Los Angeles is the California hub of solar installations. We receive more requests to install solar in Southern California than anywhere else in the country, so we’d like to break down average cost information, utility rebates, and state and federal incentives to go solar in sunny SoCal.
Costs of Going Solar in Los Angeles
Installing rooftop solar panels may seem expensive, but you’d be surprised how wise and affordable an investment they can be. The numerous incentives available for installing solar, combined with their energy savings, make them pay for themselves faster than ever.
To find out how much it costs to install solar in your area, click here.
The California Solar Initiative offers cash rebates for rooftop solar panels. For residential systems of up to 30 kilowatt-hours of energy, solar rebates are calculated based on the Expected Performance-Based Buydown (EPBB). They are then paid as a lump cash sum when the solar system is connected. Rates vary based on the utility company of your region, the phase of the initiative in that region, the type and orientation of your solar panels, and how much of your monthly energy usage the unit provides.
Average Costs in Southern California
Recently, a 4 kilowatt system providing 93 percent of a consumer’s monthly electricity would have earned a $1.90 per kilowatt rebate, or $7,600, in Irvine, Orange County, through the Southern California Edison utility. In addition, the consumer’s monthly electric bill went from about $130 to $20 a month.
This may sound good, but rates in the city of Los Angeles get far better. The Solar Rebate Program of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) recently offered a rebate of over $20,000 for a $35,000, 5-kilowatt unit generating 82 percent of the consumer’s monthly electricity. This same unit also reduced an average monthly electric bill of $120 to just $267 for an entire year.
In addition, the Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit is available after you take cash rebates through the California Solar Initiative. This credit gives you back 30 percent of the remaining cost of your solar panels. For example, if your unit cost $15,000 after your LADWP rebate, you would get an additional $5,000 credit when you file your federal tax return. This would either increase your federal tax rebate or reduce the total amount of federal taxes you owe by $5,000.
As a result, your originally $35,000 solar panels would have a net cost of $10,000. According to currently estimated rates, the panels would pay for themselves in just under 9 years. Remember that solar panels last 25 to 30 years on average. So once the panels have paid for themselves, you can simply enjoy an electric bill ranging from super low to non-existent, plus the unique satisfaction of living off clean, renewable energy in your own home.
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Photo via LA Times