Homeowners looking to install residential solar panels for their next home remodeling project in order to save money on their monthly electricity bill, for tax incentives, or to decrease their carbon imprint. Regardless of the reason(s) for wanting to install solar panels, there are a few things to consider.
California Law Requiring Solar Panels
California law is requiring all newly constructed homes to have solar panels effective Jan 1, 2020. The California Building Standards Commission upheld a May 2018 decision to require solar panels on homes up to three stories. Solar panels will be required on the construction of new homes in California, after the state’s Building Standards Commission gave final approval to a housing rule that’s the first of its kind in the U.S. Furthermore, the requirement goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020 which requires at least 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from non-carbon sources by 2030. As such, effective in 2020, California homebuyers will have the option of either paying for solar panels outright, leasing them, or entering a power purchase agreement with developers.
Difference Between Leasing and Buying Solar Panels
The main difference between buying and leasing a solar panel system is in ownership. If you buy a solar panel system, you own the system, either outright or after repaying your solar loan. If you lease the solar panel system or sign a power purchase agreement (“PPA”), a third party owns the solar panel system. You can save between 40 percent and 70 percent on electricity costs over the lifetime for purchased solar panel systems, depending on your property and the incentives in your state. One the other hand leasing solar panel systems can save between 10 percent and 30 percent off the prices you pay your utility for electricity, depending on your property and the incentives in your state. Other differences between leasing and buying solar panel systems include:
- Savings on investment
Why Should I Buy Solar Panel System Versus Leasing in California?
Leasing a solar panel system in California means the company you contract with owns the solar panel system, and you pay the company a rate for the electricity; upon the ending of the lease term, the company may take the system away. On the other hand, when you own the solar panel system, it can keep working for you long after it pays off the cost of the purchase. Make sure you compare the total lifecycle cost of the lease and weigh the savings against the benefits you would get from ownership. Prior to making a decision on buying or leasing your solar power system, explore and entertain all of the solar financing options available to you. Every residential homeowners situation is different, and what is best for your property depends on a wide range of factors.
Factors to Consider with Residential Solar Panel Installation
- Available incentives and rebates
- Direction your roof faces and angle of roof
- Age of your roof
- Obstructions or shading on your roof
- Current cost of electricity
California Solar Panel Tax Credit
The biggest advantages in California for installing solar panels in the 1 for 1 net metering law and the 30% federal tax credit. If you’re a California homeowner you will be kicking yourself you didn’t get solar with these incentives around.
How Much Electricity Will an Average Solar Panel System Produce in California?
Solar panels systems or grids will produce different amounts of energy in different locations. Typically, in the Los Angeles or San Fernando Valley solar panels installed on a south facing 29 degree pitch roof can typically produce: 1,550kWh per year per 1kw of peak DC, otherwise known as “direct current” capacity.