Although solar panels provide “free” power, they nevertheless require money to install.
Prices vary depending on three main factors: capacity, efficiency, and your location.
According to EnergySage, the price range for a solar panel system on an average-sized home in the U.S.
after solar tax credits is between $11,144 and $14,696.
For a few panels you’ll need for a simple DIY project, budget $200 to $250 per panel (or $1 per watt).
Table of Contents
- How Much Does Installing Solar Panels Cost?
- Costs Of Solar Panels By State
- How Much Does Using Solar Power Save?
- I Need How Many Solar Panels
- How Are Solar Panels Put In Place?
- To Sum Up
How Much Does Installing Solar Panels Cost?
After federal tax credits, the average cost to install solar panels in the US is about $12,000.
A modest system may be installed for around $5,000 on the low end, while a Tier 1 solar panel system can run up to $40,000 or more.
Beyond the cost of the panels, an installation process involves other expenses.
In actuality, the panels only account for around 25% of the installation expenses.
The remaining cost is made up of labor charges, operating expenses, and extra hardware like inverters and control circuits.
Companies that specialize in solar power installation, maintenance, and warranties on both the panels and the labor.
Although these extra services aren’t free, they are often worthwhile.
The cost of installing solar panels is influenced by a few other variables.
#1. State And Federal Incentives
The solar tax credit covers 26% of the cost of the system till 2022.
The benefit drops to 22 percent in 2023, and unless Congress extends it once more, you probably won’t be able to claim the federal solar tax credit at all in 2024.
Tax rebates for commercial solar panels, however, are scheduled to remain at 10%.
Numerous state incentives also lessen the financial burden for homeowners who wish to go solar, in addition to federal solar tax credits.
Additionally, you could be qualified for local rebates and incentives that further reduce the cost.
#2. Energy Requirements
The average price of a solar panel is between $2.51 and $3.31 per watt.
The Solar Action Alliance estimates that installers who purchase in bulk spend closer to 85 cents per watt.
Kilowattage is used to grade solar panels (kW).
There are 1,000 watts in a kW.
A 2-kW system costs, on average, $4,381 after tax incentives.
A 5-kW system should cost around $11,000, and a 10-kW system should cost about $22,000.
#3. Selection Of Panels
Solar panels are not all made equal.
The two solar panel varieties that are most often used to power houses are monocrystalline and polycrystalline.
Although monocrystalline panels are often more costly than polycrystalline ones, they are also more effective.
You may require more effective (and pricey) panels if your roof area is restricted.
Read about how to choose the best solar panels for additional details.
#4. Your Residence
The cost of adopting solar is also impacted by your location.
Divide the number of photovoltaic (PV) panels required for your system by the wattage of each panel, then multiply your average hourly energy need by the peak sunshine hours in your location.
We advise defining a range including samples at high and low wattages.
To meet all of their energy demands, the majority of American households ultimately need roughly 30 panels.
The size of your system affects the average price of solar panels as well.
Consider the size of your roof as most roof solar panels are about 512 feet tall by 3 feet wide.
#5. Purchase Possibilities
Solar panels can be purchased outright, much like a new car, but the majority of people don’t.
Despite the high upfront cost of solar panels, consumers and business owners can finance their purchase with loans, solar leases, or power purchase agreements (PPA).
For more details on businesses that can assist you with financing your solar purchase and help you better manage the cost of solar panels, read our guide to solar financing.
Costs Of Solar Panels By State
Equipment and installation services are often included in solar panel pricing in the US.
To find out about local incentives and tax credits in your region, visit the website of the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Utilizing state renewable energy initiatives where you can reduces your upfront expenses and shortens the time it takes for a project to pay for itself.
Washington is the greenest state, followed by Oregon and New Hampshire in our research.
|State||Starting cost for 6-kW system*||Average cost per watt**||2020 federal tax credit value (26%)||2021 federal tax credit value (22%|
|District of Columbia||$15,720||$2.88||$4,087||$3,458|
*According to EnergySage and Solar Reviews, prior to tax credits
**In line with Solar Reviews
How Much Does Using Solar Power Save?
Your energy costs might be reduced by 75% if you switch to a solar energy system.
The savings you and your family experience will be significantly influenced by where you live, the temperature there, and your own energy requirements.
A typical homeowner in Portland, Oregon, would save $38,000 overall, but a homeowner in Los Angeles may save up to $90,000 over the course of 20 years.
For you to quickly and simply assess the cost and benefits of putting solar panels on your house, several solar energy businesses offer a free calculator tool.
Various solar calculators may provide varying estimates of power prices.
Numbers may be calculated using your supplied data, regional averages, or national averages.
The typical monthly power bill in America is between $100 and $200, and the average annual energy expense is close to $1,500.
It can take five to 15 years to recover your investment in a solar panel system, depending on how much you shell out up front.
Subtract incentives and rebates from expenses to see how long it will take you to break even on savings compared to the cost of your solar panels.
Subtract that amount from the annual amount you save on utility costs.
Most Americans’ solar panels start paying for themselves after seven years, taking into account the federal tax credit for installing them.
The solar investment tax credit is now 26 percent for systems built through 2022 thanks to a congressional extension, but it is expected to drop to 22 percent for systems installed in 2023 and expire at the beginning of 2024.
You can still get a utility bill even if your solar panels provide all of the power you need.
You will get net metering credits for the month instead of being asked for payments.
I Need How Many Solar Panels
The total cost of installing a solar system depends on how many panels you need, which is determined by your energy requirements.
You must produce all of the power your house requires in order to do away with your electric bill completely.
For the majority of households, 25 to 35 solar panels are required to attain total energy independence.
