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Our guide to installing solar panels on your home in Anaheim, California

Avatar for Ben Zientara
Written by
Published on 07/11/2018
Updated 07/30/2018
Anaheim, CA

The numbers below are estimates for the average home in Anaheim. Your home is unique, and your financial estimates depend on that uniqueness. If you’d like to get personalized solar estimates for your home, our network of solar experts are on call to assist you.

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Anaheim, California is a beautiful place with more than a few fun things to do. There’s a really great secret about the city that makes it a particularly good place to install solar panels on your roof: it’s the only place in orange County with a municipal (city-run) electric company.

Yep, Anaheim Public Utilities is good to the homeowners it serves, and they make it easy for homeowners to go solar! If you own an average-sized house in Anaheim, you can eliminate much of your electricity bill with just a small to medium-sized solar array, which will pay back its cost before it’s warranty is half up, and save you thousands of dollars in the years after.

This page is a short guide to the costs and financial rewards of home solar in Anaheim. It’s got info on relevant California incentives and solar laws, but it is not meant to be your only source of information about going solar in Anaheim. Check out our main California page for more extensive content about all things related to home solar in The Golden State!

Important numbers for solar on the average Anaheim home


Average System Size


Cost after incentives


Years to payback


Savings after 25 years

Those numbers look pretty good, and they can get even better depending on your installer and increases in the cost of electricity. Keep in mind, those numbers are for an average home in Anaheim, where electricity usage is pretty low. Many factors determine how much you could save, and if you’re a heavy user of electricity, your up-front costs are comparatively lower, and your savings go way up. If you’re looking for a custom estimate for your home, connect with our solar experts in Anaheim today.

If you’d like to learn more about how we got those numbers, read on! Here’s our guide to the ins and outs of going solar in Anaheim, California:

The cost of solar panels in 2018

Let’s cut to the chase: to offset its entire energy bill, the average home in Anaheim needs a solar system of about 3.85 kilowatts (kW), which will cost somewhere between $8,900 and $9,250 in cash, after the federal solar tax credit. Even after that huge reduction, that might sound like a lot, but keep in mind that price is for something that saves you an additional $900 on energy in just the first year, and more over time as energy prices rise.

Now let’s look at where we got those numbers:

The average Anaheim home uses about 6,300 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, and spends about $975 on electricity annually. A 3.85-kW solar system will offset all that usage and save you around $900 a year, with the remaining $75 going mostly to the $5 minimum monthly charge from Anaheim public utilities. That’s about 11 350-watt solar panels which take up about 480 square feet of roof space.

Solar panels are priced based on cost per watt, and in Anaheim in 2018, you can expect to spend a gross cost (before incentives) between $3.20 and $3.50 per watt for a system of average size, depending on the age and geometry of your roof, as well as other factors. That’s the price before the federal solar tax credit.

Now of course, that’s for the average Anaheim home. If your home is anything but average, connect with one of our solar experts today to get a custom quote for your home.

Solar Incentives for Anaheim homeowners

California has benefited from a few factors that make solar here a better investment than it is in other places. First, the state has relatively high electricity costs, meaning the panels pay back their cost faster than in other places. Second, the Golden State has had a good history of supporting solar buyers with rebates and other incentives. But with the price to install solar at an all-time low, those incentives are all but gone.

That’s okay, though! The federal solar tax credit takes 30% of the cost of your system away, and the state of California does still have a few other juicy tidbits. Here’s a quick guide to what’s out there:

The federal solar tax credit

All solar systems installed on homes in the United States and paid for using cash or a solar loan qualify for a federal tax credit equal to 30% of the cost to install the system. Now, this is a tax credit, not a rebate, so you have to owe taxes in order to qualify, but even if you don’t pay a ton of taxes, you can roll over your credit to future years.

A fanned-out stack of a few 1040 tax forms

The 30% federal solar tax credit for our example 3.85-kW system would equal $3,927 (30% of the $13,090 cost to install). With the federal tax rate at about 12% for most folks, a married couple making more than about $33,000 per year can expect to owe that much in taxes, and collect their full tax credit by the end of the year. That’s a pretty low hurdle.

The reductions from the tax credit bring the cost down to $9,193, and that’s before you consider the effect of energy bill savings (which we’ll get to below).

Property tax exemptions for home solar in California

The state of California exempts home solar installations from property tax. That’s wonderful news for you, since the value of your home will go up by several thousand dollars when you add solar panels. A very solid study of home value increases from solar panels showed an average increase of about 70% of the gross (pre-incentive) cost to install the system. That’s exactly the same as the cost after the tax credit, so the average system of 3.85-kW at $13,100 might add about $9,200 in value to your home!

