Are you considering investing in solar energy? If so, you’re not alone. Thanks to advancements in technology and increasing consumer interest, the solar energy industry is booming. It’s also becoming more and more accessible to everyday homeowners thanks to incentives like net metering and government tax credits.
But let’s face it: going solar is a big investment. So before you commit, it’s important to be informed about the price for solar power. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you understand the true cost of solar panels and their installation. We’ll break down the parts of a typical solar system installation and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of leasing versus owning your panels. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the facts you need to make an informed decision about investing in solar. Let’s get started!
Overview: What Is Residential Solar Power?
You’ve probably seen those glossy solar panels on rooftops and wondered, “What exactly is residential solar power?” To put it simply, residential solar power involves generating electricity from renewable energy sources like the sun’s rays to power your home. Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity and use it to power your appliances and lights.
Going solar not only reduces your energy bills but also helps reduce your carbon footprint. It’s an eco-friendly choice that saves you money and helps the environment at the same time. Residential solar energy can lower your monthly utility costs, provide you with a secure and reliable source of energy, and even increase your home value if you decide to sell.
The True Cost of Installing a Solar Panel System
Going solar is a major investment, but how much do solar panels cost? To start, most professionals recommend allocating about $4.00 to $5.00 per watt of energy produced for a solar panel system installed on your roof. That means if you want to produce 10 kilowatts of energy—the typical size of a residential system—you’ll need an average budget of around $40,000 to $50,000. Of course, the exact price will vary depending on a variety of factors, such as:
- Your Roof: The condition and structure of the roof plays a major role in the cost since it determines how difficult it is to install the panels and anchor them to your home.
- Size and Type of Solar Panel System: Are you looking for a less expensive system with fewer panels? Or do you want one with more panels that has more wattage capacity? Those details can affect the total cost.
- Installation Costs: Professional installation costs vary by region but usually range from $2,000 and $8,000 depending on the size and scope of your project.
It’s also important to consider incentives like federal tax credits or rebates from state governments that can bring down overall costs; some states even have programs that allow residents to finance solar projects through their utility bills. With all these factors in mind, get an estimate from your local technician or installer so you can better understand how much you’ll need to invest in solar panel installation.
What to Consider When Estimating Cost
When estimating how much it will cost to go solar, there are several factors to consider:
Solar Panel Type
The type of solar panel you use will affect the cost. Monocrystalline panels tend to be more expensive, but provide greater efficiency and durability. Polycrystalline panels are cheaper but have less efficiency and durability. The type of panel you choose depends on several factors like climate, space, wattage needs and budget.
Installing solar panels can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on local labor rates and the complexity of the installation job.
The type of roof you have also affects cost—shingle is fairly straightforward while more complex roofs like metal, tile or flat may need additional equipment or special permissions that can increase installation costs.
These are just some of the things to consider when figuring out how much it will really cost to go solar. With proper research and planning, you can get the most bang for your buck!
Benefits and Savings of Going Solar
You’re probably wondering why going solar is worth the cost. Good news — you’ll get some of your money back by switching to renewable energy. With solar energy, you’ll be able to take advantage of long-term savings on your utility bills and other associated costs.
Tax Credits and Incentives
The federal government offers a residential renewable energy tax credit, which allows homeowners to receive up to 30 percent of the installation cost back in the form of a tax credit. You may also be eligible for local incentives or rebates, depending on where you live.
Going solar also helps you do your part for the environment as these systems don’t create pollution while they generate electricity — no smoke, no smog, and no greenhouse gasses responsible for climate change.
Plus, purchasing a solar panel system can increase your home’s market value, making it easier to sell down the road if you choose to move. And last but not least, having a backup power source means that you’re prepared for any power outages or natural disasters that might come your way!
When Will You See Savings?
The vast majority of customers see savings from day one. That is, most customers choose to finance the cost of their system, paying it off on a monthly basis. In this case, they are essentially swapping out their electric bill for a solar system payment. That payment is usually significantly lower than their old electric bill, with many customers seeing a savings of 50% or more. What’s best is, unlike paying a never-ending electric bill, when you switch to solar, you will eventually pay off the entire system, leaving you with no bill at all!
Finding the Right Solar Installer for You
When it comes to cost, the solar installer you choose can have a big impact. It’s important to do your research and find an installer that’s reliable and experienced in the industry. Here are some factors to keep in mind when looking for a solar installer:
Make sure they have plenty of experience installing solar panels in your area. Experience matters when it comes to getting the job done right, and an experienced installer can provide helpful advice and insights on what works best for your needs.
Many solar companies are national companies with little-to-no footprint in your local area. When it comes to installation and service, they outsource to third-party contractors. If something goes wrong, you’re likely to get caught somewhere between the company and the contractor, with each one passing the buck to the other while your problem remains unsolved. When choosing a solar company, it is important to make sure that everything is handled under one roof so that the company is always accountable for their work. If the company is local, they will also have very little problem servicing your system.
Of course, cost is a very important factor in your decision making. Beware though. Many companies will show you a lower price by providing less-efficient panels and inverters and by cutting costs on the quality and expertise of their technicians. The old adage “you get what you pay for,” couldn’t be more true than in solar. As you compare costs, make sure you are comparing apples-to-apples and that you are taking into consideration the efficiency and durability of the panels, the inverters used, and the expertise of the technicians who will be working on your home.
The best way to get an unbiased opinion of a solar installer is to ask around—check out reviews online, ask neighbors or friends who have used them before. Doing your research makes sure you’re investing in a company that will do the job with quality results.
Once you’ve found the right installer for you, rest assured: You’ll be able to enjoy energy independence with solar panels that last for decades—and save tons on electricity bills!
There’s no denying that installing a home solar system is a major investment. But the cost of a solar panel system is offset by replacing your electric bill, federal tax credits and applicable state and local incentives. Plus, the system is designed to last thirty years or more, so you’ll be saving money throughout those years on electricity and may even be able to earn income by selling your surplus energy back to the grid.
Your local solar installation company can provide accurate figures as to what your individual costs will be, so be sure to inquire with them. Once you crunch the numbers, you’ll likely find that going solar is more affordable than you think. So why not save money on electricity and help the environment before the incentives dry up?
If you’re ready to explore solar for your home, and see what your savings would look like, then book a consultation with a solar advisor today.