How Much Do Solar Panels Cost
The cost of solar panels can vary depending on the size and layout of your home, as well as its location. The average cost to install a system of solar panels is anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000, per the Center for Sustainable Energy.
The good news is that beyond that initial investment, solar panel maintenance is fairly minimal. For the most part, you’ll need to make sure your panels are kept clean, and that leaves, debris, and other obstructing materials don’t accumulate on them, which would block sunlight and render them less efficient. Also, it’s common for solar panels to come with a warranty of 15 to 25 years, so that should give you some degree of comfort that you won’t have to sink lots of money into your setup beyond your initial investment.
There are also tax credits you may be eligible for that can help offset the cost of setting up your solar panels. A residential federal tax credit enables you to claim 26% of your installation costs, provided your setup is in place by Dec. 31, 2020. That credit drops to 22% next year and is set to expire at the end of 2021. However, if you cant pay for a solar panel setup up front, you may be eligible for affordable financing options.
Find Out How Many Solar Panels You Will Need
Next, its time to roughly understand your solar needs, so youre well-equipped to compare solar quotes. We estimate that a typical home needs about 20 to 25 solar panels to cover 100 percent of its electricity usage, but the actual number youll need to install depends on many factors. Location, panel efficiency, panel rated power, and your personal energy consumption habits all play a role in determining how many solar panels you need. Importantly, the number of solar panels you need for your home directly impacts the price you pay for solar.
Energy Backup And Security
Weather and climate changes have become more frequent than ever due to global warming, which has caused an increase in storms, strong winds, and heavy rain. These frequent weather changes can sometimes cause the power grid to trip or break down, which can be a nuisance. If you have solar panels installed in your home with battery backup, you wont have to worry about losing power or being interrupted by a power failure. Check out the best solar company in San Antonio for more details.
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Your Solar Power Can Helps The Community
If you use less energy than your solar panels accumulate, you may be able to sell it back to the communal grid through the utility companysomething known as net metering. One of the clearest benefits to this is that you can further reduce your utility bills. Looking beyond that, this is a way to contribute to the grid, reduce the strain of electricity demands, and further help the environment by reducing the need to import non-renewable energy sources to the community.
Solar Panels Provide Grid Security
If you want to become independent of electrical grid and completely self-sufficient with the electricity then solar panels are the best choice. Solar panels provide a great backup of electricity in case of electricity cuts.
You should definitely think about hooking up your photovoltaic cells with the batteries if maximizing the grid security is your motivation for buying solar panels.
A system like this is referred to as a hybrid system, which means it has components of both on grid and off grid systems. If there is a power outage in your neighborhood then your house is highly vulnerable to intrusions or accidents.
But, if you have solar panel system installed then backup power can be used to provide electricity from its storage units which can help in avoiding any form of such incidents.
And because of the usage of solar panels, the blackouts wont impact anything since you will be having electricity all the time which will make your premises very secured and free from any kind of danger.
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Your Electricity Costs Are Already Low
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 96% of homeowners have installed solar, or are considering doing so, to save money on utility bills.
This makes perfect sense. Many American households spend hundreds of dollars every month on their power bills and solar panels are often the most effective way to slash that amount. Financial modeling by SolarReviews shows 25-year bill savings in the amount of $62,803 for solar panels installed in San Francisco in 2021, for instance.
However, some homeowners dont spend very much on electricity. This could be because of one or more of the following factors:
- You have a small home
- You have a small household size
- Your home and appliances are energy efficient
- You enjoy low electric rates from your local utility
If thats you, and you pay $50 or less a month for electricity, then installing solar probably isnt worth the time and effort.
Find out how much a solar system would cost for your specific home
Pros And Cons Of Solar Panels For Your Home
Like most things, solar power has its benefits and drawbacks. At the same time, some economic costs may be defrayed by the social benefits to the environment and lowering your carbon footprint, which exceeds pure monetary evaluation.
Green energy that lowers your carbon footprint
Net metering allows you to sell back excess energy produced
You may be eligible for certain tax breaks
Installation and maintenance costs still high
Solar only works when the sun is out
Parts of the system need to be replaced every few years
Some tax breaks may have expired or will be expiring
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Would It Be More Cost
Similar to the question about the payoffs in 5 or more years, the question of should I install solar panels now or wait five years is also important to figure into your overall financial picture.
