Calculate how much you can save on your SMUD bill with solar panels

Average 25 year solar savings for a SMUD customer: $34,375

Average solar panel cost: $11,698 - $14,297*

Estimate solar panel cost and savings based on your location, roof and power use.

*Solar panel cost varies by location, solar panel mqanufacturer, system size and the amount of electricity your home uses.

Adding solar panels and switching rate plans can lower your Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) electric bill

Updated: October 22, 2020

There are three ways you can reduce your SMUD bill: changing your habits, switching your rate plan, and adding solar panels.

You've probably heard a lot about reducing energy consumption by doing things like switching to LED lightbulbs and adding insulation to your walls, but these fixes are relatively easy compared to the far more impactful step of making changes to your lifestyle.

The second thing you can do is switch your rate plan. SMUD offers time-of-use billing that can help you save money by shifting your usage of energy-intensive appliances to off-peak hours, and there may be other options for you as well.

Finally, you can reduce or even eliminate your electricity bill by installing solar panels on your home.

Solar panel cost calculator

How much can I reduce my Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) bill by switching to a different rate plan

For some people, the savings from switching rate plans may only be a few dollars per month, but for many it can be $20-$100 per month. That's between $240 and $1,200 that you may now be paying to Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) each year for no reason.

Finding out what's available to you is as simple as a phone call or email to Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). Even a small savings can be worth it.

Are solar panels worth it for Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) customers?

Yes! With available solar property tax exemptions, SMUD solar rebate, battery storage incentive through the SGIP program, and available net metering, home solar panels make a lot of sense for SMUD customers in California. SMUD’s net billing rate allows you to get full credit on your power bill for the excess solar electricity your panels produce which you can’t use onsite. Your credits accrue at the same rate as retail rates, and roll over onto your next month’s bill.

Does Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offer full 1 for 1 net metering credits for exported solar power

Yes, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offers 1 for 1 net metering. This means you are paid the same rate for excess solar energy that you export to the utility grid during the middle of the day as what you pay for power purchased from the grid.

In the case of Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Time of Use (TOU) pricing applies. You will earn an average of $0.29 for power exported at peak rate times, and an average of $0.12 for power exported at off-peak times.

What incentives, tax credits and rebates are available to SMUD customers for installing solar?

The major financial incentive currently available until the end of 2020 is the 26% federal solar tax credit. The way this works is that the full cost of the system needs to be paid to the installer, and this tax credit can then be claimed back as cash when you next do your taxes.

Many states, local governments and utilities also offer incentives for homeowners who go solar. This help can take the form of state tax credits, rebates, tax breaks, SRECs or even performance-based incentives. The best part is that all of these incentives apply in addition to the federal credit.

Here is every incentive you may be eligible for as a SMUD customer:

Table 1: Incentives
Upfront Incentives Value*
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Federal) -$4,489
LADWP - Net Metering (State)

Retail rate net metering, calculated every month. Applies to all except Taxes and Minimum Charges

Varies
California Solar Initiative - Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) Program (State)

Up-front rebate of $3 per installed watt for systems up to 5.0 kW. Third-party owned but NEM benefits accrue to homeowner.

Varies
Self-Generation Incentive Program (State)

Small Residential earns $.25/Wh of storage capacity

Varies
Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems (State)

Total cost of solar system is exempt from property taxes, for all systems installed before 1/1/2025. Properties that change hands after 2024 may not continue to be eligible.

Varies
City of San Francisco - Low-Income Solar Energy Incentive Program (State)

"$100/kW base incentive, $2,000/kW for low-income, $250/kW for choosing a city installer. Cap: 4.0 kW per meter"

Varies
Sonoma County - Energy Independence Program (State)

Loan provided at fixed interest rate of 5.99% paid back through increase in property taxes. Linked to the property not the property owner.

Varies
NEM 2.0 (State)

Change to net metering policy, mandatory interconnection fees, nonbypassable charges, and time of use rates

Varies
SMUD - PV Residential Retrofit Buy-Down (Utility)

$300 SMUD solar rebate

-$300
TOTAL -$4,789

*Based on 6.87 kW system, average installation cost $17,564

How much does installing solar panels save the average Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) residential customer?

If you input the details for a SMUD customer with a power bill of $180 per month into the best online solar panels calculator, it tells you that you need a 6.87 kW solar system that will produce 10,820 kWh per year and that this system will return the owner a $34,375 profit after repaying the cost of the system.

The solar savings possible for you as a SMUD customer will depend on the amount of electricity you use and the cost of the solar system you buy. Savings also vary based on the direction of your roof or any shading of your roof that affects output.

Here is a monthly and lifetime solar savings estimate for the same relatively typical SMUD customer with a $180 per month electric bill prior to solar and who installs a 6.87 kW solar system.

How much do residential solar panels cost for SMUD customers?

Solar prices near you

Cost range of local prices

$17,698-$21,630

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$38,525-$47,086

Payback period

9-11.1 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

9.0kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Detailed information about your estimate

Table 2: Estimate details

System Size (for 100% usage offset)

6.87 kW

Annual Power Generation

10,820 kWh

Pay-back time (assuming Cash purchase)

8.7 Years

Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on Investment

7.7%

Gross cost

$17,564

Total Upfront Incentives and Rebates

-$5,066

Net Cost of System after rebates and incentives

$12,497

Total Cost of Utility Power Avoided over 25 years

$46,872

Please note that the investment return figures do not include the possible increase in property value.

What are the environmental impacts of Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) customers installing solar panels?

While most homeowners decide to install solar panels because of financial savings over time, the environmental impacts of this choice are the primary motive for others. Here is a breakdown of the environmental benefits from a Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) customer installing a 6.87 kW solar system on their property:

A solar system generating 10,820 kWh per year will save you money AND make the world a nicer place

Saves you

$1,375

on average per year

Reduces CO2 emissions

5.36

tons per year

Equivalent to planting

37 trees

per year

Equivalent to driving

11,848 mi

less per year

CO2 emissions calculation based on the electricity generation and emissions data for your state in 2015 as published by the US Government Energy Information Administration.

What factors affect the price of solar panels for Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) customers?

The cost of installing solar panels will vary with brands of solar panels and inverters you choose and also the installation company you choose to install them.

It is common to see really good systems, using quality brands of equipment, being sold for around $2.56 per watt or $12,497 for a standard 6.87 kW solar system after the customer claims the 26% federal solar tax credit.

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