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Solar Panels in Mono County, CA

Key Points

  • Average cost of installing a 5kW system in Mono County is $15000
  • Cost per watt can range between $2.94 and $3 depending on a range of factors
  • Available incentives in Mono County include the Federal Tax Credit program

Set in east-central California, Mono County is famous for its rugged mountains, alpine lakes, and vast wilderness areas. The county's clear and sunny skies, high altitude, and low humidity make it ideal for generating solar power.

Mono County Statistics

Mono county has a total area of 3,172 square miles. About 89% of it space is federally-owned land, including Yosemite and Bodie State Historic Park. According to 2021 US Census estimates, the county is home to approximate 13,247 residents. With an average age of 47, 51.89% are men, and 48.11% are women.

Mono County also has an estimated 10,633 households. The makeup of these households varies, with around 56.99% family and 43.01% non-family homes. Out of these residencies, owners occupied about 67.41%, while renters occupied 32.59%.

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

As of 2023, the average cost of installing solar panels in Mono county, MA, is about $2.94 to $3 per watt. This price translates to around $15,000 for a 5-kilowatt (kW) system. However, this cost will reduce after deducting the 30% federal solar tax credit).

The Federal tax credit allows taxpayers to subtract a portion of the cost of getting solar panels from their taxes. So it affects the final price of the system.

The Median Cost of Solar Panels in Mono County, CA

Energy System Size Solar Panel Cost Cost After Credit
3 kW $8,820 $6,174
4 kW $11,760 $8,232
5 kW $14,700 $10,290
6 kW $17,640 $12,348
7 kW $20,580 $14,406
8 kW $23,520 $16,464
9 kW $26,460 $18,522
10 kW $29,400 $20,580

Several factors can also affect the cost of Mono County solar. These factors include the size of the system, the type of panels, and the company or contractor installing them. There are also costs associated with obtaining permits, interconnection agreements, and maintenance.

Homeowners should consult a solar contractor or professional to assess the cost of fixing solar panels on a property.

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

In Mono County, California, the average payback period for solar panels is around six years. Payback time is the duration it takes for the savings on electricity bills to offset the installation costs. Once the system reaches this period, it will continue to generate profit for many more years. Solar installations can last for twenty to thirty years.

Payback time varies based on several factors. These factors include the following:

Cost of Electricity

The cost of electricity in Mono County, CA, can impact the solar payback period. The higher the cost of electricity, the shorter the payback period will be. If the cost of electricity is low, the payback time may be lengthy. A solar panel system would make more sense financially in areas with higher electricity costs and good solar incentives.

Size of The Solar Panel System

Larger systems have a higher initial cost but will generate more electricity. It results in more significant savings on electricity bills. They also have a lower cost per watt and installation cost per watt. A more extensive system may have a shorter payback than a smaller one.

The Location and Orientation of the Property

Properties that receive more sunlight have a shorter payback period. It is because the solar system will generate more electricity with more sunlight. Also, solar panels angled towards the sun will have a shorter payback period, as the panels can capture more sunlight.

In contrast, residencies with shading will have a shorter payback period. Shading can reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the panels.

The Type of Solar Panel,

The type of solar panel determines its efficiency. As a result, it affects the payback period. For example, monocrystalline is more expensive than polycrystalline panels but also more efficient. More efficient panels have a shorter payback period. Also, solar power inverters have different technology and efficiency, which could affect the payback period.

Cost of The Solar Panels and Installation

A lower price for solar panels and installation will result in lower initial investment and, therefore, a shorter payback period.

Incentives and Rebates Available

Rebates are money given back by the government for buying and installing a solar system. Incentives and rebates can impact the solar payback period in Mono County, CA. They do this by reducing the initial cost of the solar power system. Federal Tax Credits and Tax exemptions also provide homeowners with lower solar system costs. It results in shortening the solar payback period.

The amount of Power the System Produces

A solar system that produces more power will generate significant savings on electricity bills, resulting in a shorter payback period. The more energy the system makes, the quicker it pays for itself.

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

Several factors determine the cost of solar panels in California. These include the following:

Type of Panel

The type of solar panels residents choose can greatly impact the cost of their system. Solar panels have two main types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels tend to be more expensive, but they are also more efficient, generating more power per square foot.

Polycrystalline panels are less costly and efficient, but they are still a good choice for many homeowners. New technology, such as thin-film solar panels and Tesla Solar panels, also have different costs.

Brand of Panel and Solar Equipment

The brand choice of Solar panels affects the cost for two reasons: quality and prestige. Some brands are top-quality with lesser prices from mid to less-known companies. But, some are expensive because of the reputation of the company rather than quality.

