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San Benito County, CA | Solar Energy

Installing Solar Panels in San Benito County, California: Costs & More

Going Green in San Benito County

According to 2023 Census estimates, San Benito County has 81,587 residents, with a median age of 40. In San Benito County, a total of 72,487 people still reside in the same home that they did a year ago.

San Benito County has a total of 23,481 households, each with about 3 people. These San Benito County households are 82.07% family-based, with non-family units making up the remaining 17.93%.

San Benito County, California, has a homeownership rate of 65.3%, which is about the same as the 64.4% national average.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in San Benito County, CA?

As of 2023, the cost of solar panels in San Benito County, California is $2.95/W. An average solar installation in San Benito County, California costs between $12,538 and $16,962, with the average gross price for solar in San Benito County, CA coming in at $14,750, given a solar panel system size of 5 kilowatts (kW).

The net cost of going solar can decrease by thousands of dollars after the Federal investment tax credit (ITC) and various state and local solar incentives are taken into account.

Energy System Size Solar Panel Cost Cost After Credit
3 kW $8,850 $6,549
4 kW $11,800 $8,732
5 kW $14,750 $10,915
6 kW $17,700 $13,098
7 kW $20,650 $15,281
8 kW $23,600 $17,464
9 kW $26,550 $19,647
10 kW $29,500 $21,830

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

In San Benito County, installing a solar panel will cause your investment to pay for itself in 5.48 years on average. Depending on the amount you paid, the cost of electricity from your utility, and any available upfront and ongoing incentives, the solar panels' payback period will vary.

How can I Sell Solar Energy in San Benito County, California?

Net energy metering or NEM enables solar consumers to sell excess solar energy back to the grid to lower their rates. This means that when you utilize the majority of the electricity you generate from solar panels throughout the day, the remainder is sent to your neighborhood utility. This surplus energy is deposited as credits.

You will automatically receive energy from the grid when you need it. This uses up your credits. If you use more than you have available, the power provider will simply bill you for the portion of your usage that was not covered by your solar panels. Depending on when you install solar, you will earn a different amount of credit and save money on your monthly energy bill.

NetMetering 3.0

NEM 3.0 was approved on December 15, 2022. NEM 3.0 contains several features and considerations for multifamily housing and low-income homeowners. Particularly, homeowners with low incomes who pay CARE/FERA rates, people who live in single-family houses in underserved areas, and residential customers in San Benito County, California are qualified for larger export rate credits.

Are Tesla Solar Panels Available in San Benito County, California?

Yes, Tesla Solar Panels are available in San Benito County, California. Before incentives, the cost of a Tesla solar panel can range from** $9,600 to $48,352**, depending on the system size that is best for your house.

System size Cost before incentives
4.08 kW $9,600 - $12,048
9.60 kW $19,200 - $24,096
14.40 kW $28,800 - $36,144
19.20 kW $38,400 - $48,192

Remember that solar incentives can substantially lower your overall costs.

One of the benefits of installing Tesla solar panels is that Tesla offers a 10-year workmanship warranty and, at least 85% of the nameplate power capacity after 25 years.

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

Some factors that affect the cost of solar panels include the panel type, panel brand, size of the solar system, ‘levelized cost of energy’ (LCOE), and price per watt. Check out the factors to take into account when estimating costs:

Type of Panel

For residential use, there are three primary categories of solar panels. They are thin-film, polycrystalline, and monocrystalline.

Brand of Panel and Solar Equipment

Solar equipment comes in a variety of varieties, including monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, panels with black or silver frames, 335 or 350 watt panels, Mission or Q-Cell brand panels, string inverters, micro-inverters, and HD wave inverters. The list is endless.

Then there is mounting and racking equipment. Different equipment kinds are available at various price points and performance levels.

Levelized Cost of Energy

The price at which electricity generated should be sold for the system to break even at the end of its lifetime is known as the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).

Price Per Watt

Monocrystalline solar panels cost between $1 and $1.50 per watt and are the greatest option for residential solar panels in terms of energy efficiency. Costing between $0.90 and $1 per watt, polycrystalline solar panels are less energy-efficient. The price per watt of thin-film solar panels ranges from $1 to $1.50.

