How To Calculate How Many Solar Panels You Need
Calculating how many solar panels you need is fairly easy if you have the relevant information. It all begins with the load you need solar to supply. If its a home, how many kWh does it use?
Use the following steps for solar panel sizing:
Calculate the number of solar panels your home needs by estimating the previous years energy bill and using your locations irradiance value in kWh/m2/year to calculate the theoretical solar production needed. Adjust theoretical solar kWh by the loss factor of 1.44 and divide by the individual solar panel watts rating.
Should You Wait For Solar To Become Cheaper
In large part because of the stubborn nature of soft costs, if youâre wondering if you should wait for costs to drop further, we would recommend not to wait. Only 36% of the cost of a home solar installation is related to hardware costs, so waiting a few years wonât result in the kind of dramatic price drops weâve seen in the past. Solar hardware is already very cheap.
However, waiting until youâre financially able to purchase the system rather than take a PPA or lease is a good idea.
The other important issue is that federal and local incentives for solar will eventually expire. The federal tax credit will be dropping in value in 2020 and disappear for residential customers by 2022.
This transition is driven by cheap renewable-energy technologies. Today, either wind or PV are the cheapest new sources of electricity in countries making up around 73% of world GDP. And as costs continue to fall, we expect new-build wind and PV to get cheaper than running existing fossil-fuel power plants. In China, unsubsidized renewables undercut coal in 2023-24, and in the U.S. they undercut natural gas in 2024-25.
Cost Of Raw Materials
International silicon prices, the primary raw material in solar panels, have hit their highest levels ever recorded in history.
China, the worlds largest silicon manufacturer, has drastically reduced the production quantity of this essential metal due to the energy crisis currently ravaging the country.
The global silicon shortage means that the average Australian will have to dig deeper to afford solar. There is hope that solar prices will stabilise in the future, but the prevailing trend, for now, is that prices will continue rising.
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How Much Will Solar Continue To Grow In The United States
The growth of renewable energy has been driven by two things: better technology and an increasing manufacturing volumes. Together, these forces have driven down the price of solar electricity so much that it is on par with gas and coal, or even cheaper in many cases.
Second, the majority of people live in states that have a renewable portfolio standard . An RPS is a mandate from the state government that a certain percentage of the stateâs electricity must come from renewable sources.
These mandates are important for the price of solar because it means there will be a guaranteed market for photovoltaics in the future. By increasing the demand, weâll see the price of solar panels to continue to drop.
Save On Electricity Costs With Solar Panels
Whether you are aiming to lower your electricity expenses or reduce your carbon footprint, the benefits of solar panels are hard to overlook. Invest the time to obtain all of the necessary information including house size, solar insolation, current electricity rates, and your yearly consumption. Go about the installation process wisely and make it worth the investment!
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How Long Do Solar Panels Take To Pay For Themselves
Depending on the size of your solar panel system and the export tariff, your solar panels can be paid off after 15-25 years. A larger system is more expensive, but it can generate more electricity and, therefore, can bring you more savings in the long-run.
A 5kW solar panel system can break even after 15-20 years, while a 3kW system can take 21-25 years to break even.
To protect the lifespan of your panels, ensure you always adhere to solar panel maintenance and cleaning tips.
Home Solar Power Economics Example
The following example illustrates solar energy economics on a home in Alberta based on the ATCO pricing cited earlier. The situation will differ slightly if you were to examine solar panels in Edmonton or Calgary.
1. 8.0kW system
2. 30 Year analysis period
3. Total installed cost = $2.00/W +gst
4. O& M Cost = $100/yr
5. Client consumption = 9,000kWh/yr
6. Generation = 8,600kWh in year 1
7. Degradation = 0.5%/yr
8. Grid Energy = $0.070/kWh + 4.0%/yr. This escalation results in a grid energy price of $0.12/kWh in 15 years.
9. T& D = $0.038/kWh + 2.0%/yr . This T& D escalation results in service charges of $0.051/kWh in 15 years.
10. Discount Rate = 1.5%
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How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels
The average cost to install solar panels in the United States is about $12,000 after federal tax incentives. On the low end, you can install a smaller system for around $5,000, while a high-priced Tier 1 solar panel system can cost $40,000 or more.
There are additional costs that go into an installation project beyond the price of panels. In fact, only about a quarter of the installation costs are actually for the panels. Labor costs, operational costs and additional equipment, such as inverters and control circuitry, make up the rest of the price.
Solar energy companies install the solar panels, provide maintenance and offer warranties on both the panels and the work. These additional services arent free, but they are often worth it. A few additional factors affect the price of solar panel installation.
