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Solar Panels in Sutter County, CA

Key Points

  • The average cost of solar panels in Sutter County ranges from $2.73 - $2.86 per watt for a 5 kW system (before tax credits)
  • Solar panel payback period is between 6 and 10 years in Sutter County depending on several factors
  • As of 2023, solar panels installed at residential properties are exempt from property taxes under California’s Active Solar Energy System Exclusion law.

Going Green in Sutter County
Solar energy offers multiple benefits to homes and businesses in Sutter County. In 2021, California produced 32% of the country’s total solar electricity, enough solar energy to power approximately 10,510,648 homes. California’s solar market is expected to grow significantly in Sutter county and other parts of the state

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

As of January 2023, the average cost of solar panels in Sutter County, California is between $2.73 and $2.86 per watt. For a 5 kilowatts (kW) system, the total installation cost ranges from $12,155 to $16,445, with the average cost being $14,300.

The average price reduces to $11,466 when the federal tax credit and other state and local solar incentives are factored in.

The eventual price of solar panels in Sutter County depends on several factors including the type and size of the panels and the installation company.

Here are the average costs of different sizes of Sutter County solar panels.

Energy System Size Solar Panel Cost Cost After Credit
3 kW $8,580 $5,733
4 kW $11,440 $7,644
5 kW $14,300 $9,555
6 kW $17,160 $11,466
7 kW $20,020 $13,377
8 kW $22,880 $15,288
9 kW $25,740 $17,199
10 kW $28,600 $21,164

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

It takes an average of 6 to 10 years for Sutter County solar panels to pay for themselves. This payback period is influenced by a number of factors including the cost of installation, solar tax credits and rebates, incentives, cost of electricity from your utility bill, cost of maintenance, and amount of electricity produced and consumed.

To calculate your payback period, determine the combined costs associated with the solar and the annual financial benefits. Then divide the costs by the benefits.

Within their life cycle and with proper maintenance, solar panels can save you enough bills equalling or exceeding their purchase and installation cost.

Are Solar Panels Exempt from Property Taxes in Sutter County?

Yes, solar panels are exempt from property taxes in Sutter County. Property tax is charged on the value of a property. As such, when you make improvements to your home, this affects its value and the corresponding taxes. Installing solar panels should typically have this effect.

However, section 73 of the California Revenue and Taxation code provides for the Active Solar Energy System Exclusion. Under this provision, qualifying solar energy systems will be excluded when assessing the value of a home for the purpose of property tax.

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

Most California solar rebates require the recipient to be connected to any of the three investor-owned energy companies: Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). Some other companies also offer certain rebates. For example, PacifiCorp and Liberty offer SOMAH benefits.

Although solar rebates are government-provided, only some energy companies can offer certain rebates to you in Sutter. The federal tax credits can be enjoyed by anyone irrespective of their energy company.

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

Solar owners in Sutter County can sell their energy through an arrangement known as Net Metering. Under California’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) 2.0 program, solar energy system users get bill credits for the excess power their system generates and transfers to the grid. The credits are then deducted from the customer’s bill at the same retail value. Thus stepping down the customer’s electricity bill.

If there is a net surplus at the end of the 12-month billing period, the Customers with a net surplus after the 12-month billing period will be compensated for it at a fair market value known as net surplus compensation (NSC). The current NSC rate is estimated to be between $0.02 and $0.03 per kWh.

California introduced a new net metering regime known as the Net Billing Tariff (NBT) in April 2023. The NBT differs from NEM 2.0 in the way it applies excess generation to a customer’s bill. Unlike the NEM which uses the flat retail rate, NBT uses a rate that reflects the generation’s worth to the grid.

The value of the export compensation is often less than the retail rate, although, on late summer evenings, it may exceed the retail rate. To maximize bill savings under the NBT, install battery storage alongside your generating system. This way you can utilize or sell stored energy during high-value hours.

Additionally, bill payment is monthly, not after the 12-month billing period, with the excess being rolled over to the next month. Customers are allowed to remain on the NEM 2.0 for 20 years from the date they are interconnected. To participate in net metering in Sutter County, homeowners must do the following.

  • Be connected to either Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
  • Pay a one-time interconnection fee. The fee varies depending on the utility company. PG&E requires a $145 fee, SCE’s fee is $75, while SDG&E charges $132.
  • Pay the non-bypassable charges. These are charges on electric consumption from the grid.
  • Transfer to time-of-use (TOU) rate.

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

The cost of solar panels is one of the common inquiries made by people intending to switch to solar energy systems. But there is no straightforward answer to it. Quotes from different companies or for different buildings are likely to not be the same.

The following are factors that inform the variation of the price of solar panels in Sutter County, California.

Type and Efficiency of the Panel
The two major types of residential solar panels are crystalline and thin-film panels. Thin film panels cost less but are also less efficient and may need replacement sooner. However, higher efficiency panels capture solar power better but cost more upfront.

Size and Capacity of the Panel
Your energy needs determine the size and capacity of the solar panels you intend to purchase. More panels and higher capacity translate to more costs. On average, homes in the U.S. use 6kW solar power systems.

