How Much Does Solar Panel Installation Cost?
Here’s a helpful guide to getting started with solar panels.
It’s the year 2021, 19 years after Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey was set. Huge advancements have been made by the human race in the past 19 years, but few things more than the way in which we consume energy.
If you haven’t at least considered going solar before now, you may want to do so now.
Some information isn’t readily available knowledge, which is why the experts here at 5Estimates have made it our mission to help you out. This guide will advise you of everything there is to know about going solar.
How Many People Use Solar Energy in America Today?
Firstly, let’s assess the popularity of solar energy across the U.S. Despite how new solar energy is to the country, it has continued to grow in adoption rates and overall energy usage.
As of May 2019, the U.S. surpassed a total of 2 million solar installations. This is particularly impressive when you consider that the first 1 million solar installations in the U.S. took 40 years to accomplish.
The time it took for 1 million to double and become 2 million installations was just 3 years.
These figures prove that solar energy is an on-trend energy solution, with more and more companies and residential properties making the switch. At the end, estimates showed that enough solar energy was produced in America to power a total of 12.3 million homes.
The Pros and Cons of Solar Energy
Let’s go into the reasons why solar energy has become such a popular alternative across America. You need to know what going solar means, and why people do it before you can make an educated decision.
Pros of Solar
- Reduced electric bills
- Increase in home value
- Lower carbon footprint
- Protection against rising power costs
Cons of Solar
- Substantial upfront investment
- Take a while to recover investment
- Can’t take it with you if you move
- Weather dependent
Solar energy is a transition people make for their residential or commercial properties. It allows you to collect and use energy powered by the rays of the sun, rather than through other methods.
It’s become an increasingly popular choice for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is better for the environment compared with other energy solutions.
With continued concerns surrounding climate change and the wellbeing of the environment, it’s important to do your bit where possible. But the benefits don’t stop there.
Using solar energy can be more economically viable for many households across America. That means you can save money on your energy bill each month if you make the switch. Much of this benefit is thanks to the zero energy-production costs involved with solar energy.
Once you pay for installation, you’ll reap the rewards of zero energy-production costs over time. That makes solar energy an investment worth considering.
Solar energy is also more secure in terms of blackouts or power outages. As you won’t be relying on power from a large generator, there’s less chance of losing your energy during an outage.
So now you know why people choose to do it; now let’s consider how installation works.
How Does Solar Installation Work?
Solar panels need to be installed on your property for you to obtain solar energy. These panels are where the energy from the sun is collected and then transported to your home.
Many people assume solar panels are always placed on the roof of your property, and this is the most common area where they’re installed. This is due to the heightened platform a roof provides, as well as the angling that ensures the sun’s rays are better collected. The type of roof you have can also impact the amount of energy you obtain.
But alternatively, if you choose, you can have solar panels installed on the ground of your property. This can have its own benefits depending on how your property is laid out.
No matter which option you choose, installation is the key part of the set-up process. You’ll need to pay for a contractor to install these panels on your property and it should take them a day’s work to complete.
Finding the right contractor is an important part of the installation process.
How Much Does Solar Save on Electricity?
The total amount you can save will depend on the size of your home as well as other factors. But the fact remains you will certainly save money if you switch to solar power. Just how much?
Well, per year, you could be looking at a saving of over $1,400 from your electricity bill. That’s because the average energy bill for an American household is roughly $1,408 each calendar year.
That works out at a saving of over $100 every single month.
What To Look For in a Solar Energy Company or Contractor?
Solar contractors are individuals and companies experienced in solar panel installation. if you’re considering making the switch, you should get in touch with a specialist like this to ensure the job is completed appropriately.
Solar Company Considerations & FAQs
- Are they certified?
- Full servicing or subcontracting?
- How long is the manufacturer’s warranty?
- Financing Options?
- The time required to complete the project?
- Size of panel kilowatt (kW)?
Solar energy installation is a specific field with its own intricacies, which is why you should go with an expert wherever possible. At 5Estimates we work to connect homeowners with our pool of qualified contractors.
If you’re in need of a solar contractor the best thing to do is use our solar contractor finder. You need to fill in our online form and we’ll be able to match you with the right contractor.
