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Clear info on home solar power rebates, tax credits, and other benefits

San Diego Solar Power for your house – rebates, tax credits, savings

Welcome to the San Diego Solar Power Information Page

If you have any questions, our network of solar experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

San Diego is California’s southernmost city, adjacent to the Mexican border. Not too cold and not too hot, San Diego is just right – a place of perfect weather. The weather is famously mild and uniform all year round. The most reliable thing is sunshine: lots of it! It’s sunny for nearly 260 days out of the year. With around 1.4 million people enjoying the weather and using electric power, San Diego could (and should!) be making more use of its sunshine than ever.

Now let’s look at an return on investment example for a 5kW solar system in sunny San Diego!

Investing in Home Solar in San Diego

San Diego Solar Leases, Solar Loans, and more!

What if you don’t have $20,000 lying around to pay for solar? Not many of us do, so let’s talk about other options! Because banks and third-party installers are recognizing what a good investment solar is, they offer leases and loans and other ways of paying for it. Let’s examine a couple of the most popular tools.

Solar Leases in San Diego

When you choose an installer in San Diego, you’ll probably have the option of leasing your solar panels. It’s a great way to put no money down and get the benefits of solar starting right away. You sign an agreement to make a monthly payment for the panels on your house and your electricity bill is reduced by more than the cost of the lease. But you may be left wondering, “Is a solar lease a really a good deal”?

Well, if you can sign a long-term agreement with a fixed monthly payment, yes! As an example, a 25-year lease of a 3.5-kW system with a starting monthly payment of $66.67 ($800/year) will save you $1,578 on electricity this year, same as buying the panels yourself but with no money down. And as the price of electricity goes up, you’ll save more and more every year until the end, because your costs stay the same! By the end of our 25-year estimate, you’ll have saved $26,768, all without putting down a dime!

Solar Loans in San Diego

Many banks and credit unions now offer unsecured loans for installing solar. It can be a great way to install solar with nothing down, but beware the interest charges! If you agree to pay your system off over 20 years at 6.5%, you’ll actually end up paying more than your current energy bill for about 9 years, but you’ll still end up saving about $22,000 over the 25-year life of your system.

But! If you pay the loan down early with your big federal tax credit at the end of year one, you’ll actually come out ahead of the lease and do pretty well compared to the cash purchase option. You’ll still pay slightly more than your current energy bill for 9 years, and after that, it’s all profit, baby! 37,000 smackeroos!

If you can get a lower interest rate, it becomes an even better deal. Anything around 4.75% and below will see you making a bigger profit than the people who buy outright, all without spending a cent up front. Take another look at how the different payment options stack up visually above in the chart.

Example 5-kW Solar Installation ROI in San Diego

What do all these numbers and all this policy amount to for your finances? Let’s take a look:

  • Installing a typical 5kW solar system in San Diego should start at about $20,000. Don’t worry – that’s going to drop quite a bit.
  • The Feds will give you a 30% tax credit at the end of the first year. That means a quick savings of $6,000. And you can take the credit over two years if you don’t owe $6,000 in taxes in one.
  • Next, subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be about $1,578. That brings your final cost for solar power after the first year to $12,422. That’s over $7,500 less than the starting price!
  • With a conservative estimate of 3.5% per year for the future rise of electricity prices, you can expect your new solar power system to pay for itself in about 8 years.
  • Over the 25-year life of the system, you’ll profit to the tune of $43,500.
  • And don’t forget .. your home just increased by more than $28,000 (your expected annual electricity savings over 20 years) and you won’t pay taxes on any of it!
  • What’s that? Money green isn’t enough for you? Us either! The fossil-fuel produced electricity you’re not buying from GiantCo Power is the same as planting 134 trees this year (and every year for the next 25 or so)!

Our Solar Strategy for a Home in San Diego

If we were interested in going solar in San Diego, the first thing we’d do would be to get quotes from trusted local installers (obviously). Then, we’d shop around for loans. We’d look at HELOCs, PACE financing, and others to find the best rates and terms. Something under 5% interest with a 20-year term would be ideal. Then we’d sign some papers and get the solar party started!

We’d sign up for net metering from SDG&E, prepare all the documents necessary for our federal solar tax credit. By the end of the first year, we’d put all the tax credit money into the loan, which would shorten our payback time by 8 years and 7 months. With the low interest rate on our loan, our payments would be just about the same as our energy bill savings—at least for the first several years—but then we’d start making money, and that would continue for the next two decades, ultimately leaving us with tens of thousands in profit.

What a beautiful world.

Other Important San Diego Solar Policy Info

Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes Program (SASH)

This unique incentive is only available for lower-income families (you need to earn 80% or below of the median family income in San Diego), and you also need to live in a home that’s classified as affordable housing. If you qualify, you’re in luck—you may be able to get a rebate that covers the entire cost of your new solar system! The size of the solar rebate is based on your income level. Learn more at the Grid Alternatives website.

Property Tax Exemptions for Solar in San Diego

The state of California exempts solar installations from property tax. That’s great news, since the value of your home will go up by several thousand dollars when you add solar panels—if you reduce your electricity bill by about $1,000 per year, you can estimate that you’ve increased the value of your home by $20,000. All of that new value won’t be taxed.

San Diego Electricity Prices

Electricity from SDG&E starts at “expensive” and goes up to “insane” depending on how much you use. Even households who do their best to conserve energy often end up spending $0.17 per kWh or more. And if SDG&E has its way, that number will be going up soon—by a lot. Good news though: your rooftop solar system will be feeding energy back onto the grid and bringing your bill down into the lower tier. The more they charge, the more you’ll save.

Remember that these figures are estimates. Your home is unique, and how much money solar will save you depends on that uniqueness. Thankfully, we know some experts in San Diego. Just sign up for personalized savings estimates and one of then will be more than happy to go over all those details and help you craft a plan to get the maximum savings from a solar power system in your home. Your quote is 100% free, so go ahead and shop around… grab two or three, or five, and compare all your possible options.

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4 thoughts on “San Diego Solar Power for your house – rebates, tax credits, savings

  1. Vera Savage says:

    My only problem with the website is that I am currently out of town, even though my house is in SD. The website blocks all access because of it! They need to fix that!!!

  2. Vera Savage says:

    I would love to go solar! We have a house in Mira Mesa, San Diego. Please feel free to email me more info and options about going solar. Thank you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is an awesome website. But leasing or PPA and paying 15 cents (or more) per kW produced, forever, doesn’t make sense to me. I opted to own the system outright, and after rebates (only the Fed) the cost was about $13K. Eleven panels are currently producing over 17kW per day, of which I currently use about six and the rest go on the grid. By late Aug through mid Oct I will need 32 kW per day to run the AC, and I’m thinking by then I should have enough “surplus” on the grid to make up for that. My house is a little over 1600 square feet in Santee. Most days are CAVU (clear and visibility unlimited) from sunrise to sunset. I’ve calculated that the solar will product about 21 kW per day during the peak summer days.

  4. This is an awesome website! I work for Vivint Solar, Im sure if its not on your radar yet, it will be extremely fast. Our San Diego office opened in September of 2012. We are currently working with hundreds of families with hundreds already installed and many already received their PTO. What you mentioned is true, we have had a great experience working with SDG&E on the Net metering and interconnection. From start to finish we are getting panels up and operating within a month to a month a half! That is outstanding. With our PPA model we are able to provide up to 80% of their current usage at .15c /kwh with no tier system. The remaining usage is still coming from SDG&E but because it is a smaller amount it is getting them out of the upper tiers. Thank you for all of the helpful information, this sight really does Rock!

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