Undoubtedly, solar panels offer you immense benefits both financially and environmentally, but do you know “how much does solar panels cost?”. What is the price tag that comes along with their installation process in residential areas? Does every solar panel require the same amount of investment? Just want to say that all it worth to invest.
Well, for questions like these and similar ones, we have curated this comprehensive guide in which we will answer all of them. So, read on to this blog to find out valuable insights about the whole solar panel installation cost.
- Average Cost of Solar Panels
- Average Solar Panels Cost by State
- How much does solar panels cost by type?
- Factors Influencing the Cost of Solar Panels
- Additional Factors to Consider
- Average National Solar Panels Installation Cost
- How much solar panels installation can save?
- What is the best time to install solar panels?
Average Cost of Solar Panels
According to the Consumer Affairs report, the average cost of installing solar panels in the U.S. varies depending on the type and model of PV system and ranges between $17,430 and $23,870 after all the amalgamated tax credits.
Thus, while a solar power system can help you save on your utility bills, it is wise to know in advance the overall upfront expense of solar panel installation so that you can plan your budget accordingly.
The below table shows the average solar panel cost:
|Average cost of solar panels|
Average Solar Panels Cost by State
The answer to “how much does solar panels cost?” substantially varies with the state’s climatic conditions and the geographic area. Regions that have more sunny days per year are more likely to have a greater average household electricity consumption. Due to this, you might witness more robust incentive programmes by the state government just to keep demand and supply in balance.
Furthermore, you can always get an idea of how much you will need to pay for solar panel installation if you already have the state-by-state cost comparison statistics in your hands.
As per the report of the Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the federal tax credits have increased from 26% during the years 2020–2021 to 30% for the years 2022–2032 for the installation of solar PV panels.
Considering the present numbers, we have stated the average solar panel installation cost of a 6-KW system for residential areas state by state in a table.
|State||Cost for 6-kW system (before tax credit)*||Cost per watt (before tax credit)||2022-2032 federal tax credit value (30%)||Cost for 6-kW system (after tax credit)|
How much does solar panels cost by type?
Surely the size of the panel is one of the key criteria that can fluctuate the price of solar panels, but the type of panels you choose actually has a significant impact on the overall cost of the whole solar energy system.
For instance, considering the monocrystalline solar panels, they are more energy efficient and work great for homes with narrow rooftop areas. But at the same time more expensive when compared to polycrystalline crystals.
In fact, as per a 2022 report of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the highest quality solar panels with multiple junction energy systems can generate up to 39.5 percent more energy. So, this is another aspect to think about.
Let’s get a quick look at the different solar panels.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline or mono-solar panels are manufactured with top-notch quality silicon and generate up to 20% more solar energy than any other solar panel. Therefore, consider it the first choice for homes that want to save big but have limited space for a solar power system. Plus, they require less maintenance and are very durable for both residential and commercial regions.
Even though the average shelf life of the mono-solar panels is expected to be nearly 25 years, the cost of installing solar panels is pretty high. For instance, equipping a standard 6 KW energy system would cost you around $6k to $9k, which is roughly around $1 to $2 per watt.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrstalline solar panels are comparatively less energy-eefficient than monocrystalline panels and can generate up to 15–17% of their energy. Hence, these panels are cheaper and considered the pocket-friendly choice if your home has ample space.
For instance, equipping a standard 6-KW polycrystalline solar panel system would cost you around $5.4k to $6k, which is roughly $0.9 to $1 per watt. However, these panels don’t work well in hot, year-round climate conditions.
Thin-Film Solar Panels
The least energy-efficient system is thin-film solar panels, which can generate up to 6–15% of solar energy, providing the cheapest solar power system for small projects such as turning RVs, boats, or small structures into shelter sheds. Also, these types of panels demand larger spaces and are therefore an ideal option for commercial settings.
Factors Influencing the Cost of Solar Panels
Finding the exact cost of solar panel installation on your rooftop without having an on-site inspection is difficult. However, you can get an approximate idea of “how much does solar panels cost” by considering a couple of factors.
Moreover, assessing your energy saving requirements is also necessary to get the precise number. For example, your home’s electricity requirement might be fulfilled with a 5 KW solar power system, while your neighbour might need an 8 KW solar energy system for their home.