The cost of installing solar power systems has been steadily falling as the technology for creating the panels and installing them has dropped over the past several decades.
Since the 1970s, when solar power became a thing available to the general public, the costs have dropped significantly.
At that time, 1-watt of solar cell power cost about $100 from just a bit before to only $20 per watt. Now, the cost is closer to $1-$2 per watt.
Even since 2010, the cost for a solar energy system has dropped by about 70%. Thats pretty massive for only nine years time.
Of course, that ever-dropping cost gives us the dilemma: are solar panels worth it in California or any other state with significant sunshine levels or places like Seattle and Juneau with low levels of sunshine on average?
How Much Do Residential Solar Panels Cost For An Average 2000 Square Foot Home
Solar panel cost is often measured as the cost per watt of solar. This makes it easy to compare the relative value of solar systems of different sizes in terms of the watts of power they can produce.
Our data shows that the average cost of a residential solar system in 2021 is $2.85 per watt, before the federal tax credit. At that price, a typical 7 kilowatt home solar system would cost $19,950. The cost would fall to $14,763 after claiming the 26% solar tax credit.
The cost of residential solar panels has dropped dramatically over time. In fact, it has fallen over 70% in the past decade.
In 2019 alone, the cost of solar dropped by 5%.
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The Current Financial Benefits Of Installing Now Versus Down The Road
The final thing that influences your timing for installation is the cost of energy versus the amount of savings youd see if you installed now. The section below goes into details with calculation formulas for this purpose.
However, the anticipated increase in non-renewable energy costs is also going up, so that should be included in the estimations.
You can see a Year-on-Year comparison on average energy costs per state here: .
Solar Panels: Worth The Investment
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Electric bills can be a strain on your budget, especially during periods of heavy usage. One easy way to lower your electricity costs is to install solar panels on your home. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity so you’re not beholden to a utility company to power your home. But are solar panels a good choice for you?
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Solar Power Is Better For Your Health
4.2 million unnecessary deaths are linked to air pollution.
Most of the power grid runs off of energy produced by burning coal. But when coal burns, chemical reactions produce toxic airborne pollutants like mercury, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, arsenic, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals is directly linked to asthma, cancer, heart failure, lung diseases, and neurological problems.
But solar power offers a solution that doesnt poison the air. The amount of improvement solar power has on a location depends on its current energy source and air pollution. For example, widespread solar panel use has a higher impact on high-density urban cities or manufacturing regions.
One study conducted by the US Department of Energys National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that if America generated 80% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2050 it would reduce the electricity sectors emissions by 81%.
Are Residential Solar Panels Worth It In 2021
With the 26% federal tax credit reducing at the end of 2022, millions of American homeowners are asking themselves whether or not installing solar panels is worth it.
The answer depends on many factors including where you live, how much roof space you have, if your roof is shaded, how much power you use, what your local utility charges you for electricity, and the prices offered by local solar companies.
Our solar panels cost and savings calculator takes all of these factors into account when calculating the payback period and investment return for your specific home.
You can either dive straight into our calculator and get an accurate estimate of how much a solar installation can save you, or you can read on to get a closer look at how to determine if solar is worth it for your home.
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Estimate Residential Solar Panel Cost
The brunt of the expense with solar panels is in installation and the purchase of the actual panels.
» MORE: Compare solar loans and apply
Minimal long-term expenses can make up for the upfront costs. Most systems dont require much maintenance and are designed to last for 20 years or more with little change to the amount of electricity produced, Nilsen says.
When calculating the total price, consider how much energy you regularly consume your usage is listed on your monthly utility bill and what size system will generate the amount needed. Some tools, like the SolarReviews calculator, estimate the system size for you.
With installation, an average residential 5kW size system costs between $3 and $5 per watt, according to the CSE, which results in the $15,000 to $25,000 range. That cost is before any tax credits and incentives.
If you know your current energy usage, you can calculate how much youll need to pay for solar panels.
» MORE: Calculate your monthly payments on a solar loan
Then comparison shop for solar panels as you would other big-ticket items, such as a car or TV, says Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of the solar marketplace EnergySage. Some companies lower installation costs through rebates and other programs.
Aggarwal recommends getting quotes from three to five contractors. EnergySage compiles solar companies customer reviews, certifications, Better Business Bureau profiles and other information to help you find reputable providers.
