Do home solar panels make sense in Live Oak, California?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Live Oak is about  $11,340.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,758 worth of electricity every year.
In 2019, you can qualify for a  30% federal tax credit. In California, there are additional solar rebates available.
There are at least  20,813 homes in Buffalo with solar panels.
Learn more

Table of Contents:



How much do solar panels cost in Live Oak, CA?

The average cost per watt of residential solar in California is $4/watt. For comparison, the national average is $3.70/watt.

Cost per watt is the total installed cost of a system, including taxes, divided by the size of the system in watts (DC). It includes the cost of hardware plus installation costs. Cost per watt is always the gross cost, before incentives. This means, at a minimum, you can take 30% off the price of the system in 2019 because of federal tax incentives.

The cost of a solar panel system for your house in Live Oak will depend on how much electricity you want to generate, which affects the size of the system you’ll need. The following is an example price estimate for a home solar panel system in Live Oak, with an electricity generation estimate based on the local climate and the following assumptions:

• 554 kWh is the amount of electricity that the average California home uses every month.
• 4.15 kilowatts is the size of the system you’ll need to generate 100% of this electricity from solar panels.
• 10 to 16 panels is what that translates to (depending on panel efficiency, which commonly ranges from 260 watts to 400 watts)
• Panels oriented due south and mounted on a shade-free roof at a 30° angle.

Gross system price$16,199This is the price of your system plus taxes but before incentives, based on an average cost of solar in your state of $4 per watt.
Federal tax credit of 30%$4,860The most important solar incentive in the nation, the federal solar tax credit, gives homeowners 30% off the cost of their system in 2019. It drops to 26% next year. Read more
Net system price:$11,340

This estimate is based on averages but your home, of course, may be different. For a personalized estimate, grab a copy of your utility bill and use our calculator to plug in the numbers for your home.



Can you save money with solar panels in Live Oak, CA?

Every year, that hypothetical Live Oak home solar system described above would produce about $1,758 worth of electricity. This is based on the California state average price of electricity of $0.18/kWh and the average local climate.

This estimate assumes that your home uses an average amount of electricity, but your needs may be different. In addition, if you have some shade on your panels during the day, that can drop your production by a lot and require more panels to make up the difference.



Houses in Live Oak with solar panels

In Live Oak, our data shows that there are at least 349 houses with solar photovoltaic panels installed. This means that a lot of neighbors in your city are interested in solar, and have already made the leap. Added up, the total generating capacity of all these home solar systems equals 2,350 kilowatts. That’s a lot of clean energy being generated by your neighbors.

If you’re on the fence about going solar and trying to research whether solar is viable in the Live Oak area, this is good news. It means many of your neighbors have made the calculation and decided that solar is a smart move for them in the long term. Next time you’re driving or walking around, take a look at the roofs in your neighborhood. You might find a surprising number of solar panels. Try talking to your neighbors with solar, and see how it’s worked out for them.



Solar photovoltaic panels turn sunlight into electricity, and the more sunlight you have, the better. That doesn’t mean that you need to live in the desert for solar panels to produce a lot of power. The amount of sunlight that a location gets is influenced by how far south it is, but also by its climate. If you live somewhere with few cloudy days, you might generate more solar electricity than a rainy city that is further south.



Live Oak solar energy potential

To make a fair comparison of how much sunlight different cities get, we use a measurement called Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). It takes into account the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year, cloud cover, airborne particulates, precipitation, and other climate variables.

The DNI for Live Oak is 6.55, which means that it has excellent solar potential.

6.55

In Live Oak, you’ll generate a lot of solar electricity throughout the year, which helps to shorten the amount of time is takes for a solar panel system to pay for itself.

In the continental United States, DNI ranges from about 3.0 to 8.5 kWh/m2/day. In the most northern parts of Alaska, the DNI reaches a low of 0.5.

A higher DNI means more sunshine and more electricity generation by solar panels, but solar can be viable even with a lower DNI. For example, Germany has widespread solar PV, but a DNI of only about 2.5.

This DNI data comes from GEOS geostationary satellite data and NREL climate models.

Live Oak
US low
US high

Different locations in the US will see a wider range of solar energy generation from winter to summer. These charts show you what to expect in Live Oak.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


The graph below estimates how much a 6 kilowatt south-facing solar panel system would generate in Live Oak.

Power Generation by Month (kWh)


As you can see from the graphs above, there is a seasonal variation in sunlight and solar power generation from summer to winter, but the variation is less pronounced than in many other places in the US. You can expect to produce about 180% more solar electricity in the highest production month of the year, compared to the darkest month of winter. Because of this, you will send less excess electricity into the grid in the summer and draw less electricity from the grid in winter.



Live Oak, CA solar companies

This is a list of solar home installations we know about within the city limits of Live Oak, CA.

