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Kern County, CA | Solar Energy

  • The average cost to install solar panels in Kern County ranges between $12,112 and $16,388.
  • It typically takes six years for solar panels to pay for themselves in Kern County
  • Certified professionals with specialized licenses should be hired for solar installations
  • Cost per watt varies depending on panel type (monocrystalline/polycrystalline/thin film)

Going Green in Kern County

Located in the state of California, Kern County experiences an average of 274 sunny days per year, providing a great environment for solar installations. It has a population of 890,826 residents, 48.8% of which are females and 51.2% are males.

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Kern county supports multiple renewable energy projects, including the Garland Solar Facility, a 205 MW photovoltaic (PV) power plant.

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

As of 2023, the average cost of installing solar panels in Kern County, California ranges between $12,112 and $16,388. The average solar panel cost in the county is $2.85 per watt, while the average gross price for solar is about $14,250. Here is a list of average solar panel costs by system size in Kern County, CA:

Energy System Size Solar Panel Cost Cost After Credit
3kW $8,550 $6,327
4 kW $11,400 $8,436
5 kW $14,250 $10,545
6 kW $17,100 $12,654
7 kW $19,950 $14,763
8 kW $22,800 $16,872
9 kW $25,650 $18,981
10 kW $28,500 $21,090

The following table shows the cost of solar installations based on the type of panel and wattage rating:

Average Cost Breakdown for Solar Installation in Kern County
Cost Per Watt
Monocrystalline Solar Panels $1 - $1.50 per watt
Polycrystalline Solar Panels $0.90 - $1 per watt
Thin Film Solar Panels $1 - $1.50 per watt
Other Costs
Solar Batteries
Cost of Racking $.25 - $.50 per watt
Installation and Soft Costs $2.50 - $4.50 per watt

Are Solar Panels Exempt from Property Taxes in Kern County?

California provides an active solar energy system incentive that excludes homeowners from paying additional property taxes if they install new active solar energy systems. A rooftop solar panel is an example of an active solar energy system.

The exemption applies to solar devices that are thermally protected from the home to collect, store or distribute solar energy. This system may be used for heating, space conditioning, water heating, electricity production, and solar mechanical energy.

The active solar system exclusion does not cover hot tub heaters, passive energy systems, solar swimming pool heaters, and wind energy systems. In addition, the exclusion does not apply to general remodeling or expansion of a homeowner’s property. This means that if you add solar panels and a new bedroom to your property, the solar panels will be excluded, but the new bedroom will face additional assessments.

California's active solar system exclusion was set to expire in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. However, the exclusion was extended to apply through the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

Homeowners with questions about a property's value in Kern County, can obtain information by visiting the property assessor's website.

1115 Truxtun Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Email: assessor@kerncounty.com
Phone: (661) 868-3485
Real Property Fax Number: (661) 868-3303
Business/Oil and Gas Fax Number: (661) 868-3209

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

In Kern County CA, solar panels typically pay for themselves within six years. Your solar panel payback period is the amount of time it takes for the savings on your electric bill to pay for your solar panel system.

Several factors affect a solar payback period. One of these factors is the total cost of your solar energy system. It is important to contact a local solar installer to determine the upfront cost of your system. This will usually depend on the system size and the type of equipment you may need for installation.

Another factor to consider when calculating your solar payback period is the annual electricity usage and costs in your home. This will help you determine the amount you will save on energy bills when installing a solar panel system.

In addition, you should factor in federal tax credits and any other solar tax rebates or credits. These incentives reduce your solar expenses and provide the opportunity to improve your long-term savings. If you are paying for your system with a solar loan, make sure you account for any additional fees or costs associated with the loan.

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

According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the best way to install solar is through a certified professional who works with high-quality solar panels. There are different licensing requirements for solar contractors in California. It is important to hire a licensed contractor to perform your solar work. The licenses of solar contractors in California are classified into the following:

  • Class "A": These are general engineering contractors authorized to install solar energy systems.
  • Class "B": These are general building contractors licensed to install solar energy systems in California.
  • Class C-4: These are boiler, hot-water heating, and steam fitting contractors authorized to perform any solar project involving solar heating equipment.
  • Class C-10: These are electrical contractors licensed to perform solar projects that generate, transmit, transform, or use electrical energy.
  • Class C-36: This category belongs to plumbing contractors who are authorized to perform projects using solar equipment to heat water or fluids to a suitable temperature.
  • Class C-46: These are solar contractors licensed to install, modify, maintain, and repair thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems.
  • Class C-53: These are swimming pool contractors licensed to install solar heating in swimming pool projects.

