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Solar Panels in Imperial County, CA

Installing Solar Panels in Imperial County, California: Costs & More

  • Solar panels in Imperial County cost between $12155 to $16445 on average as per 2021 census estimates
  • It takes about 6 years for solar panel systems to pay for themselves depending on their system size
  • Factors that determine the cost include type of roofing material used (shingles or flat), brand & quality of panel chosen

Going Green in Imperial Valley, CA

Situated in Southeast California, Imperial County experiences an average of 3,055 hours of sunshine, with approximately 146 clear days. The county is home to 192,503 people with an average of three people per household. Additionally, there are 65,691 housing units in Imperial County, 23% of which are unoccupied.

According to 2021 census estimates, of the 50,581 occupied housing units, 30,641 are owned while 19,940 are rented properties. Lastly, a total of 3,355 housing units have also been built in 2010 or later.

How much do Solar Panels cost in Imperial County, CA?

As of 2023, the average cost of solar panels in Imperial County is between $12,155 to $16,445 before solar incentives, credits or rebates. When translated to a cost-per-watt basis, a solar panel costs anywhere between $2 to $4. Below is a table of the average cost of solar panel cost by system size in Imperial County:

Energy System Size Solar Panel Cost Cost After Credit
3kW $8,160 $6,038
4 kW $10,880 $8,051
5 kW $13,600 $10,064
6 kW $16,320 $12,077
7 kW $19,040 $14,090
8 kW $21,760 $16,102

How Long Does it Take for Solar Panels to Pay for themselves in Imperial County?

On average, it takes about 6 years for Imperial County solar panels to pay for themselves. Your system's cost and the amount of power it produces will determine your payback period. The more energy your solar panel system makes, the sooner it will begin to pay for itself.

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Imperial County, California?

Multiple factors affect the cost of solar panels in Imperial County. Some of these include the type of panel, type of roof, panel brand and the levelized cost of energy.

  • Type of Panel: Your intended panel type will substantially affect the cost of your solar panel system. For example, polycrystalline panels are cheaper than monocrystalline panels due to the latter’s high efficiency. Essentially, the higher the quality of the panel, the more you spend.

  • Brand of Panel and Solar Equipment: The quality of solar panels can vary greatly depending on the brand. For instance, you have the option of going for cheap brands to save money. However, if you want to assure quality, it is advised you consider more expensive and reputable brands.

  • Levelized Cost of Energy: The Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is the average cost of a generator’s energy production throughout its lifetime. It regularly compares various energy generation techniques and is used for investment planning.

  • Type of Roof: The cost of your solar panel system may vary depending on your roof type. This is because different roofs need different components and labor requirements. For instance, a particular flashing component is needed to secure the panel racking to shingle roofs.

  • Installation Company: The installation company you choose can help minimize the cost of your solar panel installation.

What are the Incentives for Solar energy in Imperial County, California?

Imperial County is blessed with a sunny climate, making it ideal for solar panel investment. This is, however, not the only reason to incorporate solar power in your home. Additionally, some of the best incentives and rebates for solar panels in the country can be found in the county.

The following are incentives available for homeowners who decide to go solar:

Local solar rebates

Many areas in California provide a rebate for solar panels to homeowners. Solar buyers who qualify for these subsidies might receive anywhere from $300 in total to $0.95 per installed watt of capacity. For example, there is a 30% solar tax credit on solar panel installation for homes in Imperial County.

Net metering

Net metering is another reason to go solar in Imperial County. Solar homeowners in Imperial County will earn bill credits from their utility for their additional solar power. The capacity restriction for California's net metering program is 5% of total peak consumer demand.

Disadvantaged Communities - Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH)

The DAC-SASH program offers upfront rebates to single-family homeowners who meet the income requirements and install solar panels. However, to qualify for the incentive, residents have to be customers of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), or San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).

Federal Solar Tax Credit

Federal incentives are available to homeowners who go solar in Imperial County. For instance, the Residential Clean Energy Credit for residential systems allows homeowners to reduce the cost of their solar panel system by 30%. However, this incentive only applies to homeowners who purchase their solar energy system outright. Homeowners also need to possess enough income tax for a substantial tax credit.

How can I Sell Solar Energy in Imperial County, California?

California residents are permitted to establish renewable electrical generation facilities. These facilities are used to help meet their energy demands. Residents are also allowed to interconnect these energy facilities to the electrical grid. Many laws have been put in place directing the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to create tariffs. These tariffs mandate investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to permit customers to generate their electricity. These customers are referred to as “customer-generators”.

As a customer, you can sell solar energy in Imperial County through net energy metering (NEM). Net energy metering enables participating customers to obtain a bill credit for excess power exported to the electric grid. The bill credits are then applied to a customer’s bill.

Note that it will be applied at the same retail rate as their regularly applicable rate structure. The CPUC currently implements a NEM tariff widely known as NEM 2.0. Customers looking to apply for NEM 2.0 need to meet the following requirements:

  • Customers with solar facilities below 1 megawatt are required to pay an interconnection fee. This fee will be based on each IOU’s past interconnection prices.
  • Customer-generators must pay minor fees for each kilowatt-hour kWh of grid electricity they use.
  • Customer generators are also mandated to take service on a Transfer to time of use to apply for NEM 2.0.

