How Much Do The Solar Panels Themselves Cost
So how much does an actual solar panel cost? Well, it depends on a few things: how powerful the panel is and who is buying the panels.
If you are not a solar installer and are considering doing a DIY solar panel installation on your home, you will likely have to pay retail prices for each panel. The general rule of thumb is that installers who buy in bulk pay around $0.85 per watt, while retail consumers pay around $1 per watt.
A typical solar panel ranges from 150-350 watts, so for this example well cut right down the middle and use a 250 watt solar panel.
If you are going through an installer, youre looking at around $212.50 per panel . If youre going DIY and buying panels yourself, youre looking at around $250 per panel . Keep in mind that this is before tax rebates!
Average Cost Per 250 watt Solar Panel: $212.50
Things To Consider Before Adding Solar Panels
Before you consider adding more solar panels to your existing solar energy system, there are a few things you should know. Whether or not you are adding additional solar panels or a solar battery, you may need to upgrade your solar inverter as well. Therefore, if you are considering adding more solar panels to your system to help offset your increase in usage, it makes sense to consider adding a solar battery to your current solar energy system as well. If you wait and add a solar battery in the future, you may have to change your inverter more than once since solar energy systems with batteries require an inverter that can charge and manage the batterys power flow.
Solar Panel Installation Cost By Type Of Mounting System
Another component you may not give much thought to in your solar installation is the . This is what your solar panels attach to. If you have a roof installation, the mounting system type is dependent on your roof material. If you cannot penetrate the roof to install it, then a ballast method must be used. However, nearly all residential roof installations are known as a fixed mount. If you have a commercial installation, you need a tilt mount or an adjustable mount. If you have a ground installation, you have even more options. Costs will not impact your total installation very much because the racking only makes up roughly 10% of your total costs. However, the solar mount type you choose can impact how it looks and works.
|$500 – $1,000|
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Calculating Solar Power Costs
Once the above costs and benefits are determined, a solar system can theoretically be evaluated using the discounted cash flow method. Outflows at the beginning of the project would consist of installation costs , and inflows would arrive later in the form of offset electricity costs .
Rather than using DCF, the viability of solar power is usually evaluated by calculating the levelized cost of electricity , then comparing it to the cost of electricity charged by the local utility. The LCOE for household solar will typically be calculated as cost/kilowatt-hour – the same format commonly used on electricity bills. To approximate the LCOE, one can use the following equation:
LCOE = Net Present Value of the Lifetime Cost of Ownership / Lifetime Energy Output
The useful life of a PV solar module is generally assumed to be 25-40 years. The cost of ownership includes the maintenance costs, which must be discounted to find the NPV. The LCOE can then be compared to the cost of electricity from a utility remember, the relevant price is that which occurs during times at or near peak PV solar production.
A Beginners Guide To Solar Panels For Home: Are They Worth It Where You Live
Installing solar panels on your home promises the rarest of opportunities: to profit while doing good. This powerful motivation has already seen more than 2 million homeowners install solar panels. In just August 2021, SolarReviews.com saw more than 60,000 homeowners request quotes for residential solar systems, the highest amount ever.
However, the economics of solar can be vastly different depending on where you live, what your utility company charges for electricity and how much power your specific home uses.
This is why we start our Solar Panels for Home Beginners Guide with our solar payback estimator that calculates the economics of solar based on your zipcode and the amount of your current electric bill.
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How Long Does It Take To Install Home Solar Panels
A solar installation usually takes one or two days to complete, sometimes more depending on the complexity of the system. But the installation is just one step in the process of going solar.
When all is said and done, it can take between two and three months to get solar installed from the time you sign an agreement with an installer to the time the system is turned on. The biggest holdups are due to solar permitting and utility approval, which, depending where you live, can add months to the installation process.
The good news is that many solar companies are pushing for quicker permitting processes so homeowners can start saving with the sun as soon as possible.
How To Choose The Best Solar Panel Installer For Your House
Installing a solar energy system in a home can be beneficial. The unit offers reliable power and helps homeowners save money on utility bills. Also, it can raise the value of a house, generates renewable energy, and has a low impact on the environment. Besides that, depending on a home owners state, one might be eligible for tax credits for installing the system.
