How much will solar panels cost me in 2021 and how much equipment do I need installed on my roof?

The most common question people have about solar installation is not the installation process itself, rather, how many panels are required to offset consumption on a home in California.

In California, the average system required is 4.23 kW. A.M. Sun Solar typically installs 390-watt Jinko Tier One solar panels, these offer optimal efficiency and great quality. When high wattage panels are installed, the customer does not need as many panels on the roof or ground mount to attain the desired system size. This is especially important to customers who want as little equipment on their roof as possible.  

The annual average energy usage of a California home is 6,546 kwh/year meaning that the average system size would need to be 4.23kw. To help you to visualize what size of a system this would look like, it would take approximately 10 Jinko 390 solar panels on the roof to offset the energy usage of the home. In addition to the increased panel wattage, the size and durability of the Jinko 390 watt panel also allows for more energy output with the same amount of sun exposure. Typically, a south-facing solar array will provide the maximum amount of energy using the least amount of panels, but with more surface area, these panels can perform well on other roof faces as well. This will be important to customers who only want solar panels installed on the backside of their home.

While Jinko solar panels are the A.M. Sun chosen standard, if there is a specific panel make and model a customer desires, A.M. Sun Solar works with local Central California distributors to install custom-designed systems. For example, if a customer prefers to use a Sunpower String Inverter and panels, A.M. Sun Solar is a certified partner and can install this equipment on a home as well. This process not only ensures you attain maximum savings from solar, but it also allows your investment to stay local and support small businesses. 

A.M. Sun is continually looking for ways to support the local community and bringing creative solar solutions to customers in need at a competitive cost.  In California, where the average system required for a residential home is 4.23 kW, the average solar panel installation cost as of January 2020 is $2.78 per watt, meaning the 4.23 kW system would be $11,753 before the solar tax credit and $8,701 after the 26% federal tax credit. A customer can only claim their federal tax credit if they purchase the solar system, it does not apply to leased or PPO systems.  For this reason, A.M. Sun offers a variety of financing options that make it possible for customers to go solar without putting a large amount of money down upfront. Naturally, the cost of a solar system will be more if a customer’s energy usage is more than the California average but this usually also means the lifetime savings from going solar are much higher.

A customer’s house and its characteristics will also affect the cost when looking to go solar.  The best way to get an accurate custom estimate is to set up a free Home Energy Evaluation with one of A.M. Sun Solar’s distinguished Solar Consultants. They will be able to take the details of your home, like your energy usage, roof face, and solar equipment preference, to provide you with an accurate solar cost and savings estimate. 

If you have more questions about solar panels for your home, give us a call at (805) 457-4068 or contact us at

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