Installation Company

The solar panel company you select will affect the price of the panels. The price will vary from company to company for anything from the solar equipment system itself to installation fees to add-ons, so the first step is to weigh your options for the finest solar firms.

What are the Incentives for Solar Energy in San Benito County, California?

1. Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)

With PACE, sometimes referred to as the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO), property owners can use their property taxes to pay for eligible solar energy and energy efficiency improvements.

The upfront cost of the project is funded by local or state governments working with conventional financiers, and homeowners repay their local authority by paying higher property taxes over a typical 20-year repayment period. Currently, PACE programs are active in more than 20 states, including San Benito County, California.

2. Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems

New solar installations that meet certain requirements can be exempt from property taxes under Section 73 of the state's revenue and taxation legislation. Meaning that if you install solar on your property, your property taxes won't go up. Originally scheduled to end in 2016, the tax exemption has now been extended until January 1, 2025.

3. The Investment Tax Credit

The federal ITC offers additional and substantial savings for solar systems, despite not being a solar tax benefit specific to San Benito County, California. In 2023, every homeowner who purchases and owns a PV system is eligible to claim and deduct 26% of the cost of the solar installation from their federal taxes (tax liability).

You can carry over any unused tax credits to the following year's taxes if the value of your credit is greater than your tax liability.

4. Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) program

The Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) program in San Benito County, California offers one-time, upfront, capacity-based financial incentives of $3/Watt to eligible low-income single-family homeowners to defray the initial expenses of solar installation.

The house must be owned by the applicant or homeowner and have electrical service provided by PG&E, SCE, or SDG&E. Based on the most recent income tax return, the household's total income must be 80% or less of the area median income (AMI).

5. Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program

The Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program of the state offers incentive rates of $1.10 to $1.80/Watt for qualified multifamily affordable housing, while it is now closed to new applicants and may have a waiting period. In the SDG&E area, it is run by PG&E, SCE, and the Center for Sustainable Energy.

6. Self-Generation Incentive Program

In San Benito County, California, you can be eligible for a refund for the installation of the energy storage system if you purchase a house battery in addition to your rooftop solar panels. Customers of PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E may be qualified for this incentive, which may be worth up to $1,000 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

7. Inflation Reduction Act

You can take advantage of a 30% tax credit for solar installations through 2032 if you buy and install a solar panel system on your primary or secondary U.S. residence under the terms of the Inflation Reduction Act. The credit will drop to 26% in 2033, then to 22% in 2034, and finally disappear entirely in 2035.

Do You Need a Handyman or a Solar Installer in San Benito County?

Yes. The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy advises hiring a certified Handyman or professional Solar Installer who has experience installing high-quality solar panels and systems. All contractors in the state of California are governed by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB).

The following are some of the licenses available to contractors in California; "A" – General Engineering contractors, "B" – General Building contractors, C-4, C-10, C-36, C-46, C-5. Here’s a quick note in each of these licenses;

"A" – General Engineering contractors

In the state of California, all contractors who wish to submit a bid on projects requiring specialized engineering knowledge and where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500 must hold a General Engineering Contractor License.

"B" – General Building contractors

For people or businesses that specialize in residential and commercial construction work, the General B license is required.


For people or businesses who specialize in boiler, hot-water heating, and steam fitting services in California, a C-4 license is required.


In the state of California, anyone wishing to submit a bid for residential or commercial electrical work whose labor and material costs surpass $500 must hold a C-10 license.


In the state of California, anyone wishing to submit a bid of more than $500 on projects involving plumbing installation, repair, design, inspection, and maintenance must hold a C-36 license.


Solar contractors who specialize in the installation, modification, and maintenance of solar energy systems, active solar water and space heating systems, solar pool heating systems, and photovoltaic systems are required to hold a C-46 license.

C-53 license

In the state of California, anyone wishing to submit a bid for a pool or spa project whose labor and material costs surpass $500 must hold a C-53 license.

