According to the NASA Atmospheric Science Data Center, the city gets abundant solar radiation throughout the year:
- The daily average is 5.38 peak sun-hours, which is equivalent to over 1960 hours per year.
- In the months of May and June, this value climbs to nearly 7 peak sun-hours per day.
When you combine the generous amounts of sunlight available with the high electricity rates of California, it is possible for Oakland homeowners to achieve savings well beyond $1200 per year by going solar, and these savings will only rise considering how electricity prices are increased on a yearly basis.
As if energy savings were not enough, installing a PV system in a home also qualifies you for attractive tax benefits and incentives.
What are the Tax Breaks and Incentives for Going Solar in Oakland, CA?
Let’s start the list with the 30% tax credit from the federal government, which applies throughout the entire nation. The great thing about this incentive is that it ensures you get back nearly one-third of your investment as a tax credit as soon as you file your next tax declaration.
Oakland also offers an excellent net metering policy for homeowners who go solar.
- Utilities are required to monitor the energy production of your solar PV system.
- If you have a surplus, they must give you 100% credit at retail price. This credit is rolled over month by month.
- If you accumulate a yearly surplus, utilities are required to pay you in cash!
This is about as good as net metering policies can get: every kWh of energy produced with a solar PV system becomes cash in your pocket regardless of whether you consume it or not. If you have a large enough PV system, you are the one who bills the electric company instead!
To finalize the list, local laws mandate that residential PV systems be exempt from property taxes. This is great because it’s an asset that raises your home value and produces revenue, but you’re not taxed for it.
What are the Financing Options for Solar Power in Oakland, CA?
If you want to get maximum lifetime savings from installing a PV system, purchasing it in cash is the best option. However, there are three alternatives that also allow you to get the benefits of solar power with zero cash down!
Taking a low-interest loan, which is available if you have a lot of home equity or a good credit record, allows you to pay for the entire PV system with the bank’s money. Then, you only have to take the cash from the tax credits and yearly energy savings to pay it off and its done: You just equipped your home with solar power with zero investment!
If you don’t like the idea of a loan, there are two arrangements you may find attractive. In both cases, a company owns and maintains the PV system and you pay them a monthly fee to use it:
Leased PV system
If you use a leased PV system, you pay a fixed monthly fee and all the energy produced is yours. Any money remaining after the monthly payment stays in your pocket, with no upfront investment from your part.
Power purchase agreement
A power purchase agreement, or PPA, is a similar concept with a different form of payment. Here your monthly rate is paid based on the amount of energy produced per month, which means the payment is higher during the summer and lower during the winter.
In spite of the difference in payment terms, both arrangements offer comparable solar savings. The only drawback of leases and PPAs is that you miss out on the tax benefits and have to share your energy savings with a third party, but it’s a good deal considering that all the cash you pay comes from the PV system savings themselves.
How Can I Find the Best Solar Installers in Oakland, CA?
The experts at Solar Nation can get you in touch with the best solar contractors in Oakland.
1. Fill out our solar form, which is the basis for solar installers to analyze your situation.
2. Compare quotes from local installers. We recommend you compare at least three.
3. Select the solar installer who offers the best proposal according to your needs.
4. Start achieving energy benefits right away, as soon as you get your next electricity bill.
Our trusted contractors are familiarized with the process of installing a PV system in Oakland, CA, and hiring them ensures professional workmanship and minimum hassle.
Oakland is located in one of the best states to invest in solar power in the USA.
With the combination of the 30% federal tax credit, a favorable net metering policy and the high prices of electricity in California, a solar PV system is a solid investment that leaves thousands of dollars in your pocket over a period of more than two decades.