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On average, solar panels costs after credits can range from $16,870 to $23,170. If you want to be more environmentally conscious, doing your part to reduce your drain on the U.S. power grid and make less carbon footprint, consider going solar. Solar energy can save you quite a bit of money over the lifetime of your panels.
Highlights & Key Takeaways
- Solar panel financing allows you to own the solar panel system and reap the long-term benefits.
- Solar panels typically pay for themselves in 8 to 15 years
- Monocrystalline solar panels are priced at an average range of $0.32 to $1.50 per watt, making them cost-effective and a popular choice for homeowners
- The federal solar tax credit can lower costs by 30%
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost On Average?
The average cost of solar panels in the U.S. for a typical residential installation, including equipment and installation fees, ranges from $16,870 to $23,170. This average cost corresponds to an approximate range of $2.91 to $3.87 per watt. Tthe size of the solar system, geographical location, available incentives, and the quality of the equipment utilized can impact the price.
How Much Solar Panels Cost by Type
In the following section, we will explore the cost differences among different types of solar panels, specifically monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels, offering valuable insights into their respective pricing.
How Much Do Monocrystalline Solar Panels Cost?
Monocrystalline solar panels are priced at an average range of $0.32 to $1.50 per watt, making them cost-effective. They are known for their higher energy efficiency, producing more electricity per square foot than other panels. Monocrystalline solar panels are an excellent choice if you want to maximize your efficiency and savings.
How Much Do Polycrystalline Solar Panels Cost?
Polycrystalline solar panels typically cost $0.70 to $1 per watt. For example, a 250-watt polycrystalline panel can be priced between $175 to $250, resulting in an average system cost of $4,200 to $6,000. These panels offer a more affordable alternative to monocrystalline panels. However, homeowners should know that polycrystalline panels have a higher temperature coefficient, making them less efficient in heat.
How Much Do Thin-Film Solar Panels Cost?
Thin-film solar panels have an average cost of $0.50 to $1 per watt before installation. With installation, you can anticipate an additional $0.50 to $1.20 a watt. The specific price can be influenced by brand, installation complexity, and project size. While they generally offer a lower cost per watt than crystalline panels, thin-film panels typically have lower efficiency levels and require larger installation areas to generate the same amount of electricity.
Comparing Solar Panel Cost by Type
Here, we’ll present a comprehensive chart with a detailed cost comparison of different solar panel types. Keep in mind that there are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt.
|Panel Type||Cost per Watt||6kW System Cost|
|Monocrystalline Solar Panels||$0.32 to $1.50 per watt||$1,920 to $9,000|
|Polycrystalline Solar Panels||$0.70 to $1 per watt||$4,200 to $6,000|
|Thin Film Solar Panels||$0.50 to $1 per watt||$3,000 to $6,000|
How Much Solar Panels Cost by Home Size
Let’s dive into estimated prices for different home sizes, ranging from 1,000 square feet to 3,000 square feet. According to Homeguide, the cost of solar panels to power a house ranges from $4 to $10 per square foot, including installation. Additionally, many installers estimate solar costs based on the required energy amount, approximately $2.53 to $3.15 per watt, before factoring in any applicable tax credits or incentives.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for a 1,000 Square-Foot House?
For a 1,000-square-foot house, solar panels typically range from $4,760 to $5,950. The total cost depends on various factors, such as the desired system size, location, equipment quality, and installation complexities.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for a 1,500 Square-Foot House?
For a 1,500-square-foot house, solar panels typically range from $7,140 to $8,925. The total cost depends on the desired system size, location, equipment quality, and installation complexities.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for a 2,000 Square-Foot House?
For a 2,000-square-foot house, solar panels typically range from $9,520 to $11,900. The total cost depends on the desired system size, solar panel type, home location, equipment quality, and energy needs.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for a 2,500 Square-Foot House?
For a 2,500-square-foot house, solar panels typically range from $11,900 to $14,875. The total cost depends on the desired system size, location, equipment quality, and installation complexities.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost for a 3,000 Square-Foot House?
For a 3,000-square-foot house, solar panels typically range from $14,280 to $17,850. The total cost depends on the desired system size, solar panel type, home location, equipment quality, and energy needs.
