.
How we make money
You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers.
We’re transparent about how we are able to bring quality content, competitive rates, and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and, services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.
California produces more solar energy than any other state, generating almost 30 percent of the nation’s solar power. State regulations involving renewable energy goals and efficiency standards for homes have driven higher demand for residential solar panels. Any major investment such as solar, requires in-depth education. Learn everything you need to know about solar panels in California, including the average cost, state incentives and whether solar is the right investment for your home.
How much electricity does a solar panel generate?
The average solar panel is able to output between 370 and 400 watts of power. This works out to a single solar panel producing about 2 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per day. That’s enough electricity to watch your TV nonstop for almost a full 24 hours.
The following table outlines how much electricity a 400-watt solar panel would produce under ideal conditions over the course of a day, a week, a month, and a year:
How many solar panels do I need to power my house?
Let’s be honest, no one is installing just one solar panel on their roof. As mentioned above, one solar panel will produce roughly 2 kWh daily. On the other hand, the average U.S. home uses about 29 kWh of electricity daily. So, you’ll need a lot more than just one panel.
In fact, you’ll probably need at least 15 solar panels on your roof to generate enough electricity to cover your daily energy usage. That works out to about 6,000 watts of solar, or 6 kilowatts (kW). A 6 kW system will produce about 10,950 kWh per year. That’s enough electricity to cover the average household’s electricity usage and potentially eliminate a 135 electricity bill.
The actual number of solar panels you need will largely depend on how much energy you use throughout the year. But it will also depend on your panels’ environment and the panels themselves.
factors that affect the amount of electricity that solar panels produce
We want to be totally honest with you, most of the time, solar panels won’t produce the maximum amount of energy possible. Solar panel specifications, like power output ratings, are determined by testing the panels in a laboratory under Standard Test Conditions.
Your roof isn’t exactly a lab, and the conditions it’s under aren’t always going to be ideal for your solar panels. There are a number of things that will impact how much energy your solar panel is generating.
Amount of sunlight
The amount of sunlight that hits a solar panel is one of the biggest factors in how much electricity it will generate. The more sunlight available to the panel, the more electricity it can produce.
This means you’ll want to install solar panels on an unshaded portion of your roof. You don’t want overhanging tree branches or your chimney casting shadows on your panels. Even dust and debris can cause your panels’ production to drop, so it’s important to clean your solar panels once or twice a year.
It’s more than just if your panels are shaded or not. It also has to do with if where you live naturally gets a lot of sunlight. Scientists use “peak sun hours” to compare how much sunlight different places get. Solar panels will be able to generate more electricity in places that get more peak sun hours.
The following table lays out how much energy a 400-watt panel could produce in states that receive different amounts of sunlight, assuming all other conditions are the same:
You can hear more about how weather conditions impact solar panel production in this video from SolarReviews founder, Andy Sendy:
The panel itself also affects how much energy it can produce. Solar panels are made up of solar cells, which are what actually turn sunlight into electricity. Today, most solar panels use monocrystalline solar cells, AKA the most efficient silicon solar cell made today. If you used a polycrystalline solar panel, it wouldn’t be able to generate as much electricity as its monocrystalline counterpart.
It’s not just about the material the solar cells are made out of – how much electricity a panel produces is also impacted by how many cells there are and how those cells are shaped! Solar panels typically come in two sizes: 60-cell solar panels for homes and 72-cell panels for larger commercial installations.
72-cell panels have more solar cells, so they’re able to generate more electricity, but they’re too large to use on many residential roofs. However, a lot of solar panel manufacturers today are starting to make 66-cell solar panels that are still practical for home solar, but the extra six cells mean the panels can produce more energy!
Manufacturers are also making more half-cut solar panels, where the solar cells are cut in half with a laser before being put into the panel. This increases the efficiency of the panel so it can generate more electricity. Half-cut panels are also wired differently than traditional panels, so shading has less of an impact on how much energy is generated.
Bifacial solar panels: Bifacial solar panels are able to generate electricity from light that hits both the front and the back of the panel. When sunlight hits the ground and bounces back up, bifacial panels can capture that reflected light and use it to make more electricity. These aren’t particularly useful for homeowners with rooftop solar, but they can be a great option for ground-mounted systems.
The truth is, not all roofs are good for solar. The characteristics of your roof are a major player in how much energy solar panels can produce for your home.
