Do home solar panels make sense in Sonoma, California?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Sonoma is about  $10,987.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,815 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 Sonoma, 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 Sonoma 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 Sonoma, 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.
• 4.02 kilowatts is the size of the system you’ll need to generate 100% of this electricity from solar panels.
• 10 to 15 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$15,695This 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%$4,709The 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:$10,987

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 Sonoma, CA?

Every year, that hypothetical Sonoma home solar system described above would produce about $1,815 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 Sonoma with solar panels

According to our data from various local agencies, there are at least 1,078 homes in Sonoma that have solar panels installed. This means a lot of your neighbors have looked into solar and decided that it’s a smart choice for them. If you add up the total generating capacity of these solar panel systems, you get a total of 6,425 kilowatts of solar electricity that is being sent into your local electricity grid.

If you’re trying to decide if solar is right for you, this is good news. Having a lot of solar homes means that you will have more local contractors to choose from. You can also feel more confident about going solar, because many of your neighbors in Sonoma have already decided that solar is a smart choice 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.



Sonoma solar energy potential

If you want to know how much sunlight is available in your city for solar electricity generation, you need to know the Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). DNI not only takes into account the hours of sunlight, but other variables such as cloud cover, airborne particulates (which cause haze), and precipitation.

The DNI for Sonoma is 6.29, which means that it has excellent solar potential.

6.29

In Sonoma, 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.

Sonoma
US low
US high

In some climates, you’ll see a big difference in sunlight and solar electricity generation from summer to winter. These charts show you what to expect in Sonoma.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


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

Power Generation by Month (kWh)


As you can see from the graphs above, the amount of electricity you can generate with solar panels in Sonoma will be different throughout the year. Compared to the darkest months of the year, your peak generation in the sunniest month of the year will be about 229% higher (on average). Because of this, you should expect to use a fair amount of grid electricity in the winter, and send excess power into the grid in the summer months.



