Is Solar Worth It in California

California has many sun-filled days and progressive policies that make it a leader in renewable energy. But is solar actually worth it in the Golden State? Several factors can affect this answer, such as installation costs, home energy usage, and available incentives. Below, we’ll dive into the details to help you make the best decision for your home’s needs.

Two-story home with solar panels

Before switching to solar energy, it’s important to assess several factors to determine if it’s a worthwhile investment. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help with your solar energy assessment.

Single story home with palms and solar panels

What Is the Cost of Solar Panels in California in 2024?

A new solar system in California can range between $11,000 and $16,105. However, this can vary based on your home’s size, energy consumption, zip code, and the solar company you work with. Contact a reputable solar company, like Axia, for a more accurate home estimate.

How to Calculate Your Solar Requirements

To determine your solar panel needs, calculate your daily energy need, divide it by the peak sunlight hours in your area, and divide it again by a solar panel’s power rating. Below is an example.

  • 40 kWh per day / 8 = 5 kW
  • Most traditional solar panels produce between 250 and 400 W, or 0.25 kW and 0.4 kW.
  • 5 kW / 0.25 = 20 panels
  • 5 kW / 0.4 = 13 panels
  • For this example, it would take 13 to 20 solar panels to power a home.
Calculator on solar panel
Tilted roof with solar panels

Your Home’s Electricity Usage

One of the biggest factors that will determine if it’s worth it to get solar panels in your California home is how much electricity you use. By analyzing your energy usage patterns and considering factors like how much sunlight your home receives and the cost of electricity in your area, you can determine whether investing in solar is a worthwhile and cost-effective option for your home.

Buy-Back Programs in California

California has a net metering program called NEM 3.0. Net metering lets solar owners earn credits for excess solar energy they give back to the grid. They may be able to use this credit to reduce the cost of grid electricity they use on less sunny days. NEM 3.0 began on April 15, 2023, and applies to residents who install solar from that date forward. Under this plan, solar owners can receive a credit of about 25% of the retail electricity rates.

Smart Meters: Advantages and Disadvantages

If your solar panel system doesn’t currently have a smart meter — or you have an older one — you should consider upgrading to a new one. These meters’ latest models make monitoring system functionality easier with minimal effort.

  • The Residential Clean Energy Credit. This federal tax credit reduces solar owners’ tax liability by 30% to offset solar system costs.
  • DAC-SASH. Disadvantaged communities in California may receive a rebate toward a new solar installation.
  • Solar property tax exemption. California residents don’t have to worry about increased property taxes if they upgrade to solar.
  • Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). With this program, homeowners who install new solar systems will get a rebate they can use for system costs.
Night view of sola panels on top of a home

Blackout Protection

Solar panels are worth it in Southern California because of the many power outages. With growing concerns about grid reliability, solar energy systems with battery storage offer a reliable power source during outages. By storing excess energy your system generates during the day, you’ll have an uninterrupted source of power when the grid goes down.

California is the perfect place for solar energy! Its sunny climate makes it an excellent environment for taking advantage of the sun’s power. With several sunny days during the year, solar panels in California may generate many cost savings and contribute to a greener future. Here are some other reasons why Solar panels are worth it in California. 

Supportive Policies

California’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainability has led to policies favoring environmentally friendly endeavors. Many government leaders have created incentives and initiatives promoting solar adoption. 

Innovation Hub

This state is a hub for solar technology innovation. It’s home to many research institutions, industry leaders, and startups focused on solar. These all help advance solar technology, lower installation costs, and encourage continuous improvements in solar efficiency, affordability, and reliability. 

Energy Independence

Switching to solar in California may boost energy independence. Generating power from panels on your roof helps reduce your reliance on grid energy. Solar power can empower people and communities to take charge of their energy needs.