* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 30% federal tax credit.
Updated August 18, 2020
San Francisco is a great place to go solar. You’re probably using SFPUC as your utility. SFPUC has high rates, which helps make solar a great investment.
The most significant incentive to install solar panels in San Francisco is the 26% federal tax credit. However, the tax credit is set to step down to 22% at the end of 2020. This means in order to maximize your savings potential, the best time to go solar in San Francisco is now.
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Prices based on a 6.2kW system, after 30% federal tax credit
California’s NEM 2.0 policy for net metering only applies to major investor-owned utilities such as SDG&E, PGE, and SCE and therefore does not apply to SFPUC customers.
SFPUC electric customers with an interconnected solar system are eligible for different net metering policies. For more information on SFPUC’s net metering policy, take a look here.
The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and and businesses is the federal tax credit. Right now, the federal tax credit is equal to 30% of the total cost to install a solar system. The amount of the tax credit is then deducted from your federal taxes. You can claim the credit over several years if the amount you owe in taxes is less than the amount of your tax credit. You can only take advantage of the federal tax credit if you pay federal income taxes. At the end of 2032, the amount of the tax credit will fall to 26%. Even though there is no rush to get the maximum tax credit value, you don’t want to wait when it comes to a financial investment like installing solar. The best time to go solar is now.
The answer to this question depends on your electricity usage. Generally speaking, the higher your power usage, the greater your potential savings are from installing solar.
The average monthly electricity usage in California is about 547 kWh per month. However, you are most likely using a lot more than this since this average includes small apartments and condos.
The San Francisco solar panel savings calculator uses our database of electric rates from local utilities to convert your monthly power bill into how much electricity your home uses. From there, the calculator can work out how many solar panels you need to offset your power usage, how much a solar system will cost based on prices of local solar companies, and the amount of money you will save on your electric bill.
(forecast avg California electric rates over the next 25 years)
(Savings shown after repayments of capital)
Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2023 they also remain subsidized by the 30% federal tax credit and the net metering law making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.
Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.
Check out all of the ways energy providers of can help you be more energy efficient and save money.
|Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit||Federal||Personal Tax Credit|
|Disadvantaged Communities – Single-Family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program||Residential||Low-income solar program|
|LADWP - Net Metering||Utility||Net Metering|
|Self-Generation Incentive Program||State||Battery Rebate|
|Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems||State||Property Tax Incentive|
|City of San Francisco - Low-Income Solar Inverter Replacement Program||City||Low-Income Program|
|Net Billing (NEM 3.0)||State||Net Metering|
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: Residential incentive
Type: Low-income solar program
Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.