So, let’s take a look at all these factors one by one so that you can calculate the approximate cost of solar panels.
Size of your solar panel system
When assessing the cost of solar panel installation, it is crucial to consider their size, which can directly drive the resultant cost. As the power-saving requirements vary from one home to another, so would the number of panels. And not to forget the attached pricing-up factors such as labour costs.
So, before going solar, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much energy does your home require?
- How much do you want to save on your electricity bills?
- How much rooftop space do you have?
- Is your roof in good condition, or would it require a repair after a short time?
- How much sun exposure does your home get?
- How many panels would be able to provide that amount of wattage?
Once you analyse all these factors, you can now start calculating the total costing of solar panels system.
Type of Solar Panels
As mentioned above, the type of solar panels has a huge impact on the average cost of solar panel installation. Monocrystalline solar panels, being the most energy-efficient system and the most pricey, cost around $6k to $9k, which is roughly $1 to $2 per watt for a standard 6 KW energy system.
On the other hand, the comparatively less efficient Polycryalline solar panel system will cost you around $5.4k to $6k, which is roughly $0.9 to $1 per watt for a 6 KW energy system, and Thin-Film solar panels even less.
Amount of Sun Exposure
Every state has a different climatic conditions and thus the different exposure of sunlight. And this directly spikes the ratio of number of solar panels installation.
For instance, due to more sunny weather, the Califonia state may require less number of solar panels to produce sufficient amount of electricity for your home whereas the scenario may be completely opposite for the North Dakota.
Federal Tax Credit and Incentives
Installing solar panels not only helps you save on your power bills but also helps you earn additional tax credits from the federal government. According to a solar report by MarketWatch, any U.S. homeowner who owns a solar panel system can save 30% of the total PV system cost on their income taxes in the form of a credit. This is because the government thinks that financing solar panels is a great investment on an individual and national scale. Also, this number is valid for the duration of 2022–2032 only.
Moreover, some states also offer additional rebates on utility bills. Generally, states where the climate is more sunny and there is more power consumption offer better incentive programmes.
The average cost of installing solar panels also varies with your home’s location. This is because every state has different solar incentive programmes and solar system sizes.
From our above-mentioned chart table of average solar panel costs by state, Alaska costs the least per watt before tax credits at $2.41, whereas Michigan costs the most per watt at $3.78.
But again, the states that charge the least electricity often demand larger PV systems be installed. So, again, the end result of solar panel installation is the cost of everything associated with it.
The condition of your rooftop area is another aspect that can drive the average solar panel installation cost. For example, if your rooftop area is small or has a complex structure that makes the installation process difficult, then the solar company will charge you additional for that. Moreover, if your roof area requires any kind of repair or maintenance, then it can also contribute to the overall cost.
Different solar companies have different rates for their solar panel services, which can directly impact the cost. This includes the type of solar equipment, labour installation charges, and add-ons (which may include after-installation maintenance or repair charges). Moreover, certain solar panel brands cost more than others, along with the battery and the solar inverter. So, before going solar, always look out for the best budget-friendly, efficient options for yourself.
Solar Panel Manufacturer
Even though most solar manufacturers quote nearly the same prices, the quality of solar panels can make your installation prices go up. And this is directly related to the solar manufacturing company from whom you are buying.
Additional Factors to Consider
While you’re planning the finances for a PV system installation, unexpected expenses like upkeep, cleaning, and fixing may pop up. What you should know is as follows.
Solar panel upkeep costs range from $135 to $175 per assistance, or $275 to $715 yearly. According to the manufacturer’s specifications and the documentation provided with the panels, they may require periodic upkeep no less than twice a year. To remain on top of any possible problems, certain property owners may want to arrange repairs at least four times a year.
A typical solar energy system with 16 to 20 panels will cost $424 to $523 to clean. This works out to about $24 per solar panel. The efficiency of solar panels can be significantly impacted by pollen particles, soil, trash, and other sludge, resulting in a decreased energy output. As a result, you ought to sweep your solar panels at least twice a year.
You will only spend about $98 on the price of the wiping gear and cleaning solution if you are interested in washing solar panels yourself.