Comparing Solar Panel Cost by Home Size
Below is a comprehensive chart summarizing the costs of solar panels based on different home sizes in square footage.
|Home Size in Square Feet||Average Cost of Solar Panels|
|1,000||$4,760 to $5,950|
|1,500||$7,140 to $8,925|
|2,000||$9,520 to $11,900|
|2,500||$11,900 to $14,875|
|3,000||$14,280 to $17,850|
How Much Solar Panels Cost by System Size
Now, we’ll explore the cost of solar panels by system size, providing an alternative perspective on the pricing of your solar energy system. This approach considers the average residential installation, which typically ranges from 3 kW to 10 kW, determined by home size, location, and energy requirements. Additionally, we will discuss how the federal solar tax credit can lower costs by 30%.
How Much Does a 6kW Solar System Cost?
A 6kW solar system, with an output of approximately 7,956 average kWh produced annually, typically costs between $15,180 and $18,900 before the tax credit and $10,626 to $13,230 after applying the 30% tax credit.
How Much Does an 8kW Solar System Cost?
An 8kW solar system, with an output of approximately 10,608 average kWh produced annually, typically costs between $20,240 and $25,200 before the tax credit and $14,168 to $17,640 after applying the 30% tax credit.
How Much Does a 10kW Solar System Cost?
A 10kW solar system, with an output of approximately 13,260 average kWh produced annually, typically costs between $25,300 and $31,500 before the tax credit and $17,710 to $22,050 after applying the 30% federal tax credit.
How Much Does a 12kW Solar System Cost?
A 12kW solar system, with an output of approximately 15,912 average kWh produced annually, typically costs between $30,360 and $37,800 before the tax credit and $21,252 to $26,460 after applying the 30% federal tax credit.
Comparing Solar Panel Cost by System Size
Below is a comprehensive chart summarizing the costs of solar panels based on solar system size and average annual output.
|Solar System Size||Average Annual Output||Average Cost before Federal Tax Credit||Average Cost after Federal Tax Credit|
|6kW||7,956||$15,180 to $18,900||$10,626 to $13,230|
|8kW||10,608||$20,240 to $25,200||$14,168 to $17,640|
|10kW||13,260||$25,300 to $31,500||$17,710 to $22,050|
|12kW||15,912||$30,360 to $37,800||$21,252 to $26,460|
How Much Solar Panels Cost by State
This chart offers valuable insights into the cost of solar panels across various states, allowing you to compare and evaluate regional pricing trends and considerations for solar installations.
|State||Cost for 6-kW system before tax credit||Cost per watt before tax credit||Value of federal tax credit||Cost for 6-kW system after tax credit|
|Alabama||$15,756 to $22,230||$2.63 to $3.71||$4,727 to $6,669||$11,029 to $15,561|
|Alaska||$17,394 to $24,414||$2.90 to $4.07||$5,218 to $7,324||$12,176 to $17,090|
|Arizona||$14,672 to $18,353||$2.44 to $3.06||$4,402 to $5,506||$10,270 to $12,847|
|Arkansas||$18,876 to $21,372||$3.15 to $3.56||$5,663 to $6,412||$13,213 to $14,960|
|California||$14,204 to $17,885||$2.37 to $3.11||$4,261 to $5,366||$9,943 to $12,520|
|Colorado||$15,249 to $18,603||$2.55 to $3.11||$4,575 to $5,581||$10,674 to $13,022|
|Connecticut||$15,592 to $19,492||$2.59 to $3.24||$4,678 to $5,848||$10,915 to $13,645|
|Washington D.C.||$13,673 to $20,085||$2.28 to $3.34||$4,102 to $6,026||$9,571 to $14,060|
|Delaware||$15,265 to $16,653||$2.54 to $2.77||$4,579 to $4,996||$10,685 to $11,657|
|Florida||$11,544 to $16,318||$1.92 to $2.72||$3,463 to $4,895||$8,081 to $11,422|
|Georgia||$14,882 to $16,708||$2.48 to $2.78||$4,465 to $5,012||$10,418 to $11,695|