The number one thing you need to consider is the direction of your roof. The best direction for solar panels to face is south, so you’ll want to have a south-facing roof for maximum energy production. This doesn’t mean you can’t install solar panels if your roof faces a different direction. The panels will just generate less electricity because they get less sunlight.
The following table outlines how much electricity a solar panel will generate facing different directions if all other factors are the same:
How to determine how much electricity a solar panel can produce
So, now that we’ve covered what impacts a solar panel’s ability to produce electricity, we can get into the good stuff. figuring out how much power solar panels will produce for your home.
We’ve already established that there are a number of factors that are going to impact how your solar panels generate electricity. So for the sake of simplicity, we’re only going to take a couple of things into account for the below example, including:
All you need to do is multiply the wattage of your panel by the number of daily peak sun hours. A homeowner in Florida who installs a 400-watt solar panel can expect about four peak sun hours in a day. That means this panel would produce 1,600 watt-hours of electricity per day. Electricity is usually measured in kilowatt-hours, so you simply divide your 1,600 watt-hours by 1,000 to get 1.6 kilowatt-hours.
400 watts x 4 peak sun hours = 1,600 watt-hours per day 1,600 watt-hours /1,000 = 1.6 kWh per day 1.6 kWh x 30 days = 48 kWh per month 1.3 kWh x 365 days = 584 kWh per year
Bear in mind, this is a really simplified way of calculating how much electricity a solar panel produces. The actual amount will fluctuate day by day, even hour by hour, based on all the factors mentioned earlier. Use our solar panel calculator to get a more accurate view of how much electricity you can expect solar to produce on your roof.
Estimated production of a single panel assuming 5 peak sun hours at STC.
Keep in mind, high-wattage panels tend to come with high price tags, too. This means you may have to pay more upfront for your system, but you’ll need fewer panels to meet your energy needs.
Power your whole home with solar to save money
Now you know how much solar electricity you can expect one solar panel to produce and how much a whole system can, too.
But the best part is that installing solar does way more than just let you power your home with renewable energy. it helps you save money. By using the electricity generated by solar panels on your roof, you don’t have to take electricity from your utility, which means they don’t have to charge you.
Most of the time, you can install enough solar panels to cover all of your electricity costs. In fact, that 6 kW solar system we discussed earlier could save the average American homeowner around 130 a month!
But of course, this is just an estimate. Just like with how much electricity a panel produces, how much solar panels can save you depends on many factors. The easiest way to determine how much solar panels can save you is by using our solar panel savings calculator below. Not only will you get a free solar savings estimate, but you can also choose to get in contact with vetted local solar installers to start getting real solar quotes for your specific home.
How to Save Money on Solar Panel Cost with Local Rebates
Plenty of utility companies and local governments offer their own rebates and other incentives — including net metering — to encourage more homeowners to go solar.
Depending on where you live in Texas, Colorado or Florida, or elsewhere in the United States, you can take advantage of the following rebates and incentives:
Saving Money With Federal Rebates
One of the best incentives to lower the costs of your solar energy system is the federal solar tax credit. You can reduce the amount you pay in taxes for your solar panel system by 30% between now and 2033.
That means that if your system costs 30,000, you get a 9,000 credit on your federal taxes. And adding any local incentives listed above will help you save even more money!
Saving Money With Manufacturer Rebates
Manufacturers want to make it easy for homeowners like you to make the switch to renewable energy. SunPower periodically offers rebates up to 450,000 to offset your solar panel installation costs.
Contact Freedom Solar and one of our specialists will help you find manufacturer rebates suitable for your residence.
Saving Money With Promotions
Freedom Solar also aims to help customers save money through a variety of promotions throughout the year. Promotions vary and have deadlines, but we’ll work with you to find the best options available.
SAVING MONEY ON UTILITIES
Saving Money on Utility Bills
One of the most popular reasons to go solar is that you can drastically reduce — or even completely eliminate — your monthly utility bill. The amount you’ll save depends on how much energy your system produces as well as how much energy you consume. But the most significant benefit is the decrease in your energy bill since you’re harnessing the power of the sun, a free, inexhaustible energy source.
You’ll also avoid hefty electricity rates that are often unpredictable and increase over time. And since the amount you’ll save with solar power is usually equal to the amount you’ll avoid paying an electricity supplier, your finances won’t be affected by surging energy in the area.
