San Diego Solar Panels: 2022 Cost and Local Incentives

How much do solar panels cost in San Diego?

Written by Taylor Freitas

Edited by Jamie Cesanek

Last updated 08/26/2022

Travis Payne/Moment/Getty images

San Diego solar panels

With plenty of year round sunshine, San Diego is an excellent place to invest in solar panels. These eco-friendly energy sources offer plenty of benefits, including cheaper energy costs and a reduced environmental footprint — but there are a few things you should know before investing. Below, we’ll cover the key factors around solar panels in San Diego, including costs, incentives, and installers.

Why trust SaveOnEnergy?

Learn More

At SaveOnEnergy, we work to offer accurate information with editorial integrity. Our partners do not direct our editorial content, though we may reference their products in our posts. Read more about how we make money.

Cost of solar panels in San Diego

San Diego may be one of the most expensive places in the country to live, but the average cost of solar panels in the area is still affordable. The typical cost of solar panels in San Diego is in line with the California average of $21,935 per system (before any credits or San Diego solar incentives are applied). Plus, since the city receives high levels of sunshine all year, investing in solar panels here can be a financially and environmentally savvy decision.

How much do solar panels cost in San Diego in 2022?

The median solar panel system cost per watt in the U.S. is $3.82. That’s slightly cheaper than California’s median of $3.87 per watt, based on an average-sized system with a 5.7-kilowatt (kW) capacity. However, these prices can vary anywhere from $3.05 to $4.63 in the Golden State for systems ranging between 3.7 kW and 8.6 kW.

Keep in mind that the exact cost of your system will depend on multiple factors, including the size and setup of the system, the price and quality of components (such as high-efficiency solar panels and solar batteries), and the installation fees and taxes in your region. Most American homes require 15 to 25 solar panels to generate enough electricity for their household needs. 

If you’re considering going solar, you should also think about the payback period for your solar panels — in other words, how long it will take you to recoup the money from your upfront investment. 

The average payback period for solar panels is six to nine years, and applying the federal tax credit can help you recover costs. Solar can help you save tens of thousands of dollars on energy costs.

Average solar panel cost by system size in San Diego

To determine the right solar system size for your home, start by looking at your utility bill to discover how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy you use monthly. Other factors that influence your system size include your location, how much sunshine your roof receives, and the energy rating of your panels. 

Based on the average numbers in California, San Diego solar systems can cost $11,361 on the lower end (for a 3.7 kW system) or up to $39,975 on the higher end (for an 8.6 kW system). Plus, if you install your system before the end of the year, you can earn a 30% federal tax credit.

Get an exact quote from our solar advisors

The SaveOnEnergy marketplace helps you search, compare, sign up and save on the right energy fit for your home — all for free. If you’re interested in solar, answer a few questions to get an exact price quote from our solar advisors.

1. Complete the form below
2. Schedule an appointment with a solar advisor
3. Get an exact price quote for solar panels for your home

Ready to go solar? Call 866-420-6556 to be connected with a solar expert today!

Incentives for solar panels in San Diego

For some people, covering the upfront costs of solar panels isn’t possible. That’s why the federal government, some state and local governments, and some power companies offer incentives to reduce the barriers to entry for solar. 

San Diego has two solar incentives options: the federal tax credit and a net metering program sponsored by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the local utility company. You can learn more about these incentive programs below.

IncentiveLocal, State, or Federal?Incentive details
Residential Clean Energy CreditFederalThe federal government offers a 30% tax credit to homeowners that install a solar system on their primary or secondary residence in 2022. It was formerly known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). In most cases, this equates to thousands of dollars in savings.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) Net MeteringLocalThe local utility company in San Diego provides customers with a bill credit when they sell their extra solar-generated electricity back to the grid. Your equipment will need to meet certain requirements to qualify.


Solar companies in San Diego

At SaveOnEnergy, we know that learning about solar energy can be daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive library of energy resources, so you can clearly understand your options and make a well-informed decision for your household needs. To kick off your solar journey, fill out the form on this page or call to speak with one of our knowledgeable solar advisors.

Is going solar in San Diego right for you?

Buying your solar system outright isn’t the only way to go solar at home. You can also lease your solar panels in San Diego, participate in a community solar program, or look into a solar power purchase agreement (PPA). Here’s how each of these options works.

Solar for renters

If you’re a renter, you can use solar energy if the owner has set up solar panels on the property. Alternatively, you can sign up for a community solar program, where a solar system’s output is split among several households.

Solar for homeowners

You can choose between leasing or buying your solar panels as a homeowner. If you choose to lease, a solar company will install solar panels on your home, and you will get access to all of the energy generated through them (for a monthly fee). However, buying solar panels allows you to increase the resale value of your home, and you won’t have to worry about finding a buyer that will take on the lease payments. You will also see more savings on energy bills once you recoup the installation cost.

Community solar

As mentioned, community solar projects provide solar access to renters and people whose homes aren’t suitable for solar panels. Generally, they’re available in a subscription model (as a PPA) or a cooperative model (where a group finances a solar system together).

Solar power FAQs

  • On average, a residential solar system costs just over $21,000 in the Golden State. After taking into account the 30% federal tax credit, you could bring this price down by thousands of dollars. You can also lower the cost of solar panels in San Diego by leasing your panels, entering into a PPA, or enrolling in a community solar project.

  • Solar power can be a smart investment in San Diego, thanks to the city’s sunny climate and incentives that bring down the upfront costs. However, other factors may influence how effective solar panels will be on your property, including how much sunshine you receive and the angle of your roof.

  • California is the top solar-producing state in the country, meaning that there are many trusted solar panel installers to choose from in San Diego. You can browse our solar energy resources to learn more, or you can submit SaveOnEnergy’s form to find the best match for you. 

  • Solar power is a natural and renewable resource. It doesn’t emit carbon dioxide or other pollutants when generated or used, so it’s far better for the environment than traditional fossil fuels. If you decide to switch to solar, you’ll cut down on your carbon footprint and be gentler on the earth.

Solar energy by state