|Idaho||$15,811 to $17,308||$2.64 to $2.89||$4,743 to $5,192||$11,067 to $12,116|
|Illinois||$15,701 to $19,711||$2.61 to $3.28||$4,710 to $5,913||$10,991 to $13,797|
|Indiana||$16,177 to $19,422||$2.69 to $3.24||$4,853 to $5,827||$11,324 to $13,595|
|Iowa||$17,160 to $18,548||$2.86 to $3.09||$5,148 to $5,565||$12,012 to $12,984|
|Kansas||$11,622 to $16,068||$1.94 to $2.68||$3,487 to $4,820||$8,135 to $11,248|
|Kentucky||$18,330 to $23,712||$3.06 to $3.95||$5,499 to $7,114||$12,831 to $16,598|
|Louisiana||$13,837 to $18,174||$2.30 to $3.03||$4,151 to $5,452||$9,686 to $12,722|
|Maine||$14,430 to $18,330||$2.41 to $3.06||$4,329 to $5,499||$10,101 to $12,831|
|Maryland||$13,034 to $16,825||$2.17 to $2.81||$3,910 to $5,047||$9,124 to $11,777|
|Massachusetts||$15,116 to $18,689||$2.52 to $3.08||$4,535 to $5,607||$10,581 to $13,082|
|Michigan||$15,569 to $19,469||$2.59 to $3.25||$4,671 to $5,841||$10,898 to $13,628|
|Minnesota||$15,600 to $18,517||$2.61 to $3.08||$4,680 to $5,555||$10,920 to $12,962|
|Mississippi||$15,444 to $21,450||$2.67 to $3.58||$4,633 to $6,435||$10,811 to $15,015|
|Missouri||$13,338 to $18,876||$2.22 to $3.15||$4,001 to $5,663||$9,337 to $13,213|
|Montana||$14,492 to $18,283||$2.42 to $3.04||$4,348 to $5,485||$10,145 to $12,798|
|Nebraska||$13,572 to $22,464||$2.26 to $3.74||$4,072 to $6,739||$9,500 to $15,725|
|Nevada||$14,984 to $16,591||$2.50 to $2.77||$4,495 to $4,977||$10,489 to $11,613|
|New Hampshire||$15,335 to $19,890||$2.56 to $3.32||$4,600 to $5,967||$10,734 to $13,923|
|New Jersey||$13,689 to $18,353||$2.29 to $3.06||$4,107 to $5,506||$9,582 to $12,847|
|New Mexico||$15,33 to $21,271||$2.63 to $3.55||$4,720 to $6,381||$11,013 to $14,889|
|New York||$14,071 to $20,592||$2.34 to $3.43||$4,221 to $6,178||$9,850 to $14,414|
|North Carolina||$13,494 to $17,722||$2.25 to $2.95||$4,048 to $5,316||$9,446 to $12,405|
|North Dakota||$10,842 to $15,366||$1.81 to $2.56||$3,253 to $4,610||$7,589 to $10,756|
|Ohio||$13,962 to $17,862||$2.33 to $2.98||$4,189 to $5,359||$9,773 to $12,503|
|Oklahoma||$14,664 to $26,052||$2.44 to $4.34||$4,399 to $7,816||$10,265 to $18,236|
|Oregon||$12,745 to $17,191||$2.12 to $2.86||$3,824 to $5,157||$8,922 to $12,034|
|Pennsylvania||$14,017 to $20,319||$2.34 to $3.38||$4,205 to $6,096||$9,812 to $14,223|
|Rhode Island||$16,240 to $19,048||$2.70 to $3.17||$4,872 to $5,714||$11,368 to $13,333|
|South Carolina||$15,007 to $18,580||$2.50 to $3.09||$4,502 to $5,574||$10,505 to $13,006|
|South Dakota||$14,664 to $22,854||$2.44 to $3.81||$4,399 to $6,856||$10,265 to $15,998|
|Tennessee||$10,140 to $15,366||$1.69 to $2.56||$3,042 to $4,610||$7,098 to $10,756|
|Texas||$13,642 to $16,778||$2.28 to $2.80||$4,093 to $5,033||$9,550 to $11,744|
|Utah||$14,235 to $18,790||$2.38 to $3.13||$4,271 to $5,637||$9,965 to $13,153|
|Vermont||$13,931 to $20,124||$2.33 to $3.35||$4,179 to $6,037||$9,752 to $14,087|
|Virginia||$13,174 to $16,419||$2.20 to $2.74||$3,952 to $4,926||$9,222 to $11,493|
|Washington||$13,361 to $17,043||$2.22 to $2.85||$4,008 to $5,113||$9,353 to $11,930|
|West Virginia||$16,926 to $26,364||$2.82 to $4.39||$5,078 to $7,909||$11,848 to $18,455|
|Wisconson||$16,466 to $18,837||$2.74 to $3.15||$4,940 to $5,651||$11,526 to $13,186|
|Wyoming||$18,642 to $21,684||$3.11 to $3.61||$5,593 to $6,505||$13,049 to $15,179|
Other Factors Affecting Solar Panel Cost
Now let’s look at what else can influence the cost of solar panels, shedding light on additional considerations such as the number of panels required, on-grid vs. off-grid, the solar power manufacturer you select, the cost of solar system component, the cost of the installation, and more.