Homeowners looking to get cheaper alternatives, mayopt for a lower-capacity system such as a 3 or 4-kW system. An advantage of higher capacity systems is that the more kilowatts of installed solar you have, the more of your power bills you can offset.

Brand of Panel and Solar Equipment
Just like any other product with different manufacturers, the brand and quality of the solar panel influence the cost. High-quality panels with complex setups generally cost more. In addition, the type and model of the panels affect the price.

These installation costs cover equipment such as an inverter, metering equipment, and other wiring gear. The rooftop that the panels are being installed on is also important. Where trees or any objects obstruct the sunlight from reaching the solar panels on the roof, external support is required. The panel is mounted on the external support away from the obstructions to maximize sunlight.

Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE)

The LCOE is a term that describes the cost of the power produced by the solar over a period of time, usually the warranted life of the system. It is a measure of the cost of power per kilowatt calculated by dividing the system’s net cost by its total output. A system with low LCOE is considered cost-effective and likely to pay for itself.

Price Per Watt

This refers to the amount paid for every watt of solar installed. Two elements required for this assessment are the capacity of the solar and the total cost of installation. To determine the cost per watt from the total quotation, the installation cost is divided by the number of watts of capacity in the system. When calculating installation cost, the cost of the panel, equipment, labor, soft charges, as well as government incentives, are factored in.

Installation Company

A Sutter County solar installer charges fees based on several factors including their experience and reputation, the labor required, the complexity of the installation, and the season of the year. More reputable installers are likely to charge more, likewise, the more labor required, the higher the cost of installation. Also, installation services have less demand during winter. Because of this, the costs are usually lesser at the time of the year.

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

The solar potential in Sutter County, California is not only based on its abundant sunshine. Homes and businesses that opt for solar energy in the county also enjoy financial benefits including

Federal Solar Tax Credit in Sutter County

Through this credit, the government funds a percentage of your solar installation cost by deducting it from your federal tax. The applicable percentage deduction depends on the tax year that the installation was completed.

The rate for installations made on or before December 31, 2019, and those to be installed between 2022 and 2032 is 30%. Meanwhile, for systems installed in 2020, 2021, and 2033, the rate decreases to 26%. In 2034, the rate dips to 22% and by 2035, the program will end altogether unless Congress renews it. The credit does not have a maximum limit on the amount you can claim. Also, the tax credit is only available for the outright purchase of solar, not solar leases or power purchase agreements.

Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP)

This is a program by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that offers residents rebates for installing power storage facilities. The rebate offers approximately $250 per kilowatt-hour and can cover up to 25% of the average cost of storage facilities. Residents that meet additional requirements can enjoy a higher percentage, close to 100%, of installation costs. One of the additional requirements is the receipt of other solar-related government rebates. The installation company assists customers in claiming this incentive so minimal effort is required.

Disadvantaged Communities Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) Program

SASH was introduced to help low-income homes in California afford solar energy. The program offers eligible households up to $3 per watt to offset upfront payment for their solar installation. To qualify for this rebate

  • The household must own and reside in the home where the solar is to be installed. The home must also be located in one of the disadvantaged communities (DACs) in the state.

  • The household’s income must be below their locality’s median income by 80% or more. As of 2021, the median household income in Sutter County, CA was $67,003.

  • Receive electricity from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), or San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH)

The SOMAH program specifically focuses on providing capacity-based incentives for solar energy systems in multi-family houses. Through this program, a minimum of 51% of the system’s electric output is used to offset tenant load. Additionally, tenants also receive electric output in the form of virtual net energy metering (VNEM) bill credits. Some of the eligibility requirements for the incentive are

  • The property must be a multifamily low-income housing with at least five (5) units.
  • The property must be restricted by deed.
  • The building must be an existing one, new constructions are not eligible.
  • The building’s electricity must be supplied by either PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, PacifiCorp, or Liberty.

Solar Energy System Property Tax Exclusion

Typically, improvements made to your Sutter County home will warrant a reassessment of the property’s value for the purpose of taxation. But pursuant to Section 73 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code adding solar energy systems to your home will not affect your property tax even if it increases your home’s value.

Local Solar Rebate Programs

Local authorities may also offer rebates to those that adopt solar energy systems. So, check in with your city’s government’s office to inquire about their solar rebate programs.

Net Metering

Through net metering, owners of solar energy systems can be compensated for excess energy their system generates and sends to the grid. This compensation is in the form of credits which can be used to reduce or offset electrical bills.

What are the Best Solar Energy Companies in Sutter County, California?

California is home to the largest solar market in the United States. As a result, there is an interesting line-up of effective solar energy companies that operate in Sutter County. Some of the best picks are listed below.

  • Better Earth: This is one of the fastest-growing solar companies that provides full-service solar sales and installation. Established in 2017, the company provides a standard 25-year warranty on all services provided and a 10-year warranty on battery storage.

  • Sun Power: This solar company was founded in 1985 and has grown to be a formidable company in the solar industry. The company is certified by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. The service provided includes solar panel and battery backup installation and up to five types of solar panels. Sunpower solar panels in Sutter county have a 25-year warranty over 100% of repair or replacement costs.

