The Ultimate Guide to Solar Energy in San Francisco

Harvesting Solar Energy in the Bay Area

If you’re a resident of San Francisco, congratulations – you are the resident of one of the top solar energy-friendly states in the United States. Projected to receive half of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030, California is paving the way toward a cleaner, more cost-effective way of life. Living in San Francisco, you’ve got a front seat to all the action!

San Francisco Climate

To reap the benefits of solar energy, you’ve got to have sun. How does San Francisco stack up? With nearly 70% of the year with full or partial sun – that’s not too shabby! San Francisco averages about 8.18 sun hours per day, so if you’re thinking of installing solar panels in your San Francisco-based home or business, you’re in luck. You’ll be able to glean 2,053 sun hours per year to generate power. Considering San Francisco’s northern neighbor, Seattle, only sees sunshine for 40% of the year, you’re in a great place to harvest energy from the sun.

2,053Sun Hours per Year in San Francisco

And, considering San Francisco residents pay a pretty high rate for electricity from the grid (21.3 cents per kilowatt hour – which is almost double the national average at 12.5 cents), you’re going to feel the positive effects of going solar sooner than later. And with the knowledge that the price of electricity is projected to rise 3 cents every year, that’s an even greater push to go ahead and learn about solar energy systems now. If you’re like most people, you’re probably interested in how much it’s going to cost to start realizing the benefits of going solar.

 

Cost of Going Solar in San Francisco

Nowadays, the cost of installing a solar energy system in your home is peanuts compared to the prices when solar energy really started gaining steam about 8 or 9 years ago. In fact, residential installations have dropped by nearly 50% across the board.

In San Francisco, the average price of a solar energy system is about $14,000. When you think about it, compared to how much new cars are these days, that’s a steal. What’s even greater is that a lot of that initial sticker price will be knocked off once you start applying federal, state, and local tax breaks and other solar incentives to it.

 

Most homeowners pay off their system entirely around the 8-year mark. Considering your solar energy system have an approximate lifeline of 25 years or more, you’ll be collecting on pure profit for the last 17+ years of your system. Maybe even longer than that if you get it serviced and maintain it with regularity. The projected cost savings over the life of your solar energy system are nearly $30,000 – not bad, considering you could be paying that out instead of pocketing it if you didn’t install the solar energy panels to begin with.

How much energy can you expect to save in the first year alone? About $1,050 in year one alone! That’s about $87.50 dollars in savings a month! What’s the price drop to once you’ve applied all your tax credits, rebates, incentives, and cost savings? Only $7,500. . .nearly half of where you started.

$1,047Average Yearly Savings with Solar in San Francisco

 

Solar Legislation in San Francisco

One of the best benefits of going solar (besides the benefits to the environment), is the benefits to your wallet by way of the federal solar tax credit. The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit allows taxpayers to shave off 30% of the total cost of a solar energy system, including installation, and with no capped price. If you’re on the fence about going solar, perhaps this incentive will change your mind. Make sure you act fast though – to receive the 30% off benefit, your solar energy system needs to be installed and functioning by December 31, 2019. After that date, the percentage of the incentive will decrease to 26% in savings by December 31, 2021, 22% by December 31, 2022. . .then 0% for all points after.

$3,600Federal Tax Incentive

At the state-level, you’ll get some pretty great tax exemptions. One of the best is the fact that you don’t have to pay taxes on the additional value of your home once you’ve installed solar panels.

At the local level, San Francisco serves up some pretty nice legislation as far as solar incentives go. Take a look here at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency where you can find all pertinent legislation for California as a whole, and then divided by county.

 

Some of the best solar incentives for San Francisco residents? The GoSolarSF Initiative is one that will benefit you the most. While the price of the rebate itself varies per customer, you’ll automatically qualify for a $2,000 rebate upfront when you install a solar energy system in San Francisco. That’s across the board. If you decide to go with a local installer to install those solar panels, the city will give you an additional $700 in rebates. Want $800 more? If you participate in the California Alternate Rates Energy (CARE)  and CalHome  programs for lower-income families, you’ll get that money. If you don’t participate in those programs, but live in the 94107 or 94124 zip codes, you’re automatically qualified for that additional $800!

If you are living below the median income and are a customer of PG&E  or if you qualify for the Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH)  program – you’ll get another $7,000! As you can see, San Francisco takes care of its residents and is definitely promoting the opportunity of solar energy, no matter your financial status.

Who to Call to Install

California has the highest job rates for solar installers in the country and according to BLS, the occupation is projected to grow at a much higher than average rate. Here are some of the top companies in the San Francisco area:

 

1445 Koll Cir, Ste 109, San Jose, CA 95112
4.7
  • Greater San Francisco area
Clean Solar specializes in installing the best solar energy systems under the best customer service model. They offer a 15-year warranty on workmanship and a 25-year warranty on equipment. And, if your system is not saving you what they projected you would save, Clean Solar will pay the difference!
185 Arkansas St
Studio C, San Francisco, CA 94107
4.4
  • San Francisco and surrounding areas
Skytech Solar has installed more residential solar systems in San Francisco over the last 3 years than any other solar company. Having installed 600+ solar energy systems in the Bay Area, Skytech Solar offers customized solutions for both residential and commercial customers.
1320 Potrero Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
4.3
  • Bay Area
Locally owned and operated in San Francisco, Luminalt Solar Energy Solutions specializes in the installation of solar electric, solar hot water, and electric charging stations for vehicles. Luminalt’s engineers use satellite imaging to design the systems after conducting an initial on-site inspection of your property.
218 Pierce St
San Francisco, CA 94117
4.2
  • San Francisco
Headquartered in the Bay Area, Albion Power Company offers turnkey solutions to the installation of solar energy systems. With C-10 and C-39 electricians and licensed roofers, this company offers solid construction of solar panels instead of off-the-rack shelf-racking installations.