Cost of Installing Solar Panels in Alameda County, California
Going Green in Alameda County
With a population of 1,723,184, Alameda County ranks seventh among the most populous counties in California. The county has a higher female population than males with 50.77% being female while 49.22% are male.
Alameda county has a relatively young population with the median age being 38. As of 2023, the county has 590,102 households with an average household size of 3. 67.
As of 2023, Alameda county solar panel installations for a 4 to 7kW system range between $11,000 and $17,000. A solar panel costs between $2 and $4 when calculated on a cost-per-watt basis.
Average cost of solar panels in Alameda County, by system size.
|Energy System Size
|Solar Panel Cost
|Cost After Credit
Costs will also vary based on the type of solar panel. The following table details the installation and purchasing costs for various panel types.
|Average Cost Breakdown for Solar Installation in Santa Clara County
|Solar Panel Type
|Cost Per Watt
|Monocrystalline Solar Panels
|$1 - $1.50
|Polycrystalline Solar Panels
|$.90 - $1
|Thin Film Solar Panels
|$1 - $1.50
|$.4 - $.75
|Cost of Racking
|$.25 - $.50 per watt.
|Installation and soft Costs
|$2.50 - $4.50 per watt
Six to 10 years is typically how long it takes for solar panels to pay for themselves. Multiple factors affect the solar payback period. For instance, a larger solar energy system will cost more upfront but result in greater monthly savings.
Also, a major increase in your utility's electricity bill may have a significant influence on your long-term savings. Modern photovoltaic (PV) solar panels have an expected lifespan of at least 25 years and an efficiency of at least 80%. Some modern solar panel models have even longer lifespans.
The three most common types of solar panels used for residential installations are thin-film, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline.
Multiple factors determine the cost of solar panels in Alameda County, including the size, location, and type of panels used.
The Size of the Solar Panels: The size of the system influences the cost of installing solar panels. This is because a larger system requires more work to install. For instance, solar panels that produce 25 kW cost on average $53k while those that produce 2 kW cost on average roughly $4k.
Brand Quality: Prices of solar panels in California vary depending on the brand manufacturer. Depending on the manufacturer, your solar panels may cost between $12,000 and $18,000. The more reputable the brand, the more your solar panels will cost. Homeowners may prefer to buy energy solutions from reputable brands like Enphase, Tesla or Generac.
Type of Installation: Solar panel installations come in various forms. The most typical mounting is roof mounts. However, installing ground mounts and carports could call for additional posts that need to be fixed into the ground. Sometimes, this can result in greater labor and component costs.
Type of Solar Panel: The three most common varieties of solar panels used for residential use are thin-film, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline. If you want something economical, polycrystalline might be the best option. However, if you are looking for more effective panels, monocrystalline panels are the way to go.
Per watt, polycrystalline solar panels are priced between $0.90 and $1. Contrastingly, monocrystalline solar panels are priced between $1 and $1.50 per watt.
California offers some of the best solar incentive programs nationwide. Some of the rebates and incentives offered to Alameda County residents include:
Homeowners that meet the requirements and install solar panels on their homes may be eligible for a tax credit. This tax credit can go as high as 30% of the system's cost. Buyers who are eligible for a rebate for solar panels in California may receive credit ranging from $300 overall to $0.95 per installed watt of capacity.
The Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) offers a rebate for the purchase and installation of a solar battery and rooftop panel system. Be aware that this changes, depending on the utility and battery storage capacity.
Net metering is another incentive to go solar in Alameda County. Owners of solar energy installations in Alameda County will earn bill credits from their utility for the excess solar energy.
In California, the capacity cap for the net metering program is 5% of the maximum peak consumer demand. In addition, many major utilities provide net metering programs, including Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE).
The DAC-SASH program offers upfront incentives to single-family houses that install solar panels and satisfy the income requirements.
To be eligible for the incentive, however, residents must be customers of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), or San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).
In California, homeowners are permitted to construct renewable energy production facilities. These facilities help them meet their additional energy needs. These energy facilities can also be connected to the electrical grid by homeowners.
Additionally, many legislative acts require the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to establish tariffs. These tariffs mandate that customers be permitted by investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to be customer-generators. Customer-generators are customers who go on to generate their own electricity.
Customers can use net energy metering (NEM) in Alameda County to sell the solar energy they produce. Due to net energy metering, participating clients can get a bill credit for excess electricity exported to the electric grid.
A change is then made to the customer's bill to reflect the bill credits. The bill credits will be applied at the same retail rate as the acceptable rate structure.
Clients seeking NEM 2.0 were required to fulfill the following:
Note: NEM 2.0 was replaced by NEM 3.0 in early 2023.
NEM 3.0, the most recent iteration of net metering in California, was approved by the CPUC on December 15, 2022. Under NEM 3.0, net metering compensation rates for new customer-generators will likewise be substantially decreased by roughly 75%.
Released in April 2023, NEM 3.0 reduces compensation for excess electricity transmitted to the electric grid. In Alameda County, credit, which is equal to the retail price of electricity, is granted for exported solar power. In this case, one-to-one net metering is utilized. As a result, customers get credit for solar exports at the same rate they get for electricity from the grid.
The billing structure in NEM 3.0. switches from net-metering to net-billing. To do this, the Commission is developing a new, lower-valued rate for crediting solar export. In essence, a separate price will be set for whatever electricity you transmit to the grid by your utility. Furthermore, it won't be determined by your typical electricity rates.
In California, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) requires that solar contractors hold a specific license depending on the type of work they are performing.
NOTE: These licenses are different from the certifications that some solar installers may have from industry organizations. These certifications may demonstrate that an installer has additional training or experience in specific areas of solar installation. They, however, do not replace the state-mandated licensing requirement.
Yes, Tesla solar panels are available in Alameda County, California. Tesla provides an online search tool for customers who wish to find a local Tesla-certified solar panel installer in their area.
Working with a local Tesla-certified installer has several benefits, such as:
Yes. Solar panels can increase a home's value in Alameda County. According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels sell for a premium compared to similar homes without solar.
The study found that on average, homes with solar panels sold for 4.1% more than similar homes without solar. However, the exact amount that a home's value increases with solar panels can vary depending on several factors such as:
In Alameda County, California, homeowners using active solar energy systems can enjoy a property tax waiver through the Active Solar Energy System Exclusion. This policy is designed to support the state's goal of 100% clean energy by 2045 and provides property tax relief until 2026.
It is worth noting that this exclusion applies only to active solar energy systems and not to passive systems such as solar pools or hot tub heaters, wind systems, or passive solar energy systems.
Use these 6 easy steps to find solar companies near you.