This would normally be a challenging part of the process, as there are numerous things to look out for in a reliable solar contractor. But the team here at 5Estimates will have done this for you if you use our finder.
We only work with the finest contractors in their respective fields. That means if you need a solar contractor, you’ll find the very best using our finder.
How Much Does Residential Solar Installation Cost?
The main cost incurred in transitioning to solar energy is found within the installation, so this will need covering in this section of our guidance.
|Panel Type||*Avg. Cost/kW – per watt||Efficiency||Approx. Life – Expectancy|
|*National average cost by type and kW|
This amount will vary state by state, so you should check your specific area first. You should also factor in any particular legislation or taxes based on solar energy found in your specific state.
On average, however, the installation of solar panels will cost you approximately $11,000 – 15,000. This includes the purchase of the panels themselves as well as the cost to install them on your property. For a full outsourced solar installation project, rates will run between $20,000 – $60,000. The price is determined by the roof’s square footage and the number of panels to be installed.
Approximate City & State Subsidies
- Federal: 26%
- State: Varies widely
How Much Does Solar Cost Per Square Foot?
Solar panels are almost never sold by the square foot. Instead, solar is sold by the watt. You can expect to pay between $1.10 and $3.50 per watt.
How Much Does Home Solar Cost Long-Term?
This sounds like a large figure at first, but it is worth remembering that solar energy will save you a considerable sum. It’s estimated that going solar in LA could save you $50,000 over 20 years, whereas in Boston you could save $43,000 in the same amount of time.
In this respect, as mentioned above, a solar energy transition is an investment. Though the up-front cost is high, this amount will cover itself in the amount you save on energy, whilst helping the environment in the process.
Solar Cost Per Kilowatt
|Kilowatts||Avg. Cost/kW – per watt||*Average Cost||Avg Cost – (after tax credit)|
|*National average cost for typical solar installs.|
This sum is so high because of how much work and materials are involved. It’s a labor-intensive job to install solar panels, particularly on the roof of a property. The material used to make panels is also quite complex.
But the resulting improvement to your energy bill will be worth the price point. There are even additional ways in which solar panels can be a worthwhile investment.
Do Solar Companies Finance?
You might be wondering if solar companies finance, to offset some of these larger installation costs.
You might be pleased to know that there are several financing options when it comes to solar energy in America today. You can obtain what’s known as a solar loan from certain providers, which can ensure you pay back the costs of your panels in increments.
Over 40% of solar panel purchases today are made using solar loans, so you’re not alone in considering the option. Make sure to discuss this with your solar installation provider to find the best option for you.
Can Solar Panels Boost the Value of My Property?
One question many homeowners ask in regards to solar panels is how they impact property value. This can be seen as another way in which solar panels are a worthwhile investment.
It’s been found across the U.S. that adding solar panels to a property will usually increase the value of your home by approximately 4%. For many homes, this can cover a large portion of the installation costs by itself.
This value can also increase in certain areas where eco-friendly homes are more popular with buyers. When combining this fact with the money saved on energy costs, solar panels are proven to be an economically viable and environmentally friendly solution for American homeowners.
What Are The Best Types of Solar Panels?
There are several different types of solar panels on the market today, meaning you need to find the right panel for your household.
If you can afford it, the finest solar panel on the market today are monocrystalline solar panels. These are produced typically with a 25-year warranty and are the most efficient option when it comes to producing solar energy.
If you’re working on a smaller budget though you might want to consider a polycrystalline option instead. These may not be as efficient, but the costs involved are significantly lower, and you should still be obtaining a 13-16% efficiency rate.
These crystalline solar panel options are the best on the market today and are the recommended choice for most U.S. households.
Where Can I Get Started on Adopting Solar Energy in My Home?
Now you know all there is to know about solar energy. You should know how popular it is, why it’s popular and the many details involved with solar installation.
If you are interested in adopting solar energy in your home, you need to get in touch with a solar contractor to discuss further. That means you should use our solar contractor finder on our website, which we linked to in the section above.
A contractor will be able to give you an accurate quotation for switching and can perform an inspection of your home if need be. If you use our finder you’ll be put in contact with reliable contractors who can get the job done well.
If you do have any additional questions in regards to contractors or solar energy, make sure you contact us directly. Our team would love to assist with any questions you have on making the switch!