Solar Tribune

Solar Panels in San Diego | Cost, Rebate & Installer Data

Brooks Lape, September 15, 2015

We’ve compiled all the key information you need when installing solar panels in San Diego. The following topics are covered:

  • How much should I pay?
  • Which company should I select?
  • How much will I save?
  • What rebates and incentives are available?

Data in this article has been collected from the California Solar Initiative, The OpenPV project, SolarIQ, and trusted online review websites.

How much do solar panels cost in San Diego?

san diego cost data

The average cost for a typical 6 kW solar panel system in San Diego is $19,619. This comes out to a cost per watt of $3.27. Generally, the larger the system, the lower cost per watt, and thus the more money you will save. A smaller 3 kW system on average costs $10,252 with a cost per installed watt of $3.42. A larger 9 kW on average was sold for $28,210, with a lower cost per watt of $3.13.If leasing solar panels, you will need to shop around to find the best terms. All things equal, select the installer offering the lowest electricity rate per kWh. Pay close attention to the details of the contract, especially the maximum annual rate increase and length of the agreement.

Which installer should I choose?





One of the fastest growing private solar panel installation companies in California and the U.S. at large, American Solar Direct provides a full range of solar services from project management to residential design and installation. ASD has built a reputation for its customer-friendly initiatives, too, including a “one-stop shop” website for all things solar and their American Solar Direct Ownership program for easier financing of solar solutions.

american solar direct

cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?








Established in the 1930s and currently a fourth-generation family business, Baker Electric diversified to include solar in the last decade, becoming the first Solar Power Elite dealer in the San Diego area. Today Baker pursues installations and contracts across the residential and commercial spaces, including 600,000 commercial projects and 55,000 panels installed at residences across the region.








cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?


Natural Energy





While also pursuing initiatives in the commercial space, Natural Energy is particularly diverse in its residential offerings, covering everything from pool heating to home power with their residential solar projects. In business since 1977, the team at Natural Energy offers a combined 37 years of industry experience and a zero-down financing program for home installations in tandem with New City financing.

cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?






America’s largest solar provide, SolarCity leverages their patented Better Energy system to deliver streamlined and cost-effective solar to residential, commercial, and government projects. The company takes an all-encompassing approach to projects, offering support for customers from permitting and financing through to installation. SolarCity differentiators include a 24/7 monitoring solution and post-installation repairs.







cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?

 Sullivan Solar Power





Sullivan Solar Power boasts an award-winning customer service team and NABCEP certification, making it only the fourth company in the nation to receive this gold-standard accreditation. The company serves residential and commercial solar consumers across Southern California, from San Diego to Los Angeles. Sullivan also partners with GRID Alternatives, supporting solar installation and job training in under-served communities in the region.


cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?

ASI Hastings Inc.







Specializing in heating and air solutions as well, ASI Hastings Inc. offers solar repair and installation services across Southern California and covers all aspects of a home’s climate control and energy needs. White glove installation with no subcontractors is just one of the differentiators that makes ASI a go-to name for residential solar installation in San Diego and Los Angeles.


cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?






Sungevity’s design and installation process begins with their patented Remote Solar Design technology, which utilizes high-resolution imagery and a home’s electricity history to design a bespoke solar solution. Based out of Southern California with branches across the U.S., Sungevity also offers lease options and donates a portion of every solar system sale to an organization that provides light for Zambian children living off the grid.







cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?


Stellar Solar






Rated San Diego’s best solar company for several years in a row, Stellar Solar pursues residential and commercial installations across the region and offers a range of financing options, including zero down leases. The company is a customer favorite, garnering multiple, five-star reviews from solar consumers in addition to its “Best of” title.



cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?

Solare Energy






Working within the residential, commercial, and non-profit spaces, Solare Energy partners with a wide range of manufacturers of solar modules and inverters, from LG to SMA, to deliver the right design for any project and budget. The company also maintains an impressive list of licensing and certifications, including NABCEP accreditation and CHEERS certification.



cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?

REC Solar

logo_rec solar





REC Solar specializes in comprehensive solar installations for commercial properties, guiding businesses from development and financing through to post-installation maintenance and operations. The company’s portfolio includes large-scale projects encompassing Costco warehouses across multiple states and bespoke projects for SMBs in Arizona, California, and Hawaii.

rec solar






cost per watt not including incentives

How much can I expect to pay?

How will I save with solar panels?

san diego savings

The amount you will save by installing solar panels is largely driven by the size of your system, but also depends on the unique characteristics of your home. A typical 6 kW panel system will save San Diego homeowners $33,030 over 20 years. The average initial cost of the system is $19,619. During its 20 year lifespan, the system will eliminate on average $52,650 worth of electric bills and only carry an upfront cost of $19,619.

Are solar panels a good investment?

You can calculate how much you will earn by purchasing solar panels much like you would an investment in stocks, bonds, or your savings account.

When making this comparison, it is important that you compare solar to investments that have a similar risk profile. Unlike stocks or bonds–which can go up or down in value–the annual energy output of your solar panels is very reliable. Because there is very little risk when investing in solar, it’s best to compare your return on investment to very safe financial investments, such as short term maturity government bonds.

Year-to-date, short term government bonds have been providing a return of under 1%. Based San Diego’s average electricity and solar panel cost data for a 6 kW system, homeowners can expect a return of 5.06%.


How many solar panels do I need?

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 11.10.53 AM

The size of your solar system will largely be driven by your electricity usage. Based on typical electric rates in San Diego, someone with an average utility bill of $153 per month will require a 6kW system to offset the vast majority of their electricity usage. A smaller utility bill of $76 per month will only require a 3 kW system, while people with an electricity bill of $228 will require a larger 9kW system.