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Solar Panels in San Bernardino County, CA

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

Key Details

  • Solar panels cost, on average,$2.80 per watt to install in San Bernardino County, CA.
  • Homeowners can take advantage of various rebate and tax credit programs to lower installation costs.
  • The payback period for solar panels is 6 to eight years; it may take longer if energy output/installation cost is low.
  • Cost of solar panels determined by type of panel, brand of equipment, levelized cost of energy, price per watt, and installation company.
  • Available incentives in San Bernardino include the Federal solar tax credit, SASH program, and Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP).
  • Homeowners cam sell excess solar energy via Net Energy Metering (NEM).

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

As of 2023, it will cost an average of $2.80 per watt to install a solar panel in San Bernardino County, California. However, depending on the solar company and other factors, the cost of solar installation may be lower.

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While solar installation in California may be higher than in some other US states, homeowners can take advantage of state and federal solar rebates to minimize costs.

For example, it costs $14,000 to install a 5 kW solar system. However, you can use the federal tax credit to reduce the overall cost to $10,360.

Energy System Size Solar Panel Cost Cost After Credit
3 kW $8,400 $6,216
4 kW $11,200 $8,288
5 kW $14,000 $10,360
6 kW $16,800 $12,432
7 kW $19,600 $14,504
8 kW $22,400 $16,576

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

San Bernardino solar panels pay for themselves within six to eight years of installation. In other words, you will recover the cost of installation within that time frame. The time frame is also referred to as the solar payback period.

It may take longer for some solar users to recoup the cost. Factors such as the installation cost and energy output determine how long it will take.

To understand this concept, let's start with a case study.

Jenny installed a 6 kWh solar system that cost $16,800. Thanks to the federal tax credit, the installation cost was reduced to $12,432. She also qualified for some additional solar rebates in California, which further cut the cost to $11,000.

Jenny now saves $2,000 per year in energy costs. This means it'll take five to six years for the panel to pay for itself.

But, is this a good deal? A typical solar company in San Bernardino County offers solar panels that last for 25 years. That said, the ideal solar payback period must not exceed the half-life (12.5 years) of a solar panel. So, it's a good deal for Jenny.

How Do I Calculate a Solar Payback Period in San Bernardino County, CA?

Each panel offers a specific payback period, depending on many factors. Homeowners can accurately calculate the payback period for solar panels with a few quick steps.

Step1. First, determine your current electric bill.

To figure this out, calculate your current energy demands and costs. Start by checking your monthly electricity bills and multiplying them by 12.

For example, Jenny's household consumes 800 kWh of electricity per month. In 12 months, the household would have used 9,600 kWh. Electricity costs an average of $0.19 per kWh. She will pay between $1,900 and $2,000 for 9,600 kWh.

Step 2. Determine the price of solar installation.

Determine how much solar energy you'll need to cover your energy needs. In San Bernardino County, CA, a 1kW solar panel will generate an average of 3 to 4.5k per day. This means 1 kW will produce between 1,100 and 1,600 kWH per year.

Based on the previous example, Jenny must install at least a 7 kWh solar panel. A 7 kWh solar panel installation in San Bernardino will cost $19,600.

Step 3. Deduce your annual solar savings

The annual solar savings is the amount you earn for using solar power. Through the net-metering method, San Bernardino residents will earn energy credits for not using normal electricity.

These credits help reduce your electricity bills. To calculate the annual solar savings, multiply the PV system output by the cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour.

For example, a 7,000 kWh PV system * 0.30 cents per kWh = $2,100 in annual solar savings.

Step 4. Calculate your solar panel payback period

You will save $2,100 per year by using a 7 kWh solar panel. To calculate the solar panel payback period, divide the cost of installation by the annual solar savings.

The annual solar savings for a 7 KWh panel are (14,504 / 2,100) = seven years. This means it will take seven years for the solar panel to pay for itself.

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

Multiple factors determine the cost of solar panels in San Bernardino County, including:

  1. Type of Panel
  2. Brand of Panel and Solar Equipment
  3. Levelized Cost of Energy
  4. Price Per Watt
  5. Installation Company
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The type of solar panel

The solar panel type is also responsible for the cost of installation. The higher the efficiency at capturing solar power, the more expensive it is. Here are the accessible solar panels:

  • Monocrystalline
  • Polycrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels are the more expensive option. A monocrystalline cell, for example, costs between $ 0.50 and $ 0.80. On the other hand, you can get the polycrystalline type for $0.40 to $0.50.

Monocrystalline panels are also more efficient at capturing solar energy, i.e., they are 20 percent efficient.

The PERC is another efficient solar panel. It had a 25 percent efficiency, but it is more expensive than other types.

