Installing solar panels for your home allows you to get “free” energy from sunlight. However, that doesn’t mean the solar panels and the installation is free. You will still need to pay a significant amount upfront to get the solar panels installed. Costs of solar panels and their installation can vary based on your location, the size of the solar panels and also efficiency.
In this guide, we will briefly talk about the process of installing solar panels and then we’ll look at the average cost of installing solar panels.
Process of Installing Solar Panels
The entire process of choosing and getting a quotation from a solar energy company to the actual installation can take between one to four months. Here is a brief outline of the process of installing solar panels:
- Buying solar panel equipment. The first and most important step is to acquire the solar panel equipment, which are the panels and inverters.
- Inspection of your property by a solar installation engineer. After you’ve settled for a solar energy company, you will sign a contract and a meeting with an engineer will be set up. The engineer will inspect your property’s roof to see if it can support the weight of the solar panels and also inspect your circuit breaker or electrical panel. When the engineer approves that your home is structurally capable, you will proceed to the next step.
- Filling out paperwork. Most of the complex paperwork is settled by the solar energy company but you should be kept in the loop of what is done and where the paperwork is filed. Once all the paperwork is filed and approved, the company will schedule an installation date.
- Installation of solar panels by professionals. The installation of solar panels will usually be done in a few days, depending on the size of your roof and number of solar panels you ordered.
- Final inspection. After the installation, the local government needs to inspect and approve the installer’s work before connecting your new panels to the local electric company grid.
What Is the Average Cost to Install Solar Panels?
If we were to look at the average cost to install solar panels in the United States, it amounts to approximately $12,000 to $18,000 after federal tax incentives. The range is from $9,255 to $28,000 depending on the standard of solar panels you chose. Some extremely pricey Tier 1 solar panel systems cost about $40,000 or more. Here are some factors that affect the cost to install solar panels.
Size of Solar Panels
The cost to install solar panels for your home is also dependent on the size of the solar panels. However the size of the solar panels you need will depend on your household’s electricity consumption, and the average households need about 870 kWh of electricity per month.
For a brief guide, if your home uses 900 kWh per month and has a decent amount of sunshine, a 5 kW to 6 kW solar panel system is enough to lower your utility costs. As for average cost to install solar panels, here is something you can refer to:
- 2 kW – Average cost to install: $6,000
- 3 kW – Average cost to install: $9,000
- 4 kW – Average cost to install: $12,000
- 5 kW – Average cost to install: $15,000
- 6 kW – Average cost to install: $18,000
- 7 kW – Average cost to install: $21,000
- 8 kW – Average cost to install: $24,000
Federal and State Incentives
Currently, the government is offering a 26% discount on the cost of the entire solar panel system you chose, but that percentage will likely go down in the upcoming years. As a result of the reduction in federal and state incentives, the average cost to install solar panels is likely to increase.
Location of Your Home
Where you live determines how much sunlight you’re getting and the less sunlight exposure, the more solar panels you will need to meet your electricity needs. By requiring more solar panels, the cost to install them will also increase.
The average cost to install solar panels is dependent on the factors that were mentioned, but other minor factors come into play as well. Generally, the average cost to install solar panels will be $15,000 and it can also range from $6,000 to $24,000 depending on the size of your solar panels. All in all, the upfront cost is high but the reduction in your utility cost will eventually make up for it.