How Much Will The Whole Installation Cost Me
While it can be useful to know the price per solar panel, the real price comes from the entire solar power system and the installation. We are not a DIY-focused site, so for this cost analysis we are going to focus solely on installation costs through a certified solar installer.
Beyond just the cost of solar panels, there are many costs that go into a full-scale solar installation on your home. Here is a quick breakdown of all the costs that go into an installation:
- 25% Solar Panels
- 45% Operational Costs
We will do a future post with a full breakdown of these costs, but what is the actual cost of a solar power installation on your home?
Lets start by looking at the average installation. The average installation on an American home is a 5 kilowatt system. For 2020, the average cost per watt of solar systems in the US is $2.96 cents.
So lets do the math! If we multiply 5,000 watts by $2.96, we get $14,800.
But wait, dont forget about the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit! With this credit , you save 26% of your total solar installation cost through a tax credit. When we take this 30% credit out of $14,800, we arrive at $10,952.
The average cost of the average solar system in the United States is approximately $10,592 after available tax credits.
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How Much Do You Save With Solar Panels
You can cut down on your electricity bills with the use of solar panels. The electricity that you use when your panels are active is entirely free, and it can result in annual savings of £160-£430. Of course, the specifications of every household are necessary in order to be precise in the estimation.
Overall, how much you can save with solar panels will depend on a few factors:
- Your household electricity consumption
- How efficient your type of solar panel is
- If you generate an income from solar panel funding schemes
You can increase the savings on your bills by using your appliances during the day, when your solar panels are active. Those small changes can result in big savings on the energy bill.
In addition, how efficient your solar panels are will also play a part in how much you can save. Monocrystalline panels are more efficient , while polycrystalline panels are less efficient . The more efficient your system is, the more electricity it can generate in a given time.
System Size And Quality
The most obvious factor that impacts the cost of solar panels is the size of the system you purchase. Generally speaking, the larger the solar panel array, the more costly it will be. However, this doesn’t always translate to increased energy savings. The quality of the solar panels you purchase as well as the type of hardware and accessory equipment you use can boost performance. Optimizing the efficiency of your solar panel system will depend on a variety of factors, including how much energy you use, the build of your roof, the local weather conditions, and more.
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How Much Is The Average Electric Bill
As of 2019, the average U.S. household spent $115.49 per month on electricity, with the average U.S. resident consuming 877 kilowatt-hours per month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Average electric bill costs differ by state, and some states are more affordable than others. Missouri is the most affordable state to power your home, while Hawaii is the most expensive, according to the EIA. Also, according to the EIA, electricity rates are determined by multiple factors including rates charged by power plants, fuel, weather, demand and regulations.
Like a water bill, the rate of consumption and appliance efficiency are fundamental factors in how much an electric bill costs. Other factors, including the size and physical characteristics of your home, influence the overall cost. From an energy perspective, living in a bigger space, such as a single-family home, will usually cost more than living in a smaller space, like an apartment. Running various appliances, notably those that are not energy efficient, can also cause your electric bill to increase.
How Much Do Solar Systems Cost
A solar system consisting of PV panels, DC to AC inverter, and a rack system costs anything between $2500 for a 1.5 kW system to over $8000 for a 10kW system after government subsidies.
Of course, government subsidies also depend on system size, installation date, and zone.
Look at the approximate cost of premium solar systems in Australia as of November 2021.
The figures represented here are approximate values bound to change depending on different factors.
These prices are 20-30% higher than average solar prices due to higher quality materials, extended warranties and better technical capabilities.
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How Much Money Do Solar Panels Save You On Electric Bills
The first step to understanding how much solar can save you is to calculate how much you are currently spending on electricity every year. For example, the average annual electricity use required for a U.S. household is 10,649 kilowatt-hours . Multiply that by the national average electricity rate as of October 2020 and youll find that the typical American family is spending just under $1,450 a year on electricity alone.
Then, you have to consider the volatile nature of electricity prices and determine what utility rates will be in years to come. When you compare the cost of utility electricity with home solar, you should keep in mind that you can expect electricity rates to increase annually. Over the past decade, national electricity costs have increased at a rate of around 2.2% per year. Utility rate inflation is an added incentive for solar: when you generate your own energy with a rooftop PV system, youre locking in energy costs at a constant rate so that you no longer have to consider variable utility rates.
To provide a snapshot for typical bill savings from a solar installation, the following table offers state-by-state data for 20-year savings estimates with solar. The data incorporates a number of assumptions:
- System size: 6 kilowatts
- Electricity demand: 10,649 kilowatt-hours per year
- Utility rate inflation: 2.2%
How Much Have Solar Energy Prices Fallen
The section above describes the drop in installed home solar costs, but what about just the panels?