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

You can use loans, leases, and power purchase agreements for solar energy to pay for the purchase and installation of solar panels.

What is a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?

A solar PPA, or power purchase agreement, is often an off-balance sheet financial arrangement through which an energy consumer (also known as an off-taker) permits a third-party developer to create, build, run, and maintain a photovoltaic (PV) system on its land, with no up-front costs.

What are Solar Loans?

A solar loan is a loan used to pay for your home's solar photovoltaic (PV) system installation. With the ability to be repaid over time and eventually become the owner of the system, solar loans are most similar to traditional loans.

Even though homeowners can save money over the course of the loan by choosing to make larger payments, the monthly payments for solar loans are typically lower than those for a typical energy bill.

What are Solar Leases?

This is an agreement with a solar leasing company whereby they install your system for free while owning and maintaining it. The solar panel system has a monthly fee that you must pay, but you also get free electricity from the panels, which lessens the monthly lease payment. Although the lease lengths substantially vary amongst organizations, the majority of solar leasing agreements are for a 20-year period.

Do Solar Panels Increase a Home Value in San Benito County?

Yes. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that for every $1 you save on energy costs, the value of your home rises by $20. For instance, if your solar energy system helps you save $700 annually, your home's value will rise by $14,000.

According to a large-scale solar home study carried out by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (Berkeley Lab), homebuyers are willing to pay at least $15,000 for a solar-powered home .

Factors that influence how much value is added

The value of the solar panel system, the cost of the local electricity market, and the location can all have an impact on a home's value. Here's a closer look at the factors that can influence the value of your home.

1. Location

The location of the home affects the market value of a house with solar panels already installed. Not every state has the clear laws, qualified solar installers, or local support required to make a homeowner's solar investment profitable. Solar energy conversions are nevertheless promoted and easily accessible in some places.

According to their capacity for solar energy, the following states were identified by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) as the top solar markets:

These areas encourage homeowners to switch to solar energy through renewable energy laws and regulations that are advantageous to their citizens. They might also provide extra solar credits and incentives to help bring down the price of solar panels.

2. Electrical Charges

Homeowners can lower their overall energy costs by using solar panels to power their residences. Residents can store any extra electricity that their solar panels produce throughout the day in a solar battery. Your home can be powered by this reserved energy overnight or during a power outage. States with high electricity costs, like California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, and New York, benefit the most from these savings.

3. Age of the Solar System

Solar systems typically last 25 to 35 years, and if they're in good shape, they could even last 40 years. Homes with more recent solar systems will therefore have more years of future use than homes with systems that are 10 years old or older. Any anticipated savings on your energy bills could be negatively impacted by an inefficient system.

You might be forced to pay more money for upgrades, replacement parts, or an entirely new system if you don't have the right coverage for equipment repairs or performance guarantees. It's also possible that the warranty period for these older systems is about to expire.

4. Ownership of solar panels

A homeowner has the right to sell their solar panels along with their house if they have already paid for them outright. However, attempting to purchase a home with a leased system can make things more difficult. The buyers must choose how they want to acquire ownership of the system because the seller is not its legitimate owner. Solar systems that are leased can be bought out or transferred to the buyer.

5. Condition of the solar system

Homes with modern solar systems are worth more than homes with outdated systems. A home with a 15-year-old system can only get another 10 to 20 years of use because solar systems last 25 to 35 years on average. To increase the likelihood that their home will sell, homeowners should have their systems maintained and serviced.

Are Solar Panels Exempt from Property Taxes in San Benito County?

Yes. The value of your home will increase as a result of installing a solar system, which will result in higher property taxes. Residential solar owners are exempt from property taxes in San Benito County, California and the state also provides an Active Solar Energy System Exclusion. This law exempt the construction or addition of an active solar energy system from being classified as newly constructed.

Therefore, installing a solar energy system on your roof won't result in an increase in your property taxes due to new construction. The exclusion was recently extended to cover dates of property tax liens through the 2023–24 fiscal year, which is good news. The exclusion was repealed as a result of the new amendments on January 1, 2025.