Some well-known brands and manufacturers are LG, Canadian Solar, Hanwha Q CELLS, Trina Solar, and Sunpower solar panels in Mono county. These brands have a reputation for producing high-quality, long-lasting solar panels that can generate more power over their lifetime, which makes them more expensive.

Solar equipment and components also affect the total cost of the system. Solar systems need additional features depending on the choice of grid system and technology.

Some of the main components of a solar system include

  • Panels
  • Inverters
  • Battery banks
  • Mounting systems
  • Wiring and electrical components,
  • Monitoring equipment.

Size of the solar system

The size of the solar system, measured in kilowatts (kW), will also affect its cost. A larger system will cost more than a smaller one because it will require more solar panels and other components.

The system's efficiency and use will determine the system's size needed in a property. Also, larger solar systems need more complex and costly equipment, such as inverters and mounting hardware. As a result, it leads to higher costs.

Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE)

LCOE measures the overall cost of a solar panel system over its lifetime. It considers the system's price, the amount of electricity it generates, and any incentives or rebates. A lower LCOE means the application will pay for itself quickly and generate more savings over time.

Calculating the LCOE requires knowledge of the total solar system cost and how much electricity it will produce. It will include the cost of the solar panels, inverters, racking, wiring, and other equipment. It will also cover the cost of installation and permits. The system's lifetime is usually estimated as 25 years because that is the basic depreciation time. The best practice is to get a certified professional or use online LCOE calculators.

Price per watt

Another critical factor is the price per watt. It is the cost of the solar panel system divided by the total amount of power it can generate. The price per watt includes panels and the entire installation cost. The cost can go from $2.5 to $3.5 per watt. Yet the price per watt can also fluctuate based on factors like the Federal Tax and incentives. The lower the price per watt, the lower the cost of Mono county solar panels.

Installation Company

Different installation companies can have varying costs for labor, equipment, and other expenses, which can affect the overall cost of the system.

The following factors determine how solar installation companies cost their services:

  • Company reputation and experience: More experienced and reputable companies may charge more for their services. But, they also tend to provide higher quality work and better customer service. These companies have more labor and equipment, which makes them expensive. However, it does not guarantee better services. Small reputable companies provide just as good services.
  • Type of equipment and materials used: Some companies use higher quality, more efficient equipment and materials. It will increase the overall cost of the installation. Also, some companies only work with specific brands, for example, Sunrun solar company LONGi panels.
  • Location and logistics: The location of the installation site and the logistics involved can affect installation costs. It includes the distance to travel and the difficulty of the installation. Similarly, the roof angle and type can affect the price if it needs extra equipment. Also, if installers have to repair or change the roof before installation, it drives up costs.
  • Additional services: Some companies offer energy storage, maintenance, or financing services. It can add to the entire cost of the installation.
  • Government incentives and permits: The installation cost includes expenses to apply for government incentives and permits. The cost of these processes varies based on the services. Also, the government solar incentives reduce the total price for eligible residents.
  • Competition: The market competition level also affects the installation cost. When more companies are offering similar services, the prices go lower.

Comparing quotes from many installers helps to get better prices. Also, it assists residents in getting a quote and company that fits their budget and needs. It is worth noting that other external factors like taxes, tariffs, and rebates can also affect the cost of solar panels in Mono County.

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

There are several incentives available for solar energy in Mono County, California. Incentives help lower the cost of solar panels for homes and make them more affordable for owners. Some key incentives include

The Federal Solar Tax Credit.

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program allows homeowners and businesses to deduct 30% of the cost of a solar array from their federal taxes. ITC only applies to those who buy their PV system with cash or a solar loan. Homeowners must also have enough income for the tax credit to be valuable. But, those who get tax exemptions get direct payment.

Net Metering

California's net metering program allows solar panel owners to earn credits on their utility bills for the excess electricity they generate. These credits offset the cost of electricity when the solar panel system is not generating enough energy, such as at night or on cloudy days. To be eligible for Net Metering, customers must meet specific requirements such as

  • Having a renewable energy system connected to the utility's distribution grid
  • Meeting safety and interconnection standards,
  • The system's capacity must be equal to or less than the customer's estimated energy usage.

Residents who meet these requirements can apply for the program through their utility company. Once approved, they will get a special net meter capable of measuring the flow of electricity in both directions. The meter allows them to receive credits for any excess electricity they send back to the grid. Also, homeowners participating in the NEM program may get other incentives. These incentives can include California solar rebates and tax credits.

