CALIFORNIA RESIDENTIAL SOLAR PRICE PER WATT
By James Kennedy, Founder and President Beach Cities Solar Consulting LLC
The California residential solar industry has installed over 1,339,965 solar systems on California homes! The entire solar industry uses Price Per Watt (or PPW) as the metric for pricing solar projects. This means that the entire project (materials, labor, plans, permits, soft costs, taxes, and profit) is based on a fixed price (in dollars) times the system’s size (in watts). It does not matter how many panels you need, who the manufacturer is, how much labor is needed to construct the project, or any other variable. Anyone who tells you otherwise is being flat out dishonest. For example, in the California residential solar market a 10 KW solar system (10,000 watts) has an average PPW of $3.75. This means the average installation price for this system in the state is $37,500 (10,000 watts X $3.75 per watt). Keep in mind any additional work like a re-roof, main electrical panel upgrade, or the installation of an electric vehicle charging outlet are all “adders” and the price of this work is added to the base price per watt of the solar project. Using the same example above; a 10 KW solar system that needs a main electrical panel upgrade would cost $40,500 ($37,500 + $3,000 for the main panel upgrade). In the California residential solar market, most solar companies will price their adders at their cost, meaning they are not making any profit on this part of the project. One of the benefits of working with a consulting company like ours is that we can broker California residential solar projects at a lower price per watt than going directly to the provider. The reason for this is that the provider incurs a very high soft cost, which is the marketing expense they incur for radio, television, internet, or other forms of advertising to acquire customer leads. We do not buy leads and therefore can cut out this unnecessary expense on the project!
I recently had a California residential solar customer procure three proposals for a 14.4 KW solar project (14,400 watts) in Rancho Palos Verdes, California and we were the lowest at $45,360. I gave him a discounted PPW of $3.15 as he was referred to me by a former customer (our standard pricing is $3.50 PPW). He also wanted energy storage and opted for the new SolarEdge 10 KW battery. This “adder” costs $17,900 so increased the project cost to $63,260. Our customer also opted to finance the solar system, so we had to add an additional $1,000 adder to the project for the solar loan origination fee. The final cost of the turnkey project was $64,260.
When evaluating solar providers make sure you are comparing “apples to apples” proposals. Meaning if you opt for micro-inverters for your solar system make sure each proposal has micro inverters. This will ensure you are getting the correct price for the system you want, and not just the lowest price.
Of course, there are other factors that you should evaluate when choosing your installer besides price. Installation time (from contracting to PTO), customer service, how long the contractor has been in business, and customer reviews are four especially crucial factors that should also be evaluated. For more on choosing a home solar contractor read my blog here: https://www.beachcitiessolarconsulting.com/california-home-solar-contractors/
Want to see how much money you can save with a California residential solar panel and solar battery system? Get your turnkey California residential solar panel and solar battery proposal with ROI and financing options by e-mailing us your most recent electric bill (all pages), a picture of the electrical panel outside your home, and a picture of your roof today: email@example.com