How Much Does A Solar Panel Cost
Prices have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. According to consumer reports, after solar tax credits are accounted for, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from $11,000 to $15,000.
Buying Your Solar Panel System
There are many different ways to buy a solar power system. In general, you can find a company local to your area that will get you set up. By doing this, you can ensure that you will be compliant with local codes.
The biggest advantage of buying a local system is that the company has knowledge of the laws. They are not going to let you buy anything that will get you a strike on your inspection. For this reason, buying your system locally is highly recommended.
Design And Size Your System Based On Energy Needs
First and foremost, it is important to consider your needs. Every home is different just like every household is different. In general, if you only need to power smaller devices and not your entire home, diy solar panels could be for you. There are many different options for what design of system is best for you. These include off-grid systems , hybrid on-grid/off-grid systems and grid-tied systems.
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Calculate Your Kwh Usage
To determine your homes energy usage more accurately, use our home appliances power consumption table to find out how many kWh your appliances would use per month.
If your utility provides a favorable net metering policy, the energy your system generates can be banked with the utility as a credit that can be used later. Not all utility companies give you credit check with your local provider.
Calculate Solar System Output
Once you know how much area you have for solar panels, and what angles and direction you will be working with, use a PV watts calculator to figure out how much power your system will put out on a monthly basis:
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Installing Microinverters And The Soladeck
After you have the racking installed, you will need to attach the Enphase microinverters. The trunk cable connects all the microinverters together and terminates into a junction box that transitions into the roof.
Microinverters can be put on either the high or low rail, whichever allows the trunk cable to reach just make sure they can be covered by the panels and that panel edges will not directly lay on microinverters.
Enphase has an app called Enlighten that will give you directions on how to map out your system by scanning the barcode of each microinverter.
Project Solar uses a junction box called SolaDeck, which is a roof-mounted combiner and enclosure used for the installation and pre-wiring of solar panels. Each array on your roof will need a SolaDeck.
You need to position the SolaDeck under or next to the last panel where your trunk cable ends. For the sake of aesthetics, many people prefer to place the SolaDeck under an array, but that placement could make future maintenance difficult.
Once youve chosen where you want to place the SolaDeck, trace the boxs lid with chalk onto the shingles. You will cut the outline out of the shingles and remove any nails that would interfere with the SolaDeck flashing.
Next, you will place the SolaDeck on the roof and mark the various holes that will need to be screwed in through the deck.
You will screw the SolaDeck into place and then adhere shingles to the top of the flashing with sealant.
Should You Install Solar Panels Yourself
According to the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, the average cost of going solar for homeowners was $18,840. Of that amount, design and installation labor costs equate to only about ten percent of the total bill.
Essentially, this means that a DIY Solar Panel System will save you roughly $1,884.
As professional solar installers, we at Solar by CIR have an obvious stake in this issue, so were going to refrain from making any recommendations. Our suggestion is clear. Our intentions are to merely bring light to the fact that the bulk of the cost of going solar is the equipment itself.
If youd like to learn more about how much a solar system costs and how quickly it can pay for itself, we encourage you to check out this accompanying article.
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How To Carry Your Solar Panels
Can you imagine buying a big-screen television only to drop it on the way from the car to your living room? Your solar panels are very similar and require plenty of due care when moving them. But you dont have to drop solar panels to dodge them. For example, trying to carry one on your shoulder is likely to result in a power loss of about 1 per cent. You need to spread the load across your shoulder, head and hip so one point is not digging into the panel and causing damage.
Install The Racking Or Mounts For The Panels On A Roof Or On The Ground
Once you have the necessary equipment, designs and permits in order, it is time to install your equipment. For roof-mounted systems, this begins with installing your racking and mounting equipment. To start, mark where your system will be installed, drill where lag bolts will be put in place, caulk the holes, put in lag bolts and lock rails onto them.