California Solar Initiative

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) provides rebates for solar panels in Mono County and other parts of California. The incentive depends on several factors to qualify solar owners. CSI has several programs it runs, including programs for low-income earners. Overall, they help lower the cost of the system. Homeowners must be customers of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).

The programs in CSI include the following:

  • The Single-family Solar Homes (SASH).

The SASH program offers upfront rebates to low-income single-family homeowners. To qualify for the incentive, homeowners must patronize the approved solar companies. They must have a household income of 80% or less than the area median income (AMI). Homeowners must own and live in their homes. Also, they must live in a home defined as "affordable housing" under California Public Utilities Code 2852.

  • MASH (Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing) Program

Like SASH, the MASH program offers solar incentives on qualifying affordable housing multifamily dwellings, i.e., families living in apartment blocks. MASH is the low-income, multifamily part of the California Solar Initiative program. The houses must meet the definition of low-income households and California's health and safety codes. Residents must also be customers of SCE, SDG&E, and PG&E.

  • The New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP)

The program provides financial benefits to home builders and homeowners who fix solar power systems in a new home. The NSHP focuses on new construction to reduce the upfront installation costs of solar energy systems. Residents have to add the PV into the design of a building. NSHP also offers training and technical help to builders to meet the program's requirements.

Mono County Energy Conservation Program

Mono County’s PACE program provides incentives and rebates for individuals who want to invest in solar power. The program allows homeowners to apply for private funding for renewable energy upgrades. The property secures this funding, collected as an assessment on the property tax bill.

Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP)

The program's incentives help offset the cost of purchasing batteries and equipment. Homeowners who add solar batteries to their setup qualify for this program. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) runs this program. It has encouraged the development and use of clean, renewable, and efficient self-generation technologies.

Property Tax Exemption for Active Solar Energy Systems

California has a property tax exemption for renewable energy systems. The program stops any tax increment due to installing an active solar application. As a result, the value of a solar system does not increase property taxes on the property.

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

The following are ways to sell solar energy in Mono County, California:

  1. Net Metering 3.0

Net Metering 3.0 is a version of the net metering policy which was finalized on December 15, 2022 for an April-2023 launch. NEM 3.0 creates a more fair and transparent system for solar panel owners. The NEM 3.0 scheme allows solar system owners to sell their surplus electricity to the grid or solar company. In return, they receive credits on their utility bills for the energy they generate.

The new policy includes changes from previous net metering plans, such as

  • The Time-of-Use rate: The government will not impose fixed charges or extra fees on NEM customers. In other words, there is no punitive "solar tax" in NEM 3.0. It allows utilities to better align their electricity prices with the costs of generating and delivering electricity during different times of the day.
  • New billing Tariff (NBT): Homeowners who connect their array to the grid on or after April 15, 2023, will enjoy the New Billing Tariff (NBT) for nine years under NEM 3.0.
  • Interconnection fees: These are fees that utilities charge for linking a solar panel system to the grid. Net Metering 3.0 includes changes to these fees to make them more fair and transparent.
  • Export limits: The CPUC will restrict the amount of electricity a customer can export to the grid. Under NEM 3.0, the value of net export credits will now link to the state's Avoided Cost Calculator (ACC). These changes will affect how much homeowners with solar can recover when selling excess energy back to the utility grid.
  • Measurement and verification: There will be newer requirements for measuring and verifying energy production and exporting customer-generated electricity.
  • Monthly bill payment: Homeowners will now get charged monthly instead of yearly. When there are excess solar bill credits in a given month, the credits roll over to the next month until the annual true-up.
  1. Virtual Net Energy Metering (VNEM)

VNEM allows customers to receive a bill credit for the electricity generated by a solar panel system located on a different site. This way, a solar panel system owner can sell the electricity generated to a tenant or another customer in a different location.

  1. Community Solar

Community solar allows many customers to share the benefits of a single solar panel system. The program enables people who cannot install solar panels for homes in Mono county to enjoy the benefits of solar energy. These people include renters or those with shading issues.

  1. Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)

SRECs are certificates issued for every megawatt-hour (MWh) electricity a solar energy system generates. It certifies that the application produces “green” energy and reduced carbon footprint. Homeowners can sell these certificates on an open market to utilities. Utility companies have to buy them to comply with renewable energy mandates. So, SRECs are like a "currency" representing solar non-power features of solar production.

It is important to consult with a solar contractor or professional who has experience in the area and can provide a guide in navigating the process and selecting the best options.

Are Tesla Solar Panels Available in Mono County, California?

