Best solar investment overall is in 3 Bay Area cities – homeowners save $187 per month

A recent study found that three Bay Area cities ranked highest in the US for average monthly savings from a solar investment regardless of cash, lease or loan financing. Homeowners living in San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco will save on average $187 month with a Return On Investment among the highest in the nation, at 14.5%.  When you compare a solar investment with an ROI of 14.5% to the same amount invested into the stock market, where a 6-9% gain is a desirable goal… you can see that solar is money well spent!

The study looked at 50 of the largest US cities and ranked them for best solar investment overall, where San Jose ranked #4, Oakland #9, and San Francisco #10.  The study by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center considered if a typical solar PV system would make a better investment than if they put that money into the stock market. A ranking system scored each city on a 5kW solar PV system (standard size for a $200 electric bill) on the immediate (first-year) average monthly savings expected, relative value of investing in solar relative to the S&P 500 stock index, and the “levelized cost” of the system compared to the cost of energy from the local utility. The Bay Area results are quite impressive.

Monthly Savings


Net Present Value (0% financed) Yearly ROI Overall investment rank (out of #50)
San Jose $186 $16,299 $2,232 (13.6%) 4
Oakland $187 $14,951 $2,244 (15%) 9
San Francisco $187 $14,987 $2,244 (14.9%) 10


The same three Bay Area cities, San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland ranked highest in value for both a fully financed PV system and for a non-financed system.  Ultimately the greater Bay Area is the best metropolitan area for a solar investment with an overall ROI of 14.5%…you would be extremely lucky to see that kind of a return on any stock market investment!