Solar Panel Costs

Jessica PirroMay 23, 20198610


Solar Panel System Prices May Vary


Often we want to learn how to make the best arrangements about how to go solar.  There is a lot to consider when one is weighing all of the possible ways money can get spent, and money can get saved, or even made.  Let's explore this deeper. Many times it is a combination of energy conservation improvement(s) and solar. 

This is quite a diverse approach from many "solar electric companies". How? Because preservation steps may “cut into” (even if for a concise time) some of your budget that might contrarily have been spent on them installing (more) solar.


But we are so completely committed to doing what’s right in this regard, that if by taking a “whole house approach” in regulating your possible solar results in the completion that doing some simple and practical things first implies a bit less solar now, that's what we'll recommend; because it makes your total investment bring even more significant and longer-lasting bonuses. With you needing much less energy than before a solar installation can produce an even larger share of your needed power supply!


How Much Will Solar Cost?


That said, you needed to know how much solar might fetch. Solar panels themselves have come down in cost significantly over the last 4 years, and now seem to be stabilizing at the $0.60 - $1.00 per watt (retail, pre-tax & shipping) range.  


The whole range you see there though merely is due to panel kinds (particularly at the lower-cost end) having different power output consistency, lifespan expectancy, and overall production. A typical, individual panel that you might install on your roof would today be considered for between 250 and 350 watts of peak output total and therefore will cost anywhere from $150 (lower wattage & grade) to $350 (larger wattage & grade) individual.


Figuring out what you need


Before you start looking for the best solar panels for your money, you’ll need to find out how much wattage your system needs. You can do this by looking at your past utility bills and figuring out your energy usage. If you don’t know how to do that, there’s a variety of different calculators online that can help you.


After you figure that out, you can apply that data to the systems you’re looking at. If the system you’re looking at has 20 panels at 300 watts each, that means it has a 6 kW system or 6,000 watts. At $16,000, the price per watt comes out to $2.66. It may also be helpful to ask your solar company for an itemized price list so that you can see what that $16,000 actually includes and make sure the company doesn’t stick you with any hidden fees.


There is a big difference in price between brands of solar panels and inverters. Most solar systems can live over 25 years, but if you go with a worse brand for a better price, you’re going to get what you pay for. That’s why doing a lot of research is so important. 



Overall Expenses Of Solar In Proportion To Size


Usually, the total expense of solar will often rise as the size of the system grows, but interestingly enough, the cost per watt will often decrease.  It's important to consider this equation as you head into planning out your solar panel building dreams.  

Typically there is an added amount to the cost per watt for small systems of 3 kW or less.  Let's face it, the materials and installers are coming for free.  We must consider that there is a fixed overhead for a solar company when jumping into working with any client, regardless of system size, regardless of state. When the size of a system is small in prices for the install, there is a need to reflect this in the overall deal. It is typical in this scenario that the cost per watt will be higher. Often the consumer will find that for these small systems cost per watt is still usually over $4 per watt before incentives.


The standard metric for determining cost with size is as follows:  solar power systems cost - $ per watt basis as the system gets larger. In the typical residential sized solar energy system that many of us will be seeking of around 6kw the cost per watt, a cash purchase is now as low as $3 per watt for some reasonable quality systems.  If you have the cash to buy a system outright, you will always find a better deal. 


Sometimes Bigger Panels Systems Are Cheaper


There is some other solar panel system buying schema that can bring on some differences in deals.   Some of the more dramatic changes in price are for those who use a quantity of energy sufficient to require a system in the range of 100kW to 200kW. Systems over 100kw are currently being sold for as little as $2.40 per watt fully installed. As you can see, the prices start dropping considerably as you scale up on your plan.


These systems are ordinarily ground-mounted arrays in a field but are sometimes also mounted on the roofs of large companies who are watching to save a noticeable amount of money by installing solar power.   


Let your solar company know that you’re shopping around


It is no secret that solar companies will provide you with their best pricing when they know they are facing competition. That is why you should let the solar company you’ve been talking to know that you’re still shopping around until you find the best choice. If they know they’re up against other installers, they’re more likely to give you their best rates.


Find the best installation price


Just like you should compare the cost of solar equipment, you should also compare the cost of installation services from various installers. You don’t want that $3 per watt price to rise to $5 or $6 dollars a watt because of hidden costs from an installer. This is also why it’s important to ask for an itemized list and to let them know you’re shopping around for the best deal.


Though it is true that the more installers you talk to the more options you will have to compare, a good number to aim for is three to four installers. If you talk to just one installation company, especially if you let them know that you are talking to just one, you are giving that installer free reign to increase the cost of their services however high they can go, as they are not competing for business. If those solar installers are competing for your business, they will change their price, or at least differentiate why they are a better choice.



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