The cost of solar panels in California (2024)

Updated Mar 15, 2024

  • You'll pay an average of $14,558 to install a 5 kilowatt solar panel system in California, before incentives.

  • The federal investment tax credit (ITC) lowers that price by 30% of all your solar equipment and installation costs.

  • With EnergySage's competitive marketplace, you can expect to see prices up to 20% lower than if you work with a single company.

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Written by: Emily Walker

As of April 2024, the average solar panel system costs $2.91/W including installation in California. For a 5 kW installation, this comes out to about $14,558 before incentives, though prices range from $12,374 to $16,742. After the federal tax credit, the average price drops by 30%.

Average price of a 5 kW solar panel installation in California

Good Price
$12,374 or less
Market Average
$14,558
High Price
$16,742 or more

You'll probably pay even less than what we show here. It doesn't include the federal ITC or California state incentives, which will lower this price by at least a few thousand dollars.

Your solar panel cost depends on your system's size

It may seem obvious but larger solar panel systems cost more money. We use cost per watt ($/W) so you can easily compare quotes, controlling for slight variations in system size.

While a 5 kW system will only cost you $14,558 in California, doubling the system size effectively doubles the price, so you'll pay about twice that for a 10 kW system. The higher the price tag, though, the more you'll get back as a credit towards your federal tax bill.

Average solar cost by system size in California

System Size
System Cost
System Cost (after ITC)
3 kW$8,735$6,114
4 kW$11,646$8,152
5 kW$14,558$10,190
6 kW$17,469$12,229
7 kW$20,381$14,267
8 kW$23,293$16,305
9 kW$26,204$18,343
10 kW$29,116$20,381

Are solar panels worth it in California?

Solar panels are worth it in most areas, including California. Certain factors, including the cost of electricity, incentives, climate, and the angle at which the sun hits your roof impact how quickly you break even on your investment relative to other areas around the U.S. 

If you pay for your system with cash, you'll save about $48,286 over 20 years on electricity costs with a 5 kW system in California. We generate this estimate based on real solar quote data from our Marketplace. It considers your system's cost, the federal tax credit, and inflation rates.

If you don't have access to net metering, these estimates don't account for utility net billing rates.

Payback Period
7.35 Years
20-Year Savings
$48,286
Cost-per-Watt
$2.91

If you can't shell out $14,558 in cash to pay for solar, don't sweat it. You can choose to finance your system with a loan instead. Some companies even offer $0-down loans so you can start saving on day one if your loan payments are less than your current electric bills. Just keep in mind that your long-term savings will be lower with a loan due to interest rates.

Find out what solar panels cost in your area in 2024
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The numbers we're showing are averages. The price you'll pay for solar depends on many factors unique to you and your home:

If you're looking for solar companies in CA, here are some popular suggestions:

  • Solar Optimum
    Benicia, CA
    Established 2008
    Elite+ Installer
    Since 2008, Solar Optimum continues to be the leader in supplying solar energy systems, back-up battery storage a...
    Elite+ Installer
    Screened & Verified

    Since 2008, Solar Optimum continues to be the leader in supplying solar energy systems, back-up battery storage a...
  • G C Electric Solar
    Irvine, CA
    Established 2014
    Elite+ Installer
    - Family Owned and Operated
    - Authorized Panasonic Premium Installer (25 Years Workmanship, Product, and Performan...
    Elite+ Installer
    Screened & Verified

    - Family Owned and Operated
    - Authorized Panasonic Premium Installer (25 Years Workmanship, Product, and Performan...
  • Evolution Energy
    Downey, CA
    Established 2009
    Elite+ Installer
    We are an agile and nimble company with the expertise to design and build small and large scale solar electric an...
    Elite+ Installer
    Screened & Verified
    5.0 /5.0
    77 Reviews

    We are an agile and nimble company with the expertise to design and build small and large scale solar electric an...
  • NRG Clean Power
    San Jose, CA
    Established 1987
    Elite+ Installer
    NRG Clean Power is on a mission to change the way energy is produced, consumed and stored. We believe that energy...
    Elite+ Installer
    Screened & Verified

    NRG Clean Power is on a mission to change the way energy is produced, consumed and stored. We believe that energy...
  • Green Conception, Inc.
    San Jose, CA
    Established 2011
    Elite Installer
    From the sun-kissed shores of California to the expansive deserts of Arizona, Green Conception is at the forefron...
    Elite Installer
    Screened & Verified
    5.0 /5.0
    72 Reviews

    From the sun-kissed shores of California to the expansive deserts of Arizona, Green Conception is at the forefron...

Solar is a major purchase, but you can get the price tag to come down a bit by being an educated shopper. Taking advantage of incentives and rebates and shopping around for quotes can bring down your cost of solar in California.

Take advantage of federal and local solar incentives

As long as your federal tax bill is high enough, you can take advantage of the federal tax credit in California. This incentive allows you to apply 30% of your solar installation and equipment costs toward your federal tax bill. If the amount exceeds your tax bill, you can roll over the remaining credit to the following year. Many states also offer great local incentives and rebates.

Get quotes from multiple installers

Comparing multiple solar quotes can save you money through competition and transparency. Each additional quote you receive for solar will help you find the right solar panel system at the right price.

This is where EnergySage can help. With funding from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Prize, EnergySage opened the country’s first (and now the largest) marketplace for home solar panel installations. We gather custom solar quotes from local installers on your behalf and put them in an easy-to-compare format. When you compare quotes for solar panels on the EnergySage Marketplace, you can expect to see prices up to 20% lower than if you work with a single solar company.

Why shop with EnergySage?

Save time & money

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Unbiased support

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Trusted, local installers

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