Installing Solar Panels in California

Earlier this year, regulators in California approved a plan to require solar panels on new home construction throughout the state and set 2020 for everything to go into effect. The plan will require solar panels to be installed on almost all new single-family homes which will add nearly $10,000 onto the cost of a new home. The plan is a welcome addition for statewide homebuilders as well as solar power companies and utility companies.

California has some of the best incentives in the nation for solar installation including a 30% federal tax credit and 1 for 1 net metering. On top of that, you simply can’t beat the bright California sunshine that keeps solar going and the fact that you can pay less on your electric bill each month by using solar power.

On average, a solar power system in California will cost around $4.00 per watt of power used whereas residents pay nearly $20 per kilowatt hour of electricity from local utility companies. The national average for electricity is just over $13, making California the fifth most expensive state in the U.S. for electricity falling behind Hawaii, Alaska, Connecticut and Massachusetts. (source:

When it comes to state rankings for the number of  homes powered by solar power, states like North Dakota with small solar power resources or  South Dakota, Alaska and others who have few homes with solar power and also fewer than 50 solar power companies in the entire state will hopefully hoe on board with more solar power companies and better incentives to bring new solar customers on board. Using renewable energy helps cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and California is working hard to do their part in cutting down on these dangerous emissions.

Having Solar Panels Installed

There are numerous types of solar panel brands that a person can choose from when the decision has been made to incorporate solar power into a home. Shelton Roofing, a Santa Cruz based roofing company recommends homeowners have their roof inspected prior to the installation to check for some important things ahead of time. Owner Brett Shelton sates that most people never think about their roof until they see a leak, or they realize shingles have blown off during a storm but when solar power is going to be used, the roof needs to be in good condition. You need an inspection to check for the following:
  •        Leaks
  •        Weak Spots
  •        Debris on the roof
  •        The age of the roof
  •        Deterioration of shingles/roof tiles
  •        Ventilation
  •        Insulation & Windows
Once the inspection is complete, you can move onto gathering quotes from solar power system and solar panel installation companies.

Getting a Quote for Solar Panel Installation

There is a saying that goes something like, “Not all is fair in love and war.” Well, when it comes to solar panel installation, all quotes are not the same. When you get started with the quote phase of your solar power journey in California, you need to make sure that every quote you receive is comparable to the others.

For instance, if you need a quote to buy the panels, make sure the company is quoting on a purchase rather than leasing panels. This can make a huge difference in the overall quote. You also need to make sure they all quote for installation of the exact system you want and the same exact number of solar panels.

Make Sure Your Solar Panels Will Endure the Years

When you buy solar panels, it is important to buy panels that are going to last as many years as possible. This is a hefty investment and one that cannot be taken lightly by cutting corners on overall value. You want to find a company that offers the longest warranty on the panels.
Longer warranties will often mean a higher price tag, but in the long run those panels are going to outlive the others and you won’t find yourself paying large sums of money in ten or fifteen years when you could have solar panels that have a 25-year warranty.

A warranty on solar panels coincides with the number of years the solar panel manufacturer will guarantee the panels will maintain a specific percentage of efficiency. The longer, the better. Check with several manufacturers before deciding on the right one for your home. The installer you hire should be able to offer in-depth information on several brands of solar panels, so you can compare them side by side to see which will meet your expectations for longevity as well as pricing.

The Cost of Installation

For years, a new roof installation was about the biggest investment that a California homeowner would make for their home. Today, solar panel installation has become he biggest investment and one that can not only add value to an existing home but can make a new home easier to sale when it is ready to hit the market.

A four-kilowatt system can cost upwards of $35,000 for the system to be fully installed for a residential customer. This is a major investment and California homeowners must be able to find the right solar panel installer to make sure everything is set just right and to also ensure they pay the best rate for installation possible.

Before you agree to hire an installer, make sure they tell you about any rebates, discounts or other incentives they offer. Also make sure they are upfront about all cost associated with the installation by asking for an all-inclusive quote.

What to Know About the Solar Panel Mandate in California

By the year 2030, it is California’s plan to have at least half of the state’s energy production from renewable sources of energy. As sated above, by 2020, the new solar mandate will require all new single-family homes to have solar power installed.

The state decided to place the requirement in action to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by mandating that new homes take part in reducing the impact on the environment, but as of now, since they are only going to require solar power installation on new construction of single-family residential homes rather than on corporations, the impact will not be as large as may be necessary. 

The largest factor with greenhouse gas emissions stem from transportation and business infrastructure.

The mandate will make new home construction cost more, but homeowners will save money as the years go by. Solar power can save, on average, nearly $20,000 over a 30-year span of time. That means homeowners can save approximately $700 annually when using solar power instead of electricity.

Homeowners will still need to obtain electricity from the power grid as well as their solar panels, but with quality batteries, solar panels will be a great relief during times of natural disasters such as earthquakes that are frequent in the state. 

Click on the Map of Solar Farms in California to Search for Locations