How much can solar save you in California?

December 1, 2023

PG&E to raise rates in 2024, making a home solar panel system more valuable to homeowners

Many California homeowners served by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will pay around $384 more in 2024 for utilities. The price hike of nearly 13% will amount to around $32.50 more per month for average residential customers.

The California Public Utilities Commission approved the increase on Thursday, Nov. 16. The decision ended a years-long debate over how much PG&E customers will need to pay to support the utility, which caused a 2010 explosion and multiple major wildfires.

Fortunately, there is a solution — home solar panel systems can save Californians thousands of dollars in electrical bills over their lifespan. Enact has helped thousands of homeowners across California find the right solar system for their home.

PG&E is California’s largest utility and serves more than 16 million people across Northern and Central California. Homeowners in the Golden State can expect the increased costs to take effect on Jan. 1.

How much money can solar panels save in California? 

Rooftop solar panels can save California households thousands of dollars over their lifespan. For context, most warranties cover solar panels for 15-25 years but solar panels continue to generate power after their warranty period.

While Enact can’t guarantee an exact dollar amount of solar savings, our custom designs can reduce your utility bills by 75-100% on average. Solar savings can be an important way to mitigate changing electricity prices — and help you reduce household expenses.

25 year savings of $140k+ for an 8kW system priced at $24,187, which ends up costing $16,931 after the tax credit.

Using data from November 2023, the average solar installation cost in California ranged from $12,622 to $17,078 — with the average gross price at $14,850. These numbers do not account for the 30% federal investment tax credit, which will lower the cost along with California’s solar incentives.

The best way to determine how much savings you can see depends on the amount of electricity your home consumes. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with Enact’s friendly team of energy advisors.

How much will PG&E’s utility price hike impact me?

For the approximately 16 million PG&E customers across Northern and Central California, the price increase will be around $32.50 more per month in 2024. Overall, this will amount to a $384 increase per year in utility costs.

In 2025, residential bills will increase by around $4.50. The typical bill will decrease by around $8 in 2026. Low-income customers who qualify for discounted rates will see an increase of $21.50 per month next year. Followed by a $3 per month increase in 2025 and then a $5.50 per month decrease in 2026.

If you want to minimize the impact of these price hikes, going solar can reduce your dependency on the utility company. With a solar-only system, you might only use your utility company at night or during peak hours. A solar-plus-storage system — using a battery — can let you use your clean energy any time, day or night.

How does a home solar panel system avoid rising utility costs?

Solar panels generate clean electricity from the unlimited supply of sunshine. This allows solar homeowners to produce their own electricity and rely less on utility companies, like PG&E. The more energy you use from solar, the less energy you use (and pay for) from the grid.

Using less energy from the electrical grid can shield you from price increases as you can produce more of your own clean energy. A good solar system can generate the majority of your daytime electricity and you would only need to rely on the grid at night or in rare circumstances.

If you add a storage battery to your energy system, you can use stored solar energy at high-use times or at night. A storage battery is sometimes called a solar battery. A solar plus storage system can further reduce your grid usage and can also reduce your payback period in post-NEM 3.0 California.

Are solar panels still worth it in California?

Solar panels can be a valuable home improvement for Californians looking to save money and live sustainably. It’s not too late to go solar in California and still see 25 years of savings.

California sees consistently sunny days throughout the year, a solar system harnesses that sunshine to power your home. California is also the largest market for residential solar panels in the U.S. which eases the transition to solar. 

Both the federal and state government offer incentives which reduces the financial costs of going solar. Additionally, technological innovation has made solar more affordable for homeowners.

For the vast majority of American homeowners — a solar system can reduce your dependence on the electrical grid. Even while on the grid, solar shields homeowners from utility rate hikes and unstable gas prices. Residential solar systems generate low-cost per kilowatt energy, meaning the more clean energy you use, the smaller your utility bill.

The average residential solar system can last for decades, especially when protected by warranty. Over this time, your system will save you more money than it cost — paying itself back. Whether you’re in San Francisco or San Diego — or even Upstate New York — generating your own electricity can offer a great investment.

Can solar help me save after NEM 3.0?

Yes, a rooftop solar panel system can still save you money after NEM 3.0’s implementation in April 2023. California’s newest Net Energy Metering (NEM) policy does reduce compensation for net metering credits. Despite the reduced benefits of NEM 3.0, solar can still save you money as utility costs rise.

Net metering is a government policy that rewards solar homeowners for excess clean energy sent to the grid with credits. These credits count against the electricity your home will pull from the grid — like at night.

NEM 3.0 incentivizes homeowners to purchase a solar-plus-storage system — which includes solar panels and a storage battery. Despite paying more for a system with a battery, the battery allows you to use solar-generated electricity around the clock.

With a solar-plus-storage, instead of using power from the grid at night or high-usage hours, you can use energy stored in your battery. While you will still be attached to the grid, the battery allows you to rely even less on utilities.

Why go solar through Enact?

  • Enact is a one stop shop for homeowners — solar design, installation coordination and monitoring

  • Enact offers consumers choice and transparency, all while keeping solar simple

  • Enact offers homeowners solar panel systems customized to their home

The right home solar panel system can save the average California household money. Enact empowers homeowners with custom solar panel systems that can lower your monthly utility bill. 

Our one-stop-shop offers homeowners a custom solar quote, simple solar installation coordinating and post-installation monitoring. Going solar through Enact means getting the right system for your home, designed by our award-winning platform. 

We make the entire solar purchasing process simple and transparent. Enact’s platform and knowledgeable energy advisors provide transparency every step of the way.  Our company is built on customer trust — we will never sell you a system that is too big for your home.

With just your contact information, a recent utility bill and your address — our energy advisors can create a free system quote for your home. During a free consultation, an advisor will go over the system and answer any questions or concerns.

Once we find the right system for your household consumption and budget, we coordinate the entire solar installation process for you. Working with a trusted local solar installer, your home will be on its way to serious solar savings.

Unlike the average solar installer, going solar with Enact means having access to a wide marketplace of equipment. Drawing from the solar and storage marketplace, our customers know they’re getting the right system.

If you live in California and want to go solar — schedule a free consultation with our expert team of energy advisors. During the consultation, our advisors will provide you with a free custom estimate.

Based on a short questionnaire, we can prepare a system design and quote for your consultation. If you have any questions, hesitations or needs — we can redesign the estimate until it meets your standards. Then you can sit back and use the Enact platform to watch the installation process schedule.

You can see monthly savings on your utility bills in around ten weeks. After installation, watch your bills go down and power your home with clean energy. Schedule a free consultation and start your solar savings as soon as possible.