Tips For Selecting An Excellent Solar Panel Installer
If youve decided to add solar panels to your home, you can install them yourself if you have the expertise and experience in doing the job. However, if thats not the case, you must consider hiring a professional. That said, there are several home solar panel installation companies in the market today. Therefore, it can be challenging for any homeowner to identify the best firm to work with.
For this reason, this article provides some tips on how to select the best installer for your house.
- Consider Referrals
If you know someone who has already fitted solar panels in their homes, consider asking them which company they worked with. Besides that, also inquire about their experience with that firm.
- Check For Warranties
That said, each company might have unique warranty policies. However, the best firms to consider are those willing to commit to you for many years. This way, youll enjoy the benefits of solar power for longer.
- Check For Licenses And Insurance
Electricity Usage For Home Heating
In some places in the United States, you might need home heating only a couple weeks a year. This includes the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions, and southern California. For those situations, electric resistance heating tends to be used much more than in states that have several months of heating days.
Electric resistance heating uses electricity to heat a coil, like in a toaster or hair dryer. Youâre probably familiar with electric baseboard heaters or small space heaters. Electric resistance heating is inefficient, but itâs handy in regions with low heating requirements because itâs cheap to install and doesnât require ductwork.
In cold-weather US states with multiple heating months, natural gas is the most popular heating fuel. While a gas furnace does use some electricity to power the fan, itâs a fraction of the power that would be needed for a fully electric furnace.
Note that electric resistance heating is different from highly efficient electric heat pumps, which use electrically-driven compressors to pull heat from the air or ground, much like the way that a refrigerator or air conditioner works. Heat pumps are becoming more popular, even in very cold climates. Many utility companies and local agencies offer rebates on both air source and ground source heat pumps.
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.
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What Are Solar Panels And How Do They Work
To sum it up, sunlight hits the solar panels and shakes up the electrons within the cells, which creates a flow of electricity that is then sent to the systems solar inverter. The inverter converts the electricity into usable electricity that can power everything in your home, from your lights to your fridge.
Some solar panel systems also include a solar battery, which will store extra solar energy the panels produce for use later. Keep in mind, not all solar panels are installed with solar batteries. In fact, most solar panel systems are not paired with batteries, but they are becoming increasingly popular.
The good news is that you can install and benefit from solar with no technical understanding of how solar works. Once the solar company installs the system, it runs itself and requires no involvement from the homeowner. If you are interested in the more technical aspects of solar, you can take a look at our in-depth breakdown of how solar panels work.
Estimated Solar Energy System Costs Per Watt
|10kW||$31,500 – $35,500|
Although the per-watt price of installing solar ranges from $2.50 to $3.50, it varies regionally You’ll see the greatest difference between the Southern and New England regions. This does not necessarily mean that it is less cost-effective in New England as opposed to other regions. Different states, even different counties, will have varying returns on investment dependent on other factors.
These factors include:
- Average electricity bills.
- Amount of sunshine expected per day.
Below you will find the average rates of having your system professionally installed, according to region and wattage. These figures do not include any tax credits or incentives. Consider that the average size is 5kW. Hawaii, included in the Western region, has a high rate per watt at $2.85 on average. Georgia, in the Southern region, has a lower rate at $2.53 on average.
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Solar Panel Cost For A 2000 Sqft Home
The average cost range for installing solar panels for a 2,000 sq.ft. home is between $15,000 and $40,000. Your costs are determined by how much electricity you use each day. They are also determined by how much you want to reduce your dependency on the grid. While the average cost of installing solar panels on a home this size is around $18,000, your costs can be much higher or lower. Having any type of electric HVAC system raises the number of panels you need. In addition, the amount of time people spend each day using electricity in the home also impacts total installation costs.
Theres More To The Solar Cost Story
Its great that weve arrived at the average cost of a solar system installation but as you may have guessed, there are many different factors that influence what the cost of solar would be for you.
Size of Your Solar System
5kW is the average size of a solar system, but many people choose to install bigger systems. A bigger system means more energy production and more energy savings over time. Some popular sizes are 6kW, 10kW and 15kW. Of course, it really depends on what your energy needs are. If you have 1500 square foot house and few appliances, your energy needs will be much different than someone who has a 3,000 square foot house with a hot tub!
The best thing you can do is run a simple analysis on your energy bill. How much energy do you use? Take that and you can easily decide what the size of your residential solar system should be.