  • Solar Optimum: Established in 2008, this company supplies solar energy systems, backup battery storage, and rooftop installation. This company has been ranked among the best installers by different organizations including Solar Power World and Panasonic. They offer a 25-year warranty on solar panels, inverters, roofing, and Performance guarantees with a 10-year warranty on battery storage.

  • Mega Power Electric: Mega Power Electric has provided solar energy services for 16 years in California across different areas. The range of services offered includes installation, solar repair and maintenance, and financing options among others. Mega Power also provides a 25-year warranty.

  • Solar Savings Direct: With over 700 installation projects done, this company provides services for almost all areas in Northern CA. They offer a range of services including installation, financing, community solar, and repair and maintenance.

Are Tesla Solar Panels Available in Sutter County, California?

Tesla partners with local installation companies to ensure access to its solar panels. You can use the installer search feature on Tesla’s website to search for their installation partners near you. You can get Tesla solar panels in Sutter County, California at

Westhaven Solar
Yuba City, CA 95991
Phone: (866) 575-4112

Tesla is one of the largest solar installers in the United States. The company also offer energy storage solutions with the Tesla Powerwall battery.

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

The United States Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recommends the hiring of qualified professionals for solar system installation. Professional associations such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), offer certifications that indicate expertise in the practice.

More importantly, California’s construction laws require a Sutter county solar panel installer to hold a license from the State License Board. You can verify a Sutter Solar installer’s license using the Department of Consumer Affairs license search portal.

Furthermore, homeowners and businesses may have their preferences in selecting installers. But selecting local installers has several advantages. Local installers are generally less expensive than bigger companies providing quality and reliable service. They are also more knowledgeable on the local rebates and incentives available to solar energy owners. Local installers are also more flexible to your needs than larger companies. Even big solar companies, for example, Tesla, sometimes make use of local installers on a contract basis.

Also, when carrying out your solar installation ensure that you obtain the required permits from the Sutter County Development Services Department.

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

Getting solar panels for a home in Sutter can be pricey even with the multiple government-provided incentives. Most of the costs are paid upfront such as installation fees, as well as interconnection bills if you want to utilize net metering. However, there are several financing options available to assist a Sutter County solar panel purchaser. These financing options include solar leases, loans, and purchase agreements.

What is a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?

Solar PPA is an agreement designed to transfer ownership of the power generated by a solar system to a purchaser at a set per kilowatt-hour price. The potential solar system owner purchases the power, not the panels. Therefore, the monthly bills change depending on the energy produced and used. This price is usually less than the local utility rate. This PPA covers the maintenance of the system with a 25-year warranty. The customer enjoys the full benefits of owning a solar system without the upfront costs. However, PPA recipients may not be entitled to several government incentives as most go to the owner of the system.

What are Solar Loans?

A solar loan is another financing option available to prospective solar panel purchasers looking to reduce upfront costs. A customer approaches a bank or a solar company to acquire the system through monthly installments payment plus interest. The interest is spread out over a period of time with higher interest for shorter terms. The customer obtains full ownership over the system while making the required periodic payments. Solar loans do not prevent the recipient from enjoying government solar benefits.

What are Solar Leases?

In this case, instead of retaining full ownership of the system, the homeowner rents the panels from the installation company for a fixed monthly rate. Depending on the service provider, a solar lease may include repair and maintenance, system monitoring, and insurance. Solar PPA and solar leases are similar in several respects. But they differ in their payment arrangements. The monthly payment for solar PPA varies depending on the panel’s output. In contrast, solar lease payment remains the same irrespective of solar production.

Do Solar Panels Increase a Home Value in Sutter County?

Solar panels influence home value in Sutter County. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a home with an average-sized solar array can sell for a premium of about $15,000. Home buyers also generally opt for homes with solar over those that do not have solar. Additionally, according to research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the home value increases by $20 for every $1 saved on energy bills. Nonetheless, how solar panels affect a building’s value depends on certain factors including

  • Local Electricity Rates: Areas with high utility bills would typically enjoy a higher increase in home value due to solar installation. Solar reduces dependence on the utility company, thus reducing energy costs. Storage capacity also ensures that the buyer can sell electricity to the utility company to offset electricity bills.

  • Local Solar Installation Prices: Properties situated in localities with higher installation costs are more valuable when they have solar.

  • System Output: Large solar energy systems ensure high energy production and a better opportunity to cut reliance on utility companies. Because of this, homes with high-output solar tend to be more expensive.

  • System Age and Condition: Newer and properly maintained systems will generally increase the value of a home. As such, you can maximize your home value by keeping your solar energy systems in good condition.

  • Ownership of the Solar: Panels obtained under PPA and lease agreements will typically not contribute to the value of your home. Purchasers may decide whether or not to carry on with the agreements.

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

Switching to solar energy means purchasing quality solar panels, exploring financing options, and getting a good installer. This search may be daunting considering that several companies offer such services. Potential Sutter County solar panel owners can take the following steps to select a solar company to work with in Sutter County.

  • Seek Recommendations from family and friends

  • Do some online search

  • Check reviews on the companies: after your search.

  • Ask for references

  • Verify licenses

  • Ask for quotes