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Live Oak area that we have a record of. It’s possible that the installer has done more installations in the local area.
Total kW installed is the cumulative solar generation capacity of all the residential installations by the installer in Live Oak.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Live Oak. This lets you know if the company is active in the area, or hasn’t done work in some time (or even gone out of business).
Installer# of homesTotal kW installedYear of most recent install
ACRO ENERGY142011
ALL ELECTRIC2192009
ALL SOLAR ELECTRIC201272015
ALTERNATE ENERGY SYSTEMS6572016
BEULTER CORP2102012
CALIFORNIA SOLAR ELECTRIC162006
CHICO ELECTRIC4522017
CHRIS AMSON ELECTRICAL152005
CITIGREEN1782015
CM CONSTRUCTION142014
COMPLETE SOLAR SOLUTION152016
CRANE EXTERIORS DBA SOLAR WORKS1122016
CUSTOM DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION1142009
DC SOLAR ELECTRIC3222016
ELEVATION SOLAR152016
ELITE SOLAR2222015
EMARD'S EHT DBA SOLAR UNIVERSE172010
FRALICK HOMES2122015
GCI SOLAR172015
GRID ALTERNATIVES262014
HAMMOND ELECTRIC4272016
HELIOPOWER162008
INFINITY ENERGY6482016
MAGIC SUN SOLAR2212015
NORTH STATE SOLAR ENERGY6582016
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA SOLAR SOLUTIONS142016
NRG CLEAN POWER152016
ONE ROOF ENERGY142014
PARAMOUNT ENERGY SOLUTIONS122013
PETERSENDEAN2132015
PLAN IT SOLAR2202016
POWER HOUSE SOLAR1122009
POWER LIGHT CORP22442008
POWERLIGHT482006
QUALITY FIRST HOME IMPROVEMENT5102015
REAL GOODS ENERGY TECH152013
REVOLVE SOLAR CA152015
ROSEVILLE SOLAR ELECTRIC2102008
ROYAL AIRE282016
RT MAHER CONSTRUCTION11612016
SELF3302016
SIG152016
SIGN SOLUTIONS192015
SKYLINE ENERGY112015
SOLAR COMPANY192014
SOLAR FIRST DBA FIRST PV132016
SOLAR REVOLUTION2232015
SOLARCITY955332016
SOLCIUS182015
SONRAY CONSTRUCTION2102014
SOUL- ER FOR SOLAR1102008
SPG SOLAR142007
SUNCREST SOLAR6332016
SUNGEVITY3192015
SUNRUN2152015
SYNDICATED SOLAR CONSTRUCTION142013
SYNTOL PLUMBING ELECTRICAL HEATING & AIR132016
SYNTROL SOLAR2112016
SYNTROL PLUMBING3182016
TESLA3122016
TRI D ASSOCIATED BUILDERS6542015
VERENGO162014
VIVINT553202017
WEST VALLEY SOLAR & ELECTRIC252013
WESTHAVEN282402017
WESTHAVEN SOLAR2202016

Solar panel lease companies in Live Oak

If you’re thinking about going with a solar lease or PPA, you should first read our guide to solar financing to make sure that you understand the pros and cons of a lease or PPA versus purchasing a system outright. In most cases, you will come out on top by buying your solar panels, even if that means taking out a loan.

That said, leases/PPAs continue to be popular, and they can be a good choice in some cases. There are several national solar installers that offer leases/PPAs, but not all of them operate in every state. Here’s a breakdown of some of the major solar installers that offer these types of contracts, and whether they operate in your state:

CompanyOperates in California ?
SungevityYES
SunnovaYES
SunrunYES
Vivint SolarYES

Looking for solar panel cleaning companies in Live Oak?

Are you searching for a local solar panel cleaning company? Stop and reconsider. For the vast majority of people, what you end up paying to a company to clean your solar array will never be recouped by the small increase you get in electricity generation. In fact, rain is sufficient to keep solar panels clean for most people. If you live in a dry and dusty area or frequently find bird poop or leaves on your panels, invest in some inexpensive equipment to take care of cleaning yourself. Read our guide to solar panel maintenance, which includes tips on solar panel cleaning and a some recommended cleaning equipment.

Contact solar companies in Live Oak

Want to work with one of these companies? We screen companies to make sure that you work with qualified installers. Use our service to get multiple quotes from quality Live Oak solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Live Oak



Average California electricity prices


Right now in California, the average price of residential electricity is about 18.31 cents per kilowatt hour. In comparison, the average price of electricity in the United States is about 13.34 cents per kWh.

In other words, you’re paying 37% more for electricity than the average American, making your cost of electricity fairly expensive compared to the nation.

Higher than average prices like this are a good argument for going solar.

Regardless of what your electricity prices are, by adding solar panels to your house and generating your own electricity, you’re locking in your cost of electricity for as long as your system is working, which will protect you from future rate increases by your utility. Given that many panels come with 25 year warranties, this is an investment that can last a long time.

