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Solar Panels in Santa Cruz County, CA

Key Points

  • As of 2023, the average cost of solar panel installation in Santa Cruz County ranges from $12,155 to $16,445
  • Factors that determine the cost include brand and quality of panels, roof structure & system size
  • Solar panels are exempt from property taxes under California Active Solar Energy Systems Exclusion

Going Green in Santa Cruz, CA

Solar energy offers many benefits to homes and businesses in Santa Cruz County. The county receives an average of 262 sunny days (or 3,245.91 hours of sunshine) each year.

Santa Cruz county is also home to multiple plants, including a 50.4 kW Solar Photovoltaic System that powers the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility.

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How much do Solar Panels cost in Santa Cruz County, CA?

As of 2023, the average cost of a solar panel installation in Santa Cruz County is $2.86 per watts and would range between $12,155 and **$16,445 **for a 5kw System. This cost includes both the materials and the labor required for the installation.

Energy System Size Solar Panel Cost Cost After Credit
3kW $8,580 $6,349
4kW $11,440 $8,466
5kW $14,300 $10,582
6kW $17,160 $12,698
7kW $20.020 $14,815
8kW $22,880 $16,931
9kW $25,740 $19.048
10kW $28,600 $21,164
Average Cost Breakdown for Solar Installation in Butte 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 $1.5-$2 per watt
Cost of Racking $.25 - $.50 per watt.
Installation and soft Costs $2.50 - $4.50 per watt

What Determines The Cost Of Solar Panels in Santa Cruz County?

Several important factors that determine the cost of solar panel systems in California include:

  1. System magnitude
  2. Brand and quality of panels
  3. Panel classification
  4. Roof structure
  5. Installation provider
  6. Permits and grid interconnection

Size of System

Larger systems generally tend to be more costly, although the average expense per unit decreases as the system size increases. The cost of a solar panel system can vary greatly depending on its size, with larger systems often requiring more panels, equipment, and labor.

Brand and quality of panels

Solar panels come in varying quality grades. High-end panel brands are often more expensive than their lower-end counterparts but may offer better performance and durability.

Choosing a panel brand and quality that is right for your needs and budget is an essential factor in determining the overall cost of your solar panel system.

Panel classification

The type of panel you choose to install (monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film) directly affects the overall quality of your setup. A higher rate equates to higher prices. Monocrystalline panels, for instance, are made from single-crystal silicon and are known for their efficiency and durability, making them a popular choice among homeowners. Thin-film panels, on the other hand, are made from thin layers of photovoltaic material and are typically less expensive but also less efficient.

Roof structure

The total cost of a solar panel setup does not only stem from the equipment, but also includes charges for the complexity of the installation. For example, a more intricate roof design, such as a steep slope or multiple levels, may result in higher costs for scaffolding, equipment rental, and labor. On the other hand, a simple roof structure may make for a quicker and less expensive installation.

Installation provider

Solar companies charge varying rates for their labor. You may choose to incur a higher cost for a well-reputed company with positive reviews and a shorter installation timeline. In addition, some companies may offer more extensive warranties, higher-quality equipment, and a more professional installation process, making them a more expensive option. However, these additional costs may be worth the investment in terms of your solar panel system's overall quality and longevity.

Permits and grid interconnection

Although a minor factor, paying for necessary permits and interconnection fees to the grid will add a small sum to the overall cost of your solar panel setup. These fees can vary greatly depending on local regulations and the requirements of your utility company, so it is essential to research and budget for these costs in advance.

Are Solar Panels Exempt from Property Taxes in Santa Cruz County?

Yes, solar panels are exempt from property taxes in Santa Cruz under California Active Solar Energy Systems Exclusion. Upheld to run until 2026, this law protects homeowners who use solar panels from paying sun tax. This decision aligns with the goal of having 100% clean energy in California by 2045.

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

The average time for solar panels to pay for themselves in Santa Cruz county is around six years. This is generally influenced by a few factors, which include the cost of your system and the amount of power it generates. If your system generates more power, then it will pay for itself at a faster rate.

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Do You Need a Handyman or a Solar Installer in Santa Cruz County?

In line with the recommendations by the US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, solar installations are best handled by certified professionals who work under accredited outlets.

California has laws that homeowners must follow when installing solar panels. Below is a list of the different licensing requirements for solar contractors as stated by the Contractor State License Board.

