How much is a solar panel
Solar panel installation costs on average $18,500 in the United States for a 6kWsystem installed on a 1,500 square foot home. The cost per watt of can range between $2.50 and $3.50 and is highly dependent on the geographical location of the home. Residential solar panels are typically 3kW to 8kW in size and can cost between $9,255 and $28,000 to install.
Before you make the switch, educate yourself about the long-term impact of your electric bill, location, and incentives.
Here are six steps to determine whether your savings will exceed the cost of solar panels.
Examine your utility bill.
Solar panels generate their own energy and can thus significantly reduce, if not completely eliminate, your monthly electricity bill. The higher your bill, the more likely it is that you will save money by switching. However, you should keep in mind that electricity rates and usage — the two primary charges on your statement — are subject to volatility.
Assess your exposure to sunlight.
More sun equals more energy generated and a greater potential for solar savings. Certain states, such as Arizona and California, receive more sunlight per day on average.
The orientation of your home toward the sun, the amount of shade, and the type of roof all contribute to the output of a solar system.
Calculate the cost of a residential solar panel
The majority of the cost associated with solar panels is in the installation and purchase of the panels themselves.
Long-term expenses can more than compensate for the upfront costs. “The majority of systems are low-maintenance and are designed to last 20 years or more with little change in the amount of electricity produced,” Nilsen explains.
Consider how much energy you consume on a regular basis — your consumption is listed on your monthly utility bill — and what size system will generate the required amount. If you know your current energy consumption, you can calculate the cost of solar panels.
Seek out incentives
The government provides substantial incentives to homeowners who install solar panels as an alternative energy source. For example, a federal residential tax credit allows taxpayers to deduct 26% of installation costs for systems installed by Dec. 31, 2022. The credit decreases to 22% in 2023 and expires in 2024 unless Congress renews it.
Maintain a close eye on trade policy
Changes in government trade policy have an effect on prices as well. President Trump imposed a four-year tariff on imported solar cells and panels in January 2018 that began at 30% and was set to decrease by 5% each year until February 2022. Tariff rates were increased from 15% to 18% for the fourth year in a row in 2020. In 2018, the tariff resulted in an increase of 16 cents per watt for the average consumer.
Make the connection
If you live in an area with high energy costs and a suitable solar rating, and you can afford the initial investment, it’s worth installing solar panels in your home while the 26% tax credit is still available — for the environment and your wallet. However, do not expect to completely eliminate your electricity bill overnight.
If you decide to purchase solar panels, do your research and look for available incentives. Bear in mind that you are not required to purchase solar panels; you can also lease them. This has a lower initial cost, but because you do not own the panels, they will not add value to your home and you may be ineligible for incentives.
Knowing the above article will give you an idea of the ideal number of panels for your electricity generation needs — or at least a realistic range. How much money will you save if you don’t store excess solar energy in a battery storage system?