Keep in mind that the price of electricity varies by utility, sometimes by a lot. The table below lists the average price of electricity for utilities in California state. For current rates, check with your utility.

Company# CustomersAvg Price (¢/kWh)
Aha Macav Power Service898.18
Anza Electric Coop Inc4,33817.93
Bear Valley Electric Service22,47027.71
City of Alameda30,81118.07
City of Anaheim - (CA)111,34716.52
City & County of San Francisco23817.00
City of Azusa14,66713.33
City of Banning - (CA)10,98520.18
City of Burbank Water and Power46,21516.51
City of Colton - (CA)16,66116.16
City of Corona - (CA)98615.59
City of Glendale - (CA)74,78319.96
City of Healdsburg - (CA)4,82317.13
City of Lodi - (CA)21,94017.48
City of Moreno Valley - (CA)5,57620.03
City of Lompoc - (CA)13,16515.55
City of Palo Alto - (CA)25,57914.28
City of Pasadena - (CA)55,76318.23
City of Redding - (CA)37,87816.76
City of Riverside - (CA)97,34716.12
City of Roseville - (CA)52,18115.54
City of Santa Clara - (CA)46,85912.27
City of Shasta Lake - (CA)4,16617.36
City of Ukiah - (CA)6,44913.62
City of Vernon7311.85
Imperial Irrigation District132,63212.93
Lassen Municipal Utility District9,03215.70
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power1,329,96816.65
Liberty Utilities42,32313.79
Merced Irrigation District7,41816.02
Modesto Irrigation District97,93517.81
PacifiCorp35,70413.88
Pacific Gas & Electric Co.3,998,18721.18
Sacramento Municipal Util Dist552,67814.06
San Diego Gas & Electric Co1,280,26422.09
Southern California Edison Co4,362,15016.60
Pittsburg Power Company34822.60
Plumas-Sierra Rural Elec Coop6,60618.58
Surprise Valley Electrification2,8258.79
Truckee Donner P U D12,23715.60
Turlock Irrigation District73,39316.01
Valley Electric Assn, Inc1213.11

Historical California electricity prices, 2008 to 2017


The average price of residential electricity in California, over the past ten years, is 15.86 cents per Kilowatt hour. This is 31% more than than the US average price of 12.07 cents per kWh. Because your state historically has had high electricity prices, there’s a good chance that prices will continue to be high in the future. This is a good argument for going solar.

Why is this important to know? Depending on the size of your system, owning home solar reduces or eliminates the effect of electricity price increases.


Historical California electricity prices (cents per kilowatt hour)

CA prices
US prices
2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
CA prices13.81¢14.74¢14.75¢14.78¢15.34¢16.23¢16.25¢16.99¢17.39¢18.31¢
US prices11.26¢11.51¢11.54¢11.72¢11.88¢12.13¢12.52¢12.65¢12.55¢12.89¢


One of the big financial advantages of going solar is that you basically lock in your price of electricity for the next 20 to 30 years (because most solar panels come with 25 year power warranties). When you look at the graphs above and see the historical trend of electricity prices in the United States, you’ll notice that prices steadily increase over time. While prices from your utility may bounce up and down, the cost of electricity eventually increases over time. Going solar will protect you from those increases.



Environmental report for California electricity

Depending on the type of fuel they use, power plants produce differing amounts of air pollution. This is measured as units of pollution per megawatt hour (mWh) of electricity.

For every mWh of electricity generated, California power plants produce on average:

  • 216 kilograms of CO2, which is 53% less than the US average of 459 kg.
  • 7 grams of SO2, which is 98% less than the US average of 411 g.
  • 332 grams of NOx, which is 11% less than the US average of 373 g.

In the power generation estimate listed above, The Solar Nerd calculator determined that an unshaded, south-facing 6 kilowatt PV system would generate about 9,603 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 2,074 kilograms of CO2, 67 grams of SO2, and 3,188 grams of NOx from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The carbon offset of these solar panels would be about equivalent to planting 121 trees every year! (One deciduous tree left to grow for 10 years offsets 17.2 kg of CO2, according to the EPA.)

CA state average electricity emissions
CA
US
Glossary:
CO2 is carbon dioxide and is a primary greenhouse gas.
SO2 is sulphur dioxide. It damages the human respiratory system and contributes to acid rain.
NOx refers to nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, acid rain, and lung damage.


Calculate your home solar incentives for Live Oak

Use our calculator to determine the financial payback of a home solar systemand to get a solar performance estimate customized to your home, including federal, state, and local incentives.



Ready to go solar in Live Oak?

Use our free service to find qualified solar contractors and get multiple quotes on a solar panel installation in Buffalo.

Home solar quotes in Live Oak
Sources:
This report was prepared with data from the good people at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Data, the US Energy Information Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.