With the rising prices of conventional-sourced electricity, families find it harder than ever to pay their bills. That’s why switching to solar panels has become a no-brainer for many US households. However, despite its many benefits, some people are still skeptical about solar energy, particularly regarding its price point. And, amongst the many questions that potential solar owners have, one keeps popping up — what is the average cost of solar installation?
But you don’t have to search for much longer, we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll analyze the cost of installing solar panels and the factors that affect their price. That way, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether to embrace solar energy or not.
How Much Do Solar Installations Cost?
According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, on average, solar panel installations can cost you between $15,000 and $25,000. However, these prices will vary depending on a number of factors, such as location, types of panels, and solar companies, among others.
First of all, solar installation costs will vary from state to state due to local quoting trends and system size differences. More specifically, some states might offer incentives to encourage homeowners to switch to solar energy, which will help reduce overall costs.
If you type solar company near me on Google, you’ll end up with dozens of different businesses. That’s because the solar industry is very diverse and features a wide range of installers, each with its own price. Some might even offer discounts or bundles to entice customers, providing additional money-saving opportunities.
Solar Panel Manufacturer
Just like there are numerous solar installers, there are just as many solar panel manufacturers. Even though most of them have similar price ranges, you’ll usually have to pay much more if you want a premium product. However, more expensive doesn’t always mean better, so make sure to first research the quality of the panels before choosing a manufacturer.
Types of Solar Panels
Generally speaking, there are three types of solar panels for residential installations. First, monocrystalline solar panels are the most energy-efficient option and usually cost between $1 and $1.50 per watt. Next, you have polycrystalline panels, which are less energy-efficient but more affordable, costing $0.90 to $1 per watt. And lastly, thin-film solar panels are the most sustainable to produce and cost about $1 to $1.50 per watt.
Weight, Size, and Number of Solar Panels
When calculating the cost of a solar installation, you also need to take into consideration the size, weight, and number of panels. To determine that, you’ll need to know:
- How much space you have on your roof
- How much energy your home uses
- How many hours of sun your household gets
- The wattage and efficiency of the solar panels that you’ll install.
If you want to accurately calculate how many panels you need, it’s always best to request a free quote from a local installer.
Although you might not be aware, your roof’s physical characteristics, like its pitch, can influence the price of a solar installation. To put it simply, contractors tend to charge more for difficult installations on complex roofs.
How to Save Money on Solar Installations
It’s true that solar panel installations can be quite expensive for some people. Luckily, there are many financial options offered by solar providers that you can take advantage of:
- Solar Loan: With the help of a solar loan, you can make small payments over a specific payback period. Sure, you’ll have to pay more in the long run than you would with an upfront payment. However, this option is great for those who can’t invest thousands of dollars upfront but still want the benefits of solar.
- Solar Lease: By choosing this option, you’ll have to make monthly fixed payments. Yet, during the lease, your solar company retains ownership of your system and is responsible for its upkeep. On average, these agreements last around 20 years and don’t qualify for additional incentives.
- Power Purchase Agreements: A PPA allows you to pay only for the solar energy that you use. This option is very similar to a traditional electrical bill, with its rate fluctuating each month. But just like with a lease, you don’t actually own the system and, naturally, don’t qualify for incentives.
Trying to determine the price of a solar installation can seem like a daunting task. But it’s important to remember that solar energy systems are a long-term investment. Not only can they save you money in the long run, but they also help you protect the environment. And even though they can end up being quite expensive, there are many financing options and incentives that can help reduce the cost of solar and aid families that want to embrace solar.