With rising utility costs and more awareness of sustainable consumption, there is a renewed interest in solar energy. Fortunately, solar panel costs have declined over the years, making it a feasible option for those hoping to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy bills. However, as solar panel installation is yet to be widespread, many people are understandably concerned about its process and cost.
Solar panels offer homeowners a virtually unlimited source of energy: the sun. This setup requires special equipment and figuring out the best system for your needs to make sure you power your home at a lower cost. Here is what you need to know about the cost of solar panels:
Average Cost of Solar Panels
Solar panels cost roughly $20,000 in 2021 after tax credits at an average rate of $2.81 per Watt for a 10 kW system. This cost used to be higher, but luckily, the prices of switching to solar energy have fallen over 20 percent in the last five years, making it a smart choice.
If you’re looking at a 10-kilowatt solar panel system, it will range from $17,760 to $23,828 after factoring in the federal tax credit. The range comes from the average price per watt, anywhere from $2.40 to $3.22. How much you’ll pay for installing solar panels depends on how much electricity you want to produce. Naturally, a larger system will cost more to install and operate since you’ll need to purchase more equipment.
For example, a 2 kW system costs $5,620 before tax credits and $4,159 after tax credits. Conversely, a 25 kW system costs $70,250 before tax credits and $51,985 after, although homeowners generally do not need a system of this scale. It’s important to note that some local governments and utilities offer additional rebates and tax incentives to lower the solar system costs, making it even more affordable. Additionally, bigger solar power systems may initially cost more, but you’ll get to save more money in the long term.
The Cost of Solar Panels By State
Solar prices depend on where you live, with system sizes being the biggest determining cost factor. Usually, states with warmer temperatures have residents that use air conditioning more frequently consume more electricity than other households. For this reason, states like Florida and Arizona have some of the largest solar panel systems, although they will charge less per kilowatt-hour, similar to bulk buying. Conversely, colder states have a higher price per watt but smaller system sizes.
Nevada and Arizona have the cheapest average kilowatt-hour rate, followed by New Jersey and Delaware. States with the most expensive average cost per watt include Washington, D.C., Iowa, Idaho, and Colorado. It’s crucial to factor in the different energy needs in these states, which is why you can’t quite compare a 10kW in Florida to a same-sized system in Massachusetts.
The Other Factors That Affect the Cost of Solar Panel Installation
Apart from the size of your system and where you live, the solar panels, batteries, or inverters can affect the price tag. Higher-quality equipment that works more efficiently will often be more expensive, but they’ll last longer and generate more electricity even with the same amount of sunlight.
Labor costs will also take up a sizeable portion of your solar energy system quote, along with the cost of permits. You’ll usually have to pay a fee to connect your solar energy system to the grid. Additionally, you’ll have to invest in manpower to design a solar panel system expressly for your use, coordinate a site visit, submit permits, and ultimately install the system.
Your home’s characteristics can also influence your total costs. For example, having a south-facing roof with a 30-degree angle slope will make solar panel installation cheaper and easier. If you have multiple levels, dormers, or skylights, it will be more challenging and expensive to install solar panels.
Many solar panel converts have sworn by the return on investment they have enjoyed from it, as it is a more sustainable way to consume electricity while lowering your electricity bills. After you break even, which can happen in as few as seven or eight years, you’ll be producing free electricity, which is the ultimate benefit.
EnLight Energy provides home solar power systems for homeowners who want to drastically reduce their electric, gas, or oil bill and live more sustainably. We work closely with our clients to build zero energy homes for them, providing tailored solutions of the highest quality while being eco-friendly. Contact us today to find out more about how we can design a solar power system for you!