Average households need 867 kWh/month in electrical power
An average solar panel can produce one kilowatt-hour (kWh) each day, thus if you use 30 kWh per day, you would need 30 solar panels to meet your energy requirements.
Your energy expenditures will increase if you have to produce more energy to heat a pool or operate the air conditioner for the majority of the year.
You must be aware of your typical kilowatt-hour use in order to calculate how much energy you will need (kWh).
Your power bill should list this amount as “kWh utilized.” Examine your invoices from the previous year, add up the reported kWh consumed, then divide by 12 to get your monthly average.
To get your daily average, multiply your monthly kWh average by 30.
Your average daily kWh, for instance, would be 30 if your average monthly kWh was 900.
Some solar power calculators estimate how much energy you can produce based on a satellite image of your roof.
Some calculators base their estimates only on the size of your roof or your usual power use, while others take into account your region’s solar irradiation.
Federal, state, and municipal incentives that, if you’re qualified, may result in significant savings may or may not be included in solar estimates.
Try to account for periods when there is less solar energy available, such as when it is overcast or late at night, for a more precise computation.
There are two main explanations for this:
- Battery backups may be used to store energy while it is present and to provide needed power when the sun isn’t shining. Do some study to discover the best solar battery for your house since there are many different kinds available.
- Buyback agreements might assist offset the expense of purchasing energy from the utility company if your system is unable to produce enough electricity. When the sun is shining, if your solar energy system produces more electrical power than your house needs, the utility company will reimburse you for the surplus electricity at a rate known as “avoided cost.” Typically, this price represents somewhat less than half of what the utility provider costs for electricity.
Even though these extra calculations might be challenging, they are essential if you want to install the best solar power system for your house.
How Are Solar Panels Put In Place?
In a way, doing all this research is the most difficult step in installing solar panels on your house.
Between one and four months may pass between receiving an estimate from a solar energy business and having solar panels installed.
There are six stages that make up the whole process:
1. Purchase the hardware for your solar panels.
The panels and inverters are the two components of any household solar power system that are most crucial.
Both will probably be recommended by your installer, but most people find that knowing how solar panels operate makes it simpler to choose the solar panels that are ideal for them.
Before making a purchase, think about getting a reputable electrical engineering specialist to review the planned system.
By doing this, you may be sure to acquire the system that best suits your requirements.
2. An engineer for solar installation will come to your home.
Meeting an engineer at your house after the signing of a contract is the first indication that your solar panel installation is moving forward.
They’ll examine your electrical panel or circuit breaker and make sure your roof can withstand the weight of your solar panels.
It’s time to start filling out paperwork after an engineer has determined that your property is structurally strong enough to handle the installation of solar panels.
3. Complete the documents.
The majority of the involved paperwork, including solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), PACE and other clean energy finance programs, should be handled by your installer, but you should be aware of where certain documents should be filed.
Your installation should be familiar with regional construction permits and regulations in addition to assisting you with applications for state and federal incentives.
They may even complete this paperwork for you.
Once all of your documentation has been submitted and approved, your installer will order the equipment you decided on when you signed your contract, and your name will be put to the list of people who will be installing solar panels.
4. Leave the labor-intensive work to the experts.
The actual installation of the solar panels takes a maximum of a few days.
To ensure that everything is still in working order after the engineer’s visit, a solar panel installer first prepares the roof of your house.
The electrical cable connecting your panels to your power system is then installed.
The panels are then placed on top of the racking, which is subsequently secured to your roof to hold them.
The panels are then linked to inverters and control circuits, which transform solar energy into useful electricity.
5. A last check.
Before you can connect your solar panels to the grid, a representative from your local government must inspect and authorize your installer’s work.
The inspector now checks for damaged wiring or infractions of the electrical and roof setback rules.
6. Switch it on.
Finally, a representative from your neighborhood electric company comes to formally link your new solar power system to their grid.
Locate a local partner for solar energy.
To Sum Up
Before tax credits or subsidies, the typical price to install a domestic solar power system is equivalent to the cost of a new automobile.
The cost of equipment and installation, as well as charges or fees related to labor, permits, inspections, and system maintenance, must all be taken into account when deciding whether to put solar panels on your house.
Once you have paid for your panels and installation, returns are high and maintenance costs are low since the sun is a free source of energy.
Next, read about the advantages and disadvantages of solar panels or discover how they operate.
What is the price of solar panels for a 2,000 square foot home?
It is difficult to create a pricing structure for residential solar systems based on the size of a residence since other elements, such sun exposure and power consumption, are more crucial.
It is important to get in touch with three solar panel manufacturers at least.
Based on the location of your property and your normal energy demand, they can calculate the cost of installing solar panels.
What are the primary drawbacks of solar power?
The initial expense and the restrictions that a home’s size and location may impose on a system’s size are the two primary drawbacks of solar energy.
Solar panels may save you money over the long term, but they come with a large upfront cost of anything between $11,000 and $50,000, and it may take many years before you start to see any returns.
The size of a home’s solar system might also be significantly constrained by the available roof space.
As a result, homeowners who wish to transition to solar energy may have to choose a system that is too small to satisfy their daily energy demands or give up on the concept entirely.
How long will it take solar panels to break even?
Solar panels typically need six to ten years to pay for themselves.
This payback time, however, may be considerably altered by factors including the price of your system, the number of incentives you qualify for, how much power you already consume, and the expected quantity of energy your system produces.
Does solar power boost a home’s worth?
Your home’s total value may go up if you install a solar energy system.
The installation is treated in the same way as improvements like completed basements, expanded kitchens, and modernized bathroom fixtures.
A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory research from 2015 found that solar panels added an average of $15,000 to a home’s value.