The price of solar panels has dropped by an incredible amount. Back in 1977, the price of solar photovoltaic cells was $77 for just one watt of power. Today? You can find solar cells priced as low as $0.13 per watt, or about 600 times less. The cost has generally been following Swansonâs Law, which states that the price of solar drops by 20% for every doubling of shipped product.
This relationship between manufacturing volume and price is an important effect, because as youâll see, the entire global economy is shifting rapidly toward renewable energy.
As you see in the graph below, the past 20 years have been a time of incredible growth for distributed solar. Distributed solar refers to small systems that are not part of a utility power plant – in other words, rooftop and backyard systems on homes and businesses throughout the country.
This graph shows how many systems were installed per year. As you can see, there was a relatively small market in 2010, and it has exploded in the years since. While there was a drop in 2017, the growth curve in 2018 and early 2019 has continued upward.
Swansonâs Law describes how this massive growth has also led to a massive drop in price: solar module costs have dropped by 89% since 2010.
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How To Determine Savings From Solar Panels
However, the amount that will save depends on a variety of factors. This includes the number of hours that the panels receive direct sunlight each day, the size of your solar panel array, and the conditions of your roof. However, it is your local electricity rate that plays the biggest part in how much money you can expect to save. Here is a step-by-step look at how you can determine your savings.
The Price Of Solar Equipment Has Dropped By 89% Since 2010 But Recent Raw Material Shortages Have Reversed That Trend
If youâre interested in solar and renewable energy, youâre probably aware that the price of wind and solar technologies have dropped by an incredible amount over time.
There are a couple questions that homeowners who are thinking of going solar often have. The first is: Is solar power getting cheaper? And other is: If solar is getting cheaper, should I wait before installing solar panels on my house?
The price of solar panels, inverters, and lithium batteries has gotten cheaper over the past 10 years. Prices are expected to continue to drop over the long term.
However, the cost of solar installation will not drop at the same rate because hardware costs are less than 40% of the price tag for a home solar setup. Dont expect home solar to be dramatically cheaper in the future. In fact, your cost may increase as local and federal rebates expire.
Recent shortages in key raw materials, especially polysilicon, have actually caused the price of solar panels to actually rise in the past year. While this trend is expected to be temporary, it does illustrate that solar panel prices can fluctuate.
Bottom line: if youre thinking of adding solar to your home, waiting probably isnt going to save you money. Install your solar panels now, especially because tax credits do expire.
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Additional Solar Panel System Costs
There are a few things youll want to add to your solar energy systems total cost to get the most accurate price estimate. Here are a few additional factors that will impact how much your solar panels will cost:
- Labor costs Local labor costs for solar installation will change depending on your area and the average costs solar installers charge in your area.
- Installing solar mounts The costs to install the racks that hold your residential solar panels will effect cost as well. There are a few options for solar mounting.
- Installing solar inverters A solar inverter will need to be installed to transform direct current power from the panels into the alternating current you can use in your home
- Other costs: There may also be costs for any local permit fees, inspection fees, and taxes on the solar panels.
With the fall in solar panel prices, these soft solar panel costs now constitute the bulk of what you pay when you install solar for your home.
Fortunately, as more people adopt solar power, soft costs have fallen as a resulta trend thats very likely to continue in the future. An analysis by the federal governments National Renewable Energy Laboratory discovered that installed prices have fallen at an average annual rate of 13% to 18%.
Always make sure to speak with a local solar professional to get a more accurate estimate of what your installation will cost.
Yes You Can Afford To Go Solar
Its the number one question everyone asks when considering solar panel installation: How much do solar panels cost?
The good news is that the cost to install home solar power saw a 70% decrease from 2010 to 2016 according to statistics from the Solar Energy Industry Association . Thats huge! No other electricity generation technology has been able to keep up with such a rapid pace of cost reduction.
In fact, can you think of anything else, anything, thats experienced such a decline in cost? Neither can we!
While costs have continued to decrease since 2016, it has been at a slower pace, so the cost to go solar has pretty much stabilized. Meaning there is no better time than now to go solar. Any cost savings you may see by delaying your decision is not likely to offset the savings you would forego by waiting.
A number of factors determine the final price of a PV system, including its size, component options and configuration, labor costs, local permitting costs and available incentives and tax credits. The cost of a solar electric system is measured in dollars per watt. The cost of a residential solar system is currently averaging $3-5 per watt, depending on the state you live in. That means the average 5-kW residential system will cost $15,000-$25,000, prior to tax credits or incentives.
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