Brand of Panel and Solar Equipment

The cost of labor and additional features can push up or lower the overall price. For example, some homeowners may opt to invest in solar batteries and inverters. The cost of installing the units is also another factor.

Some solar companies in San Bernardino may charge higher than others for this service. Sometimes, choosing to install the roof or ground PV systems can determine the cost.

Generally, it is more expensive to install solar systems on the ground. Your household size also determines how many solar panels you need to install.

For this reason, you need to partner with a reputable San Bernardino solar panel installer. These installers are experienced in providing custom solar solutions.

Levelized Cost of Energy

This is a measure of the overall cost of the energy produced by a solar panel. So, the higher the LCOE of a solar panel, the more expensive it is. Most San Bernardino solar panel installers and companies will indicate the LCOE figure. Solar users can also determine it via these steps:

  1. Figure out the net system cost
  2. Multiply the total kWh production over the panel's lifespan.
  3. Divide the total energy output over a lifespan by the net system cost.

Price by Watt

Solar panel installations come with hidden costs such as permit and licensing fees, labor costs, and maintenance fees. The only way to determine these costs is by calculating the price by wattage. To figure this out, divide the net cost of installation by the energy output per year.

Here's an example: A 6,000 kWh panel has a net installation cost of $12,432.

The price per watt is (12,432 / 6,000) = $2.07.

Installation Company

San Bernardino solar installers have different price ranges and financing options. So always conduct a price comparison to get the best deal. You can search online using the phrase "solar panels near me in San Bernardino County."

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

Homeowners in San Bernardino County will find these solar incentives:

  1. The federal solar tax credit
  3. Western Riverside Council of Governments - Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing Program
  4. Self-Generation Incentive Program
  5. Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT)
  6. California Solar Initiative - Solar Thermal Program
  7. Net Metering
  8. Equity Resilience Incentives
  9. California Federal Investment Tax Credit
  10. Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems and Solar Plus Storage System

The Federal Solar Tax Credit

With this incentive, people who use solar power can get their income tax cut by 30%. The federal tax credit is only accessible to residential locations. To receive the incentive, you must complete the installation within the tax year. Furthermore, you must own the solar system, either through outright payment or financing options.

Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

This is one of the popular rebates for solar panels in California. The ITC is a tax incentive for business owners using solar energy. For instance, business owners in San Bernardino County can claim the ITC to reduce their federal income liability in a tax year. Through the Investment Tax Credit, you can claim a 30 percent reduction in federal income tax. Furthermore, businesses can continue to claim ITC for the next five years after installation.


The California Public Utilities Commission approved this incentive to help solar users in disadvantaged communities. To qualify for the incentive, you must:

  • reside in the top 25 percent of low-income areas in California.
  • be a paying customer of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)
  • meet the minimum income requirement. Check CARE guidelines for more data.

The DAC-SASH program will end in 2030.

Western Riverside Council of Governments - Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Financing Program

This incentive is a type of PACE financing that's accessible to residential solar users in San Bernardino County. Residents will get solar funding that is worth up to 15 percent of their real estate property. The 15 percent only applies to the first $700,000 of the property's market value.

That said, this is not a free offer. Beneficiaries must repay the incentive via special assessments on their property tax. So, expect an increase in property tax if you use this option.

Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP)

Under the SGIP, San Bernardino residents will receive credits for installing solar panels or other renewable energy systems. This system is very rewarding because users can almost make up for the cost of installing it. The program gives priority to people living in fire outbreak-prone environs and in low-income areas. Under SGIP, qualified persons can receive between $850 to $1,000 for every kilowatt-hour generated.

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

San Bernardino County residents can sell excess solar energy via the Net Energy Metering (NEM). Only paying customers of these utility companies can participate in the program;

NEM requires you to connect your solar system to the electricity grid. Utility companies will buy excess solar energy at the retail rate. On the other hand, solar users will receive bill credits at the end of each month. Furthermore, utility companies will subtract the amount you'

paid for energy consumption from the bill credits. Also, NEM customers are not exempt from paying for other utility bills like:

  • Department of Water Resources bond charges
  • Public purpose program charge
  • Nuclear decommissioning charge

At the end of a 12-month period, your utility company will pay the balance of any excess electricity. These companies utilize the Net Surplus Compensation (NSC) rate to determine the cost of the surplus credit. As of January 2023, the NSC rate is $0.02 to $0.03. You can find the current NSC rate by checking these utility companies: PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E.

There are three NEM phases in California: NEM 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. Each phase has a timeframe within which you can apply. The NEM 2.0 will end on April 14, 2023. Persons applying for an NEM 2.0 must sign-up before this date and follow specific guidelines. For example, NEM 2.0 users must pay a one-time interconnection fee. This fee allows you to connect with a utility company.

What is NetMetering 3.0 (Net Billing)?

