Do home solar panels make sense in Pacifica, California?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Pacifica is about  $11,520.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,731 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 Pacifica, 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 Pacifica 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 Pacifica, 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.
• 4.22 kilowatts is the size of the system you’ll need to generate 100% of this electricity from solar panels.
• 11 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$16,456This 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%$4,937The 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:$11,520

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 Pacifica, CA?

Every year, that hypothetical Pacifica home solar system described above would produce about $1,731 worth of electricity. This is based on the California state average price of electricity of $0.18/kWh and the average local climate.

But that’s just a home with average electricity usage. You might need more or fewer solar panels, depending on how much electricity you want to generate. Also, shade matters a lot. If you have trees or buildings throwing shadows on your roof, that could reduce your solar production by a lot.



Houses in Pacifica with solar panels

In Pacifica, our data shows that there are at least 612 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 2,184 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 Pacifica 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 panels directly turn sunlight into electricity, so the more sunlight you have, the more power that a solar panel system will generate. However, one misconception is that solar panels only work in very sunny climates. While it’s true that you will generate more electricity in a sunny state like Arizona, you might be surprised to learn that solar can generate plenty of electricity in most places in the United States - even cloudier places like New England or the Northwest.



Pacifica 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 Pacifica is 5.42, which means that it has a good amount of sunshine - about average for the United States.

5.42

Averaged over the full year, a Pacifica home solar panel system will be generate a lot of solar electricity, although expect diminished production in the winter.

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 is better, but even if your city is average or even below average for the US, it’s still possible for solar panels to generate plenty of power. For example, solar is very popular in Germany, where the DNI is only around 2.5.

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

Pacifica
US low
US high

In some cities in the US, the amount of sunlight doesn’t change quite as much from summer to winter, while others see a big difference. These charts show you what to expect in Pacifica.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


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

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 171% 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.



Pacifica, CA solar companies

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

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Pacifica 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 Pacifica.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Pacifica. 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
A1 SOLAR POWER12352016
A1 SUN152010
ACRO ELECTRIC152009
AKEENA8272009
ALL BAY SOLAR6212016
ALL ON ELECTRIC142014
ALLTERRA ENVIRONMENTAL5272016
AMBASSADOR ENERGY132009
AMERICAN SOLAR CORP132015
AMERICAN SOLAR DIRECT132014
BAY AREA SOLAR SOLUTIONS112013
BAY SOLAR POWER DESIGN9192006
BORREGO SOLAR272007
BUTTERWORTH ELECTRIC132007
CAL PAC ROOFING OF SAN MATEO132016
CALIFORNIA SOLAR SYSTEMS292014
CANOPY ENERGY162017
CENTURY ROOF & SOLAR132009
CLEAN SOLAR6242016
COBALT POWER SYSTEMS4202016
COMPLETE SOLAR162015
COMPLETE SOLAR SOLUTION4242015
DANIEL ELECTRIC14452006
DC POWER SYSTEMS112004
ELM CONSTRUCTION5102004
ENERGY REMODELING252016
ENVER ENERGY IMPROVEMENT132015
ENVER SOLAR122015
FIDELITY HOME ENERGY382016
FIVE CITIES152017
FREE ENERGY SYSTEM7302016
GAYLER CONSRUCTION10132013
GCI SOLAR152014
GLOBAL RESOURCE OPTIONS152010
GREEN NRG272016
GREEN STOCK SOLAR122013
GREEN WOLF ELECTRIC & SOLAR282015
GRID ALTERNATIVES122007
HELIOFARM122013
HIGH DEDINITION SOLAR18212016
HORIZON SOLAR POWER122016
INFINITY ENERGY182017
J & J OWENS ELECTRIC182006
JP SOLAR122009
JTM DEVELOPMENT132014
KALI CONSTRUCTION132013
KENNY CONSTRUCTION122006
KINNEY CONSTRUCTION SERVICES4132007
LA SOLAR ENERGY142016
LUMINALT ENERGY12482016
MARIN SOLAR3102009
MR ROOFING262016
NORTHERN PACIFIC POWER SYSTEMS162013
OCCIDENTAL POWER7292016
OWENS ELECTRIC & SOLAR3102007
PARAMOUNT ENERGY SOLUTIONS262013
PERRY BUILT CONSTRUCTION142014
PETERSENDEAN19822017
POCO SOLAR ENERGY162007
POWER INDEPENDENCE ELECTRIC112006
QUALITY FIRST HOME IMPROVEMENT392016
REAL GOODS ENERGY TECH3112012
REAL GOODS INC272006
REC SOLAR5162014
REGRID252007
RGS/REAL GOODS142014
SELF5112016
SEMPER SOLARIS252016
SKYTECH SOLAR5272016
SKYWAY ELECTRIC262016
SLINGSHOT POWER152015
SOLAR COMPANY11422016
SOLAR DEPOT112004
SOLARCITY2339372016
SOLARIS3102006
SOLARIS SOLAR282006
SOLARWINDS NORTHERN LIGHTS112014
SOLEENIC122015
SUN ENERGY132008
SUN FIRST262016
SUN LIGHT & POWER252009
SUN POWER & GEOTHERMAL142006
SUN WORK RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS252012
SUN'S FREE SOLAR2142012
SUNGATE ENERGY24322014
SUNGEVITY321182016
SUNPOWER2192016
SUNRUN15662017
SYNERGY CONSERVATION SOLUTIONS222013
TESLA8332016
TROMBINO ELECTRIC1122013
VERENGO8422014
VINCE SIGAL ELECTRIC262015
VISION INSTALLATION132014
VIVINT3102016
WEST COAST SOLAR3122015

Solar panel lease companies in Pacifica

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 Pacifica?

If you’re trying to find a local company that specializes in cleaning solar panels, you should know that it’s probably not worth the cost. 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. Instead, just let the rain keep your solar panels clean. Rain will do a good enough job for free. 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 Pacifica

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 Pacifica solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Pacifica



Average California electricity prices


In California, homeowners pay an average of 18.31 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. Meanwhile, the average price of residential electricity in the US in 2019 is 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.

You’re probably not happy about that, so it makes sense to consider 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¢


By looking at the trend in electricity prices over the past decade, you can get a better idea of whether high or low prices in your state are a recent change, or part of a long term trend. Because solar panels last a really long time (most come with 25 year power warranties), going solar protects you from future changes in electricity price. Basically, by paying for a system now, you can lock in your cost of electricity for two or even three decades.



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 9,453 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 2,042 kilograms of CO2, 66 grams of SO2, and 3,138 grams of NOx from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The carbon offset of these solar panels would be about equivalent to planting 119 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 Pacifica

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 Pacifica?

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

Home solar quotes in Pacifica
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.