ith 266 days of sunshine a year, it's no surprise that solar energy in San Diego is all the rage. The city is ranked No. 3 nationwide for being solar friendly, with an impressive 337.4 watts of photovoltaics (PV) per person, according to the "Shining Cities" report. If you're an SD homeowner and have been considering making the switch, this brief guide will walk you through the essentials, from understanding costs to financial incentives, as well as top installers nearby.
Understanding Solar Costs: What to Expect
Solar systems are a long-term investment that pays off over time. The cost of going solar in America's Finest City depends on several factors, such as the size of the system, equipment, and installation. On average, a typical 6kW residential PV power system ranges from $15,000 to $25,000 before incentives. Here's a quick breakdown of the factors that influence the costs:
- Size: The size of your PV system depends on your electricity consumption and available roof space. A larger system will have a higher upfront cost, but it will generate more energy and deliver greater long-term savings.
- Equipment: High-quality photovoltaic panels, inverters, and other components can be more expensive upfront, but they often come with better warranties and performance, making them a smart investment.
- Installation: Labor costs, permits, and inspections are part of the installation process. Going with an experienced and reputable installer can help streamline this process and ensure a successful installation.
Financial Incentives: Making Solar Energy Affordable
Thankfully, San Diego homeowners can take advantage of various financial incentives to help reduce the overall cost of going solar. These incentives include:
- Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC): This federal tax credit allows homeowners to claim a 30% credit on their PV system's cost, including installation. The ITC is set to step down to 26% in 2033, 22% in 2034, and will expire for residential installations by 2035, so now is a great time to go solar and maximize your savings.
- California Solar Initiative (CSI): The CSI offers rebates to homeowners who install PV power systems, with the amount based on the size of your system and your utility provider.
- Net Metering: SDG&E, the local utility company, offers a credit on the bill to customers who sell their surplus electricity to the grid, provided that their equipment meets specific criteria.
- Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE): PACE is a financing program allowing homeowners to pay for their solar systems through property taxes. This can help reduce upfront costs and spread the investment over a longer period.
- Property Tax Exclusion: Adding PV systems won’t increase your property's assessed value. It means that homeowners who install the panels on their property will not have to pay additional property taxes.
Top Installers in San Diego
Choosing the right PV installer is crucial to ensure a smooth installation process and long-term system performance. Here are some top installers for SD residents to consider:
- Semper Solaris: A veteran-owned local company, Semper Solaris is known for its exceptional customer service and high-quality photovoltaic installations. They offer a 25-year warranty on their workmanship and products.
- Stellar Solar: As one of the oldest and most experienced local companies, Stellar has installed more than 400,000 commercial and residential PV panels. They offer a 25-year warranty on their solar panels and are known for their outstanding customer service.
- Sunrun: As one of the largest residential installers in the U.S., Sunrun has a strong presence in San Diego. They offer flexible financing options, including leases and power purchase agreements, allowing homeowners to enjoy the benefits of solar without the upfront costs.
- Canada's vast cost offers ample potential for solar panels, harnessing renewable energy to power coastal communities sustainably.