NetMetering 3.0 is the third phase of the net metering program. It'll go into effect on April 15, 2023. Here's what to expect in this phase:

  • The net metering credit will reduce by 75 percent. This means utility companies will pay 25 percent of the retail cost of electricity.
  • The Net Metering phase will increase the solar payback period to about 9 to 10 years. Due to the low energy credit, it'll take longer for the solar panel to pay for itself.

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

Yes. You can access Tesla solar panels through certified installers in San Bernardino. Here is the list of verified roof installers:

McCormack Roofing

76 Maxwell

Irvine, CA 92618

Phone: (714) 777-4040


Hot Purple Energy

810 North Farrell Drive

Palm Springs, CA 92262

Phone: (760) 322-4433


Alive Solar and Roofing

2557 Dundee Glen,

Escondido, CA 92026

Phone: (760) 892-5483


So, why do I need to partner with a local Tesla certified installer?

The Tesla PV system is unique and highly efficient. In addition, improper installation can reduce its efficiency. So, your best bet is to get a certified Tesla installer. Also, these installers have the experience to handle the Tesla Powerwall battery system.

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

The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recommends that installations be done by a professional. Your preferred solar installer or handyman must have a certification or license to operate. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is a common certification for solar installers

What are the benefits of hiring a solar installer in San Bernardino County?

  • Installers work with you to create custom solar solutions for your home.
  • They help you to get solar rebates and incentives.
  • They also provide periodic checks and maintenance.
  • Solar installers often have experience in roof construction. As a result, they understand the most efficient method of mounting solar panels on roofs.
  • They help you adhere to building code standards.

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

Solar users in San Bernardino can access these financing options:

  • Upfront cash payment
  • Solar loans
  • Solar leases

What is a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?

In a PPA, a solar company or third-party developer forms a financial contract with a customer. This contract requires solar companies to install a PV system on the customer's property. In return, the customer will get solar energy at a subsidized rate. The solar company will get tax credits and other incentives for installing the unit. Sunrun and Coldwell are examples of companies that offer PPAs

What are solar loans?

Solar users can use solar loans to finance solar installations. In this option, you form an agreement with a solar company. You may dictate the duration of the loan and interest rates. Take care to read the terms and conditions of a loan agreement.

What are solar leases?

Solar leases are an alternative to purchasing a PV system. In this option, you choose to rent the panel for a timeframe. You may pay a set rate monthly or pay the full amount upfront.

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

Yes. Installing solar panels can boost the real estate value of your home. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, you increase the value by $5,911 for every 1 kW of solar panels installed.

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

Yes. As of 2023, California offers a property tax exclusion. The exclusion prevents solar users from paying property tax on installed solar systems. Keep in mind that the exclusion does not cover the following:

  • Solar swimming pool heaters
  • Wind energy systems
  • Hot tub heaters
  • Passive solar heating systems.

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

Follow these steps to find solar companies near you in San Bernardino County.

Step 1: Create a list of solar companies in San Bernardino County

It's better to find solar companies with a physical or online presence in the county. You can find these companies online by using the phrase "Solar companies in San Bernardino County." Take a note and write down the list of all available solar companies.

Step 2: Checklist solar companies that are licensed or certified

Next, investigate if the solar companies are licensed to operate. Look for these certifications at solar companies:

  • North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification.
  • CSLB C-46 Test result.

Step 3: Ask for recommendations from your social circle and check online reviews

Look for those who have installed a PV system. It could be a neighbor or family member. Ask them questions about the service and what to expect. Write down solar companies with good recommendations. Next, visit online review sites for more confirmation. Start with review sites like Yelp and Google Review. Furthermore, cross out solar installers with overwhelming negative remarks.

Step 4: Reach out to the solar company

Now the list should have thinned out a bit. Next, contact the solar companies or visit their websites.

Find out if they offer additional perks like maintenance and financing options. You can also check their FAQ section to find more answers.

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

Energy companies in San Bernadino do not offer solar rebates. Only the state and federal solar rebates are available to the county residents

San Bernardino County Statistics

San Bernardino County is the largest county in California, covering over 20,000 square miles. It is also home to over 216,784 residents, including non-US citizens. About 75.06% of this population are family units, while the remaining per cent are non-family units.

As of January 2023, there were 64,173 residential units. Furthermore, about 48% are owner-occupied, with about 15% being rented out. Keep in mind that most of the residential units were built in the late 1900s. More so, only 1,111 units were constructed in the last decade (2010 to –present). However, the preceding decade (2000–2009) saw the construction of 4, 2134,213. The median cost of housing in San Bernardino County is $1,159. This is less than the state's average of $1,900.

Note: Most of the residential units were built during periods when energy conservation was not a priority. This means most residents must outfit or renovate when implementing solar energy.