Do home solar panels make sense in Sunnyvale, California?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Sunnyvale is about  $10,546.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,891 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 Sunnyvale, 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 Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale, 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.
• 3.86 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$15,066This 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%$4,520The 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:$10,546

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 Sunnyvale, CA?

Every year, that hypothetical Sunnyvale home solar system described above would produce about $1,891 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 Sunnyvale with solar panels

According to our data from various local agencies, there are at least 1,760 homes in Sunnyvale 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 7,019 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 Sunnyvale have already decided that solar is a smart choice for them.



Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity. This means that the more sunlight, the better. 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.



Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale is 6.50, which means that it has excellent solar potential.

6.50

In Sunnyvale, 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 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.

Sunnyvale
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 Sunnyvale.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


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

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 200% 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.



Sunnyvale, CA solar companies

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

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Sunnyvale 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 Sunnyvale.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Sunnyvale. 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 POWER12422016
ABSOLUTE SOLAR282008
ADVANCED ELECTRIC & SOUND1102009
AFFORDABLE HOME SOLAR132015
AFFORDABLE ROOFING & SOLAR172012
AFFORDABLE SOLAR132012
AFFORDABLE SOLAR ROOFS152014
AKEENA552162010
ALBION POWER COMPANY162016
ALL BAY SOLAR242016
ALL IN ONE3112015
ALL ON ELECTRIC142016
ALLTERRA ENVIRONMENTAL4182016
ALTAIR SOLAR INC142016
AMERICAN HOME CRAFT222009
AMERICAN HOMECRAFT, INC.112009
AMERICAN SOLAR DIRECT17732016
APPLIED ELECTRICAL132016
BAY AREA ENERGY SOLUTIONS142014
BAY AREA SOLAR SOLUTIONS152014
BBS CONSTRUCTION142013
BEOHANA SOLAR CORP2102008
BO WU142011
BORREGO SOLAR8312008
BRIGHT LIFE SOLAR132015
CAL PAC ROOFING OF SAN MATEO152014
CALIFORNIA SOLAR SYSTEMS17822014
CASTLE ROCK DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT142009
CENTURY ROOF & SOLAR132010
CINNAMON SOLAR7312016
CLEAN SOLAR552482016
COASTWIDE ELECTRIC/CALPHOTON152015
COBALT POWER SYSTEMS1075152017
COBALT POWER SYSTEMS, INC.142007
COMPLETE SOLAR152015
COMPLETE SOLAR SOLUTION9472016
DAY ONE SOLAR1372016
DOLLENS ELECTRIC CORP162012
DONE RIGHT142014
EARTH ELECTRIC7272016
ECO ENERGIES272004
ECO ENERGIES CONSTRUCTION8422004
ECOENERGIES262003
ELITE ELECTRIC10442016
ELVEN WHITCHURCH122013
ENERGY REMODELING282016
EQUISOLAR132016
FIDELITY HOME ENERGY10232016
FRALICK HOMES152015
FREE ENERGY SYSTEM3102015
FREEDOM SOLAR4152016
FRESCO CONCEPTS, INC132009
FRONTIER SOLAR7302016
FULL CIRCLE ENERGY COOPERATIVE132007
FUTURE ENERGY CORP321372016
GAIAM ENERGY112005
GAIAM/REAL GOODS242005
GCI SOLAR4252016
GLOBAL RESOURCE OPTIONS152010
GOLDEN BEAR SOLAR152016
GOLDEN GATE ELECTRIC122015
GREEN ENERGY STARS162016
GREEN HILL REMODELING3112015
GREEN LEAF SOLAR & ELECTRIC152014
GREEN NRG132016
GREEN PATH NETWORK272016
GREEN POWER INSTALLER INC7272016
GREEN POWER INSTALLERS132015
GREEN STOCK SOLAR272013
GROSOLAR132010
GROUND UP BUILDERS122016
HAN JAY CONSTRCUTION132007
HARMONY SOLAR5172007
HELIOFARM271002016
HELIOPOWER3112016
HIGH DEDINITION SOLAR112015
