Installing Solar Panels in Imperial County, California: Costs & More
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
To find solar companies near you, make use of these 6 easy steps.