Learn how much solar panel installation costs
If you set a course on installing a home solar power station, consider discovering the rates of residential solar panel installers in your region. With HomeQuote, you can rest assured that your solar project will be budgeted correctly.
According to the recent Pew Research Center survey, a growing number of American homeowners are ready to switch to alternative energy sources, namely solar power. Around 77% of responders are vote for renewables rather than fossil fuel extraction. These numbers are predictable in the context of the rapid solar costs drop driven by the Solar Energy Technologies Office's investments. On top of that, the government offers multiple incentives, supportive policies, and rebates to encourage Americans to go solar.
These days, a regular homeowner can save around 30% of the new solar panel system cost. That creates favorable conditions for massive solar adoption. If the green energy transition continues at this pace, solar could account for about 40% of the country's electricity supply by the end of 2035.
Nevertheless, the federal solar tax credit, which saves up to 26% of the solar panels' price, terminates in 2024. So, if you are thinking about installing solar panels for your home, now is the right time! This all-encompassing guide is made to answer critical questions about solar costs. Keep reading to make a well-thought-out buying decision.
Top factors contributing to the solar panel installation cost
Before delving into the average PV panel installation costs, one should understand the factors contributing to the final quote. Knowing the cost-affecting variables allows making the correct price predictions before requesting bids from solar installers.
We made up a list of the top factors contributing to the cost of solar panels installation. Keep them in mind while making your preliminary estimations.
Roof solar potential First off, you have to ensure your rooftop is ready for installing solar panels. Old (20+ years) and shabby roofs with lots of leaks and broken shingles should be replaced or modernized before installing P V panels. Consider hiring a local contractor to inspect your roof and address any potential issues.
Roofs with extremely steep or shallow pitches cannot offer the same cost-effectiveness as those with a 30-degree angle. The same goes for roof orientation. If it's not exposed to the south or the west, it won't get maximum sun exposure. The math is simple - the more direct sun your roof gets, the fewer panels you need, and vice versa.
Local climate All states are good to go solar. The difference lies in the amount of green energy you can generate and the rate of investment return. For instance, installing panels in sunny regions like California or Florida can give two times more power with fewer panels than in cloudy and snowy areas like Kentucky or Alaska. Nevertheless, you can address the lack of sun by installing an advanced solar system designed with weather variables in mind.
If you want to evaluate your solar savings potential and decide whether your house is suitable for solar panel installation, give the Project Sunroof powered by Google a try.
Household energy consumption Make sure to calculate your monthly energy consumption in kWh before starting a solar project. You can easily estimate your average electrical demand by checking the utility bills for a few winter and summer months. The received numbers will give a better idea of the solar capacity needed to become grid-independent.
If you want to gain extra profit by selling excess energy to the grid, you need to install multiple solar panels on your roof.
Solar panel system size If any factors affect your system's energy output, you need to install multiple panels to offset potential energy losses. On top of that, if you don't have sufficient space on your roof to install panels that can produce enough power to cover your energy needs, you will additionally need to install ground-mounted panels. The more panels and equipment required, the higher the installation cost.
Solar panels brand As with other products, the price of residential solar systems determines their quality. The average cost of 6 kW - 10 kW panels varies from $12.500 to $12.750, with 26% off according to the investment tax credit. Monocrystalline solar panels always cost a bit lower than polycrystalline ones.
Please note that the quality and the amount of additional equipment needed for a solar panel installation also contribute to the final cost. Make sure to discuss the type of inverter and mounting hardware your solar contractor is going to use.
Interconnection Once your solar panel system is installed, you will need to connect it to the local power grid. Some utilities have a set of requirements to follow to ensure a smooth installation. For instance, you may need to get a meter and transformer of the specific make and type. On top of that, the distance between your solar array and the grid will also affect the interconnection cost.
Labor costs No home improvement job cannot be calculated without labor costs that vary by geographic location, the amount and labor-intensiveness of the service, and the contractor qualification. You can always compare local solar installers' quotes by leaving your request on HomeQuote.
Get a bead on the average solar panel installation costs
A solar panel system is the best the money can buy right now. You invest once and reap the rewards for years, saving big on utility bills while reducing your carbon footprint. With multiple government incentives and rebates, one can get home solar panels not paying their total price, yet upfront payments are still considerable. Plus, there are additional costs associated with installation services.
Let us crunch some numbers to understand the national average solar panel installation costs. If you want to install the 10-kilowatt residential solar panel system, it may cost you $20.430 (after ITC). The price per watt dramatically depends on the location and varies from $2.50 to $3.50. DIYers who want to buy a few panels for a small project should expect to spend between $190 and $240 per piece. The highest price you can be quoted for a top-tier solar panel system is $40.000, while the lowest one is $5.500.
Solar panels installation costs (after federal tax incentives)
Type of cost
The national average installation cost
The lowest installation cost
The highest installation cost
The average cost of a single solar panel
The average solar panel cost per watt
How to determine the size of a solar panel system you need?
The average residential house needs 6-8 solar panels 300 watts each to cover daily energy consumption. If a rooftop gets enough sunlight most of the day, a solar panel system that produces 6 kW should be enough. Please note that this power allows to reduce electricity consumption but not to become fully independent or sell extra energy to the local grid. If you want to enroll in the Net Metering program, the total capacity of your energy system should be at least 150 kW.
If you have a lot of room on your roof, you can opt for as many as 30 affordable solar panels with average efficiency. On the contrary, if the usable area is limited, getting 5-6 smaller panels with maximum efficiency makes sense. Their price will be higher, but it's your only option to meet the target energy output.
The average costs of solar panels installation by size
The size of a system determines its installation cost as the work becomes more time-consuming and labor-intensive. As previously mentioned, the number of solar panels and their efficiency in kWh should be equal to the average household electricity consumption. The bigger the system is needed, the higher the installation cost. Another correlation goes to the size of roof solar panels and the cost per watt - the large systems offer a lower $/W. When you order equipment in bulk, the price per unit is always lower.
Solar panel installation costs by size (after federal tax incentives)
Solar panel size
Average system cost
Cost per watt
The average costs of solar panels installation by location
When it comes to solar panel installation, we cannot say whether some states are better or worse in terms of expense. The stable countrywide cost per watt is $2.80 with slight correlations in 0.30 - 0.50 cents. As a rule, these variabilities are caused by local government solar incentives and system size.
The difference in the cost per watt can be seen between the south and north regions. Homeowners living in warm states like Florida spend a lower price per watt as they need larger systems to keep their homes cool almost all year round. On the contrary, an average residential home in North Dakota needs a smaller solar panel system, but the price per watt here is higher.
Cost of solar panels by state (before federal tax incentives)
The average 6 kW system cost
Average cost per watt
How to find a local solar installation company?
The quality of solar panels installation affects their performance and maintenance costs. That is why special attention should be paid to the local solar market research.
Please note that hiring a solar contractor operating in your area is always better than a large-scale company operating nationwide. Local solar installers offer better rates and after-sale service than market giants. They are motivated to bring the best quality to their clients to stand out in the local market. On top of that, by hiring a solar installer nearby, you save yourself the trouble of getting permits. This service is usually included in the final quote.
If you want to streamline your solar project, consider leaving your request on HomeQuote - the contractor-matching platform operating countrywide. We only need your home address and the primary project details to connect you with local solar installers.
Our operating principle is simple:
- You fill out the online form with the primary details of your project
- Our AI-based algorithm scans the given information
- You get matched with verified solar contractors in your area who are open to your project
- You compare the received quotes and decide on a suitable pro
Count on HomeQuote to switch to the alternative energy source with confidence!