Where You Live
The cost of solar installations varies from state to state, however the price of solar is actually fairly steady across the board. Almost all states tend to fall within 50 cents of the $2.96/watt average we discussed earlier.
Where you live certainly affects your solar savings but that is a topic for our aforementioned solar savings page.
Energy Sage also has a great breakdown of state by state solar installation costs!
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How Utility Companies Affect Solar Power Costs
If your utility company allows you to have net metering that is, they supply you with a special meter that will spin backward when you generate more electricity than you use your annual bill can average out at zero. Because of shorter days in the winter, youll likely be a net purchaser of electricity in that season and a net producer in the summer months. A grid-tied system like this is different than off-grid systems used in remote locations with no electrical service those require batteries, which can significantly increase overall system costs.
Federal Solar Tax Credits And State Solar Incentives
When you own the home solar system, you are eligible to apply for up to 100% of the available federal and state incentives and rebates.
As this recent article in Forbes magazine explains, the federal solar Investment Tax Credit , which was scheduled to drop from 26% to 22% in 2021, will stay at 26% for two more years and not drop to 22% until 2023. For a $20,000 system, the 26% federal credit would be $5,200, compared to $4,400 under the 22% credit.
Several states also offer solar tax credits and solar tax rebates. People who own their solar system and/or battery in participating states may be able to claim these expenses on their local taxes or receive cashback on their installation. While you may be eligible for a solar tax credit or a solar tax rebate with the purchase of a home solar system, please remember that tax incentives are subject to change.
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Rebates And Incentives: Reducing Your Solar Costs
Weve been talking about factors that add on cost to a solar installation, but its also equally essential to consider the ways you can reduce your costs with solar rebates and incentives. Tax credits, cash rebates, performance-based incentives , and energy credits are all ways you can get money back on a solar installation. The availability of these types of incentives almost always depend on where you live utilities, cities, and states all usually offer their own solar incentives to people living in their service areas.
What Is Solar Energy
Solar energy is the most accessible energy source on Earth and its currently the cheapest. It’s a form of renewable energy, meaning it doesnt use up natural resources or harm the environment. Compared with fossil fuels, solar power reduces the amount of carbon and other contaminants emitted into the environment, which ultimately creates less pollution and leads to cleaner air and water.
When it comes to harnessing sunlight into usable energy, there are two main types of solar energy technologies: photovoltaic cell and concentrating solar power . Both convert sun energy into electrical power.
- Most common for home use, photovoltaic panels are made of many solar cells with semiconductor materials. When the sunlight hits those solar cells, electrons are knocked loose, which creates an electric current.
- Concentrated solar power: CSP is used mostly in large power plants and is not typically recommended for residential use. CSP technology concentrates sunlight using mirrors and reflectors to collect solar energy and turn it into thermal energy.
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What Are The Labour Costs
When you are given a quote for your solar panel system, labour costs are typically included. There are two common ways of calculating the labour costs for solar panel installations in the UK.
One way is to calculate approximately £300-£500 per person, per day. As it usually requires two people to install the system, a final installation fee is normally £600-£1,000. If you are installing a larger system, it may take more than one day and the costs will naturally rise.
Another way to calculate the installation fee is to charge 20 pence per watt. So, for a 4kW system, you would be paying 20 pence for 4000 watts, resulting in £800.
How Much Does Solar Increase Your Propertys Value
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory offers a useful guide when determining how much your propertys value will go up. According to its research, each additional $1 in energy bill savings adds $20 to your homes total value.
This rule of thumb varies depending on a number of factors, including:
The location of your home. Installations in active solar markets like New Jersey typically yield higher returns than comparable installations in less developed markets.
The size of your installation. Property value increases are directly proportional to the number of solar PV panels installed.
The value of your home. Larger houses usually receive higher nominal boosts in property value. However, this increase often represents a smaller percentage of the total home value.
The exact numbers vary from property to property and installation to installation, but recent research shows an average increase in resale value being $5,911 for each 1 kilowatt of solar installed. In a state like California, for example, a small 3.1-kilowatt system can add an average of $18,324 to the value of a medium-sized home.
The property value advantages of solar energy only increase as you scale up. Installing 5kW of solar panels adds an average of $29,555 to the retail value of a medium-sized home.
Its important to note that these statistics only apply to todays housing prices and utility rates. As electricity prices go up , the advantages of solar energy rise proportionally as well.
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