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

Several factors determine the cost of solar panels in Kern County, including:

Type of Panel

There are different types of solar panels and each affects the costs of installation differently. High-quality panels like monocrystalline generate more energy and save you money for more years. However, they might cost more upfront than lower-quality panels like thin-film solar.

Brand of Panel and Solar Equipment

You should know that the brand of panel and solar equipment also affect the costs of installation. High-quality solar equipment is generally more expensive than others. This is because they have better hardware that can generate more power when compared to other types.

Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE)

LCOE is essentially the operating cost of power generated by solar over a period of time. To determine whether solar energy will save you money, compare the solar levelized cost in your area to the electricity utility rate. You will be able to save money over the lifetime of your panels if the LCOE of solar is less than your utility rate.

Price Per Watt

The price per watt of a solar system is the price you will pay for every watt of solar installed in your home. It is usually the total cost of installation, including the cost of equipment, labor, and other expenses. You can calculate the price per watt for your solar by simply dividing the gross system cost by the number of watts in the system.

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

The state of California offers some of the best solar rebates and incentives in the U.S. These incentives make solar conversion more affordable, and also help to increase your long-term savings. Some of the most attractive rebates for solar panels in California include:

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

The federal solar ITC, now known as the Residential Clean Energy Credit, is a federal solar incentive. It helps to reduce the cost of converting to solar by 30%, while also improving the potential for long-term savings.

You are eligible for ITC if your solar panel system is located at your residence, and if it was installed between** January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2034**.

Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP)

You can take advantage of the SGIP if you are interested in buying and installing a solar battery along with your panel system. This program provides two categories of rebates which are called "Equity" and "Equity Resiliency". Depending on the category you qualify for, you can receive $850 per kWh under the Equity Category or $1,000 per kWh under the “Equity Resiliency” Category.

Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program

The SASH Program aims to reduce the cost of solar for low-income households in California. Homeowners qualify for this program if they receive electricity from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). It should be noted that the SASH program offers rebates of up to $3 per watt, which is an average of $18,000 in California.

Active Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion

This is an automatic incentive you enjoy after using solar panel systems in California. This tax incentive prevents you from paying additional taxes when you install solar panels while carrying out improvements in your home. You should know that installing a qualifying solar energy system does not increase or decrease the tax assessment of your property.

Property Assessed Clean Energy Program

This is a financing program that helps potential solar customers who cannot afford to take out a standard solar loan. The PACE program allows you to finance the up-front cost of your solar installation via your taxes. You can pay back the costs over a specified period through a voluntary assessment.

Local Solar Incentives in California

Local utility companies also provide rebates to make solar more affordable to homeowners in California. For example, Rancho Mirage Energy Authority grants a rebate of $500 to cover the cost of installing solar panels in your home. You can also receive stipend amounts from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District for installing batteries along with your solar panels.

California Solar Rights and Easement Laws

California has laws that recognize the rights of residents to enjoy the benefits of solar. These laws are less of an incentive and more of a guarantee of your right to convert to solar and produce clean energy. They prevent regulatory bodies from stopping you from installing solar panel systems in your home.

How can I Sell Solar Energy in Kern County?

In California, homeowners can sell back any extra energy their solar panels make to their electric company. This practice is called solar net metering and it allows you to over-produce solar electricity when there is plenty of sunlight. With net metering, you can make money on investments in solar panels and other renewable energy sources. This practice is therefore highly beneficial for solar customers as it allows them to maximize long-term savings.

In 1997, California became the first state in the U.S. to launch a net metering program for homeowners. The program aims to incentivize homeowners to go solar and produce clean, renewable energy. In 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) created a new net metering policy known as NEM 2.0. Under this policy, solar customers are required to pay a one-time interconnection fee if their solar system does not produce at least one megawatt of electricity yearly. Compared to the original net metering policy (NEM 1.0), NEM 2.0 only affects homeowners who have new solar systems installed.

To qualify for net metering in California, it is important to have an eligible solar panel system in your home that is connected to an electric company’s grid. You do not need to spend money or fill out any additional paperwork when enrolling for net metering in California.

