Cost of solar in Orange, CA

Electricity Consumption in Orange

Electricity Consumption by California residents averages 573 kWh per month. It ranks #2 in the nation for savings from installing solar panels on the home.

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Solar power in Orange, California

Orange County is one of the best places in the nation to install solar panels for your home. It has a lot of sun and utility power is expensive. This combination, as well as some great incentives makes installing solar panels for your home in Orange County a great investment.

Most residents of Orange County their purchase power from Southern California Edison(SCE) although residents of Anaheim purchase power from Anaheim Public Utilities and some residents in the Southern part of Orange County are serviced by San Diego Gas and Electric.

Does Southern California Edison and SDG&E offer an upfront rebate for the installation of solar panels in Orange?

The cost of solar has fallen a lot in California over the last 5 years and so SCE and SDG&E no longer offer up front rebates to install solar panels on your home other than some specific low income and multi-family programs. To find out if your home might be eligible for one of these specific programs you really need to speak to a local solar company.

Is net metering available for SCE and SDG&E customers in Orange County?

Southern California Edison (SCE) and SDG&E are required by law to provide net metering to all their solar customers.

How does net metering work?

When a solar system produces more power than what is being used in the home excess power is sent to the grid and credited by your utility provider at the retail power rate per. Electricity is sold and measured in kilowatt hours (kwh). A kilowatt hour is equivalent to 1,000 watts of electricity used continuously for an hour.

Each kWh of power your solar system exports offsets the cost of another kWh drawn from the grid at a time your solar system couldn't service the demand of your home (such as at night or on a cloudy day).

Net metering is a very valuable incentive since most homeowners use little power during the day and so quite a lot of solar power generated can be exported to the grid. 

Net metering gives you the financial benefit similar to storing your excess solar in a battery without the cost of needing to install a battery.

What if my solar system exports more energy in a month than my home draws from the grid?

SCE carries over any unused credit at retail rates to the next month.

Any remaining credit at the end of the yearly billing cycle (where you have exported more to the grid than what you have used from the grid) will be paid out at a lower rate. This lower rate is called an avoided cost rate (3-4 cents per kWh) and deposited into your account.

NEM-2 changes and how it affects the net metering programs of SCE and SDG&E

At the end of 2016 the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) passed a new net metering scheme that applies to all investor owned utilities in California, including SCE and SDG&E. This scheme, known as NEM 2, required all new customers going solar to convert to a time of use power plan. Consumers that dont go solar have to go to a time of use plan by 2019 anyway and so this wasn't a significant issue. NEM 2 net metering also introduced a concept of non-bypassable charges.

On this new plan each kWh of power your home draws from the grid receives a "non-bypassable charge" of about 2¢/kWh (non-bypassable charges vary slightly accross the SCE and SDG&E territories) which cannot be offset by energy your solar system sends to the grid. 

Overall these changes only reduce returns from installing solar very slightly. The solar industry in Southern California is still booming because even under NEM 2 the returns from installing solar are still amazing.

The 30% federal solar tax credit

 Assuming you pay federal income tax of at least 30% of the value of the solar system you buy then 30% of the cost of installing solar panels can be claimed as a tax credit.

This is the biggest single incentive for installing solar power and it is available until the end of 2019.

What if my tax liability is less than 30% of my solar systems cost?

You may elect to receive the full 30% tax credit in increments over several years.

So how much can I save by installing a solar power system on my home or small business in Orange County in 2018?

The answer to this question depends on how much power you are using. The more power you use the higher the amount of savings that are generally possible from going solar.

For the average 2500 square foot single family home you are likely to be using far more than the state average of 580 kwh per month because this average includes apartments and condo's.

You are more likely to be using around 1000 kwh per month and have a power bill of between $200-$250 per month. If your roof suits solar and you can get maximum production then it is likely that you can buy a zero down solar system for around $150-$180 per month to cover this bill and so you can save $50-$70 per month.

These savings will increase over time as power prices increase.

To find out your exact savings enter your zipcode, power spend and address details into the solar savings calculator


How much do solar panels cost in Orange County in 2018?

Solar Panels Cost in Southern California has been falling steadily over the last three years but has now stabilized because the new import tariff has put upward pressure on prices and has soaked up additional cost efficiencies that would normally have pushed costs even lower. Prices for installed systems hover between $3.00 per watt and $3.50 per watt meaning that for a standard sized 6kw system the cost will be between $18,000 and $21,000 before the 30% tax credit or a cost of between $12,600 and $14,700 after claiming the tax credit. This might sound a lot but with zero down loans and a power cost of $2,000-$3,000 per annum for many 2500 square foot homes in Orange County (and growing if you don't get solar) installing solar panels is a financial home run in Orange County if you have a roof that suits it.

Is your home suitable for solar ?

Whether or not your home is suitable for solar depends on a variety of factors, most importantly your roof size and amount of shade. In some instances homeowners may have to cut down trees around their property to gain the maximum use out of their solar system.

Even if you are not convinced about solar we recommend that at the very least you use the solar panel calculator for Orange to find out:

Estimate your solar savings
Solar power in California

The average cost of installing residential solar panels in Orange, California in 2020 is $2.72 per watt. The average system size in the US is 6 kilowatts, which means the average price of a solar system in Orange, CA is $13,600. (before claiming 26% tax credit and other rebates)

What does the cost of a real solar system look like?

Facts about installing a 9.81kW solar system in Orange, CA

This system would offset 100% of your energy usage if your typical monthly bill is $258, however your situation may vary so try our Orange solar calculator to get a result tailored to you.


Net cost of system
Cash - after 26% solar tax credit

5 Years 3 Months

Average payback time


Annual power production


levilized cost of solar energy


If you don't get solar
The forecast average utility price over the next 25 years

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of this 9.81kW system

Life-time savings on this system over the next 25 years


(Prices shown after repayments of capital)



Solar companies in Orange, CA that provide pricing through the Solar-Estimate marketplace



Solar calculator and quote comparison tool

Average total cost of solar panel installation in California

System Size Cash purchase
After 26% solar tax credit
Financed purchase
After 26% solar tax credit
3kw $6,416 $6,929
4kw $8,377 $9,047
5kw $10,286 $11,109
6kw $12,077 $13,043
7kw $13,831 $14,937
8kw $15,451 $16,687
9kw $17,050 $18,414
10kw $18,500 $19,980


Going solar in California

Check out all of the ways energy providers of California can help you be more energy efficient and save money.

The following programs are available:
Incentive Name Eligibility Type
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit Federal Personal Tax Credit
Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Systems State Property Tax Incentive
Sonoma County - Energy Independence Program Local PACE Financing
NEM 2.0 State Net Metering

Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.