How Much do Solar Panels Cost – Earth and Human

The first question that comes to your mind when you think about switching to solar energy is its cost? There is no one answer as the expenses highly depend on many geographic variables and the structure of your home. You must also consider federal and local tax incentives.

You can contact a professional solar installer who will evaluate your electricity bills and figure out how many kilowatt-hours of energy your house uses and determine how many panels your roof and shading will need. Let’s find out how much solar panels cost.

How Much Do Solar Panel Installations Cost?

In the United States, the cost per watt varies by state, system size, and customer type. According to Berkeley Lab’s Tracking the Sun report, the median prices can range from $3.2/W to $4.5/W. However, the prices have dropped down significantly since 2010.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Solar

The total cost involved in solar panel installation depends on multiple factors:

  • Whether your local or state government provides tax credits, net metering, or some other incentives.
  • If you choose a lease, finance, or purchase to finance your system.
  • The cost of solar panels in your location because it varies from state to state.
  • The structure and size of your roof, the amount of energy you use, and the quality of the solar panel technology.

You can buy a solar panel for just $100, but it does not operate on its own. It needs a system of hardware and software that can generate electricity from the sun. You need to add up the cost of mounting hardware, solar panels, wires, cables, monitoring software, and an inverter along with the cost of installation and operation.

Average Electricity Usage of Top Solar States in America

State Monthly Usage kWh Annual Average Usage kWh
Arizona 1030 kWh 12,360
California 547 kWh 6,546
Connecticut 711 kWh 8,532
Florida 1123 kWh 13,476
Massachusetts 599 kWh 7,188
New York 595 kWh 7,140
South Carolina 1115 kWh 13,380
Texas 1156 kWh 13,872
Utah 750 kWh 9,000

Average Energy Produced by Solar Panels

State Annual Production from Solar Panels  kWh
Arizona 1752 kWh
California 1550 kWh
Connecticut 1150 kWh
Florida 1351 kWh
Massachusetts 1150 kWh
New York 1230 kWh
South Carolina 1350 kWh
Texas 1360 kWh
Utah 1570 kWh

Are Solar Panels Cheaper than Other Forms of Electricity?

Solar panels will require an upfront investment but can save you money in the long run. It helps in cutting down the cost of your electric bills.

Some other ways that determine your savings in solar panels include:

1. Monitor Your Electricity Usage

You must compare your electric bills from last year and get an average number of how much you spend on electricity yearly. The more you spend, the more you will benefit from solar panel installation.

2. Calculate Your Energy Consumption

Once you find out your level of energy consumption, you will have a better idea of what type and size of solar panel will suit your needs.

3. Calculate the Cost of Solar Panels

After identifying the type of solar panel system you require, you can easily calculate its cost. Keep in mind that you must consider the federal solar credit and additional incentives your area offers.

4. Calculate Your Projected Energy Spending

The typical lifespan of a solar panel is around 25 years, with minimal maintenance. So you must compare your average energy consumption cost of 25 years with the average cost of energy per kilowatt and utility cost inflation.

5. Compare Energy Bill and the Cost of Solar Panels

When you have the number you must spend within the next 25 years on electricity, you can subtract the overall cost of solar panel with all other associated costs to get an estimate of how much you can save by going solar.

Size of the System you Require to Power a House

State Required Size of a Solar System
Arizona 7.05 kWh
California 4.23 kWh
Connecticut 7.4 kWh
Florida 9.98 kWh
Massachusetts 6.25 kWh
New York 5.8 kWh
South Carolina 9.91 kWh
Texas 10.2 kWh
Utah 5.7 kWh

Source: Click Here

How Much Does a Single Panel Cost?

Average Cost of Solar Panels Depending on System Size

System Size Average Cost of a System
(Before Tax Credits)
Average Cost of a system

(After Tax Credits)

25 kW $74,000 $54,760
20 kW $59,200 $43,808
15 kW $44,400 $32,856
12 kW $35,520 $26,285
10 kW $29,600 $21,904
8 kW $23,680 $17,523
7 kW $20,720 $15,333
6 kW $17,760 $13,142
5 kW $14,800 $10,952
4 kW $11,840 $8,762
3 kW $8,880 $6,571
2 kW $5,920 $4,381

Source: Click Here

Why do Some Panels Cost More than the Rest?

The quality of technology determines its durability, efficiency, and reliability. If you choose to buy a conventional home solar system that does not cost much, you will get average results and fewer savings over time.

Solar panels that are made out of high-quality material might cost more initially but will provide you with a better return on your investment. Any high-end panel can produce almost 60 percent more energy than conventional panels.

Average Price of Solar Panel Based on Panel Brand

Manufacturer Price Range (6KW System) Price Range (10KW System)
Heliene $13,620 – $17,940 $22,700 – $29,900
REC $13,740 – $17,820 $22,900 – $29,700
Mission Solar Energy $13,800 – $17,640 $23,000 – $29,400
Hansol $13,860 – $14,580 $23,100 – $24,300
Yingli Solar $13,860 – $17,220 $23,100 – $28,700
LONGi Solar $14,220 – $16,380 $23,700 – $27,300
SolarWorld $14,220 – $20,460 $23,700 – $34,100
Peimar Group $14,280 – $17,880 $23,800 – $29,800
Suniva, Inc. $14,400 – $19,080 $24,000 – $31,800
China Sunergy $14,760 – $16,560 $24,600 – $27,600
Vikram Solar $14,820 – $16,740 $24,700 – $27,900
Hyundai $14,820 – $18,540 $24,700 – $30,900
Silfab Solar $14,820 – $19,980 $24,700 – $33,300
Trina Solar $14,940 – $18,300 $24,900 – $30,500
Trina Solar $14,940 – $20,940 $24,900 – $34,900
Axitec $15,060 – $17,820 $25,100 – $29,700
Hanwha Q CELLS $15,180 – $19,500 $25,300 – $32,500
Phono Solar Technology Co, Ltd. $15,240 – $15,240 $25,400 – $25,400
S-Energy $15,360 – $21,240 $25,600 – $35,400
Canadian Solar Inc. $15,780 – $19,500 $26,300 – $32,500
LG Solar $15,840 – $19,800 $26,400 – $33,000
Panasonic Solar Panels $15,840 – $20,040 $26,400 – $33,400
JA Solar $15,960 – $19,080 $26,600 – $31,800
Jinko Solar $16,260 – $20,700 $27,100 – $34,500
Winaico $16,620 – $17,220 $27,700 – $28,700
Yingli Solar $16,680 – $19,200 $27,800 – $32,000
Winaico $16,920 – $17,880 $28,200 – $29,800
Centrosolar $16,920 – $18,240 $28,200 – $30,400
SunPower Corporation $16,980 – $22,980 $28,300 – $38,300
SunPower Corporation $17,400 – $21,600 $29,000 – $36,000
Astronergy $17,460 – $19,500 $29,100 – $32,500
Solaria $17,460 – $20,580 $29,100 – $34,300
Solaria $17,460 – $21,060 $29,100 – $35,100
RECOM $18,840 – $18,840 $31,400 – $31,400

These price ranges are exclusive of 26 percent federal tax credit for solar.

Source: Click Here

Final Words

The time it takes to see changes in your cost varies depending on your household’s energy usage, the amount of energy your solar system generates, and the initial investment. On average, it can take around 7 to 8 years to break even. But savings after these years can be significant.