Rooftop Solar

Make a solid decision about solar

Davis, CA Home Solar Panels


Davis Solar Systems

3644 of 4500

as of July 31 2019

Cool Homes Solar Pledge

BEST Eager Davisites at Solar Fair 2016 Photo Credit Yvonne Hunter RESIZED

It’s never been cheaper

The cost of solar installations has continued to fall while the expertise and number of local and regional contractors has continued to climb.

Tax credits and exclusions are still available

For those who purchase a solar system, a federal tax credit offsets up to 30% of the installation cost through 2019. This percentage will fall by 4% every two years until the end of 2021. The state of California provides a property tax exclusion up to 100% though 2024.

Good return on investment

Paying in cash makes a lot of sense. You own the system and with the cost of solar declining, you can expect to fully recoup your up front costs within 5 to 10 years with an internal rate of return of 15 to 25%. Even if you don’t pay cash, your PG&E bills will likely be much lower right away.

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Choose from a pool of experienced contractors

Coming Soon: Our solar provider selection tool will help you find a contractor that meets your needs.

Payment options for every budget

• Pay cash for an instant return on investment
• Loans from a credit union or bank will let you pay directly for your own solar system
• Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing offers flexible repayment plans up to 20 years & is paid through property taxes
• Power purchase agreements (PPA) & leases allow you to buy solar power without owning the system

Davis gets it done!

The City, local contractors, and local organizations have supported the installation of over 2,000 solar systems. Our community is now well practiced in this process and is ready for you!

Rooftop Solar

    Produce your own power

    Renewable energy in the form of a solar photovoltaic array on your rooftop has the potential to fully power your home as well as provide excess power.

    Protect future generations

    Energy independence is a critical step in the journey towards a stable and secure future for our children.

    Power your electric vehicle

    Work with your contractor on your system plan to power an electric vehicle. You will live and drive solar!

    Cool the climate

    Temperatures are rising but solar energy deployed across our community will contribute to a cooler planet and a better quality of life for all.


In May of 2016, our City Council adopted a cumulative goal of 4,500 single family household solar installations totaling 21 megawatts capacity by the end of 2020.

Solar - Is it right for me?

Is solar right for me?

Do you plan to stay in your home 3 to 5 years?

If you plan to live in your home for 3 to 5 years or more, installing a solar system could pay for itself depending on the financing you choose and your electricity usage.

Is retirement in your future?

Some homeowners view solar systems as a solid financial investment as well as an effective way to downsize their monthly bills. PPAs can ensure a set monthly bill amount for those on fixed incomes, create a buffer against rising electricity costs, and allow those without tax liability to benefit indirectly from the federal tax credit. Folks thinking about their grandchildren see solar as a way to invest in a bright future and show a hopeful way forward for the younger generation.

Looking for the most effective way to reduce climate impacts?

A well designed and functioning rooftop solar system can help you tackle both energy and transportation impacts if you couple it with an electric vehicle purchase.

Does your roof face south, west, or east?

The ideal rooftop faces south or west and has a 7/12 pitch (7 inches rise for every 12 inches run). East facing roofs may still have potential. Panels can also be installed on flat roofs facing upwards or on frames tilted toward the south. If a rooftop cannot be used, other potential surfaces include carports, detached garages, window awnings, and roofed patios.

Solar - Hire the Right Contractor

Hire the Right Contractor

Ask about experience and reputation

Don’t be shy to ask about the number and type of installations including rooftops. Check out their license with the state and look for online reviews.

Get at least 3 bids and reasonable warranties

If possible, try to get a general idea of the system you want before asking for a formal bid, then ask each of the three to bid on a similar system so it’s easier to compare. View our Solar: Hire the Right Contractor Cool Solutions page for details about warranties.

Get a thorough roof assessment

Solar systems usually last about as long as a roof, at the same time sections of roof can often be repaired to accommodate a solar system. Remove and replace clauses can protect you if the roof fails before the solar system.

Solar - Ways to Save

Ways to Save

Make sure you’re getting a fair price

Comparing your bid to the average and calculating total system cost per watt can give you an idea of whether your bid is in the ballpark.

Paying in cash has benefits but so does a no money down lease

If you have the funds, paying in cash is certainly an attractive option. But leases help you get in the door with no out of pocket costs and no responsibility for monitoring or maintenance. PPAs come with contract details that define what you pay for electricity and what happens if you move.

Loans come in lots of flavors

Local banks and credit unions offer a variety of secured and unsecured loan options, while a PACE loan attaches the payments to your property tax bill.

Take advantage of tax credits and exclusions

The federal tax credit has been extended through 2019 but at decreasing rates until the end of 2021.

Download our Solar Planning Guide to learn more about PPAs and PACE financing.




Shade Issues No Problem for This Solar System “Our ever increasing PG&E bill motivated us to try rooftop solar. We tried to conserve generally and wait until night-time with lower rates to use the washer and drier and other appliances. But that was not conducive to our lifestyle. So we asked why not look at solar power. We don’t want to waste power, but we do want to be able to use it when we need it.”

Richard, South Davis

“I think it’s a really good investment and especially if you can actually pay less per month for utilities. . . . In December I would get into the third tier but this year I never got into that tier. By having solar, it kept me in that first tier even though I was using a lot from PG&E.”

Chrissy, Birch Lane in East Davis

Neighborly Support Aids ‘No Brainer’ Decision to Go Solar Getting solar was “pretty much of a no-brainer. It was the right thing to do. Environmentally, solar is the best form of energy we have. We were happy to move towards greener energy.”

Tim and Karen, West Davis

Local Family Produces More Energy Than They Consume “We want to walk the walk. We want to use very little water and as little energy as possible… Efficiency is always the beginning point. We would like a car with a couple of hundred miles range. The idea is to be self-sufficient with the house and the car from the solar on the roof.”

Steve, Village Homes

Saylor Slashes Energy Costs with Solar Following Energy Retrofit “Energy independence is not going to be driven by fossil fuels.”

Don, West Davis

Local Businessman Saves Money by Installing Rooftop Solar “When my energy bill comes, instead of a few hundred dollars a month, it’s now three bucks.”

Mike, South Davis

They Waited Forty Years for Solar to Be Affordable – Now It Is Paula likes "the idea of a movement, an increasing national consciousness. The fact it is in the national agenda and that there is a local movement we could join was a motivation. Our individual contribution is not going to have a lot of impact; but, if we all step it up, there may be a chance to reduce the worst impacts of climate change.”

Craig and Paula, West Davis

Sue’s electrical costs are approximately $2500 per year. Her system offsets about $1500 of that, which totals $12,000 over 8 years. Since her out of pocket cost for the system, after tax credits and rebates, was approximately $33,000, the system has saved her approximately 36% of the initial investment. With rising electrical rates, the system could pay for itself in another 14 years or less.

Sue, West Davis

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Taxpayers may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Expenditures with respect to the equipment are treated as made when the installation is completed. If the installation is at a new home, the “placed in service” date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year. The maximum allowable credit, equipment requirements and other details vary by technology, as outlined below.


  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2021.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

More information:

Solar water-heating

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2021.
  • Equipment must be certified for performance by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity endorsed by the government of the state in which the property is installed.
  • At least half the energy used to heat the dwelling’s water must be from solar in order for the solar water-heating property expenditures to be eligible.
  • The tax credit does not apply to solar water-heating property for swimming pools or hot tubs.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

IRS Form 5695

Instructions for IRS Form 5695

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