Reasons To Invest In Solar Panels
To better understand the benefits of installing solar panels, check out our five key reasons why you should make the switch to solar energy below.
1. Help the Environment
Obviously, one of the main reasons to install solar panels is because they help the environment. Solar power systems import clean, pure energy from the sun. Installing solar panels on your home or business helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces your dependence on fossil fuel. Traditional electricity is sourced from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Consequently, when fossil fuels are burned to create energy, they emit toxic gases that are the primary cause of pollution and global warming.
2. Save Money
In addition, not only are fossil fuels bad for the environment but theyre also a finite resource. Limited availability of fossil fuels, like oil and gas, can create a volatile market in which energy prices can skyrocket in a short period of time. Through investment in solar energy, home and business owners are limiting their exposure to this risk in the long-term too.
Grants are available from The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for certain renewable energy projects under the Better Energy Programme which will help reduce the capital cost involved.
4. The Sun is Reliable
5. Proven & Reliable Technology
Where to Buy Solar Panels?
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Facts You Should Know Before Investing In Solar Panels
With climate change on the upward swing, citizens all over the planet are making it their responsibility to help reduce the humans ecological footprint by making small changes in their day-to-day lives. Some steps towards greener earth are bigger than others, and solar panels are a great example of households taking a giant step in the right direction.
Solar panels reduce air pollution, water usage, the dependence on nonrenewable energy sources, and thus eliminates one more household dumping pollutants into the atmosphere. While these are absolutely steps we should be seeking out pathways for, there are many things to consider before you purchase solar panels for your home or business. This article will discuss the primary questions you should ask yourself to ensure you and your home or place of business are prepared for this massive investment in our only home and the only planet that harbors life, Earth.
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How Will You Pay For Your Solar System
Whether you choose to buy or lease your solar panels will have a major impact on your savings. If you have enough to make a cash purchase, youll save more than with any other option but even with a zero-down solar loan, your savings could still be in the tens of thousands. While solar leases and power purchase agreements require no money down and promise a maintenance-free option, they come with a trade-off: your total savings will typically be just 10 to 30 percent of your utility electricity bill.
How does this play out in the real world? Check out the EnergySage Solar Calculator to see how your long-term savings will differ depending on whether you choose a cash purchase, a solar loan, or a solar lease or community solar, if thats something youre considering!
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Solar Energy Saves Money Long
After overcoming the initial installment costs for solar panels, they quickly work toward paying for themselves: Solar panels can last 25 years or longer. On average, homeowners who install solar panels will break even between six and 10 years due to utility bill savings. From there on out, those savings can go straight to the bank.
Youre Not Eligible For Incentives And Rebates
When it comes to solar power, government incentives and rebates are extremely important.
The most important of these is the solar Investment Tax Credit , which is offered by the federal government and has helped grow the solar industry by 10,000% since its enactment in 2006. The ITC is currently worth 26% you can use it to save over a quarter of the price of your solar system. This incentive can play a huge role in improving the payback period of a solar system purchase.
Additional incentives are usually available at the state level, and sometimes at the local level, as well. Right now, 38 states offer net metering, a valuable incentive that allows you to sell your electricity to the utility company at retail rates, while other states, such as New York, offer state tax credits worth thousands of dollars.
But if youre in a situation where you dont qualify for incentives the federal tax credit, for instance, only applies if you pay federal taxes to begin with then solar energy may not be right for you.
Learn more: Find out which solar incentives and rebates you qualify for
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You Need To Know How Much You Pay On Your Electric Bill
This estimate assumes you will get all of your power from solar. While some homes will be able to get 100% of their electricity from solar, or even sell some surplus energy back to the grid, others will still have an electric bill to supplement usage. This will vary widely from home to home, depending on how many solar panels are installed, normal energy consumption and more. Get more tools to calculate your home’s potential savings here.
Now you have a sense of how much energy you’ll save, login to your electric utility company account and calculate an average of your last several electricity bills. Go back at least six months, if possible, to account for seasonal temperature changes and other fluctuations in cost. Let’s assume you get 100% of your usage from the panels and currently pay an average of $125 per month in electricity bills, or $1,500 per year. Now you have the information you need to estimate the payback period for solar panels.