As long as you install solar before a 2024 deadline to end the property tax exemption, thank a state legislator!

Electricity bill savings from solar in Anaheim

Like we said above, the people of Anaheim benefit from a municipal electric company, meaning the utility acts in the public interest, and therefore offers somewhat lower rates—and raises rates less often—than some other for-profit electric providers. That’s great news for Anaheim homeowners, because it keeps electric bills low, but it makes the profits from solar a little slower than they might otherwise be. As prices increase, solar saves you more.

Still, this is California, and per-kWh prices are about 15% higher than other places in the country. You probably feel that in your pocketbook every time the bill comes due. So even the relatively modest solar system needed to provide the energy an Anaheim home uses in a year can save you a bunch of money.

Remember, the average home in Anaheim uses 6,300 kWh per year, and that comes at an average cost of 14.5 cents/kWh, for a total cost of about $975 per year after an additional $5 per month service charge. If you pay more than that, it means your an above-average user, and you’ll actually save more for every kWh, because Anaheim Public Utilities charges just $.12/kWh for the first 10 kWh of every day, and $.1974/kWh for all additional kWh.

A solar system in Anaheim allows you to reduce your bill down to the monthly $5 minimum, and any kWh over your usage are credited to your next month’s bill under the company’s net metering program. That means you could potentially end up paying just $60 per year for electric service, saving all the rest of the money you would have paid in, just by installing enough solar to meet your needs. But is that cost effective?

Payback estimate for an average Anaheim home with solar panels

Given the quirks of Anaheim’s net metering rules, the 3.85-kW system we outlined above will not quite bring your power bill down to $60, but if you turn on your hypothetical solar system at midnight on January 1st, you’ll end the year with an estimated credit for 135 kWh, which will roll over to the next year’s bill.

Here’s how the average solar production squares with the average household usage over the year:

Estimated 1st-year savings for a 3.85-kW solar system in Anaheim

MonthkWh usageBill before solarSolar kWhNet kWhBill after solarkWh rollover*
The table shows the estimated monthly savings for the 1st year from a 3.85-kW solar installation on an average Anaheim home.

*Any amount of kWh over usage is credited to the customer's account and used to reduce future months' bills.

The table above shows how solar will save you about $900 this year, given a typical usage pattern. That leaves a credit of 135 kWh ready to roll over to January’s bill, meaning you can expect a $5 bill for every month of the following year.

That’s great news, and it leaves you with a net cost of about $8,250 after the first year, which is just 65% of the initial cost of the system. Over the next 25 years, the panels will be under warranty while they pump out savings. Let’s take a look at how long it’ll take to pay their cost back, and how much you could make over the long-term:

Estimated lifetime savings for an average Anaheim home with solar panels

Here’s the very best part about saving money with solar: your savings tend to increase every year. That’s because the utility company raises prices every year, and what you would have paid goes up with it.

Despite its community focus, Anaheim Public Utilities is not immune from the need to raise rates. In fact, the utility has laid out a plan to increase electric costs to the public by 11-15% between 2018 and 2028.

If they continue at that rate for the life of our example solar system, the average homeowner will be paying about $1,265 for electricity at the end of the panels’ warranty, a 30% increase over 25 years. Of course, the solar panels will make slightly less electricity every year as they become worn by the weather, but that amounts to a decrease of about 0.5% per year.

The initial cost of the system will be paid off in year 10, and over the final 15 years of the solar warranty, the panels will produce an estimated $16,300 worth of electricity. That’s a huge amount of money you’ll be making! Here’s how that looks as a graph of cumulative annual net savings:

25-year net returns for solar installation in Anaheim, CA

What’s the best way to pay for solar panels?

The calculations above assume that you’d pay for solar with cash up-front, which is the option that gives you the easiest path to ownership. But fear not! If you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend right now, you have options. You can still get solar panels, and because of how the federal tax credit works, it might actually be better financially to take a loan and pay off the panels over time.

If you’ve been looking for solar panels for your home, you’ve probably seen ads that promise “free solar panels!” and “$0-down solar.” While the latter is the more correct term, it is technically possible to get solar panels installed for free, and then pay over time, either buying the system with a loan or buying the electricity only with a power purchase agreement (PPA).

The offerings, prices, and financing terms for loans and PPAs vary widely by installer. If you’d like to see what’s available near you now, your best bet is to connect with one of our solar installer partners to find out more!

You can also head over to our main California page and see financial estimates for the three most popular ways of paying for solar.

Last modified: July 30, 2018

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