Number of Panels Required
The number of solar panels required for a home depends on household energy needs and the amount of sunlight the home receives. Electricity consumption patterns and available roof space influence the optimal panel count. Most homes require between 17 and 21 solar panels to generate sufficient energy.
The choice between on-grid and off-grid solar systems can impact the cost of solar panels across the U.S. On-grid systems allow for net metering and potential electricity cost savings. In contrast, off-grid systems require battery storage, increasing overall costs but serving remote locations without grid access.
Solar Panel Manufacturer
Higher-quality solar panels typically come with a higher price tag, but they offer longer warranties and greater energy production. Trusted brands like LG, Panasonic, and SunPower are known for superior efficiency, durability, and reliability. While these brands may be pricier, they are highly respected. Other reliable options, such as ADT Solar and NRG Solar are also worth considering.
Cost of Solar System Components
A solar panel system requires various components, including solar panels, an inverter, a mounting system, electrical wiring, and optional additions such as a solar battery storage system and monitoring system. A solar inverter can run about $1,000 or more, and solar batteries are currently priced at around $8,500 to $10,000+, excluding installation costs. With full installation included, the total price can range from $10,000 to $20,000.
Your home's geographical location plays a crucial role in determining the cost of your solar energy system. Climate, sunlight intensity, and regional incentives can vary, affecting installation costs and system efficiency. Sunnier areas with favorable solar policies tend to have lower installation costs and higher savings potential. Conversely, regions with challenging weather or limited incentives may require additional equipment or have higher upfront costs.
Local Incentives & Tax Credits
Installing a residential solar power system can make homeowners eligible for various rebates and tax credits provided by federal, state, and local governments, which can significantly impact the overall cost. These incentives include the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), state tax credits, and rebates based on installed solar capacity. Each location has its own specific incentives.
Type of Mount
When it comes to mounting solar panels, there are various options, each with its own advantages. The most commonly used mounting options include roof mounts, which utilize the existing roof structure and are popular for residential installations. Ground mounts are suitable for properties with ample space, providing flexibility in panel placement. Pole mounts offer versatility and can be adjusted to achieve optimal sun exposure.
Roof Size and Pitch
The roof characteristics, such as type, size, and shape, are important considerations when installing solar panels. Flat roofs generally provide easier and more cost-effective installation, while sloped or tiled roofs may require additional equipment and labor. The size of your roof affects the number of panels needed and the overall cost. In contrast, the roof shape can impact sunlight exposure and panel efficiency.
Cost of Installation
When considering solar panels for your home, determining the price per watt is essential. The average cost per watt in the U.S. is around $2.60, but this can vary based on factors such as panel type, quality, system size, and installation location. Most installers charge between $3 and $5 per watt, and even small DIY projects with a few panels can range from $200 to $350 per panel or 80 cents to $1.40 per watt.
Permit & Inspection Expenses
Local solar permitting plays a crucial role in determining the cost of your solar panels. SaveOnEnergy says permit fees typically cost at least $300, so budget for this as part of your overall costs.
Type of Solar Financing
When considering solar panel installation, you can finance or lease the system. Financing allows you to own the solar panel system and reap the long-term benefits. Options include loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), and power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Benefits of financing include:
- Take advantage of tax credits, incentives, rebates, and potential home value increases.
- Enjoy the full financial benefits of solar energy, including reduced electricity bills and potential savings over time.
- Offers more flexibility and control over the system.
Leasing involves renting the solar panel system from a third-party provider.