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Other Equipment Youll Need To Buy For Your Solar Panel System
If youre doing your own installation, youll need to consider purchasing the following when you buy your solar panels:
- Inverter: This converts direct current solar energy into the alternating current electricity needed to power your home. Most options will be string inverters or microinverters.
- Battery: A solar battery allows you to store excess energy for future use rather than feeding it back into the electrical grid. Having a battery maximizes your solar energy use.
- Mounting system: This stabilizes your solar panels and ensures they stay in their proper rooftop position.
- Wiring: Wiring is used to connect your solar system to your electrical panel.
- Solar charge controller: A charge controller regulates voltage and prevents batteries from overcharging.
Finding The Right Materials Is Time
As a DIYer, you know the value of research when buying materials. You know that poorly-made materials may lead to additional repairs or problems down the road, so its better to purchase high-quality materials from the get-go.
Were confident in your research abilities, but we also know that comparing different types of panels takes time. Lots of time. Solar experts have years of experience researching and comparing different types of panels. As a result, the fastest way to get reliable equipment recommendations is to consult with a team of solar professionals.
Consulting with solar panel professionals can also save you money on equipment costs. Solar installation companies usually get equipment deals from top-tier manufacturers, allowing them to pass those discounts to you. After you add up the cost of buying panels by yourself, you may be surprised to learn that youll save more by working with a team of professionals.
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Learn Hub: Do It Yourself Solar
When you choose DIY solar, youre taking control of your solar project. While a DIY solar system involves some extra effort, you can act as your own project manager and save thousands when setting up your solar panels. You can build it yourself, hire local laborers to help, or do a mix of both.
Regardless of which approach you choose, our Do-It-Your-Way Solar Guide will help you learn everything you need to know about DIY solar panels, including planning, system design, set up, and more. And, you can when youre ready to get started.
Building your own solar system puts you in complete control of your solar project but requires a lot of planning and hard work. By opting to go DIY solar, you can actually cut your costs by more than $12,000 for the average home solar system. Not a bad investment.
You can go solar today for about one-third of what it would have cost ten years ago. In fact, the cost of a fully installed system went down from $7.14/watt in 2010 to $2.50/watt by 2020.
Can You Install Solar Panels Yourself
A solar panel system is complicated, and there are plenty of reasons why so many companies across the U.S. specialize in providing professional solar installation services. However, that doesnt mean you cant build your own solar panel system you can install your own panels, a DIY solar panel setup can be a viable option for some solar shoppers.
According to data from the EnergySage Marketplace, the average gross cost of going solar for homeowners is about $27,000$16,860. Of that amount, design and installation labor costs contribute about 10 percent of the total bill this 10 percent is what homemade solar panels will save you in essence, since youll still have to buy the equipment and components yourself. Regardless, its still tempting to look into building your own solar panel installation to save money and be in full control of your project.
Your solar energy system should continue to generate electricity for 25 to 35 years, so its crucial that you consider both the upfront costs and the relative financial benefits for all of your solar options. If you buy a home solar kit like the ones for sale at Costco or Home Depot, it may be less expensive per watt, but you arent getting the same quality equipment that solar installers are able to offer you. For the most part, solar installers buy from equipment distributors that dont sell to the general public and theyre often getting lower prices because theyre able to buy in bulk.
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Can I Buy Solar Panels And Install Myself
Yes! Over half of our customers install and maintain their own solar power systems. However, theres plenty you can do yourselfsizing your system, picking components, mounting and installing the solar panels, inverter, safety disconnects, and so on. The more you do yourself, the more youll save.
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Do I Need To Contact My Power Company For Solar Panels
If you live in an area that has a power grid, you will also have to work with your local utility company. They may come out and do an inspection and work with you to make sure everything is safe. This will be necessary if you plan to take advantage of their power buy-back program.
Many power companies have a separate approval process from the local government. It is a good idea to get in contact with them early in the construction. This will allow time for you to go through their inspections.
