If you’re considering adding solar panels to your home, it’s important to understand the overall cost. This includes the upfront purchase and ongoing maintenance, monitoring and electricity costs.
The best way to estimate the total cost is to look at your energy bills and determine your home’s energy needs. This will help you calculate how large a system you need and your estimated savings.
Cost of Panels
The bulk of the cost of a solar energy system is the panels themselves. The number of panels needed to offset your electric usage is determined by a few factors, such as your average energy usage and the amount of sunlight each forum receives. You can calculate this by multiplying your energy usage by the number of hours per day that the sun shines in your area (plus other considerations, like your roof type).
High-quality panels have higher efficiencies than lower-quality options and may cost more upfront, though they will last longer and require less maintenance over time. Solar shoppers should compare quotes from multiple installers to find the best deals. Look for quality installers with customer reviews, certifications and Better Business Bureau profiles.
Because most homeowners don’t have access to $25,000 in cash, solar providers offer various financing options, which help spread out upfront costs into more manageable payments over the life of your solar energy system. These financing options include solar leases, power purchase agreements and cash-out refinances. Homeowners can also use state and federal tax incentives to reduce their total investment.
Cost of Inverter
The inverter is a necessary component of your solar panel system that converts electricity from DC to AC. It is also responsible for maximizing the energy output from your panels and is an important factor in the overall cost of your system.
Inverter costs are usually estimated per watt, meaning that the more power your system produces, the lower your per-unit cost will be. However, there are a few other factors that go into this estimate as well.
First, consider your home size. Larger homes use more electricity and require larger solar systems to offset energy costs. This is why it is important to consult with a trusted Energy Advisor and find the best match for your unique energy needs.
Another thing to keep in mind is your location. Labor costs are much higher in urban areas than in rural areas, and that’s reflected in your overall solar panel installation costs. In addition, non-labor soft costs like permitting, inspection, and interconnection to the grid also add up. Make sure to compare quotes from several installers before committing to anyone.
Cost of Wiring
Solar panel prices can vary depending on your location, the type of solar system you install, and local energy rates. You’ll also want to factor in any available state, regional, and federal solar incentives that can help you make your new system more affordable.
The number of solar panels you need depends on the electricity your home consumes, how many hours of sunlight it receives, and the wattage of the solar panels you choose. You can find this information by reviewing your utility bills or using an online calculator.
Adding solar panels to your home is an excellent way to reduce electricity costs and protect the environment. It also adds value to your property. However, before you start the installation process, it’s important to determine the cost of your solar panels and how much they will save you. Getting the right estimate from a qualified solar professional is the best way to ensure you’re on track for your project. Start by finding a pro near you on Thumbtack. Their quotes are free and will give you an accurate estimate of the cost of installing solar panels on your home.
Cost of Permits
While equipment and labor make up the majority of a solar energy system price, fees for permit and interconnection are important soft costs that can significantly impact your overall installation costs. Permit requirements vary by state and town, depending on local codes and ordinances. Moreover, some towns require PE stamps from licensed professional engineers on the solar drawings to ensure the system meets electrical and structural codes. These requirements can add to your soft costs, particularly for larger commercial projects.
If you try to install your solar panels without a permit, you could face expensive fines or, even worse, damage your roof and cause leaks that will cost you more money to fix. It’s better to leave this work to experienced professionals who know the local regulations and can quickly get you through the process.
Some states are working to streamline and standardize the permitting process for solar, reducing soft costs.
Cost of Installation
Solar panels can be expensive, but there are ways to lower the upfront investment. The biggest is the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, which allows homeowners to receive 30% of their system value. This credit is applied to the homeowner’s income taxes and significantly reduces their initial cost of ownership.
Other factors that affect the cost of solar panels are local pricing and incentives. Some states have aggressive energy company penalties, and others have no state incentives, which can impact the availability of solar panel systems. The type of solar panel — monocrystalline or polycrystalline — also affects the final price, as do watt ratings and warranty details.
Lastly, labor costs are another factor to consider. Installing a solar energy system is challenging, and quality artistry can be expensive. Ensure you get a quote from several companies before hiring anyone. Additionally, it is important to check with local authorities about permitting requirements, timelines, fees, and inspections. These can add up quickly and significantly increase the total cost of your project.