Two solar installers, one male and one female, discuss battery storage costs using a tablet outdoors in Southern California, with solar panels visible in the background.
Two solar installers, one male and one female, discuss battery storage costs using a tablet outdoors in Southern California, with solar panels visible in the background.

Guide to Solar Panels Cost in Southern California

California has the most people and is by far the most economical in the states. It is well-known for its year-round sunlight and high rate of solar energy usage. It's also the national leader in solar energy, accounting for roughly 33% of total solar power generation in the country. This is three times the amount produced by Texas, the second-largest producer of solar energy. California pioneered solar energy promotion in 1976, years before many other states. Regrettably, the state is also notorious for having high electricity prices.

The amount of homeowners who have invested in residential solar panels for their houses is a significant element contributing to California's high rate of solar power generation.

California became the first state, through its Title 24 laws, to require rooftop solar on most new residences beginning in 2020. This new criterion propels California to the forefront of solar energy production. What do these developments imply for solar pricing?

How Much Does Solar Panels Cost In Southern California Without Any Tax Credits Or Incentives?

The cost of adopting solar in Southern California might be high if a household does not take advantage of tax credits or incentives. A typical 4000-watt (4kW) solar system in the state costs approximately $8.70/watt, or $34,800.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Southern California After Tax Credits and Incentives?

The federal government has developed two countrywide solar subsidies to boost renewable energy. The very first incentive is the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC), which allows homeowners to claim a 30 percent tax credit on costs related to solar panel installation if construction begins before the end of 2019. (After that, the value gradually decreases and finally ceases for residential installations.) The ITC can help homeowners by subsidizing the initial installation costs.

The property tax exemption for solar energy systems is the second incentive. Your present property tax will not be raised if you install a new solar system on your house. This exemption will be in effect until the property's ownership changes.

Southern California also Provides Incentives.

Southern California encourages homeowners to engage in solar power by offering a number of solar incentives and tax credits. The state offers the following financial incentives:

Affordable Solar Housing for Single-Family Homes (SASH)

This program offers financial incentives to qualifying low-income homes to assist cover the cost of installing a solar energy system.

Affordable Multifamily Solar Housing (MASH)

This program offers incentives to qualified Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDGE) consumers (SDG&E).

Net Metering of Energy 

You will not always use all of the electricity provided by your solar system. That is why California provides Net Energy Metering (NEM), a special billing mechanism that credits consumers with solar systems for the full retail value of surplus power generated by their system.

Financing Options Exist

Solar panels are a big financial commitment for households, and you have several alternatives for financing your solar system:

Loans for Home Equity

Home equity loans are a common form of financing used by many homeowners to fund solar panel systems.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)

A PPA is a contract in which a third company owns and maintains your solar system while selling the kilowatt-hours back to the consumer.

Solar leasing

In California, solar leases are an alternative for homeowners looking for finance. You can engage in a contract with a solar leasing firm that offers to loan you the money for the system and installation charges. This expenditure is then returned over time while the benefits of having a solar system continue to accrue.

Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)

This is a scheme that will lend a homeowner the whole cost of a qualifying energy improvement to be returned over time, with monthly payments applied to the homeowner's property tax bill.

How Much Electricity Can I Obtain From Solar In Southern California?

Aside from the energy output and performance of the solar equipment you choose to install, the amount of energy you create with solar panels in Southern California is directly tied to the amount of sunshine that strikes your panels. Because Southern California is one of the sunniest states in the US, a solar panel installation in the state will almost certainly produce more energy yearly than a system of the same size put elsewhere, such as in the Northeast.

Other elements that influence how much solar power you can generate are: shading, panel orientation, and panel angle are all significant in generating your production estimate, which is a projection of how much energy your solar installation will produce over time.

Important Solar Installation Considerations

There are various aspects to consider before putting solar panels on your home since they can affect the efficacy of your solar system. Among the most crucial aspects to consider are:

Your roof's age, angle, and condition. According to the United States Department of Energy, solar panels are most effective on south-facing roofs with slopes ranging from 15 to 40%. They may not be suitable for older roofs that may need to be replaced soon.

The amount of sunlight that your home receives. California receives significantly more sunlight than other states, making solar energy particularly appealing. However, it is critical to evaluate how much sun your property receives in your area.

HOA and neighborhood regulations. In certain areas, HOAs and other neighborhood groups may have limits or demand prior clearance for the installation of solar panels. However, California law prohibits HOAs from prohibiting solar panels, so simply obey any rules listed in your region.

Should I Buy Or Lease Solar Panels In Southern California?

When you put solar panels in your house, you can choose to buy or lease the system. When purchasing solar panels, you can pay in full or finance the system over a certain time period defined in your financing agreement.

Leasing is another alternative that may appear appealing because it lowers your initial costs and assures you are not liable for any future repairs. However, there are some disadvantages to ponder.

To begin with, you will not receive any of your investment back when you lease your equipment. While other homeowners will ultimately buy their systems altogether and be free of monthly payments, leasing implies that you will always have a cost. Furthermore, a leased solar system will not boost your home's market value. In fact, if you relocate, it may make it more difficult to sell your house since bidders would have to agree to assume your lease payments. Ultimately, homeowners who own their solar panels will save more energy in the long run than those who lease them.

However, if you are unable to purchase solar panels or if you rent your house, solar leases or solar PPAs may be a viable choice. Another option is to look into community solar options in your region.


Southern California is a solar energy pioneer, with more solar electricity installed than any other state in the country. There is no better time than now to begin making the transition to clean solar energy since the ITC and other cost-cutting advantages will expire soon.

To get started on your solar energy system, contact professionals in your area!