Solar energy powers SLO Town's clean, sustainable future

A new California policy will lower your solar savings potential unless you act soon.

The state of solar in San Luis Obispo

With a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035, San Luis Obispo has made a significant push towards sustainability, and the city's efforts are paying off. In 2021, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked San Luis Obispo as the greenest small city in the U.S. amongst competitors in the Community Energy Challenge.

With an average of 287 sunny days per year and 88% of the city’s rooftops solar viable, solar energy is sure to play an essential role in helping San Luis Obispo become carbon neutral.*

How much solar energy does San Luis Obispo produce?

San Luis Obispo County a has 961.8 MW of installed solar capacity, and San Luis Obispo City makes a big chunk of that total. Completed in 2014, the 580-MW Topaz Solar Farm alone accounts for just over 60% of the county’s solar generation. It is among the world’s largest solar facilities, capable of powering nearly 180,000 households.

It isn’t the only large-scale solar installation in the area either. The California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR), which came online in 2013, has a 250 MW capacity. It produces enough power for 100,000 homes and offsets 336,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

What are the advantages of going solar in San Luis Obispo?

Solar solutions are a perfect fit for San Luis Obispo’s Clean Energy Choice Program for New Buildings, an effort by the city to phase out natural gas and implement an all-electric standard for new construction.

That may seem counterproductive, as California’s electricity prices are among the highest in the country, but coupled with solar or other clean energy options, all-electric construction, puts home or business owners on a path to lower electricity bills while reducing carbon emissions in the process.

Many San Luis Obispo residents break even on their solar investment within 6 to 7 years* and then enjoy clean, free energy for decades. Even better, via California’s net energy metering (NEM) program, any excess energy your solar PV system generates can be fed back to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) for a credit to use to offset electricity usage at night or on cloudy days.*

How much does solar cost in San Luis Obispo?

Solar energy powers SLO Town's clean, sustainable future

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

  • Local weather

  • Quality of the solar system’s panels and parts

  • Roof angle and unshaded space

  • Household's energy needs

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 cost of purchasing a 5-kW solar system ranges from $12,950 to $31,950, or in other words, from $2.59 to $6.39 per watt. And that's before considering the benefits of any available tax credits or incentives.

With the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics (PV), you may be able to claim 26% off your solar system installation costs on your taxes.* California also offers a few solar incentives, such as the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). It currently offers a rebate of up to $0.20 per watt-hour of installed solar battery storage, but the program uses a step-down system, and rebates will decrease over time.

There’s also the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program, which allows low-income PG&E customers to apply for a $3 per watt rebate on systems up to 5-kW in size.

What’s the best way to go solar in San Luis Obispo?

While San Luis Obispo is an ideal setting for solar energy, maximizing your energy generation and return on investment requires considering a range of factors, including your available unshaded roof space, energy needs, aesthetic preferences, budget, and more.

Before making the switch to solar, request a free consultation from a reputable solar provider. That way, you can get answers to all your questions about solar panels, energy storage devices, and the entire installation process. During your consultation, you should also be able to view a custom system design for your roof, along with a breakdown of your potential energy cost savings with solar power and any tax credits and incentives available to you.

Get started today by requesting a consultation. We'll follow up to find a convenient time to review your solar options together in-person or virtually. You can also call us directly at (800) 786-7693.

  • *. Best Places. San Luis Obispo, California Climate, April 2021. Google, Project Sunroof data explorer (November 2018).
  • *. Energy Sage. Solar Panels in San Luis Obispo County, CA. April 2021.
  • *. The availability of net metering varies by location and is subject to change. Please visit the dsireusa.org for detailed solar policy information.
  • *. Local Solar Installers 2020/2021, Solar Reviews 2021, Energy Sage 2021, Wood Mackenzie 2020, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 2020
  • *. Tax credits subject to change. Please visit the dsireusa.org website for detailed solar policy information.
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