Yes, Tesla solar panels are available in Mono County, California. Telsa is a leading provider of solar energy products and services. They offer a range of solar panel options for residential and commercial customers in Mono County. Tesla solar panels review shows that the panels are durable, efficient, and unique in design. Homeowners can check their website for panel options and costs.

In addition to solar panels, Tesla offers other energy products and services. It includes battery storage solutions, solar roof tiles, and electric vehicle charging stations. These products can create a comprehensive clean energy system for homes and businesses.

Tesla provides their services through certified installers. There are several benefits to working with local Tesla-certified installers. They have the knowledge and expertise to install and maintain the company’s systems correctly. Also, they have access to Tesla resources to assist with any issue or inquiry. A resident can get Tesla solar panels costs from their certified installers.

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

When it comes to solar panel installation, it is vital to use a professional solar installer. The US. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) recommends that trained and experienced professionals perform solar installations. Professional solar installers will have the necessary knowledge and skills to design and install a solar energy system that is safe, efficient, and well-optimized.

Using a local handyperson to install a solar system in Mono county is advisable. With a Mono county solar panel installer, residents can enjoy extra benefits. They include the following:

  1. Knowledge of local regulations and incentives: Local installers are familiar with specific areas' rules, permits, and incentives. Their familiarity makes the installation process smoother and more cost-effective.
  2. Quality assurance: Local installers will want to maintain a good reputation within the community. It can give homeowners confidence in the quality of their work. Also, customers can get reviews from family and friends that have used their services.
  3. Knowledge of the area: Mono county solar installers are familiar with the county’s weather conditions and building codes. They help to ensure that the system meets all requirements.
  4. Responsive customer service: They can provide prompt and personalized customer service because they are within the same area. Installers are also more accessible in case of extra help, questions, or concerns in the future.
  5. Positive impact on the local economy: Choosing a local installer can positively impact the local economy, as the money spent stays within the community.
  6. Potential for building community-based solar projects: Local installers can take on community-based solar projects better. Examples are cases where multiple households pool their resources to install a larger solar system.
  7. Building relationships: Hiring a local allows direct communication with the team working on the property. It builds a relationship and trust in the work done.

When looking for a solar installer in Mono County, it is salient to research and find a licensed and insured company. The company should also have a good reputation for customer service. Residents can check with the California Contractors State License Board. Other local regulatory bodies can confirm that the solar contractor has a license. When in doubt, check online customer reviews on different platforms. Homeowners can check websites like Angi to find a local handyman.

An excellent way to find a local solar installer is to ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have had solar systems installed. Also, search online for “solar installers near me.” Note that under California law, solar installation must be by a licensed contractor. So it is crucial to confirm that the solar contractor has the appropriate licenses.

What Solar Financing Options are Available to Me in Mono County, CA?

When it comes to going solar, one of the biggest questions on many homeowners' minds is how to pay for it. Fortunately, various solar financing options are available to help make the process more affordable and accessible.

What are Solar Loans?

One of the most popular solar financing options is a loan. With this option, homeowners can borrow money from a lender to pay for the cost of their solar panel system. It can include loans from banks, credit unions, or specialized solar lending companies. There are different types of solar loans available, unsecured and secured. Thus, it is essential to research and compare many options to find the best. Residents that use this option are eligible for solar incentives like the ITC.

What are Solar Leases?

Another popular solar financing option is a solar lease. With this option, a homeowner agrees to make a monthly “rent” payment to a solar company that installs and maintains the solar panel system on the homeowner's property. The solar company sells the electricity the system generates to the homeowner at a lower rate than what they would pay for utility-generated electricity. This option suits homeowners who want to go solar but avoid paying the system's cost upfront. The solar company also handles the maintenance of the system while the owner owns it after completing payment.

What is a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?

PPA is similar to leasing. A purchase agreement allows the homeowner to pay off the system over time while the solar company maintains and monitors it. The key difference between PPA and a lease is that the homeowner pays a fixed price for power used under PPA. In contrast, under a lease, they rent the whole system. At the end of the term, the resident either buys it, extends the agreement, or asks the company to remove it. These terms last between 20-25 years. PPA is a good option for those who do not want the maintenance burden.

Cash Purchase

The last and most straightforward option is purchasing the system outright with cash. This option offers the most financial savings in the long run but requires the most upfront capital. The buyer enjoys all the available solar incentives.

Many solar financing options are available to Mono County, CA homeowners. By considering the financial implication and energy needs, residents can find the best option that works for them. Also, these options help residents take advantage of the many benefits of solar energy.

Do Solar Panels Increase a Home Value in Mono County?