- Requires little or no upfront costs, making it a more affordable option for those with budget constraints.
- Maintenance and repairs are often included in the leasing agreement, relieving you of some responsibilities.
- You won't benefit from incentives like tax credits or rebates, as third-party providers usually retain those benefits.
- Leasing may limit your ability to customize the system.
Additional Solar Panel Costs to Consider
As you consider installing solar panels, be aware of additional costs that may arise beyond the initial installation. In the upcoming section, we will delve into various factors, such as tree trimming, roof repair, property taxes, and maintenance, which can impact the overall cost of your solar panel system.
You may need to assess the impact of trees on your property. While trimming back a few branches is often sufficient, some homeowners may need to remove trees for optimal solar energy generation. Although this decision may raise concerns, weighing the long-term benefits of solar power can help determine its overall value.
Ensuring that your roof is in good condition before installing solar panels is crucial for your solar energy system's long-term performance and efficiency. Here are some signs that your roof may need maintenance:
- Damaged or missing shingles
- Leaks or water damage
- Signs of aging, such as cracked or curling shingles
- Soft or spongy areas on the roof
- Sagging or uneven roof surface
- Excessive moss or algae growth
Addressing any roof issues before solar panel installation helps prevent potential problems and ensures a solid foundation for your solar system.
While your homeowner’s insurance may cover your solar panels, the likelihood is that adding solar panels to your property may require adjustments to your coverage, as they increase the value of your home and introduce new risks. Consult with your insurance provider to understand any policy modifications or premium adjustments associated with installing solar panels.
Installing solar panels can impact property taxes, but the implications depend on your location. In some areas, solar panels are seen as property improvements that can increase the assessed value. However, certain jurisdictions offer exemptions or incentives to offset any potential property tax increase from solar panel installation.
Regular maintenance is crucial for optimal solar panel performance and longevity. Keep panels clean by regularly washing away dirt and debris, and monitor their performance for any signs of damage or malfunction. Selecting durable panels with easy maintenance features reduces the need for frequent repairs or replacements.
As mentioned above, regularly cleaning your solar panels is essential for maintaining their efficiency and maximizing energy production, which can ultimately impact the cost of your solar energy system. Dust, dirt, pollen, bird droppings, and other debris can accumulate on the panels over time, blocking sunlight and reducing their performance. Regular cleaning helps prevent long-term damage and the need for costly repairs or replacements.
Solar power monitoring systems allow homeowners to track the performance and efficiency of their solar panels, providing real-time insights into energy production. These monitoring systems can display data such as electricity generation, energy consumption, and even weather conditions that may affect solar panel performance. Thankfully, these systems can cost just a few hundred dollars or less.
How to Estimate the Cost of Solar Panels for Your Home
Estimating the cost of solar installation for your home involves a few key steps:
- Determine energy needs - Assess your household's monthly electricity consumption by reviewing your electricity bills and noting the kilowatt-hours (kWh) used.
- Calculate system size - Based on your energy usage, estimate the solar panel system size you need. A typical residential system is around 6 kW, generating approximately 7,500 kWh of electricity annually.
- Determine cost per watt - The cost per watt for solar panels generally ranges from $3 to $5. Multiply the system size by the cost per watt to estimate the total system cost.
- Check for incentives - Research available rebates and incentives offered by your state, utility company, and local governments. The federal solar tax credit currently provides a 26% credit for system costs; additional incentives may be available.
- Get quotes from multiple installers - Obtain quotes from multiple solar panel installers to compare pricing, equipment quality, and warranties. Don't settle for the first option you encounter, but rather, explore multiple installers to find the best deal.
Tips for Saving on Solar Panel Costs
To ensure the best upfront costs for solar panels in the U.S., it is crucial to research and compare various installation companies. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with available tax incentives, rebates, and credits can make it a more profitable long-term investment. To secure a favorable price, consider the following:
- Obtain multiple quotes and compare pricing, warranties, and equipment offered.
- Take advantage of available incentives and explore financing options.
- Consider purchasing during off-peak seasons to potentially save on installation costs.
- Negotiate with the installation company for discounts or a better overall deal.
Understanding how much do solar panels cost is crucial for homeowners considering this renewable energy option. On average, the costs after credits can range from $16,870 to $23,170, depending on various factors such as system size, location, and available incentives.