Save with solar in Oakland, California

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Oakland, California

Oakland is one of the largest and most important ports in the USA, with a population of over 400,000. The city has a long history, first settled in 1772 and incorporated in 1852. Oakland experienced significant growth during the 20th century thanks to its active port and the success of the shipbuilding and automotive industries. Commercial activity in Oakland then expanded to healthcare and technology.

In recent years, Oakland has also taken a leadership role in terms of overall sustainability. The local government’s Sustainable Oakland program has been highly successful in making the city greener:

  • Since 2005, greenhouse gas emissions in Oakland have been reduced by 14 percent thanks to the program.
  • Since March 2017, electric vehicle charging stations are mandatory in all multi-family and commercial buildings. The number of charging stations required is calculated based on building size.
  • Oakland has authorized six providers of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to operate in the city. They provide low-interest financing for all projects dealing with water conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
  • The Port of Oakland is purchasing 11,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of solar energy each year, at a price of $39 per MWh, from a nearby solar farm located in Lancaster to offset carbon emissions.

Investing in Solar Power in Oakland, CA

Electricity rates above 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) are common in Oakland, and rates increased by around 5 percent in 2016 alone. Most of the city is served by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), while the Oakland International Airport and the Port of Oakland are served by a municipal utility.

Solar panel systems are a solid investment in Oakland, thanks to the combination of expensive electricity and attractive financing options. You may be able to deploy solar panels with a low-interest rate loan with zero upfront investment. Monthly loan payments can then be paid off with energy savings.

  • If you own equity in your home, a home-equity line of credit (HELOC) can be a great option to finance solar panels. These loans come with interest rates below 5 percent and repayment periods of around 15 years.
  • PACE financing is another attractive option with low interest rates and repayment periods of up to 20 years, where the loan payments are billed along with your property taxes.

In addition to the financing options, there is also an excellent net metering policy for solar panel systems in Oakland; PG&E is required to give you full credit for all energy generated, even if it exceeds your consumption. In other words, you can size your solar panel system to generate more energy than what you consume, and start billing PG&E for your surplus generation each month!

All renewable energy systems, including solar power, are eligible for a federal tax credit equivalent to 30 percent of their cost. This is a nationwide incentive that applies to all solar panel systems deployed before the end of 2019, and it can greatly increase return on investment if paying for your solar panel system upfront. If you finance your system with a HELOC or a PACE loan, you can still claim the federal tax credit to cover your loan payments.

PowerScout operates throughout the country, but Oakland has a special place in our heart. Most of our team lives in Oakland and our headquarters are near Jack London Square. We think Oakland is pretty awesome. If you’re in the area, visit us at:


331 Jefferson Street

Oakland, CA 94607