Net Metering 3.0

On December 15, 2022, CPUC approved California’s third generation of net metering, known as NEM 3.0. This new net metering policy aims to significantly reduce tariff rates for new solar customers by about 75%. Under this policy, low-income households are eligible for a higher solar export rate and can therefore tap into greater savings.

Eligible homeowners are required to submit a completed interconnection application by April 14, 2023, to be locked into NEM 2.0 rates for 20 years. If you submit after this date, you will be under NEM 3.0 and could miss out on 60% of your solar savings. Even after completing your application before April 14, 2023, you are required to install your solar panel system and connect it to the grid by April 14, 2026.

Are Tesla Solar Panels Available in Kern County, California?

Tesla Solar offers solar panels in different parts of the U.S., including in Kern County, CA. Tesla solar panels vary in cost and usually depend on different factors. Some of these factors include location, solar system sizes, tax incentives, and average monthly electricity usage.

Experts advise that homeowners work with local Tesla-certified installers who are trained in solar roof installation. These installers are professionals who handle solar panel installation seamlessly from start to finish. They are known for complying with strict quality, permitting, and inspection requirements.

Do Solar Panels Increase a Home Value in Kern County?

Yes, the installation of solar panels can increase a property’s market value. In California, homes with solar installations tend to sell for about 2.7% more than homes without. The current high demand for solar panels among homeowners in the state often increases the value of homes with solar installation.

It is important to note that several factors affect the value add of solar panels to a property. One of these factors is geographic location. If you live in a state like California where solar panels are most in demand, solar installations are likely to increase your home's value. Other factors that may influence solar's added value include the age and output of your solar panel, the costs of solar installation, and the replacement value of your solar panel.

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

When searching for solar companies in Kern County, CA, you are likely to search online for terms like "Kern solar companies near me" or "California solar companies near me". The search results will usually contain websites of dozens of solar installers in the state. Since these companies vary in size, service, and equipment, you can find it difficult to make a choice. It is, therefore, necessary to streamline your research and choose a company that can best achieve your specific needs.

Before hiring a solar provider, you should check their license and ensure they are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). You should also ensure that the installer has experience in the type of work your home requires. Most solar installers usually have experience in solar electricity, wiring, and installation.

In addition, it is important to read online customer reviews about the solar company to assess its quality of products and installation services. These reviews will help you evaluate the company's workmanship warranty and reliability of customer service. Aside from conducting a Google search, you can also use any of the following tips to find a solar company near you:

Ask Friends, Family, and Neighbors

One important way to find a local solar company is to ask people around you, including friends, relatives, and neighbors. If any of your friends or relatives have solar panels, there is a good chance that they already have a local installer to recommend. You can ask them questions about their experience with the company, including any issues they may have had with the installer.

Visit Local Government Websites

There is no doubt that local governments support small, local companies that work towards improving clean renewable energy sources. You can visit your local government's website to find a directory of solar installers within your locality.

Speak to Local Professionals

You can also find a solar company near you by speaking to local professionals, such as your electrician or home construction company. It is possible that these professionals have a relationship with other local solar installers and can easily refer them to you.

Kern County Statistics

In Kern County, there are a total number of 298,915 housing units, all of which were built in the median year of 1980. Of these properties, 273,303 are occupied by homeowners and renters. 58.95% of homeowners occupy Kern County housing units, while 41.05% of renters reside in them. 67.96% of the housing units in the county were bought with mortgages, while 32.04% were bought without mortgages. Generally, the median housing cost per month in Kern County is $948.

US-born citizens account for 79.43% of the population in Kern County, while non-US-born citizens represent 8.25%. In addition, non-US citizens make up 12.33% of the residents in the county.

There are also a total of 273,303 households in Kern County, each of which consists of three members. Family units make up 73.79% of households in the county, while non-family units comprise 26.21%. Furthermore, there are 42.54% of households with children in Kern County, and the remaining 57.46% of households are without children.

The following table shows the number of housing units that were built from 1939 to 2010 or later:

Median Year Number of Housing Units % of Housing Units
1939 or Earlier 13,068 7.2
1940 - 1949 13,772 5.7
1950 - 1959 31,287 1.3
1960 - 1969 30,342 5.1
1970 - 1979 48,189 0.9
1980 - 1989 49,980 1.0
1990 - 1999 43,160 0.9
2000 - 2009 53,067 0.7
2010 or Later 16,050 19.1