The Cost of Solar Panels: Is Solar Affordable for Me?

August 27 2020

Solar panel pricing on a home solar installation

The cost of solar panels varies based on factors like type and size. Different panels have different aesthetics and levels of efficiency.

Solar installation costs also affect the overall price. Understanding the average cost to install solar panels in your area will help you budget correctly. It will also give you insight as to whether or not a company is offering you a good deal.

While the cost of solar panels is pretty consistent from state to state, tax incentives vary. In addition to the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), there are local and state incentives to take advantage of. These incentives help make solar more affordable.

Get a transparent look at pricing from the start. Use Greenlife Solar to find the cost to install solar panels in your area.

Know what to expect before you invest. Learn more about solar panel pricing and find out if switching to solar is right for you.

Solar Cost

Data from Lawrence Berkeley Labs shows that the average cost of solar panels in 2020 is $3.33 per watt for American households. The average residential solar system is about 6kW, which means a typical system would cost around $19,000 before any tax credits.

Once the federal tax credit, which covers 26% of costs, is applied, the price would drop to about $14,000. Other local and state tax incentives will reduce the price even further.

Of course, these are all averages. The exact solar cost will fluctuate based on a variety of factors. For instance, the cost to install solar panels will also affect the overall price. Learn more about how solar panel pricing works and what to expect for your home.

Factors That Affect Solar Panel Pricing

Three main factors affect solar panel pricing. Learn more about each one below:

1. Type of Solar Panel

The type of panel you choose plays a huge role in the upfront solar cost you pay. There are four main options: monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels, thin-film panels, and solar shingles.

In terms of solar panel pricing, monocrystalline panels and solar shingles are typically the most expensive, while thin-film and polycrystalline panels are more affordable. On the other hand, monocrystalline panels offer the highest efficiency and durability. Learn more about each type here.

2. Solar Panel Size

Typical residential panels are 65 inches by 39 inches. These panels are made up of 60 solar cells. Other panels are longer and have 72 solar cells. As you might’ve guessed, more cells mean more power.

It also means more money. The cost of solar panels with 72 cells is higher than the cost of those with 60 cells. Consider your roof space, energy consumption, and budget when choosing a solar panel size.

3. Solar Tax Incentives

Does the cost of solar panels seem a little high to you? Don’t worry. A 26% federal tax incentive called the ITC is in place to help lower that cost. Additional local and state tax incentives are also available. Get more information about incentives in your area here.

No matter what state you live in, it’s easy to find affordable solar panel pricing that fits your budget. Keep in mind that savings on your electricity bill will eventually surpass your upfront cost, saving you money in the long-run.

Solar installation cost to drill panels into a roof

Solar Installation Cost

Solar cost isn’t only dependent on the panel pricing. You’ll also need to factor solar installation cost into your budget.

The cost to install solar panels varies based on the solar installation company you choose. The average solar installation cost for labor is $0.59/watt. That’s roughly 10% of your total solar cost.

If you’re tempted to eliminate this fee by installing solar panels yourself, think twice. DIY solar kits don’t offer many options. In fact, their only positive attribute is that they reduce the cost to install solar panels.

DIY solar kits are designed for off-grid installation, which means your home won’t be linked to a service provider. Off-grid systems cannot take advantage of net metering. That means you won’t be able to pull from the grid when your panels aren’t producing enough energy. On the flip side, you can’t store excess energy in the grid when your panels over-produce.

On top of that, you’ll have no one to help you take advantage of solar incentives or maintain your panels over their lifetime. Solar panels are meant to last 30+ years, so savings are a long-term value. It’s a good idea to commit to the total upfront price, including any solar installation costs.

So, how can you find the best deal on solar installation costs? The best way to get a deal is by comparing your options with upfront pricing from a variety of installers. Greenlife Solar can help.

Greenlife Solar is a free online service that offers transparent pricing and information on pre-screened solar installation companies in your area. Compare each of your options to find solar panel pricing that fits your budget.

Compare Pricing on Solar Installation Companies Near You.