• California goes solar with SunPower®

    Solar energy: the clean, renewable resource of the Golden State

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The state of solar in California

The number of sunny days per year ranges between 250 and 290 for most locations in the Golden State, placing California among the top five sunny states.* In contrast, the national average is only 210 sunny days per year.

According to Project Sunroof, a whopping 91% of the buildings in California are solar-viable, with a total of 11.5 billion square feet of roof space fit for solar installations.*

This promising data, coupled with the state’s commitment to reach a 100% zero-carbon energy goal by 2045 and multiple statewide clean energy incentives, makes it easy to understand why California occupies the first place of the Solar States Top 10 .* Currently, over 8.5 million homes in California rely on solar energy.


How much solar energy does California produce?

California’s total solar energy production (both photovoltaic and thermal) for 2020 reached close to 30,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh), or over 15% of the total energy the state had generated. The state has 770 active solar power plants, with an installed capacity approaching 14,000 megawatts.

What are the advantages of going solar in California?

California’s abundant sunshine, combined with the state’s high electricity costs of nearly 22.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, makes solar panel installation an attractive option for Californians.* Furthermore, following state legislation, all homes built after January 1, 2020, must have a solar system.

California residents who invest in solar panels can expect their home PV system to pay for itself within 5.4 to 6.6 years on average.* Over 25 years after installing a home solar system, the average California homeowner may save up to $58,000. *

An additional bonus of having a home solar system in California is extra energy independence. Every year, summer heatwaves bring the danger of power outages to the Golden State. A solar system with energy storage will keep working even while the grid is down.

Finally, a home solar system reduces a household’s carbon emissions by about 80% on average.* Switching to solar energy is a win-win for both property owners and the planet.

How much does solar cost in California?

California solar sunpower

The cost of a home solar system can vary, even in the same state, due to a range of factors. These include:

  • Type of installation (e.g., roof mount vs. ground mount)

  • Roof type and angle

  • Quality of the solar panels

  • Interconnection costs

To help you understand the price of going solar in your area, we've analyzed SunPower price quotes as well as quotes gathered by third-party sources for thousands of homeowners across the country.

In California, we found that the investment to own a 5 kW solar system ranges from $12,550 to $55,300, or in other words from $2.51 to $11.06 per watt—and that's before considering the benefits of any available tax credits or incentives.

Over the last decade, solar installation costs dropped by 70% on average,* making home solar system installation a lot more financially viable than in 2010. A California homeowner today can expect to pay around $14,000 on average for a home solar system.*

Meanwhile, government incentives spur more and more Californians to go solar. California residents can enjoy a 26% federal tax credit* on solar system installation.

Additionally, the state’s Net Energy Metering program allows customers to feed any excess energy their solar system generates back to their local utility grid and receive a credit on electric bills.*

Looking for commercial solar in California?

SunPower is the top commercial solar provider in the U.S.* Schedule a commercial solar consultation today.

  • *. Wood Mackenzie, US PV Leaderboard (March 2021). SunPower ranked #1 in cumulative commercial volume 2017-2020

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