Published on May 11th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan2
Go Solar in San Francisco!… How Much Does it Cost?
Are you in San Francisco and want to know more about the possibility of going solar? A good, comprehensive post on a solar site I follow, CalFinder Home Solar, recently detailed how much it costs to go solar in San Francisco. It singled out San Francisco for some clear reasons — there’s a lot of interest in solar power there and the city has some of the best rebates and incentives in the country. The post discusses “the federal tax credits, state rebates, city rebates and utility incentives for going solar in the city by the Bay.”
Well, basically, I’m directing you over to that site if you live in San Francisco, so you can learn more (and go solar!), but if you’re not inclined to click away (I know, it’s hard to leave CleanTechnica), I’ll just highlight some of the most interesting points from my perspective.
Of course, you’ve got the Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which knocks 30% off the cost of your solar installation (after any state rebates kick in). As Brittany of CalFinder nicely summarizes: “So if your system costs $30,000, you’re getting a $10,000 tax credit and probably spinning your meter backward for the next 25-30 years.”
But San Franciscans also have the following:
- The California Solar Initiative, “a state organization that offers cash rebates for systems up to 30-kilowatt hours.”
- A rebate from utility PG&E of “$0.35 per kilowatt-hour of solar power produced.”
- And a city rebate from GoSolarSF (going through June of this year at the moment) — the average rebate equals about $2,000 currently and businesses can get an extra $1,500 back.
It should be noted some of these state and city rebates are better the sooner you take advantage of them (they change over time) and some may run out relatively soon (see CalFinder’s post for more details).
What’s the end result after all this?
The average costs of residential PV systems are about $8.70 per watt (as calculated in January, 2011). That’s approximately $34,840 for a 4-kW system, which is the average-sized array.
Let’s say that you want this 4-kW system, and with tax, it comes to about $36,000. With a south-facing roof tilted at 30 degrees (ideal conditions), your cost upfront is $22,820. That’s a savings of $13,180, or 37%.
Considering that you’re going to be saving mad money on electricity bills for the next 25-40 years, the eventual payback is huge.
In San Francisco? Go solar (today).
Images via CalFinder Home Solar