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How To Install Solar Panels
Installing solar panels is becoming a more and more popular way to become more energy independent and help the environment. solar panels can be installed by anyone, but it is recommended to have some knowledge of electrical wiring or hire an electrician. The solar panels will need to be connected to the homes electrical system and will require a permit from the local municipality. The solar panels can be mounted on the roof or on the ground and will need to be positioned to get the most sunlight possible while you put your thermostat at rest.
Main Components Of Solar Power Systems
The best solar panels for you will depend on your budget and the amount of light thats available in your location. Knowing the components of a solar power system can help you understand how the types of solar panels work.
There are three main components in a solar power system:
Solar Panels: The main role of a solar panel is to generate electrons when exposed to sunlight, which then helps produce a flow of electricity for your home or office. Solar panels dont release fumes and dont have greenhouse gases or carbon emissions.
The amount of electricity solar panels produce from sunlight is referred to as solar efficiency. The average efficiency rating is between 15 percent and 17 percent, but high-end models can reach above 20 percent.
Inverters: Standard home appliances use alternating current electricity to operate. Inverters take the direct current electricity produced by solar panels and convert it into AC electricity.
There are two types of inverters: string inverters and microinverters. A string inverter is attached to a wall, and all the solar panels connect to it. A microinverter is attached behind each solar panel. Microinverters offer more energy production, but they cost more than string inverters. Most solar panel kits feature one of these two inverters, as well as essential solar power accessories such as batteries, solar battery chargers, charge controllers and cables.
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Do Not Attempt The Wiring Yourself
You can install panels on your roof to a point. Unless you are an experienced, licenced electrician, though, NEVER attempt to do the wiring yourself. Please.
The consequences of any mistakes are way too high and there are laws, regulations and safety standards that must be adhered to for full compliance. This part must be left to the professionals and you can kick back in front of Netflix while they do it.
Am I Eligible For Any Tax Breaks As An Independent Homeowner Doing The Solar Installation
In the U.S., the federal solar tax credit, also called the investment tax credit , allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar install with no cap. You may do this as the installer or if you hire a company to do the work.
At this point, there is no plan to extend this tax credit past 2021 to homeowners under the current Administration, although a newly elected executive branch and Congress could do so.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates are another incentive homeowners have. With this program, you sell energy certificates to your utility and get cash back. The system works like the stock exchange. SREC values vary from state to state and month to month.
You must check with your state and local authorities to find out about any other incentives or rebates. These may be conditional on your hiring an approved solar company to perform the installation.
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Is Solar Power Worth It
Once you’ve worked through all of these calculations, you’ll likely end up with a single numberthe number of years it will take for a solar system to pay for itself in savings from your energy bills. If you live in a sunny part of the country and have high utility bills at the moment, you could be looking at a system that will reach this point in five years. Other homeowners may have to wait 10 or 20 years to reach this point.
In other words, most homeowners will eventually see a benefit from a solar power system it might just take decades for this to be realized. Whether it is worth installing such a system therefore often comes down to a number of much less technical factors than those we’ve listed above: how long you are going to stay in your home, the subsidies available in your area, and simply whether you want to do your bit for the environment.
Install A Solar Inverter And Bos
A solar inverter is a type of electrical converter which converts the variable direct current output of a photovoltaic solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network. This should be done by a professional electrician. The BOS is the rest of the array minus the large components such as the inverter, panels, optimizers, etc. An example of BOS would be installing the proper conduit to run your PV wire from the array to the inverter and then into the main service panel.
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Should You Or Shouldnt You
Youve heard it on the news and youve read the latest reports. Solar power is projected to become cheaper than coal in about 10 years. Just consider the significant drops in the cost of going solar since 2009, solar prices have dropped 62%! What was once a far-reaching solution to lowering your home energy bill has now become a reality in the life of many homeowners. In fact, DIY residential solar kits are appearing on the shelves of big box stores. As a homeowner, youre ready to get in on the action! And with a DIY kit, how hard could it be to start saving money on your monthly electric bill? In this article, well cover what youll do to install a home solar energy system and the pros and cons of the DIY method versus hiring the professionals.