If you are considering solar panel installation, you will quickly find there are a number of options available to residents in California. These options vary in their design, effectiveness, and cost. We work with you to make sure that you utilize the one that is right for you and your home.
Solar Panel Installation in California
Installing solar panels in California is one of homeowners’ most financially savvy decisions. The Golden State ranks among the best places to go solar because of the abundant sunshine throughout the year.
In addition to the favorable climate, California offers some of the best incentives in the country for switching to solar. State-led initiatives like rebates and net metering programs have rewarded those who install solar energy systems on their properties.
Some people dismiss upgrading to sustainable energy sources when they find out how much solar panels in California are going to cost. However, remember that you can easily recoup your initial investment through financial incentives and energy cost savings.
The average payback period is around six years, but you’ll continue to reap the economic benefits of solar panels for decades with lower utility bills and net metering credits.
Do Solar Panels Increase Property Taxes in California?
No, they don’t. Many property owners have concerns about whether installing solar panels in California will increase their property taxes. However, the state mandates that when a property owner adds something valuable to the real property, such as a solar energy system, its assessed market value will be included in its base value for the year.
Fortunately, installing residential solar systems in California will not result in a higher tax assessment of the existing real property. As of March 2022, this law is in place through the end of 2024.
Does California Buy Back Electricity from Solar Panels?
Yes—California residents can sell excess electricity. Electric companies purchase surplus power from producing facilities like solar homeowners. Those with solar panels in California qualify for the state’s net metering programs of different local utility providers.
Excess Electricity from Month to Month
When your solar energy system generates excess power, especially on days when production surpasses consumption, you may choose to send it to the electric grid as an additional supply and receive credits.
You can then use the credits to offset the power you’ve drawn when your solar array is unavailable, like at night or during cloudy days. This reduces your monthly energy bill. And when you generate more energy than you consume in a month, you may also use credits earned in subsequent months.
Excess Electricity Across Years
But what happens if you’ve returned more surplus energy to the grid than you’ve consumed in a year?
California enacted AB 920 to offer special compensation to residents of the state who generate more electricity than they use within a 12-month period. With the Net Special Compensation or NSC, local utilities will give solar-generating customers monetary credits for excess power produced based on the rate for the relevant ending period.
You qualify for NSC if you are a net surplus generator over the relevant period of one year. If you receive compensation, you may request a check for the amount or apply the credits toward future charges.
How Many Solar Panels Are Needed to Power a House in California?
The ideal number of solar panels in California required for powering your house depends on:
- Annual energy usage
- Panel wattage
- Production ratio
Annual energy usage is measured in kilowatt-hours or kWh and tracks the amount of electricity used in your home over an entire year. In 2020, US households’ average yearly power consumption was 10,715 kWh. You can refer to your last year’s utility bills to determine your total consumption. In 2020, US households’ average yearly power consumption was 10,715 kWh.
A solar panel’s power rating, measured in watts (W), refers to a panel’s electricity output given ideal conditions. The average solar panel produces between 250 and 400 watts of power.
Solar Panel Production Formula
The production ratio of a solar energy system is the predicted output over time in relation to the actual system size. For example, if a 10 kW system generates 14 kWh, its production ratio is 1.4.
The formula for deriving the number of panels is:
- System Size / Production Ratio / Panel Wattage = Number of Panels Required
Using the above figures:
- 10,715 kWh (Annual Average Power Consumption) / 1.4 (Production Ratio) / 340 (Sample Panel Outage) = 22.5 Panels Required
We’ll need 23 panels to take care of the home’s annual needs with these figures. However, how many panels you’ll need will depend on your home and its requirements.
Bear in mind that other factors can impact the number of panels you should install, including solar panel efficiency and geographic location.
California residents don’t have to worry about not getting enough sunlight. However, that doesn’t mean you should have fewer panels without checking their specifications first. For example, monocrystalline panels are more effective in generating power than their polycrystalline counterparts.