HIGH DEFINITION SOLAR112017
HIGHLIGHT SOLAR311362016
HOME IMPROVEMENT SOURCE132014
HOOKED ON SOLAR132016
HORIZON ENERGY3152012
HORIZON SOLAR POWER3102016
HORIZON SOLAR SYSTEMS23862011
HOUSING CONSTRUCTION INCORPORATION132016
HUTCHINGS CONSTRUCTION14472016
INDEPENDENT ENERGY SOLUTIONS3152007
INDEPENDENT ENERGY SYSTEMS272008
J & J OWENS ELECTRIC242010
J R ZARR, INC142013
KATALYST CONSTRUCTION132014
KNOWLES SOLAR292012
LA SOLAR ENERGY142016
LAIBACH SOLAR LLC3122016
LIFESTYLE SOLAR132016
LIU'S CONSTRUCTION272016
LUMINALT ENERGY1102016
LUNDY CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE CO5282016
MAGGETTI CONSTRUCTION142010
MALONE CONTROLS CORP262016
MC SOLAR4112006
MC SOLAR ENGINEERING25912007
MOTHER NATURE SOLAR132013
NEXT ENERGY392010
NORTHERN ARIZONA WIND SUN122002
NRG CLEAN POWER252016
OLD COUNTRY ROOFING242005
OWENS ELECTRIC & SOLAR132007
OWENS ELECTRIC INC152009
PACIFIC SOLAR142000
PACIFIC SOLAR ENERGY132007
PALO ALTO HARDWARE6132006
PALO ALTO SOLAR132006
PARAMOUNT ENERGY SOLUTIONS272013
PARAMOUNT SOLAR SOLUTIONS162013
PD SOLAR132008
PERRY BUILT CONSTRUCTION132015
PETERSENDEAN1424682016
PHOTON BROTHERS152016
POCO SOLAR ENERGY17762017
POWER SOLUTIONS142008
PROVOLTZ301172016
PV GURU152016
QUALITY FIRST HOME IMPROVEMENT26662017
QUALITY HOME RENOVATORS112012
RA TECH SOLAR3112011
RAYCO ENERGY132013
REAL GOODS ENERGY TECH142011
REAL GOODS INC3122011
REAL GOODS-GAIAM122001
REC SOLAR492102014
RECTIFY LLC172017
REGRID441722011
RENEWABLE ENERGY CONCEPTS7202007
RENEWABLE POWER SOLUTIONS6242011
RGM CONSTRUCTION172005
RGS/REAL GOODS22822015
S & B CONSTRUCTION2112012
SCUDDER ROOFING2142016
SELF331342016
SEMPER FIDELIS CONSTRUCTION142016
SEMPER SOLARIS5142016
SHADOWFAX ROOFING2112016
SIGHT & SOUND SECURITY132004
SILICON VALLEY ENERGY3132016
SIMMITRI142015
SKY POWER SYSTEMS6302015
SKYTECH SOLAR4172016
SLINGSHOT POWER13512016
SOLAR CENTER7252016
SOLAR COMPANY17662016
SOLAR EASE172016
SOLAR FIRST262005
SOLAR FIRST DBA FIRST PV142015
SOLAR LIGHTWORKERS3212013
SOLAR SERVICE CENTER3202016
SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES12422016
SOLAR UNIVERSE2112015
SOLARCITY2911,1722016
SOLARON3232017
SOLAROPOLY6362015
SOLATRON TECHNOLOGIES242002
SOLECTRIC ELECTRICAL122007
SOLEEVA122017
SOLENERGY INTERNATIONAL152010
SOLGEN282010
SOUTH BAY SOLAR122007
SOUTH WEST SUN SOLAR262016
SUN CHARIOT SOLAR CORP262010
SUN LIGHT & POWER21282016
SUN WORK RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS481552016
SUNGATE ENERGY36512014
SUNGEVITY562462016
SUNLIT SYSTEMS152004
SUNLOGIC3132011
SUNNYCAL SOLAR152015
SUNPOWER9412016
SUNRUN592262017
SUNS UP SOLAR292014
SUNSTAR ENERGY4112007
SUNTECHNICS ENERGY SYSTEMS, INC132007
SUNWORK RENEWABLE ENERGY262014
SUPER SOLAR132011
SUPREME AIR SYSTEMS272015
SYSTEMATIC CONSTRUCTION162007
TESLA18732017
TUF GUYS102010
VERENGO5272014
VISTA4192011
VIVINT331452017
WEST COAST SOLAR8322016
YOUR ENERGY SOLUTIONS10532016

Solar panel lease companies in Sunnyvale

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 Sunnyvale?

If you’re thinking about paying a company to clean your solar panels, think again. Trying to get the maximum number of watts out of your solar array by keeping your panels squeaky clean isn’t worth it if you’re paying $100 or more per visit from a cleaning company. 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 Sunnyvale

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 Sunnyvale solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Sunnyvale



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.

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¢


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 10,325 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 2,230 kilograms of CO2, 72 grams of SO2, and 3,428 grams of NOx from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The carbon offset of these solar panels would be about equivalent to planting 130 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 Sunnyvale

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 Sunnyvale?

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

Home solar quotes in Sunnyvale
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.