The short answer is yes. Solar panels can increase a home's value in Mono County, California. According to a study by Zillow, solar installations increase a home's resale value by an average of 4.1% more than homes without solar. Some locations have a higher value-added of 5.4% for New York City. In contrast, others have a lower value-added of 2.7% for Riverside, California.

Another study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory discovered that home buyers pay more for homes with solar systems. The study analyzed almost 22,000 sales of homes. Nearly 4,000 houses with solar systems in eight states from 1999 to 2013 produced the best price estimates.

Solar panels for homes in Mono can reduce a home's energy costs. It will make the house more affordable and attractive to potential buyers. Additionally, many buyers are looking for more energy-efficient and eco-friendly products.

Solar panels can increase a home's value in Mono County, California. But the degree depends on many factors. Some of these include:

Factors That Affect The Value Solar Panels Add to A Home

  • Size and quality of the solar panel system: The more extensive and efficient it is, the more value it can add to the home. Also, high-quality solar panels with a long lifespan and high performance can add more value to the house.
  • Specific characteristics of the home: Factors such as the home's age and condition, its energy efficiency, and the presence of other energy-saving features influence how much value solar panels add to the building.
  • Real estate market: The demand for homes with solar panels in Mono County can influence how much value solar panels add. Solar panels can add more value to a home if there is a strong demand for them.
  • The cost of electricity in the area: The cost of electricity in Mono County and the state of California can influence how much value is added by solar panels. Solar panels can add more value if electricity costs are high by reducing the homeowner's energy costs.
  • Local regulations and incentives: In Mono County, California, local rules and incentives can also play a role in value addition. If there are programs in place to encourage the installation of solar panels, this can help increase the home's value.

It is advisable to ensure that the solar panel system is well-maintained. Also, have all the necessary documentation and permits. These checks will prove that the solar panels are correctly fixed and meet the local regulations. It will help increase the property’s value.

Are Solar Panels Exempt from Property Taxes in Mono County?

In Mono County, California, solar panels are not exempt from property taxes. However, California provides an Active Solar Energy System Exclusion. This provision in the state's property tax code allows homeowners to exclude specific active solar energy systems' value from their property's taxable value. It means that if a homeowner fixes a solar energy system that meets the criteria, the value of that system will not add to the house during tax assessment. It can result in a reduction in the homeowner's property taxes.

The solar energy system must use solar devices to collect, store, and distribute solar energy. That excludes pool and hot tub heaters and covers solar electricity systems. "The Property Tax Rule" only applies to the new construction of solar energy systems on a property. Additionally, this exemption will expire in 2025.

California property exemption affects only an active solar energy system. That does not include the following;

  • Swimming pool heaters that use solar
  • Heaters for hot tubs
  • Wind energy systems,
  • Passive energy systems.

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

Here are some methods for locating solar companies in Mono County, California:

Step 1

Use online search engines: One of the easiest ways to find solar companies is to use an online search engine such as Google. Try searching for terms like "Mono solar companies near me" or "California solar companies near me" to get a list of solar companies located in or around Mono County, California.

Step 2

Check for Local Listing: Visit directories like Yelp and EnergySage to find solar companies with reviews from other customers. Including their ratings and their locations.

Step 3

Check for Online Marketplaces: Many online marketplaces, such as Amazon Home Services and others, have a list of solar companies that offer their services in the area.

Step 4

Reach out to the local government: Another way to find the nearest solar companies is to reach out to the local government. The government office can direct residents to the local solar companies licensed and certified in the area.

Step 5

Ask for Recommendations: Ask friends, family, and colleagues in the Mono County area if they have experience with local solar companies and would recommend them.

Step 6

Reach out to local solar installation organizations: Homeowners can also find local solar companies by reaching out to organizations such as the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which represents companies in the solar industry. Another organization is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). They certify solar professionals.

Check the credentials and certifications of the solar companies before hiring them. Do that by visiting the website of the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) or other similar organizations to verify their licenses and certifications. And also, try to get many quotes and compare them to find the best fits a projected budget.

What Energy Companies offer Solar Rebates in Mono County, California?

In Mono County, California, the primary utility companies offering solar rebates are:

  • Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)
  • Southern California Edison (SCE)
  • San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)
  • SunPower Solar Company
  • Sunrun Solar Company

California requires these companies to offer rebate programs to encourage customers to install solar panel systems. The rebates these companies provide can vary depending on some factors. It includes the size of the solar panel system, the specific details of the installation, and the specific program.

Some of the programs offered are

  • The California Solar Initiative (CSI),
  • The New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP),
  • The Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program.