  • "A" - Contractors with General Engineering licenses are eligible to set up solar energy systems.
  • "B" - Building contractors that meet the criteria outlined in B&P Code section 7057 are allowed to install solar energy systems, as a solar energy system involves two different building trades or crafts.
  • C-4 – Boiler, Hot-Water Heating, and Steam Fitting contractors are approved to execute projects involving solar heating equipment related to the systems authorized under this classification.
  • C-10 – Electrical contractors can handle any solar projects that generate, distribute, convert, or use electrical energy in any form.
  • C-36 – Plumbing contractors are authorized to undertake projects that utilize solar equipment to heat liquids or water to the required temperature.
  • C-46 – Solar contractors install, modify, maintain, and repair photovoltaic and thermal solar energy systems. A license holder in this category cannot perform building or construction trades, crafts, or skills, except when installing a thermal or photovoltaic solar energy system is necessary.
  • C-53 – Swimming Pool contractors are authorized to install solar heating in swimming pool projects.

What Are The Laws For Using Solar Panels In Santa Cruz County?

Several laws and regulations in California govern the sale and installation of solar panels. These laws include:

California Solar Rights Act:

This law protects the right of property owners to install solar panels on their property, regardless of any homeowner association rules or local zoning laws.

Solar Consumer Protection Guide:

This guide provides information to consumers on the process of buying and installing solar panels, including what to look for in a solar panel system, the sales process, and customer protections.

Net Metering:

This program allows customers who generate their solar electricity to receive credit on their utility bill for any excess energy they send back to the grid.

Interconnection Standards:

This set establishes the requirements for connecting solar panel systems to the grid, including safety, reliability, and performance.

Building Code Requirements:

California's building code sets requirements for installing solar panel systems, including the proper placement of panels and the appropriate electrical connections.

These are some of the key laws and regulations that govern the sale and installation of solar panels in California. It's essential to be familiar with these laws and to work with a reputable solar panel provider knowledgeable about your area's requirements.

How can I Sell Solar Energy in Santa Cruz County?

Net metering is a policy in Santa Cruz county and other parts of California that allows residential and commercial customers with solar panels to receive credits on their utility bills for excess electricity generated and fed back into the grid.

In California, net metering is governed by the state's Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which sets the rules and regulations for how it works. Under California's net metering policy, eligible customers can receive credits for their excess solar generation at the total retail rate, which is the rate they would typically pay for electricity from the utility. These credits can offset electricity charges on the customer's bill in the coming months.

Net metering helps to encourage the adoption of solar energy in California by making it easier for customers to take advantage of the excess electricity their panels generate, which in turn helps to reduce the state's dependence on fossil fuels. The program benefits both solar customers and the state as a whole, as it helps promote the growth of renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which aligns with the state's 2045 clean energy goal.

NetMetering 3.0

In 2022, the California Public Utilities Commission altered the state's net metering policy by introducing NEM 3.0. This alteration reduces the remuneration for solar energy credits by three-fourths for PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E customers.

Homeowners who have already invested in solar energy or are considering doing so before the implementation of NEM 3.0 are exempt from the changes to the net metering policy. Instead, they are assigned the benefits of the original policy.

Are Tesla Solar Panels Available in Santa Cruz County, California?

Yes, Tesla solar panels are available in Santa Cruz County, California. You can get tesla solar panels installed anywhere you live in the county. For an optimal installation, consider working with a local tesla certified installer.

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

If you are trying to find the perfect solar company to meet your needs in Santa Cruz County, California, here are the steps you need to take to find solar companies near you in Santa Cruz County, California:

**Start With a Google Search **

The best way to start is with a Google search. Type Santa Cruz solar companies near me into the search bar and make a list of the companies you find.

Check For Certifications and Licensing

Carefully review the qualifications of each company. The Companies that can be marked as authentic have proper Certifications and listening. Check for electrical licenses and Certifications. One primary certification to check for is the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Certification. Ensure you check the websites of each company for the NABCEP logo.

Check For Financing Options

Check for financing options. You might have a preferred financing method in mind if you might be open to trying others. Whatever the case, you can check the different companies for a financing option that would work for your needs.

Get Multiple Quotes

Narrow down your list of trustworthy installers and then request for quotes. Get binding quotes from the companies and compare the prices to ensure you get fair pricing. Compare the pricing and choose what you feel would work best for you.

Quick County Facts

Santa Cruz County is a beautiful coastal region located in California, with approximately 61,950 residents. With a land area of 12.74 square miles, the county is densely populated with 22,067 households. The average household size in the county is 2.37 persons per household. The per capita income in Santa Cruz County is relatively high, with a median household income of $96,217.

Housing costs in the county can be expensive, with a median monthly price of $3,320 for households with a mortgage and $725 for homes without a mortgage. Despite the high housing costs, many residents stay in the county for the long term. Interestingly, 68.3% of residents have lived in the same house for at least one year.