Sonoma, CA solar companies

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

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Sonoma 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 Sonoma.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Sonoma. 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 POWER371472016
AAES282007
ADVANCE SOLAR HYDRO & WIND272003
ADVANCED ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOLUTIONS15862016
AFFINITY ENERGY5282010
AFFINITY SOLAR3502012
AKEENA8302009
ALL ON ELECTRIC2112014
ALTER SYSTEMS3172013
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY392007
AMERICAN SOLAR CORP5352016
AMERICAN SOLAR DIRECT1262016
BARON SOLAR & ELECTRIC162011
BAVARIA CONSTRUCTION DBA SOLWEST282008
BAY AREA ENERGY SOLUTIONS3452015
BDS SOLAR291552016
BELENUS SOLAR162014
BES152007
BES BRANDALICK ENERGY SERVICE122005
BORREGO SOLAR11632008
BRIGHT PLANET SOLAR142016
CALIFORNIA SOLAR SYSTEMS9482012
CANOPY ENERGY122016
CCI ELECTRIC1232014
CHARLES IVOR GENERAL CONTRACTOR152006
CLARK ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS162010
COLDWELL SOLAR2132011
COMPLETE SOLAR2162014
COMPLETE SOLAR SOLUTION3162016
COOPERATIVE COMMUNITY ENERGY342010
CUNNINGHAM ELECTRIC & CONSTRUCTION2122011
DC POWER SYSTEMS162006
DOUG FRYDAY CONSTRUCTIONS132014
EARTH STAR ELECTRIC242011
ECONOMIC ENERGY SOLUTIONS2102009
EEE SOLAR INC2172015
EES SOLAR INC262015
ENERGY EFFICIENCY132006
ENERGY ENDEAVORS DBA WESTCOAST SOLAR ENERGY1152013
ENERGY EQUITY5322016
ENERGY RESOLUTIONS2252011
EXCEL SOLAR & ELECTRIC252009
EXCEL SOLAR & ELECTRIC INC.112009
FAULT-LINE BUILDERS132009
FIDELITY HOME ENERGY3112015
FREE ENERGY SYSTEM132014
FREEDOM SOLAR1202015
GAIA ENERGY SYSTEMS192009
GAIAM ENERGY182007
GCI SOLAR9732016
GLOSOLAR2182011
GLOSOLAR INC5142011
GOLDEN STATE SOLAR172016
GREEN LIGHT SOLAR162008
GREEN PLANET SOLAR1122013
GRID FEEDERS182009
GROSOLAR162010
HARMONY FARM SUPPLY3222008
HEALDSBURG SOLAR ELECTRIC122016
HELIOPOWER4232013
HIGH DEDINITION SOLAR12242016
HOOKED ON SOLAR1122016
HOPE BUILDERS162008
HORIZON SOLAR POWER142013
J&P SUN122010
JBL SOLAR ENERGY152015
JOHN CRAIG CONSTRUCTION122012
JOHN MCNEIL CONSTRUCTION122002
JP & SON1152013
JP & SUN171202016
K B ELECTRIC122014
KATALYST CONSTRUCTION152016
KNOWLES SOLAR122011
KRUETZFELDT CONSTRUCTION221122016
LUMINALT ENERGY162009
MAGGETTI CONSTRUCTION3472011
MANG BUILDERS152014
MARIN SOLAR12762010
MASTER CONSTRUCTION1182005
MCCLINTOCK ELECTRIC3162016
MODERN METHOD ROOFING & CONSTRUCTION282016
MOORE HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING142016
NAPA ELECTRIC SHOP INC3212016
NEXT ENERGY142010
NEXUS ENERGY SYSTEMS142016
NOR CAL CONTRACTING3132016
NORTH BAY SOLAR ELECTRIC3172017
NORTH WEST BUILDERS152010
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA SOLAR SOLUTIONS162016
NORTHERN PACIFIC POWER SYSTEMS10622016
NORTHWEST EXTERIORS9342011
O'CONNELL SOLAR5322011
O'SOLAR MIO122011
OCCIDENTAL POWER182010
OCS ENERGY2182016
OLD COUNTRY ROOFING162010
PAC SOLAR2142016
PACIFIC RIM CONSTRUCTION112010
PAISANO ELECTRIC1132016
PALO ALTO HARDWARE1112005
PETERSENDEAN17932016
PREMIER POWER INC132008
PREMIER POWER RENEWABLE ENERGY152009
PURE POWER SOLUTIONS4182016
QUATTRO SOLAR1132014
R&B CUSTOM BUILDERS CORP132012
RCI SOLAR152015
REAL GOODS ENERGY TECH7372011
REAL GOODS INC12422008
REC SOLAR11652014
REID HEATING & ENERGY3262012
RENEWABLE ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES, INC162007
RGS/REAL GOODS261422014
ROBERT NUESE GENERAL CONTRACTOR122003
ROCKET SCIENCE162016
RON DORRIS ELECTRIC1112011
RONALD B MCCLINTOCK172015
SEBASTOPOL HEAT & COOL3392010
SELF10572016
SEMPER SOLARIS4152016
SENSIBLE SOLAR CONSTRUCTIONS172016
SEQUOIA SOLAR162010
SHAMROCK RENEWABLE ENERGY SERVICES11192011
SIERRA PACIFIC HOME & COMFORT2162010
SIMPLY SOLAR17722016
SINE ELECTRIC142005
SMART ENERGY162011
SMART ENERGY SOLAR5272014
SMART ENERGY USA6412014
SNOW SOLAR SYSTEMS132003
SOLAR COMPANY291412016
SOLAR DAY ELECTRIC182015
SOLAR DEPOT122000
SOLAR G162005
SOLAR KNIGHTS CONSTRUCTION122011
SOLAR SENSE PV162014
SOLAR SERVICE CENTER3192015
SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES3772016
SOLAR UNIVERSE3162015
SOLAR WORKS231012015
SOLARCITY996332016
SOLARCRAFT795482016
SOLARCRAFT SERVICES1016952016
SOLARIS SOLAR2112008
SOLARWINDS172015
SOLARWORLD3112012
SPG SOLAR131032009
SS SOLAR & ELECTRIC282008
STEELE ENERGY SOLUTIONS4162011
SUMMIT ELECTRIC4312015
SUMMIT TECHNOLOGY GROUP2352013
SUN CONNECTION372011
SUN FIRST322722016
SUN LIGHT & POWER162017
SUN POWER & GEOTHERMAL6412006
SUNETRIC162013
SUNGATE ENERGY692014
SUNGEVITY15742016
SUNLOGIC132009
SUNPOWER4232016
SUNRISE CONSTRUCTION29292007
SUNRISE SOLAR4132015
SUNRUN15782016
SUNTIME ENERGY142016
SYNAPSE ELECTRIC172014
SYNERGY ELECTRICAL ENERGY SYSTEMS182004
SYNERGY SOLAR & ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS131062016
SYNTOL PLUMBING ELECTRICAL HEATING & AIR172016
SYNTROL SOLAR282016
SYNTROL PLUMBING252015
TESLA4172017
THOMAS SILEWICZ172015
TRILLA ASSOCIATES132008
VERENGO10692014
VINCE SIGAL ELECTRIC292016
VIVINT12652016
WEST COAST SOLAR4192016
WEST COAST SOLAR ENERGY6372016
WESTCOAST SOLAR ENERGY1112013
WESTERN PACIFIC DEVELOPEMENT1102009
WESTERN PACIFIC SOLAR5212014
WESTERN SUN SYSTEMS182011
WOOSTER ENGINEERING4162016
XERO SOLAR1262016

Solar panel lease companies in Sonoma

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 Sonoma?

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. 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 Sonoma

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 Sonoma solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Sonoma



Average California electricity prices


The average price of residential electricity in California is 18.31 cents per kilowatt hour, while the average price across the nation is 13.34 cents per kWh.

This means that you are paying 37% more for electricity than the national average. That’s pretty expensive.

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¢


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 9,912 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 2,141 kilograms of CO2, 69 grams of SO2, and 3,291 grams of NOx from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The carbon offset of these solar panels would be about equivalent to planting 124 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 Sonoma

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 Sonoma?

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

Home solar quotes in Sonoma
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.