NetMetering 3.0

The CPUC, on December 15, 2022, voted to approve California’s latest iteration of net metering, or NEM 3.0. Launched in April 2023, NEM 3.0 decreases net metering compensation rates for new customer-generators by approximately 75%.

A credit equal to the retail rate of electricity for exported solar production is offered by multiple states including California. This is referred to as one-to-one net metering. With this, customers are credited at the same rate for solar exports as what they pay for electricity from the grid.

In NEM 3.0, the CPUC moves the structure from net-metering to net-billing. The Commission is doing this by creating a new rate for crediting solar exports that will be lesser in value. Essentially, the amount your utility will pay for any electricity you transmit to the grid will be determined separately. It will also not be based on your regular electricity rates.

Do You Need a Handyman or a Solar Installer in Imperial County?

The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy advises that installation be done by a qualified professional.

Ensure that any professional you hire is appropriately licensed for solar system installation.

The following is a list of some of the licensing classifications for solar power in California:

  • "A" – General Engineering contractors are licensed to install solar energy systems.
  • "B" – General Building contractors are licensed to install solar energy systems within the scope of B&P Code section 7057.
  • C-4 – Boiler, Hot-Water Heating, and Steam Fitting contractors are licensed to execute projects that involve solar heating equipment. These equipment are required to be associated with systems permitted by this classification.
  • C-10 – Electrical contractors are licensed to execute any solar projects that generate, transmit, transform, or utilize electrical energy in any form for any purpose.
  • C-36 – Plumbing contractors are licensed to execute any project using solar equipment to heat water or fluids to a suitable temperature.
  • C-46 – Solar contractors install, modify, maintain, and repair thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems. Contractors licensed under this classification are unable to carry out; building or construction trades, crafts, or skills. However, they can do so when required to install a thermal or photovoltaic solar energy system.
  • C-53 – Swimming Pool contractors are authorized to install solar heating in swimming pool projects.

Are Tesla Solar Panels Available in Imperial County, California?

Yes, Tesla solar panels are available in Imperial County. In Imperial County, Tesla solar panels cost anywhere between $11,000 and $22,000. Tesla solar panels are great performance-wise as they perform at about 98% efficiency, close to the best in the market.

Tesla has also established a partnership with Certified Solar Roof Installers to aid solar panel installation. These installers have the expertise to install and follow the necessary requirements. Also, once your solar system has been commissioned by the Certified Installer, you gain access to the Tesla app, software updates, and other benefits.

Homeowners can search for a local Tesla Certified Solar Roof Installer online.

Do Solar Panels Increase a Home Value in Imperial County?

Solar panels can increase the market value of a home according to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. According to a study by Berkeley Laboratory, solar panels are seen as improvements like a refurbished living room. Per another study, it is discovered that the installation of solar panels can increase a home's market value by 4.1%.

NOTE: There are a number of factors that influence how much the installation of solar panels can affect a house’s cost. These factors are as follows:

  • Location: Electricity prices vary across different locations. For instance, higher electricity prices bear greater value from your solar panels. Also, geography can impact the quantity of sunlight you have access to.
  • Local solar installation costs: Another factor is how much the solar system costs is your area. For instance, buyers would be saving money purchasing a home with an installed system. This makes your home that much more valuable.
  • System output: The larger the solar energy system, the more added value.
  • Age of the system: As with many products, solar energy systems depreciate over time. Older systems will not drive up the value of your house by much. This is because buyers may need to do repairs or make replacements.
  • System replacement value: The cost of replacing your current solar energy system will impact the value of your home. For example, the higher the replacement costs the lower your house’s market value.

Are Solar Panels Exempt from Property Taxes in Imperial County?

When it comes to property taxes, California provides an Active Solar Energy System Exclusion which is beneficial for homeowners who use solar power systems. This means that homeowners are exempt from paying the so-called “tax on the sun”.

The state is working towards its goal of 100% clean energy by 2045 through the provision of this exclusion. Homeowners can enjoy relief from exorbitant property taxes through this exclusion till 2026. Note that this exclusion applies to active solar energy systems only, not to solar swimming pool heaters or hot tub heaters, wind energy systems, and passive solar energy systems.

How to Find Solar Companies Near Me in Imperial County, California?

To find solar companies near you, make use of these 6 easy steps.

  • Step 1: Search for "Imperial solar companies near me" on your preferred search engine.
  • Step 2: Visit each company’s website for information on their services, experience, and customer reviews.
  • Step 3: Make a list of 5 favorite companies.
  • Step 4: Visit each company’s website for information on their services and customer reviews.
  • Step 5: Check that the company is licensed and insured.
  • Step 6: Contact and schedule installation with your chosen company. You can also contact a local Imperial County solar panel installer to help with your installation. Before hiring an installer, ensure that they are properly licensed. You can confirm an installer’s licensing status here.