Therefore, until there is a subsequent change in ownership, active solar energy systems that were exempt prior to January 1, 2025 will remain exempt on and after that date.

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

Finding the top local solar panel installers involves five steps.

Step 1. Find out the total cost and available tax credits

The cost of a solar electric system is calculated in dollars per watt, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy. As of 2023, a residential system costs $3 to $5 per watt on average. Before tax credits or other incentives, the average 5-kW residential system will cost between $15,000 and $25,000.

The value of the federal solar tax credits and other incentives is substantial. The Homeowner's Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics published by the U.S. Department of Energy states that "a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of income tax you would otherwise owe. For instance, claiming a $1,000 federal tax credit results in a $1,000 reduction in your federal income tax obligation.

A portion of the cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system can be deducted from federal income taxes in the form of the federal residential solar energy credit. The system needs to be installed and produce electricity for a US-based home during the tax year.

Step 2. Get familiar with the Solar Financing options

Learn more about net metering and solar financing options that are connected to your local utility company. The solar panels can be financed, leased, paid in cash, or paid in installments. Each has a different financial investment requirement and associated tax implications.

Choose the approach that suits you the best because the installer needs to know what you prefer in order for them to agree to your demands. Not all installers accept all forms of payment. Once you are knowledgeable about the costs and credits, it's time to compare installers' prices and quality of service.

Step 3. Take into account DIY Installation

Setting up a DIY system has a lot of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages typically focus on short-term cost savings, while the disadvantages usually concern long-term restrictions. The majority of home-built solar panels cannot be connected to the conventional electrical grid and are, therefore, ineligible for some of the tax breaks and energy credits offered for approved installations.

But if you're willing to handle some of the work yourself, you can lower the cost of a solar energy system by more than half. Additionally, you'll need some electrical expertise if you want to completely replace the electrical system in your home with a solar system. If the idea of performing manual or skilled labor makes you feel out of your league, hire a qualified service that can complete the task correctly the first time.

Step 4. Examine online and client testimonials

You can locate service providers in your zip code and neighborhood by using online review sites. Use those same websites to read a sizable number of customer reviews after you've narrowed your choices down to a select few. Learn about the reputation of each business and the caliber of their customer service. These reviews and recommendations are crucial.

They point out warning signs and offer social proof. Leave out the narrative-free star ratings. Instead, read the text to get a sense of the warranties, financing situations, and ease of installation. Do not ignore a trend in customer complaints, and investigate the company's response. Buyers should exercise caution if they receive a rude response or none at all.

Step 5. Verify Registration and Certifications

Ask vendors for a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certificate when choosing between them. NABCEP is the best national standard certification program, and any vendor holding this accreditation is unquestionably knowledgeable in the industry. There are a lot of unlicensed installers who swindle unwary clients and deliver subpar services in exchange.

To increase trust, look for valid certifications. Additionally, make sure the installers have any necessary roofing or electrical licenses that may be required for the type of work your home needs.

Step 6. Choose the installer who offers extra services

Make a shortlist of solar installers and have them visit your home in person to provide a detailed quote. Then pick the contractor who offers the extra services needed to finish the job. These full-service installers take care of solar battery installation, roof repair, tree removal, and energy monitoring, all of which may be necessary for your home's solar installation.

You don’t want to end up hiring different contractors to handle each scope of the project. Your best bet is to bundle these services with an installer who is reputable and trustworthy and has a lot of experience.

What Energy Companies offer Solar Rebates in San Benito County, California?

For homeowners who have solar panels, California currently provides a statewide net-metering incentive, but the exact credit you receive varies depending on your local energy company. Here are some Energy Companies that offer Solar Rebates in San Benito County, California:

  • Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE)

In the PG&E service area, homeowners can now receive rebates ranging from $.20 to $1.05 per watt-hour (Wh) of storage in a battery they purchase for their homes. To help lower the cost of solar panels for your home, PG&E offers incentives for solar water heating and other renewable energy sources. Low-income family households can also benefit from solar panels thanks to the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program.