When you install a solar panel system, you can lock in your energy costs at a constant rate, making your finances much more predictable.
Saving Money with Net Metering
A solar panel system is a workhorse and can often generate more electricity than you need for your daily use. This is where net metering is beneficial; it serves as a billing agreement between you and your utility provider as a solution for any excess, unused energy. You can program your solar panel system to send any unused electricity to your city’s grid, and in return you’ll receive credits on your electricity bill.
Net metering is especially useful since it’s rare that someone is at home using electricity all day and night. When you’re out of the house, your solar panels will continue to generate energy and store it as backup power in a generator or battery. Or even when you’re sleeping at night and not using electricity, you can tap into those net metering credits to offset your electricity bill.
This means that you’re not only in control of your own energy, but you’re able to give electricity back to your city, making sustainable efforts and also saving money in return. Triple win!
All the Ways You Can Save with Solar
Acquiring a solar panel system is a major home improvement project, but it’s well worth the time and financial investment. Most homeowners go solar with no money down up front thanks to local, state, and federal incentives that significantly help reduce costs.
Whether you’re utilizing local, state, or federal rebates, net metering, or perhaps seasonal promotions, you have plenty of ways to offset the costs of your solar panel equipment and installation to help you gain a lifetime of free, renewable energy. To learn more about Freedom Solar or request a free consultation and quote, call 1 (800) 504-2337 or fill out our online inquiry form.
Want to know more?
Begin a FREE Consultation.
- Send us your info.
- We’ll contact you to schedule an appointment.
- An energy consultant will meet with you at your home, place of business or virtually.
- You will get a custom proposal with system size, design, costs, financing, and savings.
We respect your privacy. Your info will only be used to contact you and to qualify your roof for solar.By clicking “Contact Me” you authorize Freedom Solar to call you and send you pre-recorded messages and text messages at the number you entered above, using an autodialer, with offers about their products or services, even if your phone number is a mobile phone or on any national or state “Do Not Call” list. Message and data rates may apply. Your consent here is not based on a condition of purchase.
Solar Power: How to Estimate Cost Savings For Your Home
Reputed solar service providers offer detailed solar power estimates in Stamford for installing and maintaining a solar system for your home. The difficult part is accurately calculating the savings from solar power systems because multiple factors are at play. Since solar installations are an investment rather than an expense, let’s develop a plan to determine the cost savings from a solar power installation for your Stamford home.
Determine the System Size
Depending on your household’s energy requirements, you will determine the size of your solar system, i.e., the number of solar panels you need. We have to make a few assumptions to get a solar power estimate for your Stamford home.
Average electricity consumption/day for a Stamford household = 30 kWh
So, taking into account the loss factor, the solar panel will have to generate
Solar energy needed = 30 kWh x 1.44 = 43.2 kWh
With an average of 4 peak sun hours, you can get 4 Wh/day. So, solar power to be supplied to an average American home comes to:43.2kWh/4Wh= 10.8kWh
So, according to the calculated solar power estimate in Stamford, the homeowner will need a solar system that can produce approximately 10-11kW of power. So, they will need thirty-two 330W solar panels covering around 600 sqft of their roof.
This investment would save them 125/month (the average electric bill for Americans.
Factor In the Incentives
Homeowners get many incentives to install solar panels in their homes. The most popular among them is the federal solar tax credit. Under the scheme, you become eligible for a 30% tax credit when you install a solar system. If your initial investment in a solar system is 25,000, you can get 6,500 deducted from your annual income taxes.
Some utility companies also offer rebates to their users to switch to solar power. Additionally, solar users can also claim SRECs for sending energy back to the grid. They can earn hundreds of dollars per year from them.
Calculate The Savings
Now that you have a solar power estimate for your Stamford home, the size of the installation you need, and the incentives you are eligible for, you can now calculate the savings you stand to gain.
For ease of calculation, let’s say your initial installation cost is 25,000
You receive a tax credit = 0.26X25000 =6500
Net Investment = 25,000 – 6500 = 18,500
Average monthly power bill = 125, so yearly power bill = 1500
The life of an average solar installation system is 25 years. So, your savings, without even accounting for rising power costs, will be at least 37,500 over the system’s lifetime.