Your homeowner’s coverage may cost more if you install solar panels as they increase the value of your home. You’ll like to be certain that the policy you have includes the cost of replacing rooftop solar panels when your property is damaged. The sum that your insurance prices would increase will fluctuate.
Solar System Monitoring
Spending $0 to $390 will depend on how much energy you want to monitor from your solar system. Some solar businesses may provide free solar power system tracking, but the majority of setups call for some financial outlay to calibrate devices, online connectivity, and other specifications.
On average, pruning trees prices from $245 to $695. The entire cost of the work will be determined by the kind of tree, the quantity of trees, and the complexity of the job, with bigger, difficult-to-reach trees that require extensive trimming solutions paying the most money.
When you install solar energy systems, you may need to correct any roofing issues. Roof repairs range in price from $145 to $1,495 for minor issues and from $1,495 to $6995 for large ones. Solar panels cannot be installed on a roof unless it is structurally sound.
Solar Panel Repair
In general, solar panel repairs cost around $295 and $1,295 per panel. Small glass fractures or chips cost less to repair than larger ones, but solar power inverter fixes may be more expensive.
Average National Solar Panels Installation Cost
We have already discussed the average solar panel installation cost by state and the influencing factors that drive up their overall costs. However, there is one thing that we are missing that also contributes to the cost of solar power systems, and that is “solar components”.
Let’s break down the pricing impact of each solar element.
Depending on the type of panels you choose, the solar panels alone can cost you around $0.9 to $2 per watt. And the labour installation cost and the additional requirements are not even added to produce a sufficient amount of energy.
According to a report of Department of Official Energy and Renewable Energy, a storage solar battery can cost you around $12k to $22k and store sufficient amounts of energy for your home. In fact, installing the panels and the solar battery at the same time can save you money. However, this cost may vary depending on your requirements, and in some PV systems, you don’t even require solar batteries. So, that is another aspect to think about.
Direct current electricity generated by the solar panels and held in the battery is converted by this device into alternating current, which powers all appliances. The cost of the inverters might range from 25% to 45% that of the panels that generate electricity.
Charge controllers are another solar element that raises the PV installation costs and can charge you between 5 and 10% of the total cost of the solar panels. These controllers come in different models, and the ones with advanced features are more expensive.
Labour costs hugely vary from state to state depending on the eligibility of the electricians, whether they are carrying a licence or not. Generally, licenced electricians cost more than non-licenced electricians due to the added perks they provide with the solar panel installation, including insurance, maintenance, and repair support.
Additional factors that can contribute to the cost of a solar power system include an on-site inspection, additional required permits, mounting equipment, sensors, and repairs that may again vary with location.
How much solar panels installation can save?
Well, we have already cleared up “how much do solar panels cost”. Now is the time to know “how much solar panels can save”.
It is true that installing solar panels demands a significant one-time investment. However, they can help you save money in the long run. And the answer to your question, “How much savings?” depends on a plethora of factors, including your area’s climate, the dimension of your roof, the size of the solar power system, local electricity rates, and the federal tax credits and incentive programmes.
Moreover, the net amount will also vary depending on how much power your family consumes. For instance, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average power consumption by a U.S. family was 10,632 kWh in 2021. And now it’s 2023, so you can get a rough estimate of electricity consumption.
What is the best time to install solar panels?
Contrary to popular belief, winters are an ideal time to install a solar power system on your property. The reason is simple. There is less demand for solar panel installation this season, which directly lowers its price.
Moreover, the same concept applies to the cloudy or party-cloudy areas; building a solar system over here would be able to produce sufficient amounts of energy to warm up the entire season. Also, since the solar companies have fewer clients in the winter, their servicemen work more efficiently with their jobs, plus they will be available all the time.
Installing solar panels on your property are a great way to save big on your power bills and at the same time provides your individual contribution towards the environment.
As we are saying from the start, solar panels installation also demands a significant investment and the “how much does solar panels cost” question varies with the input of multiple factors. But one thing which is pretty sure is that you are going to cut down your uittlity bills.
And if you are a family of four members and living in mid to high range electricity rates, you can pretty much ensure that you are going to be happy with this investment