Do home solar panels make sense in Winters, California?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Winters is about  $10,551.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,890 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 Winters, 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 Winters 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 Winters, 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$15,072This 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%$4,522The 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:$10,551

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 Winters, CA?

Every year, that hypothetical Winters home solar system described above would produce about $1,890 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 Winters with solar panels

In Winters, our data shows that there are at least 389 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 4,324 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 Winters 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 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.



Winters 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 Winters is 6.79, which means that it has excellent solar potential.

6.79

In Winters, 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.

Winters
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 Winters.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


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

Power Generation by Month (kWh)


In Winters, the electricity production from solar panels will vary by a fair amount seasonally. In an average year, your power generation will be 204% higher in the peak month compared to the lowest production month in winter. This is about average for the United States. It means that you should expect to use some grid electricity in the winter, and send excess solar electricity to the grid in the summer.



Winters, CA solar companies

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

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Winters 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 Winters.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Winters. 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
ACE CONSTRUCTION SERVICES INC1112010
AFFINITY ENERGY1112004
ALL ABOUT SOLAR2152016
ALTER SYSTEMS142006
AMPLE ELECTRIC INC1122015
ARISE CONSTRUCTION22282011
ATLAS SOLAR132015
AZTEC SOLAR142015
BEULTER CORP1112013
BLUE OAK ENERGY152006
BORREGO SOLAR3132006
CAPITAL CITY SOLAR6352016
CJ SOLAR132004
COMPLETE SOLAR142016
COMPLETE SOLAR SOLUTION122016
COOPERATIVE COMMUNITY ENERGY132004
CUSTOM DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION172009
DAVIS LUMBER & HARDWARE CO122004
DP CONSTRUCTION1112013
ELEMENT ELECTRIC6672016
ENERGY SAVING PROS CONSTRUCTION1142016
EQUISOLAR142016
EQUISOLAR INC122016
FIRST SOURCE SOLAR SYSTEMS5282012
FRALICK HOMES5592015
FUTURE ENERGY CORP13492017
GANESH WORKS382013
GCI SOLAR2142016
GLOBAL HV/AC AND CONSTRUCTION2122014
GOLDEN CREW CONSTRUCTION122013
GOLDEN GATE ELECTRIC142015
GREEN HOMES OF CA172016
GREEN STOCK SOLAR162015
GREINER HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING5202016
GRID ALTERNATIVES382012
HOOKED ON SOLAR3122016
IDAHO PACIFIC WEST BUILDERS121,9712011
INFINITY ENERGY162016
JESS KNOLLE ELECTRIC152016
MATSON SERVICES2122012
MC SOLAR ENGINEERING172006
NEXT ENERGY1112003
NOR CAL HOME IMPROVEMENTS122015
NORTH STATE SOLAR ENERGY2112016
NRG HOME SOLAR192016
PACIFIC RIM162012
PACIFIC SOLAR161999
PARKS ELECTRIC152015
PETERSENDEAN4232016
PLAN IT SOLAR7632016
POWER INDEPENDENCE ELECTRIC2112004
PREMIER POWER INC4362009
PREMIER POWER RENEWABLE ENERGY152005
QUALITY FIRST HOME IMPROVEMENT5382016
RCI SOLAR162016
REAL CONSTRUCTION132014
REAL GOODS INC132007
REC SOLAR11492013
REVOLVE SOLAR CA7312015
RGS/REAL GOODS172015
RIGHT NOW AIR & SOLAR2172016
RIVER CITY SOLAR132016
ROBERT'S SOLAR9292016
ROSEVILLE SOLAR ELECTRIC132007
SCHOTT SOLAR INC122004
SELF7352016
SHAMROCK RENEWABLE ENERGY SERVICES182011
SHAMROCK RENEWABLE GROUP2242011
SIERRA PACIFIC HOME & COMFORT9442015
SKYLINE ENERGY152015
SMART ENERGY SOLAR2122015
SOLAR COMPANY3272013
SOLAR SERVICE CENTER1102015
SOLARCITY583512016
SOLARCO142015
SOLARWORLD192012
SPECTRUM ENERGY1122006
SUN FIRST1142006
SUN METRICS282016
SUNGEVITY9472016
SUNLIGHT ELECTRIC2202010
SUNRISE ENERGY SOLUTIONS2282016
SUNRUN7392016
SUNTECHNICS ENERGY SYSTEMS, INC1212007
SUNTIME ENERGY3132017
SYNTOL PLUMBING ELECTRICAL HEATING & AIR152016
SYNTROL SOLAR142016
SYNTROL PLUMBING152016
TALBOT SOLAR4152007
TALBOTT SOLAR HOMES9592015
TESLA2112016
UNIVERSAL SOLAR122010
V3 ELECTRIC192016
VALLEY SOLAR4292016
VELOCITY SOLAR142016
VERENGO182014
VIVINT542952016
WARREN BROWN CONSTRUCTION1162009
WEST COAST SOLAR2192016
WESTHAVEN6322016

Solar panel lease companies in Winters

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 Winters?

If you’re thinking about paying a company to clean your solar panels, think again. Solar panel cleaning services can cost more than $100 per visit, and in the vast majority of cases the temporary increase in power generation you get will never make up for that cost. 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 Winters

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 Winters solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Winters



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¢


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 10,321 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 2,229 kilograms of CO2, 72 grams of SO2, and 3,427 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